Democratic mayoral candidates talk bike lanes and buses

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images) (Credit: (Getty Images))

The hopefuls for mayor Wednesday offered their ideas about how to move New Yorkers around the city faster, while focusing their ire on the Bloomberg administration's style instead of its transportation policies.

There were few disagreements among the Democratic candidates -- City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio were absent -- at the transit forum, sponsored by the University Transportation Research Center at Baruch College. The forum allowed the mayoral candidates to discuss bike lanes, taxis and transportation financing, and increasing outer-borough transportation options.

The candidates maintained their support of bike lanes, though they lamented the Bloomberg administration's community outreach regarding them.

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who boasted of his Citi Bike usage, said that while there are "good bike lanes and bad bike lanes," the Bloomberg administration had managed to make their installation controversial.

"It's a governing ethos," Weiner said. "The conversation hasn't been much of a conversation."

City Comptroller John Liu, meanwhile, noted that outer-borough residents have complained about bike lanes that seem to have few bicyclists riding on them.

"People are staring for hours saying, 'Where are the bikes?'" Liu said.

Former Comptroller Bill Thompson wanted more involvement from the community regarding the placement of bike lanes.

Former City Councilman Sal Albanese wanted to expand the city's bike lane infrastructure, saying problems with placing these lanes could be fixed.

The candidates wanted more Select Bus Service and express buses in the outer boroughs to make up for the disparity of transit options compared with Manhattan.

Thompson said he would push to get the commuter tax reinstated, as well as a weight-based hike on vehicle registration fees, which would together "generate about $1.7 billion that each and every year would go into mass transit."

A politically difficult proposal supported by Albanese and Weiner was getting the state to give the city control of its transit system.

"I don't know what a representative of Buffalo has to do with who's getting on and off the G train," Weiner said.

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