Ignoring the 66 percent approval rating for bike lanes in the latest New York Times poll, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn dropped this whopper in an interview with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer at a tourism industry event last Friday:
“Bike lanes are clearly controversial,” Quinn said. “And one of the problems with bike lanes — and I’m generally a supporter of bike lanes — but one of the problems with bike lanes has been not the concept of them, which I support, but the way the Department of Transportation has implemented them without consultation with communities and community boards.”
Already Quinn is revising history the same way Bill Thompson did during the 2009 mayoral race, erasing the extensive public process NYC DOT has conducted for its street safety projects. Several miles of safer streets have been installed in Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, the West Village, and SoHo, so if anyone in the City Council knows that these projects go through the local community boards, it should be Quinn.
Here’s Streetsblog’s previous coverage of community board support for protected bike lanes in or near her district:
- Two community boards voted for the Eighth Avenue protected bike lane from Bank Street to 23rd Street
- Manhattan CB 4 voted for the Eighth Avenue bike lane extension to 34th Street
- Manhattan CB 4 also voted for the Ninth and Eighth Avenue extension to 59th Street
- Manhattan CB 2 voted for the Grand Street protected bike lane
The same public process preceded other major street redesigns all over the city, including the First and Second Avenue bike and bus improvements (no fewer than three Manhattan community boards voted on that one), the Columbus Avenue bike lane, and the Prospect Park West bike lane.
When pressed, Quinn admitted that the new bike lanes in her district are actually quite popular with the local community board. “The problem,” she concluded, is that no one contacted her office before the Ninth Avenue bike lane was installed in 2007. Remember, this was the first protected on-street bike lane in all of NYC, and after getting it in the ground, the city saw traffic injuries plummet 56 percent along that stretch of Ninth Avenue [PDF].
New York could really use mayoral contenders who state the facts about the safety effect of bike lanes, instead of making things up about public process.