Last night, the transportation committee of Manhattan Community Board 7 signed off on plans for more bike racks on the Upper West Side and the neighborhood’s first on-street bike corral. The two resolutions mustered more than enough support to overwhelm the objections of committee co-chair Dan Zweig, and both will advance to the full committee in December.
DOT has installed five on-street bike corrals in Manhattan, but none on the Upper West Side. The corner of Broadway and West 105th Street, in front of Henry’s Restaurant, would be the neighborhood’s first.
“It’s replacing a parking spot that we just gained from the change to muni-meter,” restaurant owner Henry Rinehart told Streetsblog. “Any time you turn a parking spot into a bike corral, you have a net gain of seven to nine potential customers.”
DOT’s Jennifer Harris-Hernandez explained that the corral design includes planters as protective barriers, though the committee’s resolution, approved 7-1 with one abstention, asked DOT to swap out the planters for more bike racks after some meeting attendees said the space was needed for more bike parking. Zweig was the lone vote against the bike corral.
The committee also considered a list of potential bike rack locations compiled by the Upper West Side Streets Renaissance Campaign, whose volunteers had fanned out across the neighborhood to identify 136 spots that are both in need of bike parking and meet DOT’s CityRack installation standards.
The UWS Streets Renaissance sent business owners a letter informing them that the sidewalk in front of their establishment had been identified as a potential bike rack location, asking if they wanted to opt out of the program in advance of last night’s meeting. After 45 businesses opted out, the remaining 91 bike rack locations were presented to the committee.
But this outreach wasn’t enough to satisfy Zweig, who wanted committee members to talk to business owners and property owners themselves. “I think we ought to investigate more clearly,” he said, according to the Columbia Spectator. Despite Zweig’s opposition, a resolution supporting the installation of bike racks and referring the matter to DOT passed, 7-2.
Zweig’s fellow co-chair, Andrew Albert, was absent from last night’s meeting.
Bike parking isn’t the only livable streets issue before CB 7’s transportation committee. DOT is scheduled to present its plans for protected bike lanes on Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues on December 11. Zweig, appointed to the community board by Council Member Inez Dickens, and Albert, appointed by Borough President Scott Stringer, both voted against the initial leg of the Columbus Avenue bike lane in 2010 but seemed increasingly isolated in their opposition to protected bike lanes at last month’s committee meeting.