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

Other NYC schools are right next to protected bike lanes, and the kids are fine.

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.
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

“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

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.

  • Joe R.

    Is bikelash ever going to die? Seriously, these people are really reaching with some of the excuses they’re coming up with not to have this bike lane. It would be nice if we could establish a culture in this city where those kids who live too far from school to walk can safely bike there instead of getting driven by their parents.

  • reasonableexplanation

    You know, looking at that proposed design, maybe there’s something to this particular bikelash?

    I’d wager many cyclists won’t stop for loading and unloading of school buses, and could actually hit kids.

    Any reason they can’t do the same as the proposed design, but with the double bike lane and buffer on the other side of the street instead? Might make more sense.

  • Joe R.

    By putting it on that side of the street you avoid the bike path crossing 231st and 232nd Streets. Those are T-intersections. It always make sense to put a bike path on the far side of a T-intersection. After the bike path turns left on 233rd Street, there’s another T-intersection with 64th Avenue. So overall, you avoid at 3 motor vehicle crossings keeping the bike lane on that side of the street.

    I don’t think this bike path will be terribly busy ever, never mind during school hours. If need be, have crossing guards or teachers out there to police the bike lane when the buses are loading or unloading.

  • JarekFA

    I’d wager many cyclists won’t stop for loading and unloading of school buses, and could actually hit kids.

    Yah, because there’s no place I’d rather ride. Between a school bus loading/unloading people and the curb. It’s also a shared space so it’s more of a mixing zone meaning it’ll signal to bikes to slow down.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    I’d wager they would stop, not that there will be many people riding through here at 8am anyway. Joe Michael’s Mile is largely recreational, not used by commuters. This isn’t a crosswalk in Manhattan, it’s a mixed area on (what is proposed to be) one of the few calm bike routes around.

    Not only is there very minimal danger here, with the overall changes to the street there is likely to be a net safety improvement as there always is when segregated bike facilities are installed.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Right, so why put the bike path in that mixing zone? Seems like unnecessary conflict. Other side would be better, no?

  • reasonableexplanation

    It doesn’t look like that busy of a neighborhood, where the T-intrsection thing would be too big of an issue. I still say it would be better to have it on the other side.

    Also, I checked it out on street view and holy moly is there a lot of double parking in both bike lanes near the school! Double parking should really be ticketed mercilessly.

  • JarekFA

    Sorry, I meant “shared space,” not “mixing zone.” A well done shared space will cause people on bike to travel slowly.

    Other side could be better though that may require removing parking spots.

  • reasonableexplanation

    It wouldn’t require removing parking at all; look at that ‘proposed’ image above, now move the double bike lane to the far left, and move the buffer between it and the parked cars. Shift everything else to the right. Boom, done.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    I think WPIX is having a slow news day.

  • Brian Howald

    There was talk about getting NYC Parks to agree to the protected bike lanes cutting a direct path between 230th Street & 69th Avenue to 233rd Street & 67th Avenue, but nothing ever came of it. If you check Google Maps, you’ll see the paths just south of the school.

    If CM Grodenchik and AM Rozic want to get Parks to agree to widen the path to a full-width two-way path behind the school, I’m sure many would be supportive.

    If the school and the Parents Association didn’t get notice, that’s on CBQ11, but knowing CB11, DOT, and bikelash people, they probably did. In that case, this is more, “[a]part from the 159 meetings, they didn’t say a word.”

  • JarekFA

    This is so stupid. You can take the shared street or if it’s around school opening/closing time, then you take the lane. The real issue is all this handwringing over the non-threat to children’s safety.

  • Joe R.

    It’s usually as dead as a door nail, except perhaps when school is letting out. As others have said, this path would be primarily used by recreational cyclists given that there’s not much of interest that utility cyclists might be going to in that area. So you’re not having lots of cyclists there in the mornings when school starts. You’re probably not having that many when it ends, either. I’d say peak times might be after 6 or 7 PM, especially in the summer, and weekends after maybe noon, again mostly in the summer. Neither time conflicts with school. If there are a lot of cyclists during school opening/closing times, that might well be because the students themselves are biking to school. I’d love to see that.

    On the double parking, yeah, it’s ridiculous in my area, especially during peak times. There’s a reason I like to ride at 2AM. 😉

  • Adrian Horczak

    If people want to get rid of the bike lane, the DOT should reach out to the community and the community board should have to hold a few meetings before anything gets done. But I doubt that will happen for the removal of bike lanes. Let’s just hope we see these bike lanes in place soon and no one at DOT actually believes these a bike lane would make the street more dangerous.

  • Nily Rozic must be familiar with the 34th Avenue bike lane that cuts through Jax Heights which passes the front of no less than SIX SCHOOLS!! Not any problems at all even though that has been in the ground for, oh, about 20 years!!

  • I swear this looks like a video done by The Onion. They must have hired all these people and impersonated WPIX trucks and Monica Morales. It is a joke, right??

  • JTP Choons

    This is almost as dumb as that reporter who questioned whether the 2nd Ave bike lane would result in a cyclist with a bomb outside the Israeli embassy. Frank Zappa said it best when he said that the most abundant element in the universe isn’t hydrogen – it’s stupidity.

  • JTP Choons

    When aren’t they? Local news stations are like 1% real news and 99% bone crushingly inane filler crap.

  • Joe R.

    Exactly why I haven’t watched network news in probably two decades. I lose brain cells just thinking about the garbage they pass off as news.

  • Guy Ross

    Just to make this totally clear, this has nothing to do with protecting children. But rather protecting parents’ ability to double park in the already existing bike lane:

  • qrt145

    I don’t watch them either, but I love their short ads that say things like “will [absurd thing] kill you? Tonight at 11!” Those are always good for a laugh.

  • Guy Ross

    So you want to pass out tickets when the design solution is being presently proposed? Your getting warm . . . warmer . . . warmer…..

  • reasonableexplanation

    Read again, I want to modify the design to move the double bike lane to the other side of the street to remove conflict with the school.

    However, I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of streets without bike lanes where people still double park. And they will continue doing that here no matter how the street is laid out, unless they get ticketed regularly.

    Double parking is one of the scourges of this city, and actively cracking down on it, even at the expense of all other ticketing, will reduce congestion and improve safety for everyone.

  • Vooch

    You want children and mothers to ride bikes ? Are you insane ? This video exposes what happens when families cycle – trigger warning

  • reasonableexplanation
  • Joe R.

    They’re even better for a laugh when they’ll say something will kill you, then a year later they say the same thing will make you live longer. Back before I knew any better, I actually wasted my time listening to crap like that. It was made even worse because they always put it towards the end of the news, so you have to listen to almost 30 minutes or an hour of fake news before you hear the only thing you watched the program for. On top of that, a few times they’ve broken the segment into two parts. That’s really what made me just stop watching network news altogether. I sit through a bunch of drivel, then when it comes on they give essentially another lead in, followed by “tune in tomorrow to hear the rest of our exclusive report”. Sorry, I’m not sitting through two days of your mind-numbing “news” program to hear your crappy report.

    And they wonder why most of their viewers these days are people my mom’s age?

  • Well then she needs to speak factually. And besides there are many other schools with protected bike lanes outside of them all over NYC. By double I think you mean bi-directional? I’m not totally sure if there is a precedent for that in NYC. In Queens there are at least two schools on Vernon that have it.

  • Larry Littlefield

    There is a private school, Grace Church School, on 4th Avenue south of Union Square where children get dropped off across the bike lane all the time. So you know what I do? Slow down, that’s what.

    How hard is that? If they are worried, install a little speed hump and a sign to slow for crossing children. I’ll be bicyclists would be more likely to do it than motor vehicles.

  • Andrew

    I’ll be[t] bicyclists would be more likely to do it than motor vehicles.

    This, of course, gets to the crux of the matter.