West Siders to De Blasio: Act Now to Boost Cycling During Corona Crisis
An Upper West Side panel is the latest group to urge Mayor de Blasio to take immediate action to boost cycling during the coronavirus crisis — to not only keep people off crowded subways, but also to change people’s habits for longer-term sustainability.
Community Board 7’s Transportation Committee unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday night that complained that the mayor’s recommendation that people bike to work during the pandemic is just empty if the city does not improve safety.
“The city does not yet have a network of protected bicycle lanes that enable people to navigate the city safely on a bicycle and thereby heed the advice of the mayor and health professionals,” stated the draft of the resolution (exact final wording to come).
As a result, the city must immediately “complete a network of protected bicycle lanes,” boost Citi Bike and increase enforcement of reckless driving “so as to ensure safe passage for all street users,” the draft resolution said.
The resolution will be sent to the full board for approval at its first meeting in early April. Transportation Committee Chairman Howard Yaruss said the unanimous approval of the resolution suggests that Upper West Siders are tired of “empty rhetoric” from city officials.
“It’s time to put words into action,” Yaruss said. “This is a crisis.”
It’s not clear what the full board will do — after all, this is the same transportation committee that passed a resolution last year calling for an end to free on-street car storage (what car owners call “parking”) only to have that resolution watered down to a demand for a study.
The CB7 committee recommendation mirrors a demand — and petition drive — by Transportation Alternatives, which earlier this week called on the mayor to institute major bike and pedestrian improvements during the crisis. The mayor refused to make any promises on Tuesday, but said he would “look at” the recommendations, which include temporary bike lanes and more space on the Queensboro Bridge to handle the massive increase in cycling that is occurring during the crisis (and, in fairness, the nice weather).
Activists have also called on the MTA to allow cycling on its bridges during the crisis.
City Hall said it would review the CB7 resolution when the final wording is released. We will update this story when it is.