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Bicycle Safety

CB2 Signs Off On Prince-Bleecker Bike Lanes

11:48 AM EDT on April 20, 2007

prince.jpg

After over an hour of public comment, and another hour of deliberation,
Community Board 2 last night voted to recommend the DOT proceed with bike lanes
parallel to Houston Street, to be located primarily on Prince and Bleecker.

The resolution crafted last week by CB2's Traffic & Transportation Committee
-- defining the new bike lanes as "additional interim" routes while affirming
support for a Class I lane on Houston itself -- was altered slightly. After
members of the public expressed reservations about the viability of Prince
Street as bicycle corridor, CB2 is now encouraging DOT to "seriously consider"
alternatives.

Pointing to large numbers of pedestrians, vendors and delivery trucks, some
speakers predicted that a Prince Street re-striped for bikes would be a
"failure," a "disaster," a "no-auto zone" and a "suicide alley." Said one, who
described herself as a cyclist: "We should all ride our bikes, but not on
Prince Street."

For every citizen who opposed the Prince-Bleecker plan, however, almost two
spoke in favor.
"It's past time that we start taking our city back from the cars," said
Villager Laura Tanenbaum. Charle Cafiero, a former CB2 board member and a
veteran in the fight for Houston, said, "The DOT alternate plan is the best we
have been able to get in 20 years."


Still, at one point the board went so far as to vote on casting aside the
Prince-Bleecker proposal in favor of a substitute motion to "reiterate" CB2's
position that an "acceptable bike lane" be built on Houston. Though several
board members were vocal in their opposition to bike lanes on Prince, and in
some cases Bleecker, the substitute motion failed by a wide margin.

Instead, Traffic & Transportation Chair Brad Hoylman accepted a "friendly"
amendment that DOT explore alternatives to Prince (though it was noted that the
agency has already done so). Some board members endorsed Broome Street as an
option for westbound cyclists.

Interspersed among last night's citizen commenters were appearances by
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer -- who, speaking in support of bike
lanes "throughout Manhattan," said New York's "out of control traffic crisis"
required "bold new initiatives" -- and Council Member Alan Gerson,
who also favored the lanes.

CB2 ultimately approved the amended resolution with only a handful of members
opposed. In a late-night e-mail following the meeting, Ian Dutton, board member
and head of CB2's Ad-hoc Committee for Bike Lanes on Houston, wrote: "From
here, I hope to meet with DOT to carry the concerns that I share with the
community and seek design solutions that mitigate them to the extent that's
feasible. Thus far, DOT has expressed their willingness to consider new ideas
to make this bike lane a success, and I look forward to working towards that
with them."

In other business, CB2 passed a resolution in support of the Broadway bus bulbs
and the Lower Manhattan Transit Priority Plan.

Photo: Stu_Jo/Flickr

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