Spring 2003, p.26

Letters

Sidewalk Cycling Must Stop
While recognizing the dangers of riding a bicycle in the chaos of the streets, which is why I don't ride anymore, I confess to becoming ever more angry at bicycle riders (mostly deliverers of take out food) who ride on the sidewalks and against traffic on one-way streets (almost as angry as I am at former city council member Eristoff and, perhaps, current member Moskowitz, for their simplistic approach to this problem). I would request that T.A. consider supporting legislation and enforcement policies that hold the owners of the take out stores responsible for the illegal actions of their employees. I cannot support heavy sanctions against the deliverers, who earn very little and may or may not understand what the problem is.
Bob Pfeiferman

Ed.'s Note: T.A. is launching a major outreach program to working cyclists aimed at reducing sidewalk cycling. Look for information in the next magazine.

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Hazardous Bumps on the Williamsburg Bridge
DOT Customer Service:
Thank you for your response to my complaint about the dangerous expansion joint covers on the Williamsburg Bridge. Unfortunately, DOT's response to the problem is wholly inadequate and perfunctory, and seems designed to prevent lawsuits, not injuries. Making the joints easier to see will not "make crossing the joints easier" as you state, it will only soothe DOT's conscience while still subjecting riders to jarring bumps that will harm them and damage their bikes. The people who use the bridge deserve as smooth a roadway as the cars have gotten.
George Steinberg

Dear Mr. Steinberg:
Thank you for your correspondence concerning the expansion joints on the pedestrian and bicycle path that was opened on the Williamsburg Bridge last year. In response to your concerns, our agency will make two changes on the path to make crossing the joints easier. By the middle of May, Bridge Operations will complete painting all 24 joints yellow to draw special attention to them. Additionally, this action will be supplemented by the installation of standard warning signs to further alert path users to the presence of the joints.
NYC DOT
Customer Service

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Moving Towards a Safer Manhattan Bridge
Dear Councilmember Yassky,
Thank you for your efforts to make a safer entrance to the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge bicycle path. I use this path daily and I've been in contact with Lori Ardito at the DOT in regards to my request for a yield sign there. Ms. Ardito said that the DOT is considering a new six-week study, but she seemed to be avoiding the issue. I also offered her a bicycle and helmet so that she could join me on the ten-minute ride to the bridge from the Brooklyn DOT office, though she has yet to take me up on the offer. After the tight turn from the off-ramp, traffic is going slow enough that a yield sign would not make an impact in the flow of traffic; it would only heighten awareness of bicycle and pedestrian crossing. Thank you again for your efforts on the behalf of New York City's bicyclists. Your efforts may save a life.
Zach Berman

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DCAS Bike Parking Policy Full of Hot Air
Dear Mr. Warner Johnston,
Thank you for your prompt reply to my message regarding indoor bicycle parking in City buildings. Forgive me for being blunt, but the comments (quoted below) contain an astonishing amount of empty double-talk.

(1) RE: "the presence of bicycles in offices and other cramped spaces will serve to reduce the amount of room employees have for movement"
Yes, obviously keeping bikes indoors takes up space. I'm not suggesting that bikes should be kept in cubicles, just that you consider ways to set aside workable indoor spots for bikes, on a building-by-building basis. The City could provide an extraordinarily helpful example to other employers by doing this. A bike commuter within each agency could take on the task of finding such spaces in his/her building so that strained city personnel resources wouldn't have to be given additional work.

(2) RE: "stored bicycles may also have a potentially negative impact upon the ability of firefighters and other emergency responders when they are attempting to address on-going emergencies"

Yes, of course bikes might get in the way of firefighters in an emergency. That's why one needs to designate a non-obstructing spot for the bikes. It takes surprisingly little space and Transportation Alternatives has plans and suggestions for racks that you could utilize for free.

I urge you to revisit this question rather than simply dismissing it with inflated language and a host of theoretical problems.

Thanks very much for your time.
Catherine Aman

Ms. Aman,
In reference to safety, the presence of bicycles in offices and other cramped spaces will serve to reduce the amount of room employees have for movement. The majority of City employees work in cubicles with no space for bicycles. Additionally, stored bicycles may also have a potentially negative impact upon the ability of firefighters and other emergency responders when they are attempting to address on-going emergencies. Operational concerns include: the negative impact the presence of bicycles would have on elevator space; security issues, such as bicycle theft; and lastly the problems associated with granting employees the privilege of bringing their bicycles into the building while denying the public the same privilege.
Warner Johnston

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