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Posts from the "CityRacks" Category

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CB 7 Turns Down Bike Racks as Big Complete Streets Meeting Approaches

Despite a positive vote in committee, earlier this week Community Board 7 on the Upper West Side sidelined a plan to bring more bike racks to the area, after some procedural maneuvering by transportation committee co-chair Dan Zweig stifled discussion. With a key presentation from DOT on extending the Columbus Avenue protected bike lane coming up next week, the episode is a reminder that just about any change to the street faces an uphill battle with Zweig and his fellow co-chair, Andrew Albert.

Next week CB 7 will discuss a bigger issue than bike racks: the potential extension of the Columbus Avenue bike lane. Image: DOT

On Tuesday evening, Manhattan CB 7′s full board meeting seemed to be off to a good start. A proposal for a bike corral at Broadway and West 105th Street, which DOT modified to include more bike parking in response to committee members’ requests, passed the full board 34-1, with two abstentions.

Next up: a resolution asking DOT to consider installing bike racks at locations that the Upper West Side Streets Renaissance Campaign had determined met the city’s standards on Broadway, Amsterdam Avenue, and Columbus Avenue. After reaching out to adjacent businesses and property owners, asking if they wanted to opt out of getting a new bike rack, the campaign was left with 111 bike rack locations that it presented the transportation committee, which passed a resolution in support, 7-2.

Committee co-chair Dan Zweig, who voted against the resolution, introduced the issue to the full board Monday night. In giving many board members their first glimpse of the proposal, Zweig acted ”as though the work we had done was really threadbare,” said Lisa Sladkus, an organizer of the campaign. Zweig wanted committee members to talk to business owners and property owners themselves about each bike rack location.

“We felt we went over and above what was required,” Sladkus said, adding that the campaign modeled its outreach on DOT’s popular CityBench program, which allows adjacent businesses or property owners to opt out. Sladkus said she even sent Zweig a file containing voicemails, emails, and letters between businesses and property owners and the UWS Streets Renaissance Campaign. “Whatever we provided, they wanted more,” she said. ”Dan Zweig did not believe us.”

Quickly after Zweig gave the resolution a withering introduction at Monday’s meeting, board member Ian Alterman made a motion to send the issue back to committee. With the motion on the table, board members were forbidden from speaking about the merits of the bike rack plan. The board, which had heard only criticism of the proposal, voted 23-13, with one abstention, to kick it back to the transportation committee.

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CB 7 Committee Votes for More UWS Bike Parking, Overriding Co-Chair

Last night, the transportation committee of Manhattan Community Board 7 signed off on plans for more bike racks on the Upper West Side and the neighborhood’s first on-street bike corral. The two resolutions mustered more than enough support to overwhelm the objections of committee co-chair Dan Zweig, and both will advance to the full committee in December.

DOT's Jennifer Harris-Hernandez presents the plan for an on-street bike corral at Broadway and West 105th Street last night.

DOT has installed five on-street bike corrals in Manhattan, but none on the Upper West Side. The corner of Broadway and West 105th Street, in front of Henry’s Restaurant, would be the neighborhood’s first.

“It’s replacing a parking spot that we just gained from the change to muni-meter,” restaurant owner Henry Rinehart told Streetsblog. “Any time you turn a parking spot into a bike corral, you have a net gain of seven to nine potential customers.”

DOT’s Jennifer Harris-Hernandez explained that the corral design includes planters as protective barriers, though the committee’s resolution, approved 7-1 with one abstention, asked DOT to swap out the planters for more bike racks after some meeting attendees said the space was needed for more bike parking. Zweig was the lone vote against the bike corral.

The committee also considered a list of potential bike rack locations compiled by the Upper West Side Streets Renaissance Campaign, whose volunteers had fanned out across the neighborhood to identify 136 spots that are both in need of bike parking and meet DOT’s CityRack installation standards.

The UWS Streets Renaissance sent business owners a letter informing them that the sidewalk in front of their establishment had been identified as a potential bike rack location, asking if they wanted to opt out of the program in advance of last night’s meeting. After 45 businesses opted out, the remaining 91 bike rack locations were presented to the committee.

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Paco Abraham Turns Duane Reade on to Bike Racks

duane_reade.jpg Yesterday DOT announced it is seeking submissions for the first ever bike-friendly business awards. This being the week of Earth Day, a few bike-positive firms have come to our attention recently -- Macy's, W Hotels, J Crew -- but the most substantial business-led effort to improve the city's cycling environment this year may have come from Duane Reade. The omnipresent drugstore chain has asked the city to install bike racks at all its New York locations -- 150 in Manhattan plus dozens more in the outer boroughs.

Okay, this doesn't quite match the awards criteria, which are more about providing a welcome environment for employees who commute by bike, but it is a very public-spirited step that deserves major kudos. The request is the largest ever received by the CityRacks program -- "by a comfortable margin" -- said DOT spokesman Ted Timbers. And the story behind the Duane Reade bike racks suggests another award -- one for individual activism.

Duane Reade's request was prompted by none other than Streetsblog reader and frequent commenter Dave "Paco" Abraham.

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