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City Council Holds Hearing on Bike Lanes

Friday, December 10, 2010

bike lane-in-progress on Columbus Ave. (Kate Hinds)

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.

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Comments [3]

Sherman L. Greene from Upper West Side

I live on Columbus Ave., & so far I have not seen a single bicyclist -- not one -- using the bike lane. The main purpose of these bike lanes is clearly to discourage auto use, not to facilitate bike use. They are not the same.

Dec. 13 2010 03:27 PM
Shadeed Ahmad from New York, New York

Bike riders should have their comfort and safety zones on the streets.

There has been a considerable increase of bike lanes instituted on New York City streets that obviously give advantages to bike riders and their safety and ease of travel.

However, there continues to be a lot of crazy and unsafe practices performed on the streets by bike riders.

Pedestrians suffer immensely from bike riders' cavalier attitudes about respect and safety on the streets.

The near misses that bike riders issue out to pedestrians and motorists are epidemic in proportion. Instead of garnering sympathy for their cause involving more lanes there is huge ambivalence against bike riders.

It seems the more skilled the riders are the more they perform death defying acts on the streets.

There are a lot of bike riders that ride sanely, but the careless ones are far to many to dismiss.

Bike riders want more freedom and comfort, but to whom much is given much is expected. No group who travels the streets should blatantly endanger other's lives, as well as their own.

The bike lanes are supposed to give a more civil and cosmopolitan flavor to New York City streets. I don't see where surprising cyclists antics on the streets that can give someone a heart attack rank as accomplishing civility.

We live in this city together. We can have better harmony and respect of one another.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

The streets of New York City are for everyone's enjoyment as well as safety.

Dec. 11 2010 09:04 AM
Tom from Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

I am a bike commuter and as the bike lanes greatly increase my safety, I will continue to push for more lanes and much better enforcement.

Dec. 11 2010 06:56 AM

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