The rest of the country has culture wars. New York City has bike lane wars. Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan was grilled by city lawmakers for almost two hours during a hearing about bike lanes on Thursday. City officials and members of the public are debating the expansion of the city's bike lane network.
Some accused Sadik-Khan of expanding the network without getting sufficient public input. Brooklyn Councilman Lew Fidler said more community input is needed before any money is spent. Sadik-Khan said community boards are consulted before, during and after each new bike lane is installed.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz charged the transportation department with focusing on cyclists instead of moving goods and services around the city. He even adapted a popular tune to parody the idea that a special group should get their own lanes on the city's streets. "Strollers and schleppers and skaters and joggers, holiday lanes just for all the egg noggers, let's not forget cars, it's getting insane," he said. "Welcome to Brooklyn, the borough of lanes."
Bronx Councilman James Vacca tried to find out whether enough people used the bike lanes to justify their existence. Sadik-Khan said she'd get back to him with the number.
She conceded that the city must do more to crack down on "rogue riders." But she said the bike lane expansion has been widely successful, increasing bicycle commuting by 109 percent since 2006.