One Community That’s Ready to Work With DOT on Bikes

It is unusual for the New York Times to print a letter to the editor in response to another reader’s letter, but yesterday the Times did just that. And so continues the super-slow motion debate on the Department of Transportation’s bicycling policies. We’re looking forward to next week’s installment…

To the Editor:

In a Sept. 3 letter ("New York Is Bike-Friendly"), Ryan Russo, the Department of Transportation’s director for street management and safety, states that he and his colleagues "have to work hard to win local support for the bike lanes, as there is often significant community board and elected official opposition to these plans."

We have been working for two years with Queens Community Board 9 to establish a bike path on the long-abandoned city-owned former Long Island Rail Road Rockaway Beach Branch right of way. Returning it to public use as a greenway would seem to be a no-brainer, especially considering it was on the city’s 1997 greenway master plan.

The city, however, has been less than helpful. Last year the Department of City Planning obtained funding for a feasibility study for this proposal, but could not go ahead because they were unable to secure a required implementation partner, even though they approached the obvious choices: the Parks Department and Department of Transportation. We ourselves were rebuffed in a meeting with officials from the Parks Department, who suggested that we assume full responsibility for conducting a study and amassing the funds for implementation.

Mr. Russo has our support. Do we have his?

Jordan Sandke
Richmond Hill, Queens
The writer is chairman, Rockaway Beach Branch Greenway Committee

  • That response Jordan’s group received from the Parks Dept. (and by extension, the DOT) does not seem to be unusual from what I have heard of other groups. If you raise a ton of money to plan it yourself, line up all the political support and funding that might be conceivable, then they might consider it. Otherwise, it’s not in the budget and won’t be unless they have a specific top-down order from Mike or Dan.

    It’s do-it-yourself privatization of land use planning.

  • VInny

    They better fix the fence the whole lenth of the bike bath. We do not need people cutting through our backyards.

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