July/August 1996, p.6-7
Hudson Street and 8th
City DOT officials told T.A. last month that the long-awaited Hudson Street bike lane (from Dominick Street to 14th Street) had cleared the last State hurdles and will be installed by October.
DOT also plans to extend the lane north along 8th Avenue to Columbus Circle, but has been unable to overcome several challenging design issues and has not yet sought endorsement from Community Boards 4 and 5. Community Board 2 endorsed the bicycle lane up to 14th Street last year after dozens of residents turned out to support it.
When completed, the 4-mile bike lane will be the longest and most important new bicycle facility installed in years, providing a northbound alternate route to 6th Avenue, which cyclists have for years derided as inadequate.
If it goes through quickly, the 8th Avenue segment will represent a major step forward for the DOT's bicycle program.
Write to: Deputy Mayor Rudy Washington, 52 Chambers St., NY, NY 10007. Ask him to move quickly on this vital cycling facility. Fax: 212-618-8989.
The heavily used Lafayette Street bike lane - now two years old - may soon be extended south to Spring Street (it currently runs from Houston to 14th Street). Both DOT and the Mayor's Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Council (BPAC) support T.A.'s proposal to extend the bike lane when road markings are re-applied to the newly repaved street. In 1994, the Fire Department resisted losing double parking privileges in front of their station house at Spring and Lafayette; this remains the only potential obstacle to improving the heavily used lane. The year-old BPAC, a mayoral committee that brings together agency heads and advocates like T.A., has been working to develop a comprehensive city-wide bike and pedestrian agenda.
Write to: FDNY Commissioner Thomas Von Essen, 250 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Ask him to support extending the Lafayette Street bicycle lane south to Spring Street.
NYC cyclists who ride trains to Westchester County and other points north are getting a big lift, thanks to the efforts of the New York City Cycle Club. Beginning June 30, Metro-North's Hudson line is adding six weekend "bike trains," for a weekend total of ten. Increases on the other two lines are in the works, and the bike limit on weekend trains will increase to eight. Timetables will designate bike trains with a bicycle symbol. Hudson line bike trains, with an entire car set aside for 15 bikes, leave Grand Central Station Saturdays and Sundays at 7:54 and 8:58am, and return from Poughkeepsie at 4:11, 5:11, and 6:11pm. On the Harlem and New Haven lines, weekend bike trains leave at 8:49am/4:08pm to and from Brewster North (15 bikes each), and 8:07am/3:57pm to and from New Haven (40 bikes each). Mandatory bike permits may be purchased by mail (347 Madison Ave., 3rd Fl, NY, NY 10017) or at Window 27 in Grand Central ($5, good for life).
At a June meeting with DOT Chief Transportation Officer Joan McDonald, T.A. solicited a commitment from DOT to maintain 24-hour bicycle and pedestrian access to the Queensboro Bridge during the bridge's reconstruction. DOT Assistant Commissioner for Planning Gerard Soffian said that the bridge will remain open for its 2,000 daily human-powered users. From 1991 to 1993, the bridge was closed to cyclists and pedestrians from 3 to 7 pm, when the path was open to auto traffic. In 1990 and 1991, T.A. and bridge users staged over 30 demonstrations to secure cyclists' and pedestrians' right to use the bridge.
Construction begins on the bridge's two outer roadways in November and will last until early 1999. T.A. had heard from city sources that access for cyclists and pedestrians might be restricted during evening rush hours. When DOT implemented a similar scheme in 1990, ridership on the bridge dropped by nearly 80%.
Because of the precarious situation that cyclists and pedestrians must now endure at the 59th Street entrance to the South Outer Roadway, T.A. has proposed the North Outer Roadway as the permanent path. The two access points would be Queens Plaza North and 60th Street in Manhattan. The bridge entrance (to the South Outer Roadway) at 59th Street has always caused a frenetic scramble for cyclists who battle cars, buses, and trucks for space on a narrow strip of concrete. A North Outer Roadway path would eliminate these conflicts and provide safe access to Second Avenue.
Write to: NYPD Traffic Chief Michael Scagnelli, 138 West 30th St., New York, NY 10001. Ask him to support 24-hour access for bicycles and pedestrians on the Queensboro Bridge.
While about 6,500 bicycles are reported stolen in NYC every year, T.A. cyclist surveys suggest that the actual number of stolen bikes is ten times greater. At around $300 for an average new bike, bike theft costs New Yorkers $2 million a year.
T.A. is calling on the NYPD
to create a bike theft recovery unit and crack down on the sale of stolen
bikes. In Denver, Colorado, a Bicycle Recovery unit registers bikes, targets
theft hot spots, and conducts sting operations to catch thieves.
Want to see a bike rack outside your favorite store? All you have to do is ask! The NYC DOT CityRacks program is installing bicycle racks through requests only. Anyone can request a bike rack - a merchant, community group, or individual. Just call the CityRacks office (212-442-7705) and request an application.
T.A. is also working with DOT to loosen the restrictive guidelines under which racks can be installed.
The eastbound side of Shore Parkway between 73rd and 108th Streets will be closed to motor vehicle traffic until September 2. The two-lane stretch of road, which runs parallel to the Boardwalk, is smooth and clean, providing the ideal surface for cycling and blading.
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