DOT Answers #bikenyc Prayers With Bike-Lane Inspector Program

An apprentice program is advertising seven — count, 'em, seven — jobs to put eyes on the streets.

The two-way bike lane on 37th Street. The DOT is advertising for bike-mounted bike-lane apprentice inspectors. Photo: Streetsblog
The two-way bike lane on 37th Street. The DOT is advertising for bike-mounted bike-lane apprentice inspectors. Photo: Streetsblog
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Want to spend all day riding a bike in the great outdoors, help the city improve its bike network — and get paid for it?

If you answered yes, then the Department of Transportation wants you — to inspect its growing network of bike lanes as part of the Bicycle Enforcement Unit.

The DOT says it needs to hire seven “apprentice highway and sewer inspectors” who will make their daily rounds on DOT-issued bikes, inspecting bike lanes, responding to complaints at specific locations and reviewing road work done by utility companies, plumbers and other contractors.

The job posting comes after pleas made in Streetsblog and on Twitter for the creation of just such a team. In November, Bike NY’s Laura Shepard and Jon Orcutt wrote an op-ed urging the DOT to establish “a team of bike-mounted inspectors” in order to “spot and inventory  faded bike network markings, potholes, and other problems.” The pair argued that “DOT’s current complaint-driven process is not a fair or efficient way to track and remedy such issues, which only will grow as the bike network expands.” They also noted that the DOT “needs a dedicated inspection and enforcement team to patrol construction sites” to ensure that builders don’t block bike lanes.

The listing also comes one day after a cyclist was killed by a bus driver on a Central Park transverse after, cops say, he swerved to avoid, or after coming in contact with, a patch of ice — which, if true would be an indication of poor drainage or another reparable road hazard.

The inspectors DOT seeks won’t lack for work: The City Council recently passed the “Master Plan” bill mandating 50 miles of new protected bike lanes each year.

Unlike the community coordinator and traffic-engineer positions the DOT was looking for in October for its “Green Wave” bike initiative, the apprentice inspector jobs have no formal education or experience requirements — just the ability to ride long hours and be handy with a tablet computer for logging data.

Indeed, under “preferred skills,” the DOT only put two qualifications:

“Should be able to exert well-paced and frequent physical mobility for periods of up to six hours or as needed. Should be able to work in both warm and cool environments throughout all five boroughs of NYC,” the listing states.

New inspectors will sometimes appear in court (presumably if the condition of the roadway is relevant to a civil or criminal suit) and must be able to operate a passenger vehicle (hence the requirement for a valid driver’s license).

New hires earn $31,320, with built-in raises. But, if you want one of these jobs, hurry. The posting (click here) expires on Jan. 6.

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