March/April 1996, p.22

LETTERS

DEAR T.A.:
In the most recent City Cyclist, the "Commuter of the Month" was a member of the American Stock Exchange. There was yet another American Stork Exchange member included in Ed Ravin's snapshot of his 'Lost Greenways" ride. Not bad for an 800-member institution. Once again, the American Stock Exchange is way ahead of its time!
Steven Lesser
Great Neck, NY

DEAR T.A:
Your January/February issue contains, as usual, some interesting news you can't get anywhere else, but also some reports which were not really fair to the agencies involved. The reclassification of in-line skaters as vehicles is news which appeared nowhere else. It's a first step toward thinking of skates as transportation. I know you'll keep an eye on it.
The items on the LIRR and DOT's bridges in "Bike Shorts" were unfair to the agencies involved.
You can't call the LIRR "the worst provider of bike access in the region." I used LIRR with my Trek for over 100 rides in 1995; some crews were nicer than others, but the fact is the bike got on the train every time. The LIRR allows bikes off peak on every line. Compare that to NJ Transit, which still bans bikes from its Morris & Essex line. On Amtrak, only one train a day leaving New York takes unboxed bikes, and only 6 months a year.
It's also not fair to DOT to say that their bridges are impassable to bikes and pedestrians when there is snow and ice. This is also personal experience; I walk or bike over the #1 bike & Ped Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, almost every day. It's true that the roadways get faster and better care, but it's also true that, after the huge 1993-4 ice storm, DOT Bridges crews were out chopping ice off the Brooklyn Bridge path inch by inch, and had a single track open within 48 hours. Then they cleaned the snow out of the single track within about 24 hours of each of the next 16 storms. Even in the December 1995 storm, the bridge was cleaned and sanded well enough for boots and fat tires within 24 hours, and clean enough for shoes and road bikes within 48 hours.
It might be more accurate for T.A. to take credit that these agencies do as well as they do.
Despite the above flames, thanks again for the best and most needed publication of its kind.
Larry Gould
New York, NY

Larry:
Thanks for your comments, but we have to disagree with your LIRR and Brooklyn Bridge assessments. The LIRR might have a decent access policy on paper but: 1) you can't get a permit the same day (as you can with NJT and Metro-North), 2) conductors have a reputation for strict and capricious adherence to the letter of a restrictive access policy (when common sense would dictate other wise), and 3) compared to other NYC area transit systems, LIRR's efforts seem perfunctory and tepid.
Our memory of the 17 snowstorms in 1993-94 recalls 30-yard patches of solid ice on the Brooklyn Bridge lasting for weeks at a time after the various storms. The City responded to our phone calls and letters by pointing out that plowing the roads was an overwhelming priority. We do agree they've done a better plowing job since then, probably thanks to T.A. pressure.
-Ed.

DEAR T.A.:
What bothers me even more than cars in Central Park is this business of only shoveling two lanes of the road: guess which one is missed? I notice the leaf and mud accumulations in the fall. Riding down the West Side, the left lane is often full of snow, mixed with patches of ice. Yet the other two lanes were almost completely clear, just barely damp.
Torn Meyer
New York, NY

DEAR T.A.:
I'm writing with a hopeful suggestion, for a rack somewhere near Houston and Bleecker on Broadway. Last summer I rode away in frustration because every lamppost and No Parking sign had bikes strapped to it already.
I love your newsletter, especially since you always provide the names and addresses of people to complain to.
Michele Disco New York, NY
Michele:
Thanks for the tip! P/ease see page 7 for info on how to get involved with City Racks, the DOTS bike rack program.
-Ed.

DEAR T.A.:
I am a birdwatcher, walker, and bicycle commuter. The sorry state of affairs in urban parks illustrates the folly of forcing all kinds of conflicting recreational modes on to one narrow strip of pavement. Nobody is pleased, and serious injury is likely.
Let us vent our rage not at the frustrated cyclists and skaters who have nowhere else to go, but at the so-called "planners" who have allocated vast acreage within our parks for parking lots and roadways for cars. This huge expense is not borne by motorists, who rarely pay to store their mobile furnaces in public parks.
And if we are going to prohibit mountain bikers from the delicate wooded parklands, which they are quickly destroying, cars should likewise be restricted, as they gobble public space and foul the air. Without cars, the parks will seem to increase vastly in size, making plenty of space for the formerly warring walkers, bikers, and skaters.
Anne Hansen
Toronto

DEAR T.A.:
What if the City imposed a fine of say, $100, and a point on the license of any motorist caught failing to signal a turn? The City could use the revenue, and enforcing "good manners" on the road might promote good manners off the road as well.
Jeffrey Shapiro
Brooklyn, NY

Jeffrey:
Great idea, Were all for it.
-Ed.