Community Board 7 voted on Tuesday night (by virtual conference call) to ask the city to create a network of protected bike lanes that would make it easier to get around the city during the Covid-19 crisis. The committee didn’t ask for specific local streets to get lanes, but rather that there be temporary lanes set up everywhere so that people can get outside and run essential errands safely. And it wants more Citi Bikes too.
The text of the resolution is below. (“There was one friendly amendment calling for more pedestrian space that has not yet been incorporated into the wording,” CB7’s Howard Yaruss tells us)
This resolution is based on the following facts:
COVID-19 (the “coronavirus”) is rapidly spreading in New York and poses major health risks to the city and particularly to its most vulnerable residents;
The Mayor has urged people to bike to work because the risk of contagion is greatly increased in crowded spaces, such as on public transport;
The MTA has reduced service by a significant percentage in response to decreased ridership, resulting in more crowded trains and buses when they run;
Even though most non-essential businesses are subject to a directive to work remotely, essential workers continue to use mass transit in situations that do not conform to recommendations for safe distancing, making the Mayor’s directive to commute via alternative means more crucial;
The city does not yet have a network of protected bicycle lanes that enable people to navigate the city safely on a bicycle and thereby heed the advice of the mayor and health professionals;
Many New Yorkers will lose their only source of income and, therefore, their ability to pay for basic necessities if they cannot get to work or will be forced onto crowded public subways or buses, against the Mayor’s advice.
Therefore Community Board 7/Manhattan resolves that in order to reduce transmission of the potentially lethal coronavirus, CB7 calls upon the City to immediately: (1) complete an interim, temporary network of protected bicycle lanes (using temporary emergency infrastructure as necessary), (2) work to significantly expand the number of available Citi Bikes, including providing support to supplement docking station rebalancing efforts, and (3) increase enforcement efforts so as to ensure safe passage for all street users.
Committee Vote: 7-0-1-0