Community Board 7 met over Zoom on Monday, November 21 to discuss a recent resolution regarding crosstown bike lanes. But unclear writing and an unshared understanding may have waylaid a vital conversation, with Community Board members from both sides of Central Park sparring over one of the city’s more contentious issues: bicyclists.
Even the Community Board Members in attendance seemed to disagree about the subject of their discussion, which consumed about an hour and forty-five minutes of the three hour meeting. The agenda item was to vote on a resolution publicly disagreeing with a call to action from Community Board 8, representing the Upper East Side. CB8’s resolution, passed in September, calls on the City to create fully protected bike lanes “approximately every 10 blocks between 60th and 110th Streets,” as well as a two-way bike lane circling the entirety of Central Park.
Seems simple enough. But, per CB7’s Transportation Committee, jointly with the Parks and Environment Committee, the resolution may imply or accidentally indicate that CB8 is pushing for bike paths that cut through Central Park itself. The author of CB8’s resolution, Paul Krickler, was in attendance, and early on clarified that this was not the intention of the resolution, which has already been shared with Mayor Eric Adams. Their resolution is only advocating for lanes around and on either side of the Park.
So what was CB7 voting on? Some Board Members were there to advocate for a resolution of their own, disagreeing with CB8’s because of this lack of clarity. Others were there to fight back against the prospect of building paths through the park. Though this was never part of the initial proposal to begin with, David Saltonstall of the Central Park Conservancy spoke passionately against it. Yet other Community Board members wanted to hone in on the tone of CB7’s proposed resolution, which they found overly harsh and unproductive. These and other disagreements continued to spark throughout the session, with Community Board members being muted while they spoke, calling one another out for discriminatory practices against cyclists, and with one person in attendance commenting, “the tension in the room is giving me pause.”
But perhaps it was the Board member who said “It just seems that what we’re doing here is an empty exercise” who most accurately assessed the situation. Indeed, by the end of the evening the initial authors of CB7’s proposal – again addressing the lack of clarity in a proposal passed by CB8 – agreed to redraft their own language, due to lack of clarity. Presumably, this amended resolution will be voted on in the coming months.