John Liu Stalls Bicycle Access Bill in Committee

After months of negotiations and fine-tuning, the Bicycle Access Bill was expected to come up for a vote in the City Council this afternoon. Despite the support of Mayor Bloomberg and 29 co-sponsors, that’s not going to happen. For many thousands of cyclists, riding to work will remain an unappealing option due to the lack of a secure place to lock up.

Danny Kanner, a spokesman for bill sponsor David Yassky, confirmed this afternoon that the landmark piece of legislation has yet to clear John Liu‘s transportation committee. "The bill has been laid on council members’ desks for eight days, which is typically what is done before a bill comes before the full council," said Kanner. "That was done with the anticipation that it would be voted out of the transportation committee today."

Liu’s office has not yet returned requests for comment. But here’s what we know.

  • When a previous version of this bill surfaced in the council in 2006, John Liu was a co-sponsor.
  • Last September, Liu joined Yassky and Tish James on the steps of City Hall to call for better bike access to buildings. Rally speakers noted the odd aversion many building owners display toward letting bikes inside office buildings, and the manifold benefits of legislation to correct that bias.
  • In March, Liu switched from the crowded public advocate race to the somewhat less crowded comptroller race, in which he faces two other candidates from Queens — and Yassky.
  • At the last transportation committee hearing on the bill, Liu started questioning whether DOT should have jurisdiction over bicycle access to buildings. No one else on the committee voiced similar concerns. DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri assured Liu that their agencies would have it covered.
  • Today, Liu’s committee did not meet and advance the bill despite the widespread expectation that it would do so.

The next opportunity to move the bill will come in July, when the full City Council is scheduled to hold a stated meeting. "David and a variety of advocates have worked hard on this bill, a bill that will reduce congestion, carbon emissions, and improve public health," Kanner said. "It should pass."

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