Love them or hate them, Bronxites have been seeing a lot of bike lanes popping up over the past few years. A new law will give community boards, not just in Bronx, but all over the city a chance to voice their concerns before any of the lanes are installed or removed.
On Thursday, November 3 the City Council unanimously passed a law that requires community board input whenever a bike line is added or subtracted. The DOT would have to make a presentation to the community board and give it 90 days notice in the event of a bike lane installation. There would also be a public hearing on any proposed bike lanes.
Councilman Jimmy Vacca, the chair of the city council’s transportation committee and one of the bill’s cosponsors, said the bill will help create a formal process for community boards to express any concerns over new bike lanes.
“This legislation means that it will no longer be a ‘he said she said,’” Vacca said, referring to previous interactions between community boards and the DOT over bike lanes. “The community board can have a public hearing, consult merchants and residents, they can make recommendations.”
Among the Bronx community board leaders that the Bronx Times spoke to, none were aware of any pending bike lane construction within their districts. Most, however, could think of past instances in which the law would have come in handy.
Fernando Tirado, district manager at CB 7 said that bike lanes installed on Grand Concourse within the past few years “just kind of happened all of a sudden.”
Tirado said he understood the need for bike lanes but added “we still would have wanted to be informed beforehand.”
Community Board 11 district manager Jeremy Warneke said the legislation was “definitely a good thing. A lot of boards members run civic associations so they have good feel on the pulse of the population.”
Vacca, former district manager of CB 10, said community boards could not legally overrule or change any proposed bike lines without DOT consent.
He said community boards, “in anything they do can only be advisory. By law I could not give them veto power. It is an advisory body.”
Community Board 2 district manager Rafael Salamanca said that while the construction of some bike lanes in his district has caught him by surprise, he generally feels his board has a solid dialogue with the DOT.Bill Weisbrod can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394.
©2011 Community News Group