July/August 1997, p.22


Dear TA:
Please print this letter about the forgotten Marine Park Bridge, where a cyclist can be cursed at, given the evil eye, or just plain bumped into by one of the many forms of fishing equipment left unattended in the middle of the path. These fishing enthusiasts have absolutely no regards for other users of the path.

The route is one of the most beautiful rides in Brooklyn, and if you like hiking or walking to the beach via Marine Park Bridge, you're in for a treat. Maybe fishing off the bridge is a bad idea. I hope the proper authorities read this letter and look into it, because it's a disaster waiting to happen.
T. Rodgers
Brooklyn, NY

Dear T.A.:
One of the most disgraceful recent developments in the NY metropolitan area was the replacement of two pedestrian-plus-car train stations with a car-only station in northern Westchester. The attitude of the officials was haughty and arrogant, and the local papers dutifully parroted them: train stations that are in-sight and are pedestrian-accessible are a public nuisance; everyone who walks to the train station takes away a parking space; and people with cars shouldn't use public transportation except when going into that abnormally dense New York City.

Even pro-public-transportation people did not support me when I wrote to officials (and received only an admonishing reply). Why was there no attention paid, even from organizations like yours, to this outrageous cause of more air pollution?
Jeannette Wolfberg
Mount Kisco, NY

Ed: We at TA agree that the MTA's actions have been unacceptable, and as a member of the. Tri-State Transportation Campaign, TA supports efforts by the Regional Plan Association and Scenic Hudson to fight such short- sightedness in transportation planning.

Dear TA:
Thank you for printing my letter (Dear Commissioner Lynn, May/June 1997) concerning the bad conditions I face on my commute from Far Rockaway, Queens, to JFK Airport via Rockaway Turnpike.

As of June 3, the stretch of sidewalk I referred to in my letter has been cleared! The weeds that were choking, often obscuring, the path have been cut down. The two ticks I peeled off my legs last week were the result of the brush. Now the weeds are gone and the usual copious amount of garbage is noticeably missing.

This sidewalk hadn't been touched in the 21/2 years since I began complaining. Now a HUGE change. I guess there is still hope.
Charles Kazanjian
Far Rockaway, NY

Ed: Good news. But what ever happened to the dead dog?

Dear T.A.:
In view of the current crackdown on bicyclists by NYC police, I believe it is time for us to insist that the police enforce laws which help to make bicycling safer. The cops must crack down on vehicles blocking the few bike lanes that exist in the city. There is also the issue of pedestrian violations. There seems to be a hesitancy to blame pedestrians for their actions. However, I find myself swerving or braking more and more to avoid jaywalkers or people walking against the red light. Lafayette Street and Eighth Street is a particularly bad intersection for this. Never in my 8 1/2 years of cycling have I seen any enforcement of such violations.

These issues become more compelling if I as a bicyclist am supposed to obey all traffic rules. Waiting at red lights means I have to travel with traffic coming up behind me, making it very dangerous for me to try to get around double-parked cars or jaywalkers.

No matter how responsibly I ride in regards to other people's safety, I find I am being ticketed for violations no matter the circumstance. I was told that this was due to complaints against cyclists. I believe that it's time for us to raise our voices and complain about violations that are endangering us.

If traffic regulations are enforced in a discriminatory manner against bicyclists, this only makes the streets more dangerous for us. NYC is already lacking in amenities for cyclists. I don't think it is out of hand to insist that the police enforce regulations fairly to create a safer environment for everyone.
John Chanik
New York, NY

Dear Michele Harris at CityRacks:
Commissioner Lynn kindly sent an answer on June 17 to my letter about bicycle racks and he enclosed the DOT brochure with its form to fill out for requests for racks.

However, the questions which I asked him have remained unanswered. I rephrase them for you here. What are some the criteria on which the DOT inspector bases his choice of siting when someone requests a bike stand? Why it is, for instance, that although I have requested racks (even one rack) on mid- town cross-town sidewalks (in the 30's, especially between 5th and 6th Avenues), where no bike parking facilities currently exist, no racks have appeared? Mean- while, why have so many racks appeared where there are already existing facilities, such as posts for DOT signs and posts for parking meters?

I have previously filled out the DOT request form on which I suggested the midtown need for racks. I suppose that there are good reasons why racks have been placed where they seem to me to be redundant and to clutter sidewalks. I would appreciate knowing why those choices were made. Without knowing the reasons for them, I tend to think that the rack project is a gesture in goodwill, but a misguided one. I look forward to your answer.
Mary Frances Dunham
New York, NY