Quick Hits From Yesterdayâ€™s Bikes in Buildings Hearing
by Ben Fried
Due to popular demand, here’s a quick rundown of yesterday’s transportation committee hearing in City Council on the Bikes in Buildings Bill. More details to follow.
* There was no vote. The general sense is that the bill needs some fine-tuning but enjoys majority support. (TA says 26 votes have been lined up.) There will be a second committee hearing, probably in January, at which a vote can be expected.
* Commissioner Sadik-Khan, Rohit Aggarwala from the mayor’s sustainability office, and City Planning officials testified in favor. So did Paul White of TA, Kyle Wiswall from TSTC, and Josh Nachowitz from NYLCV.
* A REBNY member and real estate broker testified in favor, as did the owner of a building on Grand Street and developers Two Trees Management and Jonathan Rose (the developers submitted written testimony).
* About 10 commuting cyclists also testified in favor.
* Testimony against the bill came from REBNY, the Building Owners and Managers Association, and a woman who wants to ban bicycles from the island of Manhattan.
A member of Ghostbikes.org wanted to remind people about next years annual memorial ride.
The NYC Street Memorial Project invites you to the 4th Annual Memorial
Ride and Walk in remembrance of cyclists and pedestrians killed on the
streets of NYC in 2008. The ride, which will be held on Sunday,
January 4, 2009, has 4 starting points: Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx,
and lower Manhattan. See www.ghostbikes.org for more information.
WHO’s MOVIE?…OUR MOVIE!
A small indie unromantic romantic comedy called, “A NEW YORK THING” is looking for 30 bicycle riders ( Men and woman) to participate in a critical mass scene in Manhattan. Saturday Night, December 20th for about 6 hours (6-midnight) There is some pay involved…$75.00 flat. (hey that’s more then a moving violation from the cops)
The change in infrastructure, especially catering to one self-serving and benign like the bicycle, never comes easy. Especially when an orthodox set of religious jews are involved who want things to change about as much as Andy Rooney wants to find some relevant material. But you ever notice that such a pious and old-world sect as the Yiddish-speaking Satmar Hassidim, with their 1920’s apparel have no problem embracing the modern world of real-estate, Lexus mini-vans and an often dangerous habit of illegally talking on one’s cell phone while driving? This is all making for a destructive mix with new bicycle lanes in Williamsburg Brooklyn, that’s enough to make you say: “Im hatimtoon haya tippa, ata hayita okianoos!” (If dumbness were a drop, you would have been an ocean)
I myself had one of my two accidents involving a motor vehicle in Williamsburg, where a older jewish man was driving off asking if I was alright, as he made an illegal u-turn and plowed into me. OYE!
Here is a description of things heating described by a Gothamist reader involving a strange game of chicken…which doesn’t sound very Glatt Kosher.
“Things have gotten pretty terrible in the saga of the Kent Ave. bike lane, at least for me. Today I had to ride between North Williamsburg and Fort Greene. On my way there, an older Hasidic man stepped right off the empty sidewalk and into the bike lane right in front of me as I was riding by Shaffaer’s Landing. He seriously tried to play a game of chicken with me and stepped in that lane when I was a good 10 yards back so I would have to swerve around him.
On my way back around 4 p.m. things got a bit worse. As I was making a left from Wallabout onto Kent to go under the BQE (not the best route, I know, but I wanted to get home quickly) a bus drive by a Hasidic man (no other people on it) sped up to make the right onto Kent in front of me even though there was no room for him to make the turn. I know this is hard to explain in an email, but he made it impossible for me to access the far right side of the street. I had to turn in between two lanes of traffic. There was no space for me to get over until I got closer to the light, which had by that time changed. I tried to pull up into the gas station on that corner, but a huge truck with a crane started backing out. I had to swerve back into traffic where I hit a huge crack and bit it. My head almost got run over by a car. Fortunately, I got away with a scraped knee and the creeps.
Of course, by the time I finally made it back to the start of the bike lane again on the other side of the BQE there was a guy driving his minivan down it…IN REVERSE! Can’t wait to bring this up at the Community Board meeting.”
Delancey street is one of the most direct bike routes to the Williamsburg Bridge. Some could argue it is in desperate need of a bike lane.
December 10th, Manhattan Community Board #3 Transportation Committee will Discuss this issue.
Please join Transportation Alternatives and the Adopt a Bike Lane Initiative for
the Manhattan Community Board #3 Transportation Committee Meeting to discuss Bike Lanes On Delancey Street!
Community Board #3, Manhattan
Transportation & Public Safety / Environment Committees
Wednesday, December 10, 2008 – 6:30pm
Confucius Plaza Community Room
33 Bowery (at Bayard St)
**Note: The Delancey Street bike lane proposal is the 2nd Item on the agenda.