After a chaotic committee meeting Monday, Manhattan Community Board 7 was able to discuss the implementation of the Columbus Avenue protected bike lane far more productively at its full meeting Tuesday night, according to people who attended. The discussion of the new street design may lead to the creation of a community board task force charged with helping Columbus Avenue merchants work out their delivery issues.
During a back-and-forth between roughly equal numbers of bike lane supporters and opponents, it seems like the discord on display Monday has started to dissipate to some extent. “Most of those who had problems with the lane stressed that they aren’t against the lane per se but with some of DOT’s implementation,” said CB 7 member Ken Coughlin, noting that most of the complaints center on difficulties with deliveries.
The delivery problems are real, said Lisa Sladkus of the Upper West Side Streets Renaissance. “We’ve identified a lack of dedicated loading zones, placard abuse that makes current dedicated loading zones unusable, and an enforcement issue,” she said. Sladkus also noted that many merchants are used to receiving deliveries from double-parked trucks and didn’t realize that the practice is illegal. Truck drivers no longer feel safe doing so, she said, as the floating parking lane pushes double-parked vehicles further into the middle of the avenue.
Streetsblog is looking into the status of the task force that CB7 may convene to tackle the issue.