To the Editor:
Construction of protected bike lanes is scheduled to start April 2, and Upper East Side and Harlem small business owners are pretty worried about the negative impact they will have on their bottom line. Our West Side neighbors said, “Goodbye, Columbus Avenue” to their mom-and-pop stores and hello to the chain drugstores and banks, thanks to the bike lanes.
Since the Great Recession, two to eight stores have closed on the blocks along First and Second avenues from 57th to 96th Street and with overtime charges for limited delivery accessibility and reduced parking spots, there’s little hope for new businesses to open and pay high rents.
In addition to damage to businesses, getting picked up or dropped off will be particularly difficult for our residents, especially the elderly and handicapped, with protected bike lanes on one side and Select Bus lanes on the other. Far more people need to take taxis or be transported by car and buses than need bike lanes—for no more than 22,000 cycling commuters, according to the DOT.
Despite complaints to City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin’s office about lawless cyclists and lack of enforcement from 72 percent of her constituents, Transportation Commissioner Jannette Sadik-Khan is adding 10,000 uninsured rental bikes and installing 40-foot-wide bike stations in our neighborhood in July. If you can’t run, be sure to look in every direction when walking on our sidewalks and before crossing our streets.
Susan P. Forman
East 63rd Street
Letters have been edited for clarity, style and brevity.
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