2004-09-24 Mayor Could Do More - NY Newsday

Advocates Say Mayor Could Do More for Cyclists
New York Newsday
By Graham Rayman - Staff Writer
September 24th, 2004

With a confrontation looming Friday night between cyclists and police, advocates
of alternative transportation said Mayor Michael Bloomberg could do more to improve
bike access for New Yorkers.

But they also said that because prior administrations did so little, the mayor's
record is the best since the Koch era. That record has been colored somewhat by the
recent controversy over the arrests of hundreds of cyclists and confiscation of
their bikes during the Republican National Convention.

Bloomberg has backed the Manhattan Greenway, a network of off-street bicycle paths,
that would eventually allow cyclists to ride around Manhattan. About 30 miles of the
greenway's planned 38 miles have been completed. The city has also improved bike
access to both the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges.

"The Manhattan Greenway was the first major bike project since the Koch era," said
Noah Budnick, a spokesman for Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group. "In
that regard, it's great to see them get behind a cycling project."

The city has even entered itself in a contest for the nation's most bike-friendly
community sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, a national advocacy group
in Washington.

"I think he's done a credible job," said Councilman David Yassky (D-Brooklyn). "There's
plenty more to do."

Matthew Roth, an organizer with the bicycle advocacy group Times Up, said major
issues include encouraging use of bicycles, providing space for storing bikes and
adding more bike routes.

"No one is addressing the policy issues," he said, adding that the greenway has
taken many years to complete.

The number one complaint among cyclists is a lack of indoor storage for cyclists
who want to ride to work, Budnick said. Few buildings in the city allow bicycles,
yet riders say locking their bicycles on the sidewalk is too risky.

A bill proposed in April, 2003 by Yassky would require office buildings to allow
bicycle access, but it has languished for more than a year. Building owners have
resisted the measure, he said.

"You really can't bike to work without leaving it outside and we all know the
dangers of that," Yassky said. "If the tenant is willing to do it, then the landlord
should have no problem."

Yassky said he asked city officials to consider allowing bikes in city buildings,
but he was rebuffed.

Bloomberg officials said the administration has yet to take a position on the
bill because it has not yet had a hearing.

Councilwoman Madeline Provenzano (D-Bronx), chair of the housing and buildings
committee, said through an aide that a number of other bills have taken priority
this year, but she would like to hold a hearing on the proposal.

Copyright 2004, Newsday, Inc.