Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Diretor of the Bicycle Program, Andrew Vesselenovitch has left the building

After a five year tenure with the Department of Transportation, the Director of the Bicycle Program, Andrew Vesselenovitch has left the building...
one of only two pictures of Andrew if you do an image search on google

He says that Commisioner Iris Weinshall and her top deputy for traffic operations, Michael Primeggia have burdened the city with unnecessary law suits and stymied the progress of the city's bicycle programs.

There is a more indepth story on streetsblog.org Entitled-"Bridges Burning at DOT
Outgoing Bike Program Director Rips Agency Bosses"

The blog entry, like many on Streetsblog, is written by Aaron Naparstek. Aaron is a journalist, author and community organizer working on urban environmental issues in New York City. He works for the Open Planning Project where he runs a blog covering New York City’s Livable Streets Movement. He is the author of Honku: The Zen Antidote for Road Rage, a book of humorous haiku poetry inspired by the unique brand of motorist sociopathy observed from his apartment window in Brooklyn. Naparstek lives in Park Slope with his wife and son where he is a founder of the Park Slope Neighbors community group.

This blog entry also has the email Andrew sent to the DOT explaining many of the issues he was most fustrated about.

Hmmm...how does one get to be head of the Bicycle Department for the DOT? Sounds like they have an opening. Wouldn't it be fun to come up with all kinds of great plans for cycling and create infustructure only to have your bosses tell you to butt out and ignore problems like when people are getting seriously injured on the Williamsburg Bridge with poorly designed projects.

Still, these are important positions that we in the cycling community should try and fill...kind of like that thing about making change by running for local office.

there is also an article about this in the NY Dailynews

City bike boss rips brass and pedals off


The city's bicycle boss quit in a huff last week - lashing out at
Transportation Department brass for not making the streets safer for
cyclists, the Daily News has learned.

In an angry e-mail sent on his last day Friday, former Bicycle Program
Director Andrew Vesselinovitch blamed the DOT for installing dangerous bumps
on the Williamsburg Bridge bike path and for failing to build more bike

The bumps - actually 2-inch, raised expansion-joint covers - were removed in
December 2005 after The News chronicled $10 million in lawsuits brought by
severely injured cyclists.

"We could have saved the city settlements for lawsuits [and residents
injuries] resulting from the puzzling addition of unusually high expansion
joint covers on the Williamsburg Bridge," Vesselinovitch wrote in the
e-mail, which was posted yesterday to StreetsBlog.com.

"I brought this to [the Division of] Bridges' attention in 2003 and was told
by [DOT Deputy Commissioner] Michael Primeggia [to] butt out," he added in
the hastily typed message sent to Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret
Forgione and other colleagues

Attorney Adam White, who represents eight cyclists injured on the bumps,
called the e-mail a "smoking gun."

"It's shocking evidence that within the department they knew these were
inappropriate and extremely dangerous from the beginning and they did
nothing about it for years."

Vesselinovitch also took aim at DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall.

In the past two years, only 15 miles of bike lanes were added, he wrote,
when the DOT "could have produced plans for 40-50 miles of workable bike
lanes each year.

"I waited for a long time for the direction from the commissioner's office
to change, or for the commissioner to be changed," wrote Vesselinovitch, who
is leaving to study architecture. "I hope that you won't have to wait much

In June, three cyclists were killed in the city. Last year, 24 died, making
it one of the most deadly years for cyclists in the past 10 years, advocates

A DOT spokeswoman declined to comment on Vesselinovitch's e-mail, but
pointed to the new Eighth Ave. bike lane and other projects, and noted that
bike fatalities are down 50% over the same period last year.


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