May/June 1998, p.22-23

Letters

Dear Council Member Eristoff:
Thank you for answering my letter about a path for walkers and cyclists on the Queensboro Bridge. I understand your dilemma about serving two seemingly opposing sectors of traffic of which the majority sector is a motorized one. Without using the bridge myself I will not presume to know the details of the situation. However, I am disturbed by your phrase "recreational bicyclists and pedestrians" in talking about the crucial hours of use between 3:00pm and 8:00pm. I believe that many, if not all, cyclists and pedestrians who use the bridge without motors do so for practical and moral reasons, not as a recreation. I believe that all citizens who need to cross a bridge have a right to cross it economically and safely, regardless of their chosen means of transport. Bridges are for everyone-for citizens of the whole city and of the whole nation. They do not belong to a particular sector of traffic nor to a particular community.
Mary Frances Dunham
New York, NY

Dear Mayor Giuliani:
I used to love to walk in this city (and I would love to bike too if it were not so dangerous). It is no longer a happy experience. This city is great except for the car traffic! It is horrible! It is the most violent offender to our quality of life and it is getting worse! If you were a pedestrian you would agree with me. Rather than punishing us, you should reward us for not polluting the city (and earth) and for not endangering lives. Pedestrians are gentle people who want to enjoy the beauty of life and make the city a nicer place by planting trees, taking public transportation and not abusing the very environment which gives them life. This city is physically ideal for walking and biking! Yet aggressive drivers seem empowered to subject pedestrians, bike riders and public transportation users to their harmful and life-threatening assaults. Please crack down on them by issuing tickets for idling motors, horn blowing, and reckless driving. Please raise tolls for vehicles entering the city, develop light rail so that we can eliminate truck traffic, order hydrogen fuel cell, non-polluting buses and city vehicles, etc. Thank you.
S. Frecon
New York, NY

Dear T.A.:
Keep up the great work! Making it known how the real danger to the citizens of NYC are the cars is very important. My only concern is the lack of support for skaters. We are occasionally mentioned but not too many articles. Just feeling a bit left out.
Robert Stark
The support may not be obvious, but it is there. T.A.'s work for safer streets, car-free parks, and greenways benefits us all, be it cyclist, walker or skater. As to specific articles, we welcome comments, requests and submissions, just give us a ring. -Ed.

Dear T.A.:
I was first a pedestrian, then a bicycler, then a car driver. Today I still do all three. For the most part I am a pedestrian and am fortunate to be able to walk to work as well as most places that I have to go. For longer distances and light portage of things, as well as for recreational and exercise, I use my bike. Biking is by far the quickest way for me to go anywhere in a 2 to 3 mile radius from my busy street in Brooklyn. Other times there's the subway. Truth be known, however, I travel (by car) both to upstate New York and eastern Pennsylvania four to five times per month to rural and suburban areas.
What is my point? T.A. needs to focus its energies more on developing a positive image of bicycling and walking than it does on anti-car activities. Motorized vehicles are not going away. And as someone who despises the 'kar kulture' as much as I do, I still have to face reality. I need my car.
We need a way of peaceful coexistence. The image I get from T.A. (and by the way I will always support T.A. and will continue to be a member) from reading the magazine is that its members are intolerant of any other way of life or that every car driver is out to get them. That is sheer nonsense, and politically, an immature strategy. Bicycling needs stronger support from everyone and allies need to be made wherever they can be found. Demonizing car drivers only fuels suspicion and encourages ridicule.
Phil Vitale
Brooklyn, NY
As a member and a car owner tolerant of other car owners, you're not alone, and we're glad to have your support. Part of T.A.'s mission, though, is to reduce our dependence on the motor vehicle. Much of our city is given over to serving the auto. So, if by "anti-car activities" you mean the campaigns T.A. takes on to remove cars from spaces where they shouldn't be, like Prospect Park for example, then we make no apologies. -Ed.

Dear Friends:
The 80 Pine Street building's parking garage has opened their bike rack for public use after months of being unavailable due to "construction". The entrance is located on the west side of Water Street between Pine and Maiden Lane. The ribbon-style rack is just behind the attendant's booth. This fortunate occurrence was made possible by the garage's management, the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs and US Senate hopeful Mark Green, and the urging of Transportation Alternatives (www.transalt.org) several years back. Originally, they had stated that they would charge a small fee, like $1.50, but the garage management has decided to allow parking for FREE. A large sign on the wall over the rack states that it's at our own risk, but hey, so is riding in NYC! I think that this is really fabulous, and hope that it works out for us.
John Howell
Brooklyn, NY
Editor's Note: Two corrections to our parking list printed last issue. First, the uptown garage is 211 East 70th (not 71st). Second, the 121 Reade St. garage promised parking, but it is not yet available. We'll be working to get it asap.

Dear City Councilman Perkins:
I am writing to express my concern over the current city crackdown on people who ride bicycles. As a person who commutes by bicycle on a daily basis and obeys traffic laws, I completely agree with ticketing people on bicycles who run red lights, ride on the sidewalk or ride against traffic. These people are acting irresponsibly and deserve to pay a fine. However, having read recently of some of the tickets being issued to cyclists it seems to me that some police are being overzealous. Meanwhile, I observe countless drivers everyday who don't signal turns, cut off pedestrians and cyclists who have the right of way, lean on their horns, speed, double park in bicycle lanes, block intersections and drive recklessly in other ways. Far too many automotive violations go unchecked.
With a small and not very expensive effort the city could make enormous strides in bettering the quality of life for all New Yorkers by encouraging cycling. I hope you will do everything in your power to help transportation by means other than the auto flourish in our city.
John Hamilton
New York, NY