City Council Proposes Slashing Funds for Bike Network

quinn_large.jpgCity Council Speaker Christine Quinn and her city-owned Chevy Suburban. Photo copyright Steven Hirsch.

New bike infrastructure in New York City could be on the chopping block as the City Council and Mayor Bloomberg revise spending projections downward. On Sunday, Speaker Christine Quinn and the City Council released $495 million in proposed budget cuts over the next two years, including an item that would slash spending on bike network expansion in half. DOT's bike network funds would drop from $9.6 million to $4.8 million in 2009, and from $11 million to $5.5 million in 2010. Download this PDF and scroll down to the first item numbered 841, "Reduce Bike Network Development Funding."

A spokesman for Speaker Quinn's office did not specify why the bike network was targeted for spending cuts, saying only that painful steps were necessary to close the city's budget gap. In an interview on WNYC earlier this week, Quinn said that the council's financial staff were charged with identifying programs that are "not necessarily the core function" of city agencies.

The proposals now enter the ongoing budget negotiation process between the council and the mayor's office. In November, Bloomberg released a separate list of budget fixes, which did not include cuts to bike network funding. (Interestingly, the mayor's proposals did include a measure to raise more revenue from parking meters below 60th Street [PDF, page 24].) Yesterday Bloomberg ordered city agencies to identify additional spending reductions by December 22.

If you believe a safer bike network is a core function of DOT, contact information for Speaker Quinn's office and your council member can be found on the City Council website.