Mr. Haber’s plan, which was approved by the board, would have the bike lane share the north side sidewalk with pedestrians. The sidewalk would be widened to accommodate both the bicycle riders and the pedestrians.
The Department of Transportation’s plan, on the other hand, will have the bike lane take up one lane of westbound traffic through the Alley.
Mr. Haber’s plan is not only feasible and cost effective, but it would be much safer for the bicycle riders as they navigate past entrances and exits to the Cross Island Parkway.
All westbound lanes of Northern Boulevard under his plan would be preserved for motorists easing the flow of traffic, which is often very heavy in that location. Parking on the north side of the boulevard by the golf center would also remain an option under the plan.
As a board member, it is necessary to take into consideration the impact any project would have on all segments of the community. In this case, that not only includes the bike riders, but also motorists, local residents, pedestrians and local businesses.
At board meetings regarding this issue, there were vigorous and heated discussions of where the bike lane should be placed. There were strong opinions voiced by all, including board members, residents, civic leaders, and bicyclists.
I must commend board chair Christine Haider for her leadership during these hearings. She insisted that we follow certain established, helping to maintain order. In the end, the board voted by a large majority to support Mr. Haber’s plan.
It was my hope the Department of Transportation (DOT) would postpone the implementation of its proposal for the Alley bike lane until a thorough review could be made of the new plan approved by the board.
However, DOT has already marked a westbound lane of Northern Boulevard with bike lane lines. Motorists will no longer be allowed to use that lane.
The community board represents all of the people in the area, and although our role is advisory, our vote should stand for something. Time will tell how the new bike lane will impact on our shared community.
Henry Euler is a resident of Bayside.