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CB12 Committee Hot for Parking, Cautious on Livable Streets

To increase the number of spots, angled parking may be coming to both sides of Dyckman Street.

The Traffic and Transportation Committee of Community Board 12 last night welcomed new bike racks in Upper Manhattan, but took a pass on endorsing other livable streets initiatives, including a separated bike path on Dyckman/200th Street that would link the east- and west-side greenways. The committee also passed a resolution calling for more parking on Dyckman and, citing concerns over loss of parking, declined to vote on a proposal for a new Greenmarket in Washington Heights.

The meeting marked the second time the "Dyckman Greenway Connector" proposal has come before the CB12 Transportation Committee, but several members were appointed after the first presentation earlier this year and were unfamiliar with it. Spearheaded by the Inwood and Washington Heights Livable Streets group, the plan calls for a separated bike path along Dyckman, in Inwood, linking the Hudson River
and Harlem River Greenways. One of the proposal architects, Maggie Clarke, told the committee that Dyckman -- which lies in close proximity to several parks and boating facilities -- could become a hub for outdoor activity seekers, noting that the East Coast Greenway route runs through Inwood as well.

Though some members seemed taken aback by the scope of the proposal, they encouraged Clarke and fellow LS group member Daniel O'Neil to drum up support from Dyckman businesses (the group has already composed an informational brochure and is working on a bilingual pro-connector petition). It was also pointed out (full disclosure: by yours truly) that DOT normally takes the lead in such projects, and that the proposal may benefit from agency assistance. Committee Chair Mark Levine asked Josh Orzeck, representing DOT at the meeting, if the city might host a design charette. Orzeck said he is not familiar with the intricacies of separated bike paths, but that he would see what resources were available.

The following recommendations were also issued by Inwood and Washington Heights Livable Streets:

    • improved traffic enforcement on Dyckman Street;
    • a new crosswalk at the 190th Street subway station on Bennett Avenue;
    • a Greenstreets triangle at Isham and 211th Streets; and
    • an Environmental Impact Statement for proposed new restaurants at the Dyckman Marina.

At a public hearing earlier yesterday, it was revealed that new development plans for the now-shuttered Dyckman Marina, on the Hudson at the street's west end, could bring seating for 300 diners. But there has been no study on the resulting traffic impact on Dyckman or to Inwood in general. Still, the committee approved a resolution calling for new angled parking to relieve expected "parking pressure" near the marina. The original reso included a request that DOT remove existing bike lanes and tear up Dyckman's wide sidewalks to make room for parking, but that language was removed.

If Dyckman's sidewalks were narrowed, where would the auto shops store customer cars?

The committee decided not to vote on a resolution supporting a new Greenmarket on W. 185th Street in Washington Heights. Nearly 1,000 neighborhood residents signed a petition favoring the market, and the block's only tenant, a synagogue, has issued its blessing. But some on the committee said that the petition was circulated when the market was intended to operate from Bennett Park, which is adjacent to 185th, rather than the street itself, and that residents should have been fully informed regarding the loss of parking on market days.

Said committee member Jim Berlin: "There are thousands of people in the area who own cars, any of whom might park there at some point. We want to hear from the community and whether they want to give up their parking."

There are roughly 19 parking spots on the block in question.

In other business, the committee asked that Inwood and Washington Heights Livable Streets submit a list of requested bike rack locations to be forwarded to DOT (Levine said last night marked the first time the need for bike racks had been brought before the committee), and Orzeck announced that Inwood would be getting its first sheltered rack, to be installed on Dyckman Street near Broadway.

Photos: Brad Aaron

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