In Close Vote, CB 7 Supports Safe Cycling for Upper West Side

CB7_Celebration.JPGCheers erupted from the audience after the vote supporting protected bike lanes. Photo: Noah Kazis

In a nailbiter, Manhattan Community Board 7 voted last night to support protected bike lanes on Columbus Avenue. The result was in doubt until the final minutes, despite a truly overwhelming demonstration of community support for safer cycling on the Upper West Side.
The final tally was 23 to 19, with one abstention.

"We were really surprised by how close the vote was," said Tila Duhaime of the Upper West Side Streets Renaissance. "It was an uncomfortable margin." Even so, said Duhaime, what matters is that Upper West Side pedestrians and cyclists will see a safer Columbus Avenue, and the results will speak for themselves. "We will be vindicated," she said. In order to make sure those expectations become reality, said Duhaime, her organization will be working with local businesses and cyclists to make sure protected lanes on Columbus are implemented successfully and set a precedent for expanding protected lanes up Columbus and over on Amsterdam Avenue.

We’ll have a more in-depth report on last night’s meeting later today, but for now, it’s worth celebrating a very hard-fought victory.

  • Mo
  • aliostuni

    This is fantastic news. The dream of having contiguous safe routes uptown and downtown in Manhattan is slowing becoming a reality. Once this connects to the 9th Ave. lane and the badly needed Amsterdam/10th Ave. lane is put in place, transportation cycling will be diverted from the waterfront — easing the traffic there, leaving sufficient space for recreational users.

  • Moser

    Aliostuni, hard to understand your POV when you say “slowly.” For a city that had no protected bike lanes are recently as Labor Day 2007, a city that installed no new bike lanes at all from the early 80s to 1994 and a city that suffered 12 years of totally disinterested DOT leaderships up to 2007 this stuff is happening at top speed.

  • vnm

    Reflecting on aliostuni’s point and also on the history of Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, it is interesting that the biggest change to these avenues, outside of their getting paved, greatly encouraged car traffic, as designed. There were no community boards to stand in the way of Mayor LaGuardia’s Traffic Committee and its desire to transform Manhattan’s two-way avenues into one-way speedways.

    The first such change happened at 8 a.m. on Saturday, November 6, 1948, when Ninth/Columbus and Tenth/Amsterdam were made one-way from 14th Street to Broadway for “a sixty-day trial.” As the Times noted before the trial even began: “Police traffic experts, already forecasting its success, see it not only as a permanent addition to the regulations, but say it probably will be extended to other north-south thoroughfares within a short time.”

    Three years and one month later, the City finished the Amsterdam/Columbus job north of Broadway. This second traffic change, radically redrawing some 75 blocks of Manhattan avenues, merited a three-paragraph brief in the New York Times.

  • great news.

  • CONGRATS! Very stoked. I ride ALL over these 5 boros of ours and will def put any lane to use…
    As I push around the city, it’s impossible not to notice the lack of a bike lane on the east side heading north-south. WHAT’S THE DEAL?

    WHO CAN I CALL/ EMAIL?

    Thanks.

  • David Vassar

    Wow! Columbus Ave now offers a miraculous new corridor of relatively safe and healthy cycling–perfect for my downtown/uptown commute to my job in Lincoln Center environs…and more importantly, a thrilling new sense of freedom in a part of the city that’s been chronically blighted with cars, trucks, and SUVs…

    Let’s give the remainder of the Avenue the same kind of upgrade–then confer the same benefit to the tailpipe-beleaguered cyclists and pedestrians on Amsterdam Avenue, which in its current motorist-monopolized state may as well be the lunar surface as far as this community’s health and well-being is concerned.

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