There was a media happening this morning at the corner of St. Marks Place & 2nd Avenue. Channel 2, Channel 5 and NY1 crowded onto the sidewalk to hear Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer reveal results of an “unprecedented survey of bike lane safety.”
To compile the survey (“Respect the Lane, Clear the Path”), Stringer’s office collected data at 11 locations throughout the city over a three day period (October 5-7). Four of those locations were downtown: Grand Street & Bowery, St. Marks & 2nd Avenue, 14th Street and 2nd Avenue & Centre & Chambers.
Among the abuses observed: pedestrians blocking bike lanes (741 occurrences), cars blocking bike lanes (275 occurrences), unmarked police cars in apparent non-emergency situations cutting through bike lanes, bike riders going the wrong way in bike lanes. At St. Marks & 2nd, 173 violations were observed; 253 at Grand & Bowery.
From the news release distributed this morning:
The verdict was clear: while bike lanes bring a tremendous benefit to New York City, misuse by all parties—motorists, pedestrians and cyclists—undermines their success. “I strongly support bike lanes, because they enrich the environment, quality of life and health of New York City residents,” said the Borough President. “But we must respect the rules and regulations surrounding them. Unfortunately, chaos reigns in bike lanes across the city, making them an unpredictable and unprotected method of transportation.
Along with the survey, Stringer has several recommendations. Among them, increased enforcement (over the three day period, observers only noted two tickets being issued). Also: enhanced street signage, a publicity campaign, reserved parking for deliveries along major commercial routes, increased use of “bike boxes” near intersections and dedicated bike patrol officers.
Attending today’s news conference: State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, representatives of Transportation Alternatives and Community Board 2 member Ian Dutton.
The new bike lanes along 1st and 2nd Avenues have, of course, been a huge topic of conversation in the neighborhood. Community Board 3 and City Councilmember Rosie Mendez’s office have received numerous complaints from residents about the configuration of the lanes and about their implementation.