On the Bus with Pat Kiernan and Jamie Stelter
Jamie Stelter: We’re gonna get on the bus on 14th Street going east from 9th Avenue to—I don’t know how far we’re gonna go. The whole loop?
Doug Gordon: We’ll see how long it takes, I guess.
Pat Kiernan: Let’s just see how much fun it is. [laughs]
Doug: The bus, or the interview? That’s the question.
Doug: This is The War on Cars. I’m Doug Gordon. As some listeners may know, our podcast has often tackled the way in which the media covers cycling, transit, cars, parking, livable cities, you name it. So when we started the podcast, there were two people at the top of my guest list: Pat Kiernan and Jamie Stelter. If you live in New York, then chances are you know Pat and Jamie as two of the hosts of Mornings on One on the TV news channel, NY1. Pat has been the morning anchor there since 1997, and Jamie is the traffic and transit anchor, and she’s been there since 2010. If you don’t live in New York and know Pat Kiernan as a real news anchor, you may know him from the Marvel movies, including The Avengers and Doctor Strange, where he performed the role he was born to play: a news anchor named Pat Kiernan.
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Spider-Man: Far From Home: We come to you now with revelations about last week’s attack in London. An anonymous source provided this video. It shows Quentin Beck, a.k.a. Mysterio moments before his death. A warning: you may find this video disturbing.]
Doug: Honestly, I’ve been a fan of Pat’s forever and a big comic book nerd, so seeing him at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home was the crossover moment I didn’t know I needed. Jamie Stelter is unique in her own right: a traffic reporter who understands that her audience is perhaps more interested in hearing about subway delays than a backup on a local highway.
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Pat Kiernan: It is 8:09, and here’s Jamie with an update on the commute.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Jamie Stelter: Yes. 2 and 5 trains still dealing with some delays, this time on the uptown side because someone needs medical help over at Prospect Avenue. Again, 2 and 5 trains dealing with delays because of someone needing medical help over by Prospect Avenue. E trains are back in business.]
Doug: When Citi Bike launched in 2013, she and her husband, CNN’s Brian Stelter, would often post photos of themselves riding around, helping in their own way to mainstream cycling in the city. When we were figuring out when and where to do this interview, Pat had a great idea. Instead of a stuffy studio, he suggested we do it while riding on the 14th Street busway in Manhattan, which was mere months old at the time. He and I had taken it before, but Jamie was just back from her maternity leave at the time, as you’ll hear. There is one thing you should know: so I talked to Pat and Jamie in early February, long before the news became dominated by the coronavirus. And basically, Aaron, Sarah and I, we’ve discussed it, we’re gonna do an episode on the virus and its effects on driving, cycling, transit and more on an upcoming episode, but for now, our hope is that this interview will give you some time to think about something else for about a half an hour. Thanks. Enjoy!
Pat Kiernan: What are your expectations for the busway, Jamie?
Jamie Stelter: Hopefully, that the bus moves along beautifully from point A to point B.
Doug: Yeah, this is good, because Pat and I have both taken it, so you’ll give us a very unbiased perspective.
Pat Kiernan: I think I took it on the first or second day, Doug.
Doug: And what did you think?
Pat Kiernan: I mean, it was really, really fast. In fact, all of the transit Twitter jumped on my video of how fast it was, zooming through the intersections that are normally backed up.
Doug: Did you ever think you’d get love for a “The bus is fast” tweet?
Pat Kiernan: Well, it was I wish I’d spent more time shooting the tweet. It was literally me holding my phone up for 29 seconds out the window of the bus and, you know, a thousand retweets later, oh, I should have put more production value into that.
Doug: No Oscar nominations for cinematography for your tweet, I guess. And how do you both normally get to work? You’re both up very early, so your commuting patterns are not the same as your average New Yorker.
Pat Kiernan: Yeah. You’re going to give us grief over this. We come to work at three o’clock in the morning, and we both take a cab.
Doug: That’s okay. It’s early. I don’t know. I don’t judge. I don’t judge individual circumstances.
Pat Kiernan: Oh, you do. I believe you do judge. I believe the entire show judges.
Jamie Stelter: [laughs]
Doug: No, I think we all—our perspective is that …
Jamie Stelter: It should be The War on Cars, Except At Three A.M. If You’re Going to Work Sober.
Doug: I think that’s a violation of the character limit on Apple podcasts, perhaps. No, I mean, our whole thing is that we try not to judge individuals, right? Like, if you live in Los Angeles or Atlanta, chances are you need to drive to work. But if you live in New York, and have a reasonable schedule and reasonable access, you probably don’t need to.
Pat Kiernan: No, we’ve made generations of mistakes as a society in prioritizing cars. I don’t need to tell you this, but we’ve prioritized cars in a way that the entire country, arguably the world, is built around private automobiles, abandoning them on the side of the street and calling that parking.
Doug: That is the talk of an activist: “Abandoning cars and calling it parking.” Where do you think that attitude comes from?
Pat Kiernan: It’s a little bit with travel to cities that don’t allow street parking as a God-given right. And it’s a little bit seeing what doesn’t work here. The people circling endlessly for a parking spot, the people who are actually the ones who least need a car, but have the most time to devote to complying with the arcane free-parking rules. I mean, it’s been said by others who study this academically, that we have tremendously underpriced a public resource: this public space that is curbside parking. We’ve underpriced it by giving it away for free, and that leads to us not making smart decisions about that space, and what the highest public use for it would be. It’s probably not so my neighbor can leave his car there for six days straight.
Jamie Stelter: But years and years of free parking leads to this sense of ownership that people have.
Pat Kiernan: And to be fair to them, a lot of ways you can’t get along without having the private car, so then it’s entrenched.
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Pat Kiernan: The Arc de Triomphe traffic circle still amazes me.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Jamie Stelter: That everyone still gets where they need to go safely?]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Pat Kiernan: I sat there for 10 minutes watching the cars go around that. One of the biggest things you noticed is that curb space is not entirely devoted to parking in Europe.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Jamie Stelter: And it makes such a difference for how beautifully bikers can move around.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Pat Kiernan: Yeah, bikers can move around. There’s just—it just allows two-way bike lanes, wide enough bike lanes.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Jamie Stelter: But when people aren’t sneaking out between parked cars to cross the street, it makes such a difference in terms of safety for everyone.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Pat Kiernan: And then the pedestrians realize that it’s a bike lane and not just more parked cars. And this was novel. That basically says “Pedestrian priority.” Which …
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Jamie Stelter: [laughs] Which is something you would never see in New York.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Pat Kiernan: Like, no, you can drive your truck on this road, but understand who’s the boss here.]
Pat Kiernan: Oh, the bus is here. The 14D.
Doug: And the nice thing is we can get on at any door.
Pat Kiernan: Let’s find a quiet corner.
Doug: Let’s go to the back.
Pat Kiernan: Now we’re in the back of the back half of the articulated M14 bus.
Jamie Stelter: I mean, already this is moving faster than any bus has ever moved on 14th Street that I’ve been in.
Doug: Yeah, what do you think so far?
Jamie Stelter: I love it. Smooth, beautiful, clear ride.
Doug: So Jamie, how do you think your role has changed in the last 10 years, because I feel like that has covered a lot of the changes in New York City as well?
Jamie Stelter: It’s changed a lot, and I think that in so many ways, even just the traffic report, it used to be you were only talking to people going on the L.I.E. every morning. How bad is the George Washington Bridge? And now subways are such a bigger part of the story. But also, just in terms of my role in general, I feel like my own opinions have shifted so much since I had kids and I pushed a stroller everywhere. And I push a big double stroller everywhere, not the double wide in case anyone is gonna hate me. [laughs]
Doug: The golf umbrella of strollers right there. Not that.
Pat Kiernan: We’ve been here to witness together this city’s transformation in terms of road travel into the Uber era. And that’s when it got terrible.
Jamie Stelter: Yeah.
Pat Kiernan: Is when those hundred thousand extra vehicles arrived on the streets, and were told you could make money by driving in circles until someone wants to ride with you. And it’s gone from getting in a taxi being a viable way to get from A to B if you were in a hurry, to just being impossible. The midtown gridlock is every day now.
Jamie Stelter: It’s every day. The traffic has gotten so much worse, but the next part of that equation is, okay, if you can’t take a cab quickly from point A to point B like you used to, then okay, take the subway. But that’s where all of, like, my new sensibility has come in, because with a stroller, I can’t just jump on any subway and go to any other subway station. I have to look and see if there’s an elevator. I have to see is the elevator working right now? I have to then, if I’m gonna take a bus, I have to make sure I have the right stroller and the least amount of gear so that I can fold everything up. Like, the city just doesn’t make it easy to get around, where I feel like they work against me in so many ways. And I am a young, able-bodied person, and instead of making it easier for me to take all these other options, it seems like they work against me.
Pat Kiernan: This is really something like the bus that we’re on right now, this is a much faster bus. It’s an alternative to the subway from a time perspective. So now you start to solve some other problems, right? If the elevators aren’t working properly on the subway stations underneath us, if the bus is a viable alternative, you don’t have to go down there with the stroller if you don’t want to.
Jamie Stelter: No, and I would love to not if I don’t have to.
Doug: And also 14th Street now, some of the stops have this level boarding—we’re passing one right now. So you can just roll the stroller onto it from the curb, and then roll right onto the bus.
Pat Kiernan: That looks like the most half-assed sort of level boarding piece of plastic.
Doug: Right. It is temporary materials for now.
Pat Kiernan: Are they going to do that properly? Or do we have to do that with, like, Lego?
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Pat Kiernan: The other thing I saw a lot of in Paris is they put in these platform doors to make the station safer.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Jamie Stelter: This is big in Asia as well.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Pat Kiernan: Yeah, the Air Train has them here. We were not riding at peak hours, so it didn’t really seem necessary. But it does make a big difference in the way the stations look, because you have that separation from the tracks when you walk through the doors and onto the train.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Jamie Stelter: It just gives a little bit of sense of things running a little more efficiently.]
Doug: So this is your international travel coming in, right? Weren’t you recently in …?
Pat Kiernan: I was in Buenos Aires. They have these beautiful, center island bus platforms, and two lanes of buses going westbound and two lanes of buses going eastbound. And I mean, I’m grateful that we’ve tried this, and we’re proving that it’s an effective addition to the repertoire, but talk to me when we build something like that.
Doug: So Jamie, I remember when Citi Bike launched, you and your husband Brian, were kind of—like, we used to call you, like, the first couple of Citi Bike, because you used to post pictures, I think, on Instagram and Twitter of you guys rolling around. That was a while ago, I think, when you first maybe started dating or got married. Are you still biking around? How do you feel about cycling in the city?
Jamie Stelter: I am absolutely terrified of it, and I hate to say that I discourage my husband from doing it also. I don’t do it any more because I just—there’s just never a time where I’m by myself going point A to point B, where I have a protected bike lane to do it in. I will not bike on a street that doesn’t have a protected bike lane. I am not a confident enough cyclist. Brian is a confident enough cyclist, but not a safe enough cyclist. And so …
Pat Kiernan: What does that mean?
Doug: What do you mean by that?
Jamie Stelter: He’s so much more daring. He’ll weave in and out of traffic. And it terrifies me. He went out this past weekend when it was beautiful, and he works in Hudson Yards. And he Citi Biked to work, and he even said when he got there, it was so dangerous and so frightening and he doesn’t know that he’ll do it again. It feels like it’s gotten worse, even as they’ve added many bike lanes in places.
Doug: Do you think that the rise of Uber, what do you think accounts for …?
Pat Kiernan: Well first of all, Jamie’s a parent, and she wasn’t when Citi Bike launched.
Jamie Stelter: [laughs] Yeah. No, everything is a little different now. And I’m like, “Please don’t leave me with these two children.”
Sarah Goodyear: This episode of The War on Cars is brought to you by Spin Scooters. Spin’s director of infrastructure initiatives is Kay Chang. Kay partners with local advocates and city governments on quick-build street design projects to push the boundaries of what’s possible on city streets.
Kay Chang: We’re partnering with advocacy groups across the country that have already been doing this work, and trying to just push the city along to do things that they should be doing anyways. The street projects can range from a one-day pop-up of putting up physical separators for a bike lane, to creating parklets that incorporate scooter parking and charging. While there’s a lot of talk from mobility companies saying, “Oh, you know, we believe that streets are for people and should be safe,” we’re really thinking about taking the overall policy things that we believe in, and then interpreting them into real world projects.
Jamie Stelter: As traffic, as car traffic has gotten worse, busier people have gotten more aggressive. I think there’s also an aggression towards cyclists. I think maybe a fraction of it is deserved, and most of it is not. But it’s just a matter of people feeling like they own their piece of the road. And it’s just not—I don’t think it’s safe to bike around the city.
Pat Kiernan: Well, car traffic is so bad that people do take—they’ll see a narrow opening and try to jump into it. Like, somehow that’s going to be the difference that gets them where they want to be on time.
Jamie Stelter: And people still aren’t conditioned to look before they open a door. They’re not—we’re not conditioned to live together in harmony. [laughs] We’re just not.
Pat Kiernan: But we need to, if we’re going to make room for bikes, it can’t be this game that, “Well, what if we make the lanes six inches narrower each? Then we can squeeze into a quote-unquote ‘protected’ bike lane.” The thing with 14th Street that makes this great is that we went all in on this.
Jamie Stelter: Yes. Yes. No, I totally agree.
Pat Kiernan: Wait a second. We’re going the wrong way, and I mean, the wrong-way cyclists are …
Jamie Stelter: No, this is beautiful. We’re already past Union Square on the east side. It’s incredible.
Doug: It’s only taken—I mean, I think, like, 10 minutes?
Pat Kiernan: 10 minutes actually on the bus?
Jamie Stelter: Yes.
Doug: Have you noticed now, I think, a lot of advocates in the social media age are interacting more with local reporters. How has that changed your job in the last 10 years?
Jamie Stelter: I like it.
Pat Kiernan: Probably more so than 10 years ago, people acknowledge that all reporters on TV aren’t pretending that they don’t have an opinion.
Jamie Stelter: Right.
Pat Kiernan: Right? I mean, in the Walter Cronkite era, you were just the unbiased reporter of the news. You didn’t actually live among us.
Jamie Stelter: No, it’s become socially acceptable, and more acceptable just in general I think, to have a viewpoint on things.
Pat Kiernan: What’s your viewpoint on not using headphones when you’re playing music on the bus?
Jamie Stelter: I have this conversation with my trainer at the gym. People that don’t use their headphones at the gym? It’s wrong. It’s terrible.
Pat Kiernan: Honestly. Honestly, what’s up with this guy?
Jamie Stelter: It’s horrible.
Doug: There’s real New Yorkers on the bus here. I love it.
Jamie Stelter: It’s terrible etiquette. No one wants to listen to your music. I would never assume that you want to listen to my music.
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Pat Kiernan: For the morning trend this morning—and it saddens me that this is a trend, but it does seem to be a trend, the bus lane. And who’s blocking the bus lane? Because the bus lines are meant for the buses!]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Jamie Stelter: We’ve been talking about this a lot because they’re trying to get buses to move along faster. But what it’s going to take is to enforce people who are blocking.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Pat Kiernan: Right. And a lot of people say that the NYPD seems reluctant to enforce the bus lanes, so they don’t spend—they don’t put enough effort into it.]
Doug: Okay, so we just passed Third Avenue after departing from Ninth Avenue. So not bad. You know, we’re approaching an election year here in New York, we’re a year off of the presidential elections. How much do you think transit and transportation will play a role in the election itself, and also in your coverage?
Jamie Stelter: I think it’s gonna be a huge factor. I think—I’m not sure how much of it is just in our bubble of the whole de Blasio takes a car to the gym, doesn’t ride the subway. I’m not sure. Do you think people on this bus know that?
Pat Kiernan: I would hope some of them do.
Jamie Stelter: I hope some of them do. I’m not sure. I think that they would know and appreciate someone like Corey Johnson if he comes out and makes pro-subway, pro …
Pat Kiernan: Yeah. Politically, though, we get everybody, even when they decide they’re in the big picture and they’re—that we need to change the way cars clog every inch of pavement in the city, then it comes down to these crazy carve-out exceptions. Like, we should have congestion pricing, but not if you’re coming in to go to a doctor’s appointment.
Jamie Stelter: [laughs] I hate that. No, it needs to be all or nothing. I hope it’s all.
Doug: Can you explain that for our listeners? Why do you think it has to be all or nothing?
Jamie Stelter: Because I think once you get into any carve-outs, then you can make a case for so many carve outs, whether it’s doctor’s appointments, whether it’s someone only coming here for this, only coming here for that, or only going between point A and point B.
Pat Kiernan: Well then you have the enforcements of the car, and then you’re back into the parking placard situation. Well, yeah, I have a parking placard. I mean, technically, I wasn’t—I wasn’t on duty right now, but I was on my way to work, so it was okay for me to park here in the bus lane for five minutes while I got a coffee because I’m headed to work. I mean, as soon as you create an opportunity to open things to interpretation, you create an opportunity for abuse. So it’s just really simple. And whatever the number is, if it’s $5 to cross the bridge and drive in Manhattan at daytime, it’s $5.
Jamie Stelter: That’s it. Everyone pays it.
Doug: So where do you think—we’re on 14th Street, where do you think the next busways should go if you had to pick?
Jamie Stelter: Ooh!
Pat Kiernan: Can you imagine?
Jamie Stelter: 57th Street?
Pat Kiernan: No, I think …
Jamie Stelter: That’s because I live right there.
Pat Kiernan: I think take one of the avenues.
Jamie Stelter: Oh, I love that.
Pat Kiernan: Can you imagine the outrage if they took Fifth Avenue and made it an uptown-downtown busway?
Jamie Stelter: Selfishly, I was going to say Eighth Avenue. Make it Eighth Avenue, I will take that bus home every single day.
Pat Kiernan: All the way up to Central Park West, straight through.
Doug: So Jamie, you’re into it because it’s near where you live. Pat, you’re into it because you can’t wait to see the outrage.
Pat Kiernan: It’s like all transit matters. It’s whatever’s in my backyard. Here’s what we forget, that the rest of the world is a lab for what works in big cities and what doesn’t. And sometimes when we invent something in New York, it’s actually highly successful elsewhere, and we’re just so focused on our own world that we are surprised that it works.
Jamie Stelter: Yeah. We’re just treading water, trying to catch up to everyone else. We’re not going above and beyond, and looking at what is the future of transportation in a big city.
Pat Kiernan: Yeah.
Doug: So on that note, what do you think is the future of transportation? If you were doing a two-camera opinion piece, what would you say to your viewers?
Jamie Stelter: What I—what I think will happen is different than what I hope will happen. I would love to live in this city where the subways are super reliable, I would love to live in this city where getting on and off a train at Penn Station is orderly and efficient, and not frightening, or at the last possible second before the train. I would love to live in this city where no matter where we live, we could commute easily to and from work, not worry about being late or paying four times the amount to take an Uber because we can’t bear to deal with a subway delay. I’m not sure if we have the right people and funding to make all of that happen, but that’s sort of like the dream SIMCity version of the future.
Pat Kiernan: We have to come up with a plan that more efficiently allocates this scarce public resource of roadways, and allocates it between bicycle lanes and bus lanes. And maybe we could reclaim some of it for a place to sit and enjoy the sunlight. So we as a city, have to figure out better ways to use that space to move the maximum number of people around, or come up with things that require that people don’t travel as far every day for what they’re doing. The absurdity of the people who are doing two-hour commutes. Why are we doing that? And who is—it’s one thing when they’re on the train, but two-hour driving commutes, then you’re complaining that the Lincoln Tunnel is backed up? I mean, [NYC DOT Commissioner] Polly Trottenberg’s come on our morning show and repeatedly said, “If you’re stuck in traffic, you are the traffic.”
Jamie Stelter: You are the traffic. Polly, write that on my tombstone.
Doug: You guys sound more like radicals every day. I’m just sitting here listening. I’m the radical bike activist. You guys are the reporters.
Jamie Stelter: No, but you and your people—for lack of a better word—have done, I think, a really good job of showing us some of the abuse, some of the outrage. Some of how it can be better in a way that I sometimes wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I didn’t know until I saw the Stroller for Safe Streets rally this weekend that in Norway, not a single child died in a traffic crash last year. Not one.
Doug: We talked a little bit about, Jamie, your cycling opinions. Pat, what about yours? You bike a lot. You’ve done a lot of sport cycling, too, right?
Pat Kiernan: Yeah. I have a road bike and, you know, my wife and I dragged the kids to a cycling hotel in Italy two summers ago to do more kilometers of travel than either of them had ever hoped to. [laughs] And I am a confident cyclist.
Jamie Stelter: Yeah. And a safe one.
Pat Kiernan: Yeah. Yeah, I think it is a great part of the transportation mix in the city. I’m not the person who is going to embrace the idea of a bicycle commute every day, partly because of the hours I work, partly because of what I’m wearing to work, but I am the person who keeps the Citi Bike membership, and when you—after work, if I need to get up to Penn Station, what better way to do it than to walk out to Ninth Avenue, grab a Citi Bike, pedal over to Eighth, go up the bike lane to Penn Station. You can be there in 12 minutes, zooming by cars that are stuck in the 30s. That for me is the ideal part of bicycling in the city. Not a full on commute, but it’s part of the mix because it’s a little faster than walking and a lot cheaper than flagging a cab.
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Pat Kiernan: Will there ever be a moment when pedestrians, cyclists and drivers agree on what should be done with bike lanes?]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Jamie Stelter: I don’t think so. Never ever ever. And after they spend that money, will the problem be solved? Probably not.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Pat Kiernan: No. Because somebody will be parked in the bike lane.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Jamie Stelter: Well, you’ll still have people walking in the bike lane and parking in the bike lane. And it’s just no one can get it right.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Pat Kiernan: The Times Square, the 8th Avenue, 7th Avenue bike lanes, continually people are walking, so the bikes can’t go, and the bikes get mad.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Jamie Stelter: And people walk right into the road there.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Pat Kiernan: Where they don’t know the bikes are coming.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Jamie Stelter: Yeah.]
[ARCHIVE CLIP, Pat Kiernan: No win there.]
Doug: So where are we now?
Pat Kiernan: We are all the way at the East River.
Doug: Yeah, sorry guys. This is going to LaGuardia. We’ll be back in time for your on-air tomorrow morning. Don’t worry. Yeah, you’re going from never having been on the bus to doing the whole thing.
Pat Kiernan: Well, she’s been on a bus before.
Doug: No, no. This bus. This bus. This bus. Yes, to be clear, this bus.
Jamie Stelter: Nobody checked our tickets.
Pat Kiernan: I think I’ve only been spot-checked—in all my Select Bus trips, I’ve been spot-checked twice.
Doug: I’ve never been checked.
Pat Kiernan: Really?
Doug: Not once. Not once.
Pat Kiernan: What’s your mix of transit versus bike versus private vehicle?
Doug: Yeah, it’s funny because, you know, I am definitely the bike guy on Twitter and in my advocacy a lot, but I would say it’s, like, 75 percent of the time—well, in addition to walking—I’m on the train more than anything, because I’m going out with friends, or that’s how my wife and I are getting to go places, or I’m taking the kids somewhere. So I’d say cycling is actually a real minority of my trips. I’m on the bus a lot. I take the bus up and down 5th Avenue in Park Slope a lot. I’ve become a real bus fan in the last couple of years. I think as the advocacy surrounding the bus has changed, I’ve noticed it more, and I’ve become more of a secret supporter—maybe not so secret—of the bus, because I think it is—to me, this is a great example of—it’s the key to unlocking massive transportation changes. More than biking. I think that’s why the 14th Street busway was so important, because we’ve talked about it on the podcast that it’s a bus, and it moves fast from one side of the city to the other. It’s not revolutionary in any sort of international way, but yet the reaction to it made it seem like it was.
Pat Kiernan: [laughs]
Doug: And that was really fun to watch, because I think a lot of what we’re doing, a lot of my activism is often pointing out, “Here’s this thing that’s broken. You need to fix it.” And instead, it was, “Here’s this thing that you fixed. And it works.” And that was really kind of a fun new angle for a lot of us.
Jamie Stelter: [laughs]
Pat Kiernan: But there’s still the drivers who say you’ve ruined 14th Street. Just last week, there’s the businesses saying that because there aren’t as many people driving by in their cars and/or because people aren’t waiting for the buses for as long, our retail traffic isn’t as busy. Look, I feel for small business in New York City right now—retail business in particular—but your business can’t be built on having terribly long waiting times for buses.
Jamie Stelter: Based on how bad traffic is.
Doug: Right. Like, a pizza joint is probably not relying on a whole lot of drive-up traffic.
Pat Kiernan: I’m gonna cut at First Avenue and 14th and get on the L.
Doug: I’m gonna hop out at Union Square, get on the Q.
Jamie Stelter: Wait, everybody’s leaving me.
Pat Kiernan: Oh my God, you’ll be abandoned on the 14D.
Doug: The irony. Your first time on the new bus and we’re gonna leave you alone.
Jamie Stelter: All the way back to Chelsea. I didn’t know what was going on here.
Doug: Where’s the guy with his music when you need him?
Jamie Stelter: I know!
Pat Kiernan: So I’ll make a couple of observations of our time on the bus. We must have seen 200 passengers come and go. I mean, this bus has not been standing room, but it’s been almost all seats occupied at various stages. And we’re starting to fill up again here. Which is proof that if you have something that works, people will find their way to it.
Doug: Thank you both for joining us on The War on Cars on the M14. Final thoughts?
Pat Kiernan: I think this was good. This is a good venue for the interview.
Jamie Stelter: I think this was perfect.
Pat Kiernan: Better than a conference room somewhere.
Doug: Oh, absolutely. A studio? This is great.
Jamie Stelter: Thank you for having us.
Doug: My pleasure.
Doug: That’s it for this episode of The War on Cars. A big thanks to Pat Kiernan and Jamie Stelter for taking time out of their busy schedules to ride the bus with me. You can catch them both on Mornings on One on Spectrum News, NY1. And speaking of crosstown buses, you should also check out Pat’s podcast, Crosstown with Pat Kiernan. You can support The War on Cars by going to Thewaroncars.org and clicking on “Support“. Make a Patreon contribution, and we will send you stickers, t-shirts and more. Please rate and review us by going to Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcast. It helps people find us.
Doug: Thanks to our top sponsors: Charley Gee of Human Powered Law in Portland, Oregon, the law office of Vaccaro & White in New York City, and Huck and Elizabeth Finney. Also big thanks to Spin Scooters for its support.
Doug: This episode was produced and edited by me, and the intro and outro were recorded by Ross Brunetti at Brooklyn Podcasting Studio. Our theme music is by Nathaniel Goodyear. Our logo is by Dani Finkel of Crucial D Designs. I’m Doug Gordon, and on behalf of Aaron Naparstek and Sarah Goodyear, this is The War on Cars.