By Leslie Albrecht
UPPER WEST SIDE — As criticism of new bike lanes mounts, cyclists plan to go on the offensive next week and stick up for Columbus Avenue's new lanes.
A post on Streetsblog asked cyclists to show up at Community Board 7's full board meeting on Wednesday, where opponents of bike lanes were expected to air complaints, the blog says.
"We heard through the grapevine that opponents of the new Columbus Avenue bike lane are expected to testify. ... If you want to see safer bikeways and pedestrian refuges extend to other avenues, come out and speak up in favor of the redesigned street," the Streetsblog post said.
However, the Community Board postponed the meeting until Tuesday due to a scheduling conflict with St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center.
Community Board 7 approved adding the green bike lane to Columbus Avenue between West 96th Street and West 77th Street earlier this year.
Cyclists have hailed the new lane, which is separated from cars, as improving safety and making for an easier commute downtown. But drivers don't like the fact that the lanes removed some parking spots, and some business owners say the reconfigured street makes it harder for trucks to make deliveries.
The tension has intensified recently, with a column in the New York Post calling the Columbus Avenue Lane the "latest horror" inflicted on the city by an "out-of-control" transportation commissioner. The Post called the lane dangerous, because it narrowed the lanes for vehicle traffic.
Cyclists say the narrower traffic lanes keep cars from speeding and create calmer traffic.
Community Board 7 meets on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center at 1000 10th Avenue. The transportation committee will meet on Monday at 7 p.m.