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Cycling Advocates, Locals Push for Dozens of New Bike Racks

By Emily Frost | November 16, 2012 7:31am

UPPER WEST SIDE — If residents and cycling advocates get their wish, dozens of new bike racks could be on the way to the area.

The pro-biking Upper West Side Streets Renaissance is asking the city to install 91 bike racks along Broadway, Amsterdam Avenue and Columbus Avenue between 59th and 96th streets. The proposal won preliminary support this week from Community Board 7's transportation committee.

"The Upper West Side has a patchwork in terms of bike parking," said Andrew Balmer, a member of the organization who said he looked for spots where a bike rack would fit and was needed.

In all, Balmer and other volunteers found a total of 136 potential bike rack spots over the summer. The organization later nixed 45 of them because nearby business owners said they did not want a new bike rack because "they were concerned about sidewalk seating and deliveries," Balmer said.

For the remaining 91 spots, volunteers said they took a lack of response as approval of the proposed bike rack. 

The community board's transportation committee voted to support the new bike parking spots at a meeting on Tuesday.

"We need to contact [the businesses] again," said Dan Zweig, co-chairman of the transportation committee. "I understand that means this is something that’s not going to happen instantaneously."

Linda Alexander, another board member, said she saw "a critical need for bike racks" in the neighborhood. 

Lisa Sladkus, president of UWS Streets Renaissance, was glad to receive the community's support.

“One of the things that we are doing is creating that place [of belonging],” Sladkus said.

Nicholas Mosquera, a representative from the Department of Transportation said in a statement that "when DOT receives the request, we will review sites for feasibility and inform the Community Board."

Jennifer Harris-Hernandez, a project director for the DOT, said at the CB7 meeting that the community planning would be helpful in expediting the creation of more bike parking. 

"This is how DOT can most effectively install bike racks — when community boards provide lists of where bike racks are needed," she said. 

The community board's full board will vote on the bike rack proposal in December.