Levine to CB 7: Support the Amsterdam Avenue Protected Bike Lane

Next Tuesday, Community Board 7 is slated to vote on the Amsterdam Avenue protected bike lane, and Council Member Mark Levine wants to be crystal clear: The street needs a redesign that includes a protected bike lane.

In a letter sent to CB 7 members today, Levine makes the case that by shortening crossing distances, reducing speeding, and adding a protected bike lane, DOT’s plan will bring Amsterdam Avenue “to a neighborhood scale,” making it safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and motor vehicle occupants.

Council Member Mark Levine. Photo: William Alatriste
Council Member Mark Levine. Photo: William Alatriste

“The current design fails to meet the needs of the community and all users of this critical corridor, and poses a persistent threat to the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike,” Levine writes.

Levine represents the northern part of the project area, which goes from 72nd Street to 110th Street. Council Member Helen Rosenthal, who represents the rest of the project area, is also on the record supporting a protected bike lane for Amsterdam.

Earlier this month, the CB 7 transportation committee failed to endorse a resolution supporting DOT’s proposal, splitting 4-4. The two committee chairs, Dan Zweig and Andrew Albert, have consistently opposed street redesign efforts in the neighborhood since the 1990s.

The protected bike lane plan enjoys wide support among Upper West Side residents and business owners. Transportation Alternatives’ People First on Amsterdam Avenue campaign has collected 3,500 signatures and endorsement letters from more than 200 business along the corridor.

  • Levine should just request that DOT start work on this regardless of whether CB7 votes, doesn’t vote, stands on its head, all take a field trip to that guy’s house in Vermont, or whatever. This farce has gone all for far too long. Enough.

  • Mark Walker

    I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it until something changes for the better: As a pedestrian who crosses Amsterdam every day to run my errands, I am terrified of the existing design. It is nothing more than a 1950s speedway that puts everyone but drivers at a disadvantage — often a deadly disadvantage — and that includes pedestrians as well as cyclists. CB7 needs to listen to the council members and the community. We have been thwarted long enough. Cyclists need a protected bike lane and pedestrians need a safer street — a street, not a highway. And we stand together on this.

  • J

    The current design is not safe for drivers and car occupants either. Extra lanes encourage speeding and dangerous passing, leading to more injuries and deaths for vehicle occupants as well. Fortunately, we have leaders like Levine pushing for a better vision. Kudos to him!

  • KeNYC2030

    The guy who liked to drive to Vermont via the Riverside Drive Expressway is on CB9, but maybe he’d host both boards.

  • walks bikes drives

    One of the scary things is, Andrew Albert is apparently the rider representitive on the MTA board. So Mr. Lets Focus on What’s Good for Cars doesn’t just influence street safety issues, but he also influences public transportation as well.

  • John

    Interesting. In Los Angeles a councilmember can approve or veto bike lanes and road diets with absolutely no community input or in the face of opposition (or more realistically, a split public with roughly 50% in favor and 50% opposed to a project). Councilmembers typically defer to the neighborhood councils if they are indifferent on the issue but if they want to see a project move forward they take good control of framing the issue in media and in meetings so that the majority of the public shares the perspective of the councilmember.

  • Andrew

    Fortunately, he’s a nonvoting member of the MTA Board. Still disturbing, but not quite as bad as it could be.

  • As Andrew noted, Albert’s a non-voting member, but he still gets his voice heard as his constant unfounded fearmongering over subway cars with open gangways indicates. It’s ridiculous all around. Time for new blood.

  • JK

    Here’s NY Times reporting on CB 7 Transpo Comm kerfuffle from 1998. Too bad Andrew Albert didnt’ stay resigned. (h/t a pal o mine.)
    http://www.nytimes.com/1998/11/15/nyregion/neighborhood-report-upper-west-side-call-it-a-quarrel-or-call-it-gridlock.html

  • bryduke

    I don’t understand the safety concern. I also cross Amsterdam often and I just wait for the light to change. It works wonders – never had a problem or felt unsafe. I know most New Yorkers just run across the street whenever but, you know, obeying traffic rules ALSO helps with safety and is a lot cheaper and less disruptive.

  • J
  • Maggie

    Two separate sidewalk crashes on Amsterdam since DOT presented its initial plan last November. Drunk driver flipped a car at high speed after crashing into a row of parked cars outside Peacefood, down the block from the precinct, since DOT presented its adjusted plan in January.

    I don’t understand the safety concern. Ok. That’s the safety concern.

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Levine to DOT: The Time Is Now for Amsterdam Avenue Protected Bike Lane

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City Council Member Mark Levine sent a letter today urging Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to put a protected bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue. Levine’s district encompasses much of the Upper West Side north of W. 95th Street. Calling on DOT to act, he pointed to unsafe conditions on Amsterdam, attendant wrong-way cycling on the Columbus Avenue southbound protected […]