Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Will Mayor Bloomberg's bikie lanes survive?

Well-connected New Yorkers have taken the unusual step of suing the city to remove a controversial bicycle lane in a wealthy neighborhood of Brooklyn, the most potent sign yet of opposition to the Bloomberg administration’s marquee campaign to remake the city’s streets. A two-way bike lane along Prospect Park West in Brooklyn is the focus of a lawsuit filed Monday. But while the suit seeks only the removal of that particular lane, it incorporates criticisms of the administration’s overall approach in carrying out the high-profile initiatives of its transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, including placing pedestrian plazas in Times and Herald Squares and rededicating dozens of miles of traffic lanes for bicycle use. Although this is not the first legal challenge against bike lanes in New York City — the Koch administration was sued in 1980 — the case opens a new front in one of the most heated civic disputes since smoking was banned in bars. The suit also quotes e-mail correspondence that suggests a close relationship between top Department of Transportation officials and the cycling advocates who are vocal supporters of expanding the city’s bicycle network. Read more in the New York Times. 

1 comment:

David Mudrauskas said...

Perhaps the bike lane in this one neighborhood has made navigating it by vehicle exceptionally cumbersome enough to warrant its removal, but in general I've been really impressed by the way the city's accommodated the needs of both bicycling and driving communities. I'm admittedly biased toward the former though, as it's more accessible and healthy, so I'd be disappointed to see conflict curtail bike lanes beyond this.

The last time I was in Brooklyn I heard the choice of bicycling get criticized for being motivated more by elitism than anything else, but even if that were verifiable how would that be any worse than driving a car? Regardless of the intention behind it, as long as people can get around cheaply, the roads can accommodate more of them and it translates into healthier bodies and reduced carbon emissions, I see little wrong with promoting bicycling.