Today the City Council held a packed public hearing on bike lanes, to address a perceived outcry from New Yorkers who say the DOT's rapid expansion of bike lanes is killing all the baby unicorns. And not so coincidentally, the Times also published a hit piece today about the recent bike lanes added to Columbus Avenue, where the typical crowd of business owners have been chafing at the changes. Reporter Joseph Berger wonders if the bike lane is worth inconveniencing motorists, because he spotted very few cyclists when he checked it out for a half hour on Monday morning... when it was 33 degrees and snowing.
But before you cynics shrug off Berger's conclusive reportage, do note that he also inspected at the bike lane on "a balmy day in mid-November when the temperature was in the 50s saw only a handful of bikes as well. And merchants report the same." Ah, the merchants! To be sure, the Columbus lane, which currently stretches from 96th Street to 77th Street, must make deliveries less convenient. 50 parking spaces were eliminated to put in the lane, which is separated from traffic by a row of parked cars. And what good is public safety and fewer dead bike riders if it means a delivery truck has to park across the street?
Yasia Frangiadakis, who manages Quality Florist at Columbus Avenue near 82nd, says she now has to "run across the avenue to haul in her flowers" from delivery trucks who can't park on her side of the street! Each block has one space for delivery trucks, but that space is often filled, and Frangiadakis theorizes that her business has been hurt by customers can't find parking to run in and buy flowers. And it gets worse: The Upper West Side has been hit with a devastating Entenmann’s drought because of the bike lane. Ricardo Zingone, an owner of Zingone Brothers grocery on Columbus Avenue, says the driver who delivers his Entenmann’s baked goods has not shown up for three weeks, because he's "afraid of getting a ticket." Clearly, the bike lanes HAVE GOT TO GO.
A DOT spokesman insists "ridership tends to increase as people become familiar with the growing network and as connections to other parts of the bike network are established." And one salient commenter on the Times article writes, "This is like saying that global warming isn’t happening because it’s cold today, here, where I’m standing. Bike paths are only viable when there is a network of them, not simply one block."
Down at today's City Council meeting, Streetsblog reports that City Councilman David Greenfield, who represents parts of Borough Park, Midwood, and Bensonhurst, is calling for mandatory registration for cyclists. And Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowtiz, a longtime foe of the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane, was also in attendance; his office sent out an ALL CAPS press release that reads like a Unabomber manifesto, or popular bike lane-hating Gothamist commenter The Facts. A sample:
D.O.T. STATES THAT THE PROSPECT PARK WEST BIKE LANE WAS PUT IN TO CURTAIL SPEEDING. YOU WOULD THINK WE COULD HAVE INSTALLED A COUPLE OF EXTRA STOP SIGNS OR TRAFFIC LIGHTS. BUT NO. THE D.O.T. TOOK THIS REQUEST TO IMPROVE SAFETY AND SLOW DOWN TRAFFIC AND USED IT TO TURN PROSPECT PARK WEST INTO AN EXPERIMENT THAT FIT THEIR IDEOLOGY.
In other words: CAN'T WE JUST CHAIN THESE CYCLIST MANIACS TO THEIR BIKES AND THROW THEM IN THE EAST RIVER? OR AT LEAST CASTRATE THEM? I KEEP TELLING MY DOCTORS DOT DIKTATOR SADIK-KHAN IS PAVING A BIKE LANE THROUGH MY HEAD BUT THE PILLS DON'T WORK! FUGHEDDABOUT FINDING PARKING FOR MY TRUCKLOAD OF CORNY PUNS WITH ALL THESE BIKE LANES IN MY BRAIN!!!