September 8th, 2011
Delancey / bridge bicycling:
Following our article last week on the Department of Transportation’s plan for the Manhattan side on/off ramp for the Williamsburg Bridge bike path, D.O.T. released an image of what it has in mind. Bikers almost jumped off their seats when they saw the extent of the design, which will basically involve ringing the area with 3-foot-high concrete walls, with little notches for cyclists to squeeze through. Bill di Paola, founder of Time’s Up!, the bicycling and environmental advocacy group, is still pushing for D.O.T. to consider Time’s Up!’s alternative plan, which calls for a new ramp for bikes to be built down to Delancey St.’s south side. He said they finally got some feedback from D.O.T. on its design. “They’re trying to say that the reason it’s such a bad design is because Homeland Security designed it,” he said. “But why would you create a design that’s not going to protect people, it’s going to hurt people? I think this design is dangerous. If they go forward with it, Time’s Up! will be advocating that part of the wall be made of breakaway plastic.” Meanwhile, the Time’s Up! plan “makes perfect sense in the long run,” he said, since it would also include a parkway for cyclists along Delancey St., which would give them three blocks after the bridge to decide what street they want to ride down. Meanwhile, state Senator Daniel Squadron and Councilmember Margaret Chin, in the wake of cyclist Jeffrey Axelrod’s death at Delancey and Chrystie Sts. a couple of weeks ago, have gotten countdown crosswalk lights installed at key intersections around that location. Squadron said he is convening a meeting early next week on how to make Delancey safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Local stakeholders, community board representatives and agency officials will join the politicians or their representatives in brainstorming on solutions. Squadron stressed that his approach is that these meetings should be open to all ideas. However, he said, any plan for the bridge’s bike ramp must be achievable in a short amount of time and be economically feasible.