Borough President Scott Stringer considers community boards “the first line of defense for Manhattan neighborhoods.” But one name among his final round of appointments, announced yesterday, makes you wonder if Stringer believes Manhattan neighborhoods should be protected from reckless drivers.
Stringer re-upped CB 7’s Daniel Zweig, who along with transportation committee co-chair Andrew Albert opposed the expansion of protected bike lanes on the Upper West Side. Though the existing protected lane on Columbus Avenue has made conditions safer for all street users — pedestrian injuries are down 41 precent — Zweig has said he does not believe DOT’s numbers.
After months of delays by its transportation committee, CB 7 endorsed extending bike and pedestrian infrastructure on Columbus by a wide margin.
Zweig’s reappointment was recommended by City Council Member Inez Dickens. Dickens remained silent last year as a DOT proposal to tame traffic on deadly Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard was watered down at the behest of CB 10.
Albert will be eligible for reappointment next year, after Stringer leaves office, as will Erik Mayor and Frank Brija, two Stringer appointees to CB 11. Brija and Mayor, owners of Patsy’s Pizza and Milk Burger, respectively, waged a misinformation campaign against proposed safety measures for First and Second Avenues in East Harlem, leading the board to temporarily rescind its support for the project.
Among other claims, Brija and Mayor said that safer space for cycling and shorter pedestrian crossings would increase asthma rates.
When 6-year-old Amar Diarrassouba was crushed by a truck driver at an intersection that was slated for improvements, Mayor blamed the victim’s 9-year-old brother. During the ensuing backlash on Twitter, Mayor wrote: “[E]xplain how a narrow road is healthier? Is it like breathing through a straw?”
While some of Stringer’s community board picks are obstacles to safer streets, at least he’s open about who’s behind the appointments, which is more than can be said for other borough presidents.