Lunch Break Fun: Gerson Leads Protest of “Dangerous” Grand St. Bike Lane

grand_street1.jpgNon-motorized New Yorkers negotiate the hair-raising Grand Street sidewalk and bike lane. Photo: Ben Fried.

Anyone heading over to Chinatown for lunch? If not, and you work in Manhattan, you might want to change your plans. This rally, promoted by Council Member Alan Gerson, promises to be a can’t-miss event:

Rally to Protest Dangerous Conditions with the Grand Street Bike Lane

WHEN: Friday, August 21, 2009 at 12:30pm

WHERE: Corner of Grand St and Mott St

WHAT: Rally to protest dangerous conditions caused by the Grand Street bike lane and to demand that the NYC Department of Transportation conduct more community outreach before deciding where to place bike lanes.

WHO: NYC Council Member Alan J. Gerson, local business owners and residents

That would be the same "dangerous" bike lane that has calmed traffic by narrowing the right-of-way for motorists. Oh, and it gives cyclists a nice, protected east-bound link in Lower Manhattan’s bike network.

Alan Gerson wants "more community outreach." That’s one way to put it. Given that the bike lane was vetted by Community Board 2, which approved the project in a nearly unanimous vote last year, isn’t this more like a demand to give small, vocal groups veto power over street safety projects? I think it’s pretty much official at this point: The District 1 City Council contest is a race to the bottom when it comes to livable streets.

To reiterate, the place to be at 12:30 today is the corner of Grand and Mott. After the jump, more pictures of the hazardous Grand Street bike lane.



  • da

    Wish I could make it! Could someone post an update or reportback after the event?

  • I wish we could organize a counter-protest.

  • TKO

    I like bike lanes but the one on Grand has so many pedestrians in it while riding. Workers also haul there goods in it plus food vendor carts. Tourists do not seem to know it is not for walking and get very angry when you notify them of the fact. Same goes with the cyclists going the wrong way. Also cars making right turns makes it a bit hair razing at times.

    Better sign posting or education on bike lanes for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists?

  • Unfortunately, parts of the bike lane needs repair and repainting (especially around Grand street and Bowery).

    I wrote an email to Alan Gerson, doubt it’d change his mind though.

  • J. Mork
  • Protesting bike lanes? For real? I love that Gerson fancies himself a brave populist for standing up to the cycling industrial complex. I never knew we were so powerful.

    I’m going to ride over there today and see what the fuss is all about.

  • Teenyblogger

    Is it not a little late for this Mr. Gerson? You and your office stood by and did NOTHING while the DOT rammed this though. You are totally ineffective as our council member and this rally is nothing more than a cynical attempt to muster votes for your inept campaign to be elected for the 3rd to you colluded with Bloomberg to get.

  • J

    I will be attending to counter-protest and take pictures. This is ridiculous on the part of Council Member Gerson. Anyone have pictures of the conditions before?

  • The only hazard I see is the seam between the green pavement and that metal manhole cover.

  • JT

    What a shame. It’s true more education is needed. There are a lot of tourists who have no idea, and fruit/veg stand workers who use that lane to haul stuff. Not to mention those streets there are simply crowded and people who live in the area walk in them to move faster. To protest it seems so ridiculous though!

  • Regarding TKO #3 (I won’t repaste the whole thing): These problems are not inherent in bike lanes. In many European cities, pretty much all road users respect others and the bike lanes operate without molestation. This is a New York problem. The solution, I think, would be a civility (or anti-incivility) campaign as determined as the city’s antismoking campaign.

  • J

    I came up with a few sarcastic sign ideas. Any thoughts?

    “End Safe Bike Lanes Now!”

    “Make Grand Street Dangerous Again!”

    “Un-green NYC”

    “Cars for congestion”

    “Car owners against safe biking”

  • The best use of everyone’s time is to contact Council Member Gerson directly in support of the bike lane via email or snail mail.

    To be sure that your support is actually registered, cc the Community Board on your letter:

    You can also cc Transportation Alternatives:
    127 West 26th Street, Suite 1002
    New York, NY 10001

  • Jason A

    What’s his problem with protected bike lanes – as opposed to any other bike lane in the city?

    Inhibits deliveries? Can’t double park in the bike lane?

    If that’s the case, he’s tacitly admitting that much of city’s bike lane network is already compromised by cars. The Grand St. bike lane is a solution that works – of course drivers hate it b/c you can’t undermine it.

    Why doesn’t he doesn’t Gerson do something constructive and focus on parking reform?

    Furthermore, does Gerson honestly deny there’s a congestion problem downtown? How many more cars does he think we can squeeze into Lower Manhattan?

    These are the questions politicians should be asked when they attack bike lanes.

  • Erik

    re TKO and Mark Walker: where it’s crowded in NYC, car-free spaces are going to become pedestrian spaces, and therefore NOT safe bike spaces. I tried riding in the Grand St lane once and now avoid it – as I do the Brooklyn Bridge and Herald Sq.

  • Geck

    I went. He is so full of distortions and obfuscation it is infuriating. I think Jason A in 100% right and Gerson does not acknowledge it at all.

  • Shemp

    Geck, any press actually show other than the downtown rags?

  • ABG

    As a nearby resident, I am opposed to the bike lane.

    Nevertheless, when I called his office to complain, the calls were not returned. Other neighbors say the same thing. Even emails were ignored

    This is a desperate, cynical publicity stunt by an incompetent incumbent facing defeat in an an election that is three weeks away. Where was Gerson when we needed him?

    Oh, right. Voting to extend his own term limits and giving himself a job for four more years. Or so he thought. Gerson gotta go!

  • Geck

    I don’t think so.

  • Pursuant

    The “dangerous con–

    This doesn’t even deserve a response. Nor should the city engage in a round of Mother May I with this clown.

  • Geck

    I was of course referring the the presence of the press, not the fact the Gerson has to go.

  • Ed

    Jason A you said it!
    @ TKO – people will learn, give them time.

  • Shemp

    How cool is it that Gerson is getting trashed by both sides here on Streetsblog?

  • Teenyblogger

    Gerson is the biggest fool ever to get voted into city hall.

  • Ed

    Ha! True dat Shemp.
    So how many people showed today?

  • Clarence

    i strolled over to the event today. Here are some “Frightening” numbers…

    As Gershon talked, nearly 20 cyclists cycled past. About the same number of cars, around 25, went past the presser. Seems like the road is in perfect balance.

    One woman talked about how dangerous the road has become for pedestrians, especially children and the elderly. Most cars on the road operate between 5 to 10 mph. The probability of surviving a crash at that speed is astronomically high. If the bike lane has brought down speeds, then this makes her statement highly illogical, after all the crossing distance is now shorter thanks to the buffer and bike lane.

    Just think if this road were wider and cars travelling say 20 mph. If you get hit at that speed, the chances of dying in a crash jump dramatically. And once you hit 30 mph – you are more likely to die than not.

    Let’s be honest then, what is this really all about? Is it about the ability to double park? Is this just about not wanting to have a safe place for cyclists to ride? What is it? Cause the facts do not support its removal.

  • Edward

    What specifically do people think is dangerous about the bike lane?

  • joef

    I have been a resident of Grand St all my life.(over 50yrs) The bike lane sucks, plain & simple. I was watching when these photos were taken. The photographers had to wait a LONG time for traffic to subside to take what seem to be nice traffic flowing photos. Buses no longer drive on Grand St hurting business, fire & emergency vehicles can’t get through- forget about making turns, no one hardly uses these dumb bike lanes, and many drive in the wrong direction! People are constsantly getting hit by bikes. I live with this nonsense every day. The community planning board approved it. SO WHAT? Any idiot can be on the planning board! some planning board members have only lived in NYC for 6 months! What a joke! Community residents were dead set against this bike lane, far outnumbering the number of votes in the planning board. I’m not against bike lanes..Just this one Grand st is too narrow!


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