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.
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.