TA Celebrates Manhattan’s New Bike Lanes With Local Electeds
Advocates won some hard-fought battles for safer bike infrastructure this year, and on Sunday they celebrated with a ride on Manhattan’s newest protected bike lanes, starting at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge and ending at Amsterdam Avenue and West 105th Street, thanking supporters along the way.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Council Member Margaret Chin, Assembly Member Deborah Glick, and State Senator Brad Hoylman all joined for parts of the ride, which traversed new protected lanes on Chrystie Street, Sixth Avenue, and Amsterdam Avenue.
“We want to make sure people are safe — pedestrians and bikers — and if the city can do something to make that happen, we must do that,” Council Member Margaret Chin told riders at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge. Chin supported the Chrystie Street two-way parking-protected bike lane in her district, which DOT is in the process of installing between Canal Street and Houston Street.
Of the three projects, the Chrystie Street redesign (which is still in progress), came together the quickest, after activists first proposed it in late 2014. By comparision, the Transportation Alternatives Manhattan Committee began pressing DOT and local community boards for a Sixth Avenue protected lane over three years ago, said committee chair Janet Liff. And a protected bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue was first proposed at Manhattan CB 7 in 2009.
After hearing from Chin, the group met at 14th Street and Sixth Avenue with Assembly Member Deborah Glick and State Senator Brad Hoylman, before heading uptown to meet with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
Brewer has tried to steer between safe streets advocates and bike lane foes on CB 7 like transportation co-chairs Andrew Albert and Dan Zweig, who opposed both the Columbus Avenue and Amsterdam Avenue protected lanes. “I know there are issues with some of the members [of community boards], but I’m a believer that everyone should have a voice,” she said on Sunday. “It takes a lot of work to advocate for things in government. Amsterdam Avenue would not have happened without your advocacy.”
“Given our current political environment, we know that things are not going to be coming from above, it’s going to be always coming up from the ground,” said Families for Safe Streets’ Mary Beth Kelly, an Upper West Side resident. “Things like protected bike lanes and Citi Bike reaching neighborhoods that are not privileged… is one of the things that we can work towards to make this city a more equitable one for everybody.”