September/October 1997, p.18


Dear TA:
Some times I get tired. Tired of the pavement, tired of cars, tried of dirty air, tired of hostile acts by people in cars, tired of riding 12 miles to work alone, and tired of thinking how much better things could be. Then I stop riding my bike for awhile. There is nothing like reading a copy of TA magazine to get me back on my bike again. To give me hope.
Guy Johnson
New York, NY

 I am a New York City resident and avid cyclist who does appreciate all the city is doing to become more bike friendly. I recently received a form outlining how private citizens can request sidewalk bicycle parking racks through the CityRacks program. Let me then take this opportunity to address a real safety concern that would be eliminated with a bicycle rack.

I am a member of Crunch Fitness and regularly visit the facility at 1190 Second Avenue, between 58th and 59th streets. There, in spite of an unusually wide sidewalk, one is forced to chain one's bike either to the several trees growing there (a harmful practice for the trees) or to street signs that stand less than two feet away from the curb. It is this second choice that the many cyclists who frequent the gym choose, and by far the more dangerous. The extreme right hand lane along Second Avenue is given over to a high speed lane for buses and taxis and often the cyclist who is concentrating on locking up is unaware of this.

I have brought up with the staff at Crunch and was told they had made several requests to put up a bike rack, but were rejected by the local Community Board. I do not know for certain if this is the case, I just hope that a spirit of cooperation will prevail among all par- ties concerned so that this dangerous condition is removed.
August Ventura
New York, NY

Dear Councilman Miller:
I hope you and the City Council can conceive of ways to encourage more people to use their bicycles, and when it comes to enforcing the traffic laws, go to the root of the problem: the automobiles that dominate the road space. Although bicycles can certainly be hazardous to pedestrians, the fact is that they killed zero people as recently as 1995, while cars killed 230, many in your neighborhood. Yet, according to the 19th Precinct, in the month of July, cyclists received almost 24 times the amount of traffic tickets given to motorists. Something is very wrong with this equation. The police need to focus their resources on speeders, aggressive drivers, and horn-blowers. The police should also enforce double parking regulations and the blocking of bike lanes more rigorously.

I hope you will consider proactive legislation that will make streets safer for all users. Scapegoating cyclists for political purposes and for quick rev- enue is no solution and will give New Yorkers a false sense that the streets are getting safer when they are not.
Phil Goff
New York, NY

Dear Mr. Mayor:
Thanks to the Garth Brooks concert tonight, Central Park was closed to cars this morning. What a joy for me and my morning walk to work across the park. With the cars gone, the joggers and bikes flowed smoothly where usually there are cars and cabs. What does it take to make this the norm? Cars have no place in a park for people. Even a Department of Transportation study shows that traffic flow around Cen- tral Park will actually be improved by closing the loop to cars. (see

Walking through Strawberry Fields early each morning, the air is fresh-until I get to the loop inside the park where cabs give it the gas going up the hill. There's something wrong with this picture. Please give us some relief!
Richard Dematteis
New York, NY

Dear TA:
On page two of the TA newsletter for July/August 1997 the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is described as being the hemisphere's longest (single span) bridge. Sorry guys, wrong again. The Humber Bridge in Kingston on Hull, England has had that title for quite some time.

Your comment that it also the city's newest bridge is damning with faint praise. It is a sure sign of decay when a great city like New York can't even build a single decent bridge in over thirty years.

Graeme Brichall
Jersey City, NJ

To the NYT:
It will be a great day for cyclists when positive developments such as those reported in your article "city has a plan to sweep bicyclists off their feet" (metro news, July 14) are visible from the streets. For now, however, I'm skeptical.

Why has it taken the city four years to install 350 bike racks, and when will we see the other 1,150 ? A two-mile lane on Hudson street ? Last time I checked, there were 20 city blocks to a mile, making the lane about half as long. And if our transportation commissioner is willing to admit that bicycle riders share his planet (if not his city!), where are statistics more recent than 1990 ? And why did he ban bikes and pedestrians from the Queensboro Bridge during the most popular hours of the day ? I agree that the city has great potential for cyclist , but it's a long way from being realized.
Hannah Borgeson
New York