Friday, February 18, 2011

CB 6 Wants to Be Briefed by City Before DOT Proposes Bike Lanes by Joe Anuta -

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A man rides down 108th Street in Rego Park, where bike lanes are scarce. Photo by Joe Anuta
Community leaders in Forest Hills and Rego Park are already preparing for a contentious addition to the neighborhood — bike lanes — though a single line has yet to be planned or painted.

On Feb. 10, the Community Board 6 sent a letter to city Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan requesting that “all proposals to establish new bicycle lanes on NYC streets shall be submitted to the affected Community Board(s) prior to their implementation.”

After the proposal, the boards would have 60 days to review the plan and submit an advisory recommendation, according to the resolution. In addition, the DOT would need to respond to any of the board’s concerns.

The measure was proposed by John Dereszewski, chairman of the board’s Transportation Committee.

“I am a bike lane supporter,” Dereszewski said. But despite his affinity for the roadside additions, which have sparked heated debate in other boroughs, he still wanted to be kept in the loop when and if the lanes ever come to the neighborhood.

Currently, the area is nearly devoid of bike lanes.

The DOT did not respond to questions about the bikes lanes.

The resolution, in addition to providing the board with information, was also designed to assist the DOT.

Several board members listed streets that might seem like good bike routes but pose specific problems for additional lanes. For example, Yellowstone Boulevard would be good for a bike lane, one member said, except for the area underneath the Long Island Rail Road tracks, where the road narrows considerably.

Other members wanted advance notice, claiming the lanes were painted without consulting anyone.

“The DOT is out there painting bike lanes without coming to any community,” said CB 6 Chairman Joseph Hennessy. “In fairness to the community, [the DOT] should have to bring it before the board.”

But Frank Gulluscio, district manager for the board, said the proposal is about the city and the community staying in touch.

“It’s all about communication from one agency to another,” he said. “As long as the lines are open, then you can’t say the good, the bad and the ugly.”

The proposal is not designed to be for or against the lanes.