The windy road for bike safety continued at last night’s full Community Board 7 meeting. Previously, CB7’s Transportation Committee voted in favor of a resolution that would have delivered a detailed plan from the Department of Transportation to install fully protected crosstown bike lanes throughout the Upper West Side. But on April 4, the board voted to amend that plan, instead calling for the DOT to conduct a ‘study’ to determine what the options are. Once that leads to a concrete plan, the board will vote on it.
This decision adds time to the conversation that has been ongoing for years.
“There’s been a lot of interest in crosstown bike lanes on our streets to complement the north-south lanes we already have on Columbus, Amsterdam and Central Park, as well as across Central Park,” said CB7 member Susan Schwartz. “I know a lot of you think I’m opposed to any sort of biking infrastructure, but that is actually untrue. I simply want to do it the right way, which is to first assess the feasibility of the idea, understand the impact [to] the district, and then work to develop a proposal. That’s what we did with Columbus and Amsterdam avenues. That’s what we should do here.”
Schwartz went on to note that the current resolution was unlike the one for the West 72nd Street crosstown bike lane, which pertained to “only three blocks,” whereas the proposal being discussed currently “will impact the entire district and needs to be done very thoughtfully.” In her closing remarks, Schwartz moved to amend the current resolution by one word, changing ‘proposal’ to ‘study.’
CB7 Transportation Committee co-chair Mark Diller appeared hesitant to Schwartz’s procedural motion, stating, “While I would have preferred to handle [this] at the end so that everyone had a chance to comment on it, that has been foreclosed as far as I can tell.” The board assured Diller that rules of order were followed and it was now time for a vote.
The board voted 26 in favor with 9 opposed and 3 abstained to amend the resolution from ‘proposal’ to ‘study.’ A timetable for when the Department of Transportation will conduct and deliver its study is currently up in the air with no dates set.
I support this proposal, provided that it be accompanied by a resolution designed to protect pedestrians who follow the law while crossing the street. This would require all bikes and scooters to have an identification plate readable by traffic cameras and to require the riders to have personal identification with them.
Hopefully will only apply to the major cross streets like 72nd, 79th, 86th, etc. We don’t need to eliminate even more parking on the cross streets. Bikers do not own the city despite what the more vocal and selfish among them would have you believe. No reason they can’t go just a bit out of their way.