Crosstown Bike Lanes Remain in the Crosshairs

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Opponents of the Department of Transportation's plan for a new Lower Manhattan crosstown bike route are expected to make a show of force at tonight's Community Board 2 Transportation Committee meeting in an effort to preserve a few dozen on-street parking spaces along Carmine and Bleecker Streets. Bicycling advocates are urging their supporters to show up as well.

Opponents began mobilizing two weeks ago after DOT removed all of the parking meters on Carmine Street and erected "No Standing" signs in preparation for the new bike lane. The loss of parking space angered a small but vocal group of local residents and merchants who managed to put the issue back on tonight's Transportation Committee agenda despite an 8 to 1 commitee vote in favor of DOT's plan and full Community Board approval last April.

Item number six on the agenda for this evening's Community Board meeting is, "Request to keep parking along Carmine St. bet. 7th Ave. and Bleecker St. intact and to put the new bicycle lane to the left of the parked cars." A local activist says to expect "fierce opposition from resident car owners and merchants" at tonight's meeting.

While it seems unlikely that opponents will be successful in overturning last spring's Community Board vote, which took place after many hours of deliberation, Transportation Alternatives is urging local bike lane supporters to show up tonight to support the critical east-west bike network link:

The Carmine Street bike lane will connect the Hudson River Greenway to the eastbound Bleecker Street bike lane. This is the DOT's first attempt to make sure that bike lanes don't simply dead-end, but connect with one another in a neighborhood bike network. This network represents the diligent efforts of Manhattan Community Board 2, and it is essential that the work proceed as originally planned.

Tonight's meeting is at 6:30pm in the NYU Silver Building, 32 Waverly Place, Room 710. ID is required. 

The city's proposal for lanes on Prince and Bleecker -- streets parallel to Houston, rather than Houston itself -- met resistance earlier this year from those who saw the plan as a flawed compromise for a dangerous, auto-centric Houston Street, as well as those who do not want street parking supplanted by "reckless cyclists."