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Be There Or…

December 8, 2010

…don’t complain when they start taking bike lanes away.

New York has made amazing strides when it comes to safer streets in just the last few years, with hundreds of bike lanes and other traffic calming measures put in place by a very forward-thinking DOT.  The city could be world-class when it comes to transportation, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Tomorrow the New York City Council will hold a hearing on Bicycling.  If you bike in New York as a commuter, to run errands, for fun, or for exercise, it is imperative that you come.  If you don’t bike, it is imperative that you come, as the improvements that are happening across the city have made streets safer for all users, as study after study has proven.  When cars can be calmed by a simple redesign of the street and suddenly go from breaking the speed limit 3 out of 4 times to only 1 in six, that’s a benefit that can be enjoyed by anyone who crosses a street in New York.  Meaning everyone.

I’ll be speaking up on behalf of my one-year-old daughter.  Should she grow up in a city that continues the destructive legacy of planning only for cars, or should she enjoy the safety and convenience of streets designed for a variety of users?  Perhaps more importantly, I’ll be speaking up on behalf of sane, rational thinking.  We can not let those who are afraid of change, or those who simply don’t wish to see it on streets in front of their apartment buildings, dictate what’s best for all New Yorkers.  Opponents of bike lanes need to do better than to say, “No.”  They need to offer alternatives.  How would they make the city safer for the majority of people who live here?  Because that majority does not drive.

Here are the details.  Please RSVP with Transportation Alternatives.

What: City Council Oversight Hearing on Bicycling
When: December 9th, 9:30am
Where: 250 Broadway, Committee Room, 14th Floor (the location might be changed to 16th floor because of crowds, so please confirm at the security desk)

The hearing is scheduled to start at 10 AM, but TA is suggesting people to get there by 9:30.  I’ll be there by 9:15.

Apart from the obvious facts and statistics about how safe bike lanes and pedestrian islands make everyone, I believe the biggest message the diverse New York City biking community should present is that we are not “other.”  We are citizens and taxpayers who deserve as much of a place at the table, if not more, than as anyone else.  The other side will likely skew to an older demographic who would like to believe we’re all a bunch of unemployed hipsters who have nothing better to do than tool around town on our toys with a flagrant disregard for the law and safety.  If you are there tomorrow you are there because they are wrong.

 

 

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