To The Editor:
In expressing his concerns about the planned bike lane on Columbus Avenue, Daniel Meltzer says, “This will not endear me to many of you… but I feel I need to say something about bikes” (“New Amsterdam is not Amsterdam,” July 1). Mr. Meltzer is not alone here.
I have been a bike rider since my teens (I am in my fifties), and fully support the use of bikes for environmental, health and cost reasons. But “hell is paved with good intentions,” and the bike lane—as proposed, in its current place—is likely to cause hell. Mr. Meltzer notes that the loss of traffic lanes may lead to more congestion. In fact, this is not simply logical, it is axiomatic. And congestion means more pollution. As well, despite the claims of supporters, the bike lane is unlikely to have any effect on (illegal) riding on the sidewalk by either delivery or recreational bikers. In fact, my guess is that if delivery bikers use it, they will use it to protect themselves going the wrong way.
Perhaps most importantly, the numbers simply don’t add up: Every study done shows that the number of bikers who use Columbus Avenue is small, if not minuscule, and hardly warrants a dedicated bike lane. Nor do the statistics on injuries to bikers along that strip support the need for a protected lane.
Finally, it is instructive to note that the vote of the full board was among the closest in recent memory; in fact, until the final 8 votes (out of some 45 members), it was a dead heat, and a tie would have led to a failure to pass. The “victory” only came at the very end—in a squeaker.
Upper West Side