If You Insist on Driving, You’re in the Wrong Town

Amsterdam Avenue | Photo: @harbaugh76/Twitter

Manhattan Community Board 7 voted last night in support of a plan to redesign Amsterdam Avenue between 72nd Street and 110th Street. The plan will bring a protected bike lane to the avenue, which Streetsblog‘s David Meyer calls “a surface speedway cutting through the heart of the Upper West Side.” The vote earned praise from livable streets advocates, who for years have pushed for a safer Amsterdam Avenue.

Tonight, the fight for safer streets heads across town to the Upper East Side, where the Community Board 8 Transportation Committee will consider a plan to bring crosstown bike lanes to East 67th, 68th, 77th, 78th, 84th and 85th Streets.

While last night’s vote is a sign that community boards have finally embraced safe bicycling infrastructure, some New Yorkers haven’t come around just yet. DNAInfo reached out to readers on the UES to gauge public sentiment about crosstown bike lanes. One comment rivals some of the wildest things we’ve ever heard people say about bike lanes:

“Of course the bicycle people / car haters will rally behind it and think it’s one step closer to their gasoline free utopia, but the reality is, painting more lines down on the concrete, doesn’t make it any safer, it takes away parking that is already difficult enough and will create a more dangerous environment. To look at the disaster that is now 1st Avenue and see that placed on our beloved little side streets is depressing as all hell.”

This one caught our attention too:

“NO-NO-NO and NO. Crossing the city streets is already a mine field. Adding more bike lanes where riders ride carelessly with impunity is absurd. Foolishness. NYC is not Stockholm, Sweden or Holland.”

As did this tweet, from Tuesday night’s CB7 meeting:

True, New York is not Holland, Copenhagen or Portland. But given the fact that the majority of NYC households are car-free, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to ask why on earth the city has dedicated so much space to car lanes and free curbside parking.

So let’s turn that around: if the anti-bike crowd’s contention is that people who ride bikes should go live in Scandinavia, then perhaps they should take a look at their own transportation habits and consider relocating to someplace that’s more amenable to driving (Lubbock, Texas is beautiful this time of year). Because if you’re going to rely on a car, you’re clearly living in the wrong city.

4 Comments on "If You Insist on Driving, You’re in the Wrong Town"

  1. Tyson White | February 3, 2016 at 4:24 pm |

    Lubbock, Texas… Ha ha! Well said!

  2. Janine Bauer | February 5, 2016 at 1:47 pm |

    The Lubbock MPO website has a nice map of their bike lanes and advocates are seeking more, while Uber also looks for drivers there amidst the reality that not everyone drives.

  3. Bronx Resident | February 5, 2016 at 6:05 pm |

    Parking protected bicycle lanes don’t even eliminate parking. Pedestrian islands and turning bays do.

    Amsterdam Ave, like most Manhattan’s Aves is too wide for a community with such non-automotive activity. Too much unpredictable activity to be traveling at high speeds.

    I approve of the complete streets reconfigurations and wish the city would be much more aggressive in implementation citywide.

    This is about people’s lives.

  4. That DNAinfo reporter only cares about making streets safer just after someone is run over. Afterwards, it is business as usual trumpeting the anti-bike line.

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