Tonight: DOT Talks Protected Bike Lanes With Upper West Side’s CB 7

In the wake of last week’s setback for efforts to bring more bike racks to the Upper West Side, Manhattan Community Board 7′s transportation committee will hold a key meeting tonight about an issue on which its chairs have failed to take action: protected bike lanes and complete streets.

The Columbus Avenue protected bike lane is currently only 19 blocks long. Photo: DOT

DOT is scheduled to provide an update on the existing Columbus Avenue lane, which runs between 96th and 77th Streets, and discuss plans for bringing more protected bike lanes to the neighborhood.

Council Member Gale Brewer will be at tonight’s meeting. “I’m a supporter of bike lanes, especially protected ones,” she said. The Columbus Avenue lane “isn’t used as much as I would like,” she noted, because “it doesn’t connect to anything.”

Although the neighborhood could use a stronger network of protected bike lanes, Brewer likes what she sees so far. The number of cyclists riding on the sidewalk has gone down, she said, adding that her office has received fewer complaints about the behavior of commercial cyclists.

Brewer, who worked to adjust the bike lane in response to community requests, was disappointed in DOT’s level of outreach when the lane was first installed, but is more satisfied with how the agency is addressing the concerns of businesses this time around.

“I think in this case they’re doing a lot more of that door-to-door,” Brewer said. Asked if she thinks others will be similarly pleased, Brewer was circumspect. ”We’ll find out,” she said.

Key people to watch at tonight’s meeting include long-time committee co-chairs Andrew Albert and Dan Zweig, who have used their positions to slow down street safety progress in the neighborhood. The meeting is open to the public and heavy attendance is expected. It begins at 7:00 p.m. at Congregation Rodeph Sholom, 7 West 83rd Street.