It's no secret that former city DOT commissioner Iris Weinshall has been working hard behind the scenes to liberate her neighborhood from the menacing Prospect Park West bike lane, which has been terrorizing locals by calming PPW's notorious traffic and increasing bicycling. And it's also no secret that Weinshall's husband is none other than supposedly avid cyclist Chuck Schumer, the New York Senator who once told the Post, "The bike people drive [Weinshall] crazy, but they know they have an ally in me." Well, that was six years ago; it looks like Schumer's allegiance has shifted.
Schumer has not publicly commented on the controversial PPW bike lane, but a source now tells the Post that Schumer has informed the City Council he is "no fan" of the bike lane, and he's reportedly asked legislators "what they're going to do about [this and other] bike lanes." Meanwhile, his wife and the Neighbors for a Better Bike Lane group will soon file a lawsuit to stop the DOT from making the PPW lane permanent. Never mind that a survey by Councilmember Brad Lander says three quarters of Brooklyn residents support the bike lane—some fancy Park Slopers do not like, and these are people who are accustomed to getting their way.
Meanwhile, there's more bike lane brouhaha on the Upper West Side, where a number of politicians have released a report calling for changes to the Columbus Avenue bike lane. According to a survey conducted by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Tom Duane, Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, and Council Member Gale Brewer, 72% of local merchants said the new bike lane was a negative addition. And more than 85% claim it reduced space for parking and loading.
"New York needs bike lanes, but we also need to respect the vital concerns of local businesses," says Stringer. "The City must work collaboratively to reduce problems for businesses that are already struggling to recover from the economic downturn." In response, the DOT has agreed to make some changes proposed by the group (see below) while also reminding everyone that the city did collaborate with the local Community Board on the street design. In fact, the local community board endorsed the protected bike lane on Columbus Avenuebefore and after it was installed.
Noting the Columbus Avenue bike lane report, the Daily News published an editorial today claiming that the DOT is shoving "this alternative mode of transportation down their throats." It's an assertion so laughably divorced from reality that it hardly merits a response, but Streetsblog has a go anyway.