“When I become mayor, you know what I’m going to spend my first year doing?” Mr. Weiner said to Mr. Bloomberg, as tablemates listened. “I’m going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your [expletive] bike lanes.”(NYTimes article here). That's "progressive" Rep. Weiner (Dem) of Queens and Brooklyn, mind you. Unsurprisingly many speculate that "the backlash against Ms. Sadik-Khan has become unusually ferocious and personal in part because she is a woman". And when we add the highly masculinized/testosterone-pumped social meanings attached to driving a car, it's plausible to read this backlash as partly growing out of a sense of emasculation by some. After all, the facts speak strongly in Sadik-Khan's favor:
DEVOTEES refer to her as “J. S. K.” and lionize her as the brave and forward-thinking city planner who ushered in a golden age for bicyclists, pedestrians and environmentalists. Two-wheeled ridership has doubled during her tenure; European-style rapid-transit buses now ply exclusive, camera-enforced lanes; and fewer people have been killed in traffic accidents on New York’s streets than at any time in the past century, according to city records.And, moreover, it's not as though the original transition from a built environment favoring non-car transit to a car-hegemonic model was a rational/democratic one. The decision to slash and burn New York's old pre-car character was undertaken by the maniacal tyrant Robert Moses without the consent of those whose lives he uprooted and smashed. So, if there is a concerted effort to move away from this model toward a model that values human life, walk-ability and alternative transport... what's the problem? The ruling class only complains of lack of democracy when they don't get their way. When they're not consulted they whine of "big labor" or "populist tyranny".