Alex Goldmark is a senior producer in the newsroom for New Tech City and Transportation Nation.
After repaving a major traffic artery on Staten Island, the City DOT is replacing the bike lane along Father Capodanno Blvd. with parking and a bus lane. The lane used to connect the Staten Island Ferry Terminal to local light rail.
The lane had been a point of contention among local drivers and cyclists for some time. The borough's newspaper even called for its removal, saying it endangered cyclists -- and arguing there were alternative routes (though those routes are shared with pedestrians, and after a certain hour, require a detour.)
There was no public announcement about the removal of the bike lane, but DOT chief, Janette Sadik-Khan told the Staten Island Advance, "we heard from the community and worked closely with local leaders to engineer a solution that works whether you’re on transit, a bike or behind the wheel."
Local politicians also supported the move, but did not return calls on the topic.
Local bike advocates are irate. Transportation Alternatives issued a statement lamenting the lack of formal process in removing the bike lane, citing a similar move a year ago in Brooklyn that was politically motivated. WNYC last year had reported that City Hall wasn't denying that the removal of that lane, through a heavily orthodox Jewish section of Williamsburgh, was a political favor delivered after Mayor Michael Bloomberg's narrow election victory.
They point out that this bike lane was part of the bike masterplan, and see this as a step backward from building a bike friendly city.