Summer 2002, p.25


Thanks to the hundreds of concerned readers who wrote to us about fences on bridges, bicycling on sidewalks and curb cuts on the Upper West Side!

Unfair to Target Bicyclists
Councilmember Liu,
Although I agree that bicycling on sidewalks is dangerous, it is certainly less so than operating a car on sidewalks, which under your proposal would be punished far less severely. It's time to end this double standard between motorists and cyclists. If there must be a double standard, it actually should tilt toward leniency for cyclists since cycling is one way ordinary citizens can directly improve the overall quality of life in this city. Encouraging, rather than discouraging, bike use will reduce traffic congestion and the accompanying pollution and noise, and therefore your proposal would in its shortsightedness actually invite all the negative factors which go along with increased car traffic. We need to get more people on their bikes. If you're concerned about the small segment of the cycling population who rides on sidewalks, try enforcing the existing laws.
Thank you for you attention.
Matt Rettig

No to Offensive Bridge Fencing
I read with alarm the article in the Spring 2002 issue of "Transportation Alternatives" magazine about the caging (with chain link fence) of the East River bridges. I am particularly alarmed by the prospect of the addition of chain link fences to the Brooklyn Bridge, and have alerted my fellow Trustees of this matter. It may be on the agenda for our upcoming meeting, and I would like to see us issue letters in opposition to our elected officials, the LPC, etc.
Best regards,
David Alquist
Park Slope Civic Council

I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with the chain link fence on the Manhattan bridge bike path. Absent a demonstrated need for such an obstruction, it is unjustified given the interference and sense of oppression it causes. People who ride their bikes are good for the city-they don't pollute, they take up less street space and they put themselves at risk, rather than others (assuming they stay off sidewalks which they should). Take down the fence and by doing so give bikers the tribute they deserve, or at least provide a reasonable justification for the fence's presence.
Ronen Voloshin

Safe Sidewalks!
Dear Ms. Burden (Chairperson DCP),
Please protect pedestrian safety on our sidewalks by not granting special permits or zoning variances for the construction of new parking garages and/or lots in districts that currently do not allow them.

The driveway access required by parking garages and lots erode the functional capacity of our already overburdened sidewalks and allow for the hostile intrusion of potentially dangerous motor vehicles onto what should be considered a sanctuary for pedestrians. Wide, safe attractive sidewalks on which to walk and gather are one of our most precious public resource and are already in short supply, please help protect them. There are other innovative ways to get people who enter Manhattan in cars to the venues they seek without allowing them to drive right to the very heart of the Island. You have many of the answers right in your own Transportation Division.
Jackson Wandres

Noisy Night Trucks on First Avenue
I've become increasingly concerned about the volume of late night/early morning trucks roaring up First Avenue in Manhattan. Specifically, trucks toting empty shipping containers, which are not secured to the truck frames in the same manner as standard truck trailers, make loud banging noises when they hit even the smallest of bumps. Each bang is about a loud as a moderate speed head-on car accident. Are there any rules covering the sound damping and fastening of these containers? Can anything be done to reduce the volume of late night trucks?
All my best,
David Monti

Sensible Transportation Policy in NYC
Dear Councilmember Liu,
For 56 years I have lived in the Manhattan Beach section of Brooklyn. That area, like most neighborhoods in our city, has seen tremendous increases in auto traffic over the years. The congestion, which brings attendant noise, fumes and reckless driving, is dangerous to the health, safety, well-being and lives of New York City residents.
That's why I'm concerned that your committee is not giving proper attention to this matter and to the very serious conditions that pedestrians and bicyclists face every day on the dangerous streets of our communities.

Mr. Liu, I hope you will take the opportunity to change course now and put your committee at the forefront of the movement to drastically remake transportation policy in our city. We must move away from obsolete ideas of enhancing traffic for the benefit of cars and toward policies that put as a priority the safety, well being and comfort of pedestrians and bicyclists. Our city and its citizens will thank you for that progressive approach which will immeasurably enhance the lives of all New Yorkers.
Matthew Weinstein

Dear T.A.,
Please don't quit now! Please keep leading the fight for sanity.
Patrick M. Donovan