A look at the forces working against NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, from Matthew Shaer:
Bike-lane opponents are now hoping that the Prospect Park West bike lane could be the place where … the “unstoppable force” of Sadik-Khan meets an “immovable object.” The immovable object in this case is Iris Weinshall. The knock on the former transportation commissioner among cycling advocates was that her support for their cause always seemed halfhearted. Her backers would say she was just heeding the popular will. “Clearly, if the lawsuit was to succeed, [Weinshall] could say, ‘See, I was reasonable after all,’ ” says Andrew Vesselinovitch, who served as the New York City “bike czar” under Weinshall before leaving the DOT in protest in 2006. To Weinshall’s critics, she is waging a personal vendetta. “It’s not just a bike lane. It’s a repudiation of her tenure as DOT commissioner. And it’s in her face every day,” says [Aaron] Naparstek.
When I approached Weinshall at a community-board meeting in January, she said only that she thought the DOT had gone about the Prospect Park West lane the wrong way; later, I spoke with her at length over the phone, but she ultimately declined to go on record. Finally, I received a call from Dov Hikind, a New York State assemblyman who represents the 48th District, in Brooklyn, saying he was contacting me on Weinshall’s behalf. “I can get to God faster than I can get to her,” he said of Sadik-Khan. “Listen, the commissioner enjoys having the freedom she has. At night she dreams of these things, and the next day she does them,” Hikind said. He wanted me to know that he was particularly vexed about a set of pedestrian islands on Fort Hamilton Parkway, in Borough Park. He said he’s exploring a lawsuit against the DOT if the pedestrian islands are not removed.