In reality, the opposite is often true. But in 2016, the fear of the unknown is occasionally still enough to motivate a broad coalition against a new bike lane. It has a real and chilling effect on bike lanes and the safety of the city’s riders. With blessings from neither the community board, nor politicians, the DOT was forced to table its Clinton Ave plan just a month after the meeting I attended.
Where we are now
In the meantime, New York’s streets remain bloody. Five days after Leah Sylvain’s death, another cyclist was killed by a hit-and-run driver in the Bronx. Less than four weeks after that, a biker was dragged to his death by an aggressive hit-and-run driver in Williamsburg.
Despite the setbacks, safe-streets advocates are cautiously optimistic about the NYC DOT’s other plans for 2016. “If [the department] can keep up the pace of what they’re doing this year, we’re going to be in pretty good shape,” mused Fried. The protected bike lane on Chrystie St, which will provide a safe approach to the 4,500 cyclists that use the Manhattan Bridge every day, passed with flying colors at a meeting of Community Board 3. Amsterdam Ave’s protected lane is finally taking shape, despite the opposition the DOT faced in Community Board 7 in early 2016.