Bike Wars: City Council Passes Legislation Increasing Oversight Of Bike Lanes

City Council passed legislation Thursday that could slow the proliferation of bike lanes in the city, angering some bike advocates.

The bill states that 90 days before the lanes are installed, the Departments of Transportation must notify local community boards to receive their input.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to sign the bill.

"Bicycle lanes should be constructed only after consultation from residents who live in the neighborhoods they are meant to serve," said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn in a statement. "Our legislation will ensure the Department of Transportation works with community boards and fully considers feedback from neighborhood residents on where, and how, bicycle lanes are installed."

Council Transportation Chair James Vacca added, "I was District Manager of Bronx Community Board 10 for 26 years before coming to the Council, and I know that thirty days is not enough time for a community board to meet, discuss, and pass a resolution in support of any project."

The bill will likely appease some in the anti-bike lane corner of "The Bike Wars", a group that has suffered some recent defeats, including the dismissal of a lawsuit against the city for the installation of the Prospect Park West bike lane.

Bike lane advocates say the new law will just add extra and unnecessary red tape.

Caroline Samponaro of Transportation Alternatives told NY1, "By singling out bike lanes and burdening the community board with an additional meeting that isn't doing anything different than the other meetings that happen we see it as a way to just slow down safety improvements."

The Department of Transportation technically doesn't need the approval of community boards to move ahead with projects.

Bike lane advocates say the lanes reduce traffic accidents and encourage a more environmentally-friendly commute, Anti-bike lane groups say car traffic should be given priority in the city and that bike lanes are hazardous for pedestrians.