Group to Release Action Plan for Biking in Chinatown and the LES

By Serena Solomon on May 31, 2012 8:39am 

Natalie Feliciano works on a bike in the East Village store and workshop of Recycle-a-Bicycle, a member of Local Spokes.
Natalie Feliciano works on a bike in the East Village store and workshop of Recycle-a-Bicycle, a member of Local Spokes.
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DNAinfo/Serena Solomon

LOWER EAST SIDE — Cycling advocacy group Local Spokes was expected to release an action plan that aims to outline the future of bicycling in Chinatown and the Lower East Side at a Thursday night garden party.

The group, a coalition of nine organizations from Chinatown and the Lower East Side, conducted 1,200 surveys and numerous discussion sessions throughout the past year to determine how local residents interact with bikes and cyclists.

Local Spokes developed its action plan around that feedback, which touched on subjects such as confusion over bike lane rules and issues surrounding the city's bike share program, to be implemented this summer.

The organization will reveal those findings at a party on Thursday at M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden within Sara D. Roosevelt Park.

"We are really driven by community input of what bicycling could be in our neighborhoods," said Douglas Le, 28, the director of community building and organizing with Asian Americans for Equality, one of the groups that make up Local Spokes.

A combination of a culturally and economically diverse neighborhood population, a deficiency of public transportation in the area, already-established bike lanes and the upcoming bike share program prompted Local Spokes to take a closer look at how both Chinatown and the Lower East Side view bike use, Le explained.

"Our neighborhood is in the epicenter of the bike share program," he said. "For us, we wanted to know, how do low-income immigrants engage with bike share? How does [New York City Housing Authority] residents engage with bike share?"

The event runs from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. and will be more like a science fair than a PowerPoint presentation, Le said. People can come at any time throughout the evening to view Local Spokes' recommendations, as well as converse with its members in Chinese, Spanish or English.

The nine members of Local Spokes include the nonprofit organization Recycle-A-Bicycle,  Transportation Alternatives and Two Bridges Neighborhood Council. It was formed in 2010 with funding from the J.M. Kaplan Fund to engage and understand the perspectives of residents in Chinatown and Lower East Side on cycling.

Le said Local Spokes serves as an advocate for findings uncovered by its research.

For example, the surveys revealed confusion surrounding bike lane rules and the unclear responsibilities of bikers, pedestrians and motorists.

As a response to this finding, Local Spokes will encourage government and community agencies to better communicate bike lane rules and prepare citizens for bike use so there is less confusion and more enjoyment for both bikers and pedestrians.

 

The event will take place at the M’Finda Kalunga Garden Party on Thursday, May 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. Refreshments, bike raffles, water bottles and information in English, Spanish and Chinese will be available. For more information, email info@localspokes.org.

 

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