About 70 people showed up for a screening of the documentary film Contested Streets and a follow-up conversation on transportation issues last night. Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Assembly member Deborah Glick were not among them, both claiming last minute conflicts. The event was hosted by Manhattan Community Board 2.
State Senator Thomas Duane (right), Deputy Borough President of Manhattan Rose Pierre-Louis, and 12 representatives of CB2 joined Transportation Alternatives executive director Paul Steely White and Department of Transportation Senior Policy Advisor Jon Orcutt at NYU’s Casa Italiana.
Given her opposition to congestion pricing despite her district’s low rates of car ownership and often crushing traffic congestion, we were hoping to hear what Deborah Glick had to say on transportation and livable streets issues. Instead, we got a bit of insight into how Senator Duane views DOT’s innovative new Ninth Avenue bike lane project.
During his opening remarks Duane took "just the tiniest swipe at DOT" for beginning construction on the city’s first-ever, on-street, physically-separated bike lane without consulting his office. Even though the project was vetted and approved unanimously by Community Board 4’s transportation committee and requires no state funds or approval, the Senator complained that he woke up one morning earlier this month to find the bike lane built and "holding up traffic."
"I know it was an attempt to fix things," he said, "but it wasn’t good for it to come as a surprise." Duane hopes that the City will be more conscientious about taking input from "all sides" when it comes to a congestion pricing bill.