CB 7 Committee Passes Reso Favoring Protected UWS Bike Lanes

At a lengthy meeting Wednesday night, the transportation committee of Community Board 7 passed a resolution in support of the "concept" of protected bike lanes on Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues from 59th to 110th Streets. The 6-2 committee vote came after testimony from area residents, business people, and community board members from Hell’s Kitchen and midtown, who noted the safety benefits and other improvements separated lanes have brought to their districts.

In other business, the committee tabled a vote on a request that posts from old parking meters, rendered defunct by muni-meters, be converted to bike racks. During a reportedly heated discussion, at least one committee member expressed fears that such action would further delay the installation of new CityRacks, and questioned the aesthetic appeal of the converted meter poles.

The full board is set to take up the protected bike lane resolution on October 6.

  • Does anyone have a report of the discussion at the CB 8 meeting on “bad biker issues” last night?

  • Should be coming tomorrow, BO.

  • JK

    Great! We need these separated lanes soon. Maybe someone at the meeting could provide more details. For instance did any elected officials speak in favor or offer comments?

  • Ken

    Representatives of Gale Brewer and Tom Duane spoke in support. There were many eloquent and passionate speakers, one after another. Especially crucial to securing committee votes were representatives of CB4 and CB5 who spoke about the impact of protected lanes and/or car-free spaces in their districts. Only two attendees (other than board members) spoke against protected lanes, and one of them, a public member of the committee, ended up voting in favor of the reso. The meeting was spirited and one attendee of a certain age likened it to those he remembers from the 60s.

    As its first order of business that evening, the committee rejected a request by a building near the corner of W. 96th and CPW for one no-parking space in front so that visitors to several doctors’ offices in the building, many of whom are elderly and disabled, could be dropped off without double parking and interfering with traffic that includes the M96 bus. The vote was something like 10-1 to reject and not reduce the supply of on-street parking on the Upper West Side by one space.

  • On your question about the CB8 Trans Comm bike forum last night, I attended. I believe the politicians, DOT rep, and police inspector were invited by CB 8 and were told they would be hearing complaints from the community about “bad bikers.” So the speakers tailored their comments in accord and were surprised that most of the complaints from the public in attendance were from bikers about the absence of bike lanes etc. on the Eastside. One member of public and, of course, the CB8 Tran Comm board members themselves, were the only people present complaining about “bad bikers” and argued that bad bikers should not be rewarded with bike lanes. The Trans Comm chairman, however, had little choice but to find some middle ground btw his committees members and the public at the forum and stated that CB8 was “not opposed” to bike lanes. The legislation that was mentioned by Lapin was a bill to penalize the business establishments, rather than the delivery and messenger bikers, for traffic violations. The Trans Comm is meeting next week to discuss same. I intend to appear to request that they support 1st and 2d Ave bike lanes etc. We will see how they respond.

  • Glenn

    I would increase my biking by 1000% if we had protected lanes on Amsterdam and Columbus.

  • Thanks for the report, Brad. I will try to make that meeting too. What is the date/time?

  • glenn

    Glad the Eastside biking community is getting out to CB8 meetings. Literally just 5-10 thoughtful but vocal advocates can change the tone of a meeting.

    BTW – there are some very vocal anti-bike folks on the board, but they are actually a minority. I think most folks on the general board are fairly open minded on the issue and can be swayed by data, facts and good arguements on safety grounds

  • JK

    Thanks Ken, and thanks for your work on CB7. It’s great having you there. Re: that parking space conversion to load/unload. You wrote that CB 7 would “not reduce the supply of on-street parking on the Upper West Side by one space.” Another way of looking at it is they are choosing the least efficient use of the curb. They are reserving that scarce curb space for long term/all day parking for one vehicle/person, instead of use for unload/load for say 10-20 vehicles and 10-20 times as many people. So, they’ve got the curbside parking equation inverted. Leaving that space as all day parking, is bad for everyone: motorists, cyclists, bus riders and the neighborhood.

  • J

    The Upper West Side Streets Renaissance did a great job of geeting people out to the CB7 meeting. There were probably about 30 por-bike lane people in the room, which totally set the tone. People form all age groups, including two grade-school students and several older non-bikers, spoke in favor of the lanes. Objections to the lanes, removal of parking, were dismissed one by one.

    The transportation committee, judging by their statements, largely consisted of people who drove quite often, with a few notable exceptions. The most moving speeches were by non-bikers, who argued that protected bike lanes benefited pedestrians almost equally to bikers, by drastically reducing crossing distances, virtually eliminating sidewalk biking, and creating new planted space. The lanes were also described as benefiting motorists by reducing collisions. The attitude of committee member visibly changed over the course of the meeting from “why doesn’t this work” to “how do we get this to work”. The fact that so many people gave up so much of their time and spoke so passionately seemed to be enough to convince most board members. We will need the same kind of turnout at the full board meeting to keep the ball rolling.

  • Bicyclists interested in seeing protected lanes installed on the Upper West Side should attend this evening’s Community Board 7 meeting, where the Community Board will consider the resolution described in the post.

    Here’s the info for the meeting:

    6:30 p.m.
    Red Oak Apartments
    135 West 106th Street (Columbus – Amsterdam Avenues)

  • The Full CB7 tonight approved a resolution calling for the Dept of Transportation to present a plan for protected (class 1) bike lanes on Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues from 59th St – 110th St. There was a lot of discussion – mostly pro – bike lanes and some myths were dispelled. One of the major complaints people had was about bikers not following the rules of the road – so folks – be courteous and professional when you ride – no sidewalks – no wrong way riding. It makes a big difference as to how much support the community will give to bike lanes.

    The vote was overwhelmingly in favor – so this is a BIG victory! Thanks to all who turned out.

  • Iride

    Thanks Steve. Given those concerns about bad bicyclists, did they also pass a resolution calling for streets to be deconstructed because of all the motorists who drive like complete maniacs?

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