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July 4th, 2008


by Joelle Panisch

In spite of fierce objections by Community Board 1 (CB1) and park neighbors, the Department of Transportation (DOT) installed a bike path through the City Hall Park’s serene northern walkway on June 30th.

The DOT first informed the Community Boards of its plans at a June 10th Seaport/Civic Center Committee. The issue was then re-deliberated on June 24th at a general CB1 meeting and was clearly out of favor by the members and the general public.

The DOT argued that the bike path was a necessity for cyclists in the area, citing that the Chambers street intersection has one of the highest bike accident rates in the area.

But the CB1 countered that putting a bike path in the narrow lanes of the quiet park would make injuries for both cyclists and pedestrians an inevitability. Signs and markers would also be unsightly in the landmarked park.

In an attempt to appease objectors the DOT had suggested a dismount rule, where cyclists would have to walk their bikes through the city park, but has since renounced that idea.

In an email to local press a protestor (who asked to remain anonymous) wrote:

“So much for grass roots democracy…So much for the City trying to work with the Community to find a better alternative. So much for removing parked placard cars from Chambers Street to make more room and a safer street. So much for removing parked placard cars from the existing bike path…Who is really going to help fight this foreseeable safety hazard? It is a dumb idea when the Park is crowded and an unsafe idea when the Park is not crowded and the bikes will go faster.”

Other opponents have reached out to Council Member Alan Gerson and Borough President Scott Stringer for government support. It is unknown if either has taken an official stance yet.

Filed Under: Articles | Community | New York | Politics





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