Smoothing the Pavement for Cyclists and Pedestrians
Volunteers Make a Concrete Difference
Cyclists will meet on the
Manhattan side of the Manhattan Bridge,
On Sunday morning, cyclists seeking to rid lower Manhattan of street hazards will gather with their bikes, clipboards and cans of spray paint to scour a section of Chinatown, Little Italy and Two Bridges that are bicycle thoroughfares to the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Along the way, they'll map sunken manhole covers, broken sewer gratings, uneven pavement and jagged construction plates, and they'll send their findings to the Department of Transportation.
"Our city streets take a beating, especially from trucks and larger vehicles, which are the least likely to suffer from road hazards," says Transportation Alternatives' Projects Director, Noah Budnick. "Pedestrians and cyclists can be thrown off balance by potholes that motorists don't even notice." Since 1997, Transportation Alternatives' Operation Hazard ID has collected and reported data on thousands of street hazards to the DOT.
"This is one of the most rewarding things I do," says Transportation Alternatives' Diana Gavales, the Operation Hazard ID Coordinator. "I commute on my bike every day. When the streets are in bad shape, cyclists face a serious risk of crashing. Worse still, surprise street hazards are a routine cause of cyclist injury. Since I started organizing Operation Hazard ID, I've become more attuned to the street conditions. I've also seen the DOT make changes based on reports we've sent them. When you see a filled pothole or repaired street cut you feel more ownership of the streets, which is how it should be. The streets should work for everyone who uses them."
Operation Hazard ID meets monthly. New volunteers are always welcome, and further information is available online at www.transalt.org.