112108grand.jpgThe new bike lane on Grand Street that a local shop owner recently called the possible "demise of Little Italy" continues to draw attention with complaints that fire trucks are struggling to maneuver around the new setup of the block. Ernest Lepore, owner of Ferrara Cafe who originally talked to Villager, appears to have taken his case against the lane to the Post, telling the paper, "I saw one truck back up four or five times before being able to squeeze into the lane. The firefighter was visibly frustrated."

Now Ferrara even has an anonymous firefighter on his side. A member of nearby Engine Company 55 told the Post, "It is a problem. It's something we've been talking about. We been changing our routes when we're driving around this area." But an FDNY spokesman denied that the new lane has affected response times. The FDNY and DOT have apparently been discussing the issue for over six months.

The DOT continued to support the bike lane, saying that MuniMeters with three-hour limits are being installed on the north side of Grand to keep delivery trucks moving and that No Parking zones at Grand Street intersections are coming as of Monday. A DOT spokesman told the paper, "The most important thing to emphasize is that this project is still being installed. We're still open to hear concerns from the community."

Photo courtesy Rather Be Biking.