The bike lane on Columbus Avenue from West 96th Street to 77th Street has made the area safer and encouraged more people to ride bikes, the DOT told Community Board 7 last night. According to the DOT [pdf], there's been a 28 percent decrease in crashes with injuries since the bike lane, which is separated from traffic by a "floating" parking lane, was installed in March. The total number of crashes are down 34%, and fewer drivers are speeding, compared to the roadway north and south of the bike lane.
But popular reaction has been mixed; some business owners complain about difficulty getting deliveries, and some senior citizens say it's now a challenge for them to get curbside pickup. And Councilmember Gale Brewer recently completed a survey showing that only 40% of respondents think that the current design of the bike lane works for all users (pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists). One third think it is a good start but can be improved, while 27% think that the current design does not work and should be changed.
At last night's meeting, some in attendance expressed skepticism about the DOT's data, DNAinfo reports. "One of the things you omit is what you promised versus what you delivered," said bike lane critic Dave Zelman, insisting that the DOT promised to remove only 55 parking spots for the bike lane, but ended up erasing 67. "Your credibility is, in my opinion, non-existent." And the Post reports that boardmember Andrew Albert griped that he has to look both ways when crossing Columbus now, because cyclists come in both directions on the one-way street. That's right, he has to look both ways before crossing the street. Thanks a lot, cyclists!
In a statement, Brewer said, "We all know that change is hard, but 70% of our respondents think that the bike lane is going in the right direction. Along with many West Siders, I recognize there is room for improvement: merchants have a hard time with deliveries, seniors can't get curb side pickup, and wrong-way bicyclists are a hazard to all." The DOT's assessment and Brewer's survey are below; in response to feedback, the DOT has expanded parking/loading space between West 82nd Street and West 81st Street.