Tomorrow's the big protest against the new east side bike lanes! Since they were installed a few months ago, there has been some griping from local merchants who say it's hard to get deliveries, and others who think it's tougher to find parking now. Tomorrow will be their chance to push back against the DOT's bike lane boom, and maybe shove a stick into the spokes of progress. The demonstration is organized by one Leslie Sicklick, who recently wrote a letter to the Villager editors about how the bike lanes are killing the East Village:
I read your editorial that you support bike lanes — that’s a shame and a mistake on your part. I also find many bikers who are rude and feel they’re entitled. Do you know how many merchants are losing business due to the bike lanes? Just look at First Ave. below 14th St. Many families come into the city to shop and eat from the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island who use cars not bicycles.
Drivers are angry with the loss of parking spaces and the elimination of turns in Manhattan, making drivers go out of their way, causing traffic. Loss of lanes for drivers causes more traffic nightmares. Also, there are people in the East Village who feel bikers are being rewarded for bad behavior — because it’s true.
Yep, below 14th Street is pretty much a ghost town since that First Avenue bike lane went in. Ms. Sicklick also spoke with EV Grieve a couple of weeks ago. We learned that she was born and raised on the Lower East Side, and she used to go to First Avenue to shop and dine but now she can't park her car! It's unclear why she would need to drive there if she lives there, so now we're wondering if she still lives in the neighborhood? (We e-mailed her to find out.) Also, she thinks Mayor Bloomberg is an idiot and wants to know: Do bikers bring in business to the City? The answer: No they don't. That Velo bike shop on Second Avenue and 3rd Street probably operates on some kind of commie barter system.
And turning to the Brooklyn front of the bike lane war, another protest/press conference is being planned for Thursday the 21st. The movement to do away with the new Prospect Park West bike lane has been quietly inching forward since July, when it was revealed that the wife of Park Slope resident and avid cyclist Senator Chuck Schumer was organizing to stop the bike lane. Schumer's wife is former NYC DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall, and she's reportedly become a major force in trying to kill the Prospect Park West bike lane.
Streetsblog reports that the PPW bike lane opponents are gathering at 8:30 a.m. next Thursday at the corner of Carroll Street and Prospect Park West. But there will be a counter-protest starting at 8 a.m. at Grand Army Plaza! Rumble and bike jousting to follow, hopefully.