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Wednesday’s Headlines: Hey Ydanis, Us First Edition

12:03 AM EST on January 12, 2022

Here’s the unprotected “protected” bike lane on Clinton Street with DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez (inset).

It didn't take long for fed-up cyclists to demand that Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez make good on his promise to bolster the city's scores of miles of flimsily protected bike lanes.

Just 11 days into Rodriguez's tenure at the top of the $1.3-billion agency, a member of Manhattan Community Board 3's Transportation Committee put forth a resolution calling on DOT to fully protect the Clinton Street bike lane between South and E. Houston streets "from incursions by vehicles with physical controls that may include Jersey barriers ... and/or raising the bike lanes above the street grade."

The resolution was pushed by committee vice-chair Michelle Kuppersmith, who is sick and tired of an unprotected bike lane that is always blocked by cars and trucks and isn't particularly safe anyway.

Members of the committee shared her concern, but the resolution was tabled for a month because it had not been properly agenda'ed (wouldn't you know?). But Kuppersmith told Streetsblog after the meeting that her goal was to put Clinton Street on Rodriguez's radar screen. "I wanted to take advantage of his stated support for protected bike lanes!" she said.

We'll see what happens — late last week, the DOT told us that it had not figured out which of the city's permeable bike lanes would be improved per Rodriguez's promise. The agency said it would let us know.

Meanwhile, DOT's Carl Sundstrom revealed some good news: The DOT will make some changes on Grand Street to relieve congestion on Clinton Street, the main north-south route between the East River and the Williamsburg Bridge. Most important, car drivers will be barred from turning right from Grand onto Clinton, which should eliminate some spill back and aggressiveness that results whenever car drivers believe their trips are taking too long.

grand street presentation sundstrom2
Carl Sundstrom of DOT
Carl Sundstrom of DOT

Of course, little fixes don't solve the bigger problem, Sundstrom admitted: "We have a regional traffic problem that we don’t want on local streets. And when we make changes, apps direct drivers based on the quickest travel times. So we need a larger solution."

Indeed, we do. But since the Adams administration is not even two weeks old, that won't happen today (no matter how rightfully impatient Bike New York is getting!)

Beyond that, Tuesday was an extremely slow (and cold) news day, but we're expecting more heat today. Until then, here are the headlines you need to start your day:

    • Covid illnesses may be easing up on the MTA. Will restored service follow soon? (NYDN)
    • Maybe not! The Post focused on declining ridership as a canary in the MTA fiscal coal mine.
    • Check out the pictures of this van slamming into an East Side lamppost. (amNY)
    • Friend of Streetsblog (really, Friend of Everyone) Christine Berthet was prominently featured in Greg Mocker's insightful report on how much garbage we just dump on the sidewalk. (WPIX)
    • Finally, is Gov. Hochul's elimination of the "interim" title on MTA boss Janno Lieber's job good for the Jews? Why, yes! (Jerusalem Post)

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