After deadlocking in December, Manhattan Commmunity Board 7′s transportation committee voted 7-2, with one abstention, to support the extension of the Columbus Avenue protected bike lane before an overwhelmingly supportive crowd last night.
CB 7 transportation committee co-chair Dan Zweig said last night that he doesn't believe in the accepted standards for analyzing crash statistics. Photo: Stephen Miller
The resolution passed without any help from the committee’s co-chairs, Andrew Albert, who abstained, and Dan Zweig, who voted against the resolution.
At the end of the meeting, CB 7 chair Mark Diller, who had been emceeing the night’s events, came out and endorsed the resolution, while continuing to hedge his position. “I don’t think it’s a slam dunk,” he told committee members, “but it absolutely deserves an airing at full board.”
In previous meetings with CB 7, DOT presented data showing that the lane has yielded safety benefits for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers — including a 41 percent drop in pedestrian injuries. Zweig didn’t accept DOT’s crash data last night, saying that because one year of pre-lane data had a high number of crashes, it should be excluded from analysis.
DOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Director Josh Benson rebuffed Zweig’s attempt to cherry pick numbers. ”We don’t invent new methodologies,” he said. “To just pick one year and eliminate it, that’s just not what we do.”
In his presentation [PDF], Benson also defended mixing zones, spaces leading up to intersections designed to improve visibility between cyclists and left-turning drivers. Some BID representatives and board members had requested that DOT eliminate the zones to preserve parking spots. Instead, the agency will shorten the zones on the existing bike lane to add back one spot per block, while maintaining that they are necessary to reduce the risk of crashes.
DOT has also completed its outreach to 189 local businesses and, as a result, will add or lengthen weekday daytime loading zones at five locations on Columbus Avenue. Additionally, the agency will eliminate the morning rush hour parking restriction between 110th and 96th Streets, opening up 105 parking spots for three additional hours each weekday morning.
At last night’s meeting, DOT said that the street redesign could be complete after two months of construction. Although there was no schedule for implementation, Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione said it’s on track to be installed sometime in 2013.