work on bike lanes begins news

| 25 Jul 2016 | 02:56

Ready or not, here come more Upper East Side bike lanes.

Since November 2015, there has been a lot of community discussion about bike lanes in the neighborhood. The Department of Transportation wants to put five-foot bike lanes on 70th, 71st, 77th, and 78th streets, but faced strenuous opposition from a neighborhood that has emerged as one of the most strongly anti-bike in the city.

After meetings between the Community Board, Department of Transportation, and residents in the area, on May 18, the full Community Board voted and rejected the proposal of additional bike lanes, 25 to 19.

While some residents celebrated the vote, their happiness was short lived. On June 22, the Department of Transportation decided to go through with the plan to put the bike lanes on all four streets, and work on the lanes has been underway for the past two weeks.

“I am agitated by these bike lanes and am not looking forward to the traffic that will come with it,” said resident Judith Toby. “It’s not only going to be bad for drivers, but also pedestrians and the environment. Traffic is bound to be hazardous for those crossing the street and bring more pollution.”

The Department of Transportation is continuing to make the argument that the bike lanes are going to make the streets safer, allow bikers to be more predictable, and improve safety for drivers. The department sees bike lanes as part of its plan to achieve Vision Zero, meaning no traffic fatalities in the city.

While the city’s intensions may be good, the matter upsets the Community Board. James Clynes, the chair of Community Board 8, says, “Regardless of my personal opinion I will always defend, protect, and preserve the full Community Board. We voted 25 to 19 no and although we are disappointed that the Department of Transportation is going through with the installments despite our vote, they do have the right to move forward.”

These bike lanes have not only caused tensions between the Community Board and the Department of Transportation, but also the Community Board and residents. Many residents are angry with the Community Board and claim that the board could have done more to prevent the lanes from being built.

“We have no control over the department’s decisions and it is unacceptable for anyone to believe that we didn’t take action in this issue,” Clynes says.