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Barry Grodenchik

Barry Grodenchik and Nily Rozic Stoke Fear of DOT Project to Make It Safer to Walk and Bike to P.S. 213

Reporter Monica Morales wants to help these P.S. 213 parents stop a project that would make it safer for kids to walk or bike to school.

WPIX is on a mission to stop a street safety project outside P.S. 213. And local representatives Barry Grodenchik and Nily Rozic are falling for it.

The two-way bike lane planned for 230th Street will shorten crossing distances for pedestrians, create safer bike access to the school, and control speeding by narrowing the motor vehicle right-of-way. Some parents are worried because the bike lane overlaps with a school bus drop-off zone -- even though similar configurations exist at other NYC schools.

It's one piece in a six-mile protected bike lane project connecting Alley Pond Park and the Joe Michaels Mile bike path [PDF].

Goaded by school parents reacting to the change in the drop-off zone, WPIX reporter Monica Morales not only indulges their fears without investigating whether they're justified, she takes them as a challenge to stop the project.

"Some angry parents here in Bayside Queens don't want bike lanes just outside their children's school, so they reached out to us on Facebook, so we're making it happen," Morales begins in this segment that aired yesterday.

DOT's plan will designate the protected bike lanes along P.S. 213 as "shared space" for pedestrians and cyclists. Image: DOT
DOT's plan will designate the drop-off zone along P.S. 213 as "shared space" for pedestrians and cyclists. Image: DOT
DOT's plan will designate the protected bike lanes along P.S. 213 as "shared space" for pedestrians and cyclists. Image: DOT

"I'm angry because the city does things and they don't ask," says Edna Harris, whose grandson, Morales notes, is one of the school's 50 autistic students. "Don't mess with grandma."

Neither Morales nor the parents seem to care that the project will make it safer for kids to bike or walk to school and to Alley Pond Park across the street.

"It's not a matter of if it will happen, it's when it will happen, that there's going to be a casualty here," one parent says of the new bike lane.

Car crashes are the leading cause of injury-related death for NYC school kids. This project will reduce the probability of dangerous motor vehicle collisions near the school by reducing speeding.

Meanwhile, collisions involving bicycles and pedestrians that result in injury are exceedingly rare, and fatalities involving kids are unheard of. But don't count on local elected officials to set the record straight.

"This bike lane, not a traditional bike lane, but one close to the curb, would create a 12-foot barrier between the bus and the curb," said Council Member Barry Grodenchik. But the "barrier" is just flat asphalt with stencils. Young kids only have to cross a zone as wide as a single traffic lane.

"It's the only school that would have a bike lane in front of it in the city," Assembly Member Nily Rozic told Morales. That's demonstrably false. There are plenty of curbside bike lanes on streets with homes, businesses, and schools. Here's one outside P.S. 19 on First Avenue:

The bike lane outside P.S. 19 on First Avenue. Photo: Google Maps
The bike lane outside P.S. 19 on First Avenue. Photo: Google Maps
The bike lane outside P.S. 19 on First Avenue. Photo: Google Maps

Fears about new bike lanes are pretty standard. People also said the Prospect Park West bike lane would lead to mayhem when it was installed seven years ago. Those worries proved unfounded.

Grodenchik, Rozic, and WPIX should know better.

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