Chuck Schumer Mysteriously Quiet About Bike Lane His Wife Hates

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Schumer and Weinshall in 2008.
Schumer and Weinshall in 2008. Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

More so than any other New York politician, Chuck Schumer has a reputation as an avid cyclist. As he wrote at the Huffington Post in 2009, "I find that there is no better way to learn about what is going on in New York than by riding my bike through the neighborhoods and stopping and talking to people." So it's not surprising that at a press conference in Queens yesterday to discuss the new Census data, he remarked that he'd been riding around in the area just the day before. "Just coincidentally, yesterday I rode my bike around these neighborhoods,” he told reporters. “I rode through Maspeth and Middle Village and Jackson Heights and Elmhurst.”

Then somebody asked him — since he brought it up — what he thought about the controversial bike lane along Prospect Park West.

“I am not commenting,” he said, at first politely and then more emphatically: “I am not commenting.”

The Times tried again later, to no avail:

A Schumer aide instructed a reporter to call the senator’s office to learn more about his position. The call was made, and the answer was similarly unenlightening: “The only thing I can say on the record is no comment,” said Mike Morey, a spokesman for Mr. Schumer.

That seems odd, considering Schumer's usual bike zealotry, but it actually makes total sense. As Matthew Shaer wrote in New York last week, Schumer's wife, former New York City transportation commissioner Iris Weinshall, is a prominent supporter of Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes, a group suing the city to have the bike lane removed. Weinshall told Shaer "that she thought the DOT had gone about the Prospect Park West lane the wrong way," though lane-backers suggest she is more concerned with keeping her legacy from being overshadowed by the successes of her successor, bike-lane enthusiast Janette Sadik-Khan. Whatever her motives, Weinshall is very clearly opposed to the lane. Perhaps Schumer, regardless of whether he feels differently, is simply opting to sleep at night in a house of peace.

For Schumer, a Bike Lane Far Too Close for Comment [NYT]