The NYPD is making good on its promise to crackdown on cyclists who ride through red lights, go the wrong way on streets, or pedal on sidewalks. The Post reports that cops handed out nearly 1,000 tickets to bicyclists in Manhattan in the first two weeks of January. 315 were issued in Brooklyn and 167 were written for cyclists in Queens. "It's an all-time high," one high-ranking source told the tabloid, while another NYPD source says, "I think the moral of the story is it's not just obey the rules of the road, but to utilize the bike lanes and safety first." Speaking of bike lanes, two City Councilmen from Staten Island are joining forces to try and stop their rapid expansion.
James Oddo and Vincent Ignizio have fired off a letter to Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, demanding to know why the bike lanes aren't subject to the city's lengthy environmental-assessment process. "The creation of bike lanes and the removal of vehicle travel lanes represent a major reordering of Department of Transportation priorities that may affect the environment and appear to qualify" for environmental review, the two say in the letter. Oddo, incidentally, was reportedly instrumental last year in pressuring the DOT to remove the Father Capodanno bike lane on Staten Island.
The Councilmen want the city to either subject the bike lanes to the lengthy review process, or allow other "minor" traffic changes to bypass the review. But DOT spokesman Seth Solomonow tells us, "Routine changes like turn lanes, traffic signals, bus lanes or one-way conversions do not require this kind of review. Safety is at historic levels, and we have made numerous improvements to mobility across the city, including [Staten Island]."
And Caroline Samponaro at Transportation Alternatives says, "Bike lanes are necessary and life saving street improvements that enable New Yorkers of all ages and abilities to ride safely. Bike lanes are to biking, what sidewalks are to walking. The DOT is already required to present their bike lane projects to communities for local input via the Community Board. The Councilmember should be focusing his energies on getting his concerned constituents to Community Board meetings in his district, rather than creating unnecessary red tape for life saving street improvements."