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At Mudspot, Cars Lose Parking Space To Bike Rack

Bike Parking at Smith and Sackett StreetsGersh Kuntzman The only other example of in-street parking in the city at Smith and Sackett Streets in Brooklyn.

The Mudspot on East Ninth Street will get the first in-street bike parking of its kind in Manhattan, which will claim one space for a car and give cyclists eights new spots to lock up.

“As cycling increases in popularity, we’re starting to look to the street for parking,” said Hayes Lord, the bicycle program director for the Department of Transportation.

Under the plan, a car-length space would be cordoned off with planters and four circular bike racks would be installed. Mudspot lobbied for the additional parking and will be responsible for keeping the area clean.

During a presentation to Community Board 3’s Transportation Committee, Transportation official Wallace Murray said that the parking would help alleviate the foot-traffic jam caused by the numerous bicycles locked up in front of the cafe just as the sidewalk narrows. Read more…

I ♥ Bicycles

blue bike brown paper bagMario Ramirez

The bicycle is such a decorous, ingenious, quiet machine, it’s a shame it has become a politicized one as well. But when you see somebody on a bike with a placard attached to it which reads A QUIET PROTEST AGAINST OIL, you know Politicization has arrived. (On First Avenue, in this case.)

Beautiful and ingenious as the bicycle may be, the human body is even more beautiful and ingenious, at least until the age of 60, and especially below the age of 30. And let’s not forget one important thing. As a pedestrian, I also fall into the category of partaking in A QUIET PROTEST AGAINST OIL, unless I’m in a cab. I just don’t have a sign, or a T-shirt, with which to make this fact plain. But I’m going to get one. It’s going to be a quiet protest against other, equally quiet protests.
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A Business Closes and Cites Bike Lanes

Mara's HomemadeElizabeth Vulaj The owner of Mara’s Homemade, who recently announced that the restaurant is closing its doors, cited bike lanes that were installed last summer as part of the reason that the restaurant saw a decline in business.

Taxes and the rent have gone up but Mara Levi mostly blames the bike lanes for having to close Mara’s Homemade, her authentic New Orleans-style restaurant on East Sixth Street near First Avenue. If the customers come from all over the tri-state area and even beyond, she said, a restaurant has to have parking.

Ms. Levi said that she now pays double for taxes than she did when she opened seven years ago, but that the addition of the bike lanes, which opened in July and reduced the number of available street parking spaces, have significantly contributed to the business’ decline.

“We saw a drop in business the day those lanes came in,” said Ms. Levi. “When you go from twelve parking spaces per block to three, that makes a difference.”

In January, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg conceded that city officials should have notified residents when they decided to install the lanes. Levi said she was not even aware of any plans until one evening, where she saw construction workers toiling away on First Avenue.

“One night we come out, and they were marking lanes and paving,” said Ms. Levi. “It was a total surprise. There was no input from the community and it upset me a lot.”
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On 14th St., A Perilous Intersection

For those locals who took a quick glance at accident statistics for New York City compiled by Transportation Alternatives, it probably came as little surprise that the East Village is home to two of the city’s most perilous intersections.

The intersection of Third Avenue and East 14th Street tied for the fifth most dangerous intersection in Manhattan with 66 crashes involving pedestrians from 1995 to 2005.

Bowery and West Houston Street tied for the most dangerous intersection in the entire city with 29 crashes involving cyclists.

Now that Transportation Alternatives has unveiled a plan that it believes will help make streets safer, The Local decided to pay a visit to 14th Street between Second and Third Avenues to talk to residents and business owners about the area’s dubious place as one of the city’s most treacherous stretches of asphalt.

NYU Journalism’s Claire Glass reports.

Interview | State Sen. Daniel Squadron

Senator Daniel SquadronCourtesy of Daniel L. Squadron State Senator Daniel L. Squadron, with constituents last fall, said that he favors expanding the East Village’s “bike network so that it’s a viable way for folks to get around to commute and recreate.”

A new year brings a new legislative agenda for State Senator Daniel L. Squadron, who – entering his second term – says that he wants to bring issues that are important to neighborhood residents to the forefront in Albany. In an interview with The Local, Senator Squadron, whose 25th District includes the East Village, the Lower East Side and parts of Brooklyn, discussed the importance of bike lanes, renewing housing laws, cracking down on careless drivers and noisy bars, and expanding East Village parks.


Bike lanes are a hot topic right now. But there are battles still brewing. What will you do this year to help smooth out the sometimes rocky relationship between bikers, businesses, the community and the Department of Transportation?


There’s an overall increase in the bike lanes use, and I think that is great. We are continuing to develop the bike network so that it’s a viable way for folks to get around to commute and recreate.

I like the idea of a bike share program. As we have more bicyclists and more access, which is a great thing, we need to increase compliance with laws. And we need to expand our bike networks for more people out there.

My frustration at bike lanes comes from two places: failure, in some cases, to be fully collaborative with communities and think through the consequences as we expand the network, and secondly, from those few who don’t follow the rules. Too often, the DOT implements lanes without preparing businesses to understand what the rules are. They’ve done it in ways that are not responsive to the community. DOT has gotten better at this; my job is to keep the pressure on. We need clarity about rules for bicyclists and members of the community, and work with community boards, businesses and residents before implementing them. We need opportunities for folks in bicycling communities and other groups to weigh in.
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The Day | Bus Lanes And Bike Lanes

auburn curlsMichelle Rick

Good morning, East Village.

There’s been a lot of activity in recent days around the subject of transportation and pedestrian safety in the neighborhood and we begin this morning by taking a closer look at some of the recent coverage. DNAinfo has an informative post about five surveillance cameras that have been installed along the M15 bus route on First and Second Avenues.

The cameras will be used to help enforce a ban against vehicles riding in the lanes (exceptions are made for right turns and picking up or dropping off passengers) and drivers are subject to a fine between $115 and $150. Bowery Boogie posted a photo of a group cyclists towing rolling billboards to publicize the violations.

The benefits and drawbacks of bike lanes, a source of much debate in the neighborhood, is the subject of a piece in The Times. And over at City Room, they want to hear from readers – few New Yorkers are as well-versed in this issue as we are here in the neighborhood so go ahead and weigh in.

Interview | Daniel L. Squadron

Senator Daniel SquadronDaniel L. Squadron.

State Senator Daniel L. Squadron, re-elected Tuesday to represent the 25th District, which includes the East Village, said that he has plans for an ambitious agenda in his next term that will continue to emphasize neighborhood issues such as reducing noise and increasing pedestrian safety.

Senator Squadron, who spoke to The Local the day after the midterm elections, said he will continue to help craft legislation focusing on those issues and others, including better living standards in public and affordable housing.

Like any other political watcher, Senator Squadron has followed the legislative seachange in Congress with deep interest and he remains hopeful that his fellow Democrats will stay focused on President Obama’s agenda.

He talked with The Local about his plans in Albany, his hopes for the new Congress and his appreciation of East Village-made dumplings.


Going into your new term, what are your priorities right now for the East Village?


I have a lot of the same priorities I had in the previous term. We need a state government that does a better job responding to people’s needs so that the people have more faith in their community. We have to keep fighting for the community. We need effective laws on nightlife and pedestrian safety, which is very important to the East Village.
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East Village Election Issues

In an Election Night appearance on NYU News, Suzanne Rozdeba, who covered the key local political races, discusses how neighborhood issues such as noise complaints, liquor licenses, bike lanes and pedestrian safety played a role in Tuesday’s balloting.

Results of Local Races

Voters cast ballots for candidates in seven local races — three for U.S. representative, two for State Senate and two for State Assembly — and by overwhelming margins returned every incumbent to office.

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The Day | Bike Lane Ticketing Expands

EV parked bikesGloria Chung

Good morning, East Village.

The ongoing debate over bike lanes in the neighborhood took a new twist this week when Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lehr, the head of the Ninth Precinct, announced that his officers were stepping up efforts to ticket cyclists who flout traffic laws. The Times reports today on a similar effort by police across the city.

In other neighborhood news, we’d like to remind you, courtesy of Neighborhoodr, that Saturday will feature the 20th annual Halloween Dog Parade at Tompkins Square Park starting at noon. The Halloween Parade prompts us to tell you about our recurring feature, Beyond The Dog Run, in which we display photos of neighborhood pets here on The Local. If you’d like to contribute your photos, please join our Flickr Group.

While on the subject of photos from the neighborhood, we’d also like to tell you about a new feature on The Local’s photo contributors. Later today, we will showcase the work of Gloria Chung, who contributed the image above and whose work has often been featured here in our morning roundup.

And this morning the Village Voice posted an item from its archives about Sammy’s on the Bowery, the bar and music hall on the Bowery at East Third, which closed its doors in 1970 after 36 years.

Police to Ticket Scofflaw Cyclists

IMG_8290Timothy J. Stenovec Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lehr, pictured at a police ceremony earlier this month, told the Ninth Precinct Community Council Tuesday night that cyclists who violate traffic laws in bike lanes will receive tickets just as motorists do.

The head of the Ninth Precinct issued a stern warning to East Village cyclists at the Community Council meeting Tuesday night – traffic laws don’t just apply to vehicles.

“They are under the same rules and will get a moving violation just like a motorist would,” said Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lehr, referring to neighborhood cyclists. “They’re required to adhere to the same rules as the road.”

Much of the council meeting focused on enforcing traffic laws in the re-designed bike lanes that were introduced this summer along First and Second Avenues from Houston to 34th Streets.

Kurt Cavanaugh of Transportation Alternatives called bike lanes the “new hot button issue” and asked the Ninth Precinct to step in to prevent bike lanes from being blocked by vehicles, delivery trucks and even pedestrians.

“We ask the local precinct to increase the bike lane blockage enforcement,” he said. “There’s still a lot of bike lane blockage, which is really unsafe for all parties.”
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Cyclists Gather at Bike Lane Protest

The debate over bike lanes in the East Village continued in the form of a demonstration tonight as roughly two dozen people on both sides of the issue took to the streets to weigh in.

Organizers had planned the gathering on First Avenue and 14th Street as a protest against what they said were unsafe conditions in bike lanes. But a large contingent of bike lane supporters turned out for the event, too. Ultimately, supporters of the lanes ended up outnumbering detractors.

The two sides held up signs and loudly exchanged opinions. Those in favor of the lanes argued that bikes were environmentally friendly, and that roads should be shared among motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Those against the lanes, led by Leslie Sicklick, who organized the protest, said that redesigned roadways were hazardous for pedestrians, disrupted traffic, and were an impediment to businesses.

NYU Journalism’s Helen Zhang and Spencer Magloff spoke with some of the demonstrators about the benefits and drawbacks of bike lanes.

Stringer Cites ‘Chaos’ in Bike Lanes

Scott Stringer at Bike Lanes News ConferenceRobyn Baitcher Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer called for more measures to protect cyclists in bike lanes.

Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer held a news conference this morning on the corner of St. Marks Place and Second Avenue where he revealed the findings of a three-day observational study on the safety of bike lanes in the city.

The results?

“Unfortunately, chaos reigns in bike lanes across the city,” Mr. Stringer said.

Data collectors for the study cited a multitude of infractions involving bike lanes, Mr. Stringer said. They included instances in which cars encroached onto bike lanes and unmarked police vehicles cut across the lanes in non-emergency situations.

Mr. Stringer said that he chose St. Marks and Second for the news conference because it was the site of 173 traffic infractions involving bike lanes during a two-hour period. That figure makes the corner one of the most active locations for bike lane infractions in New York City, according to the study.

The intersection of 14th Street and First Avenue was also noted as being a particularly dangerous location; it tallied 76 infractions.

According to the study, the 22 hours of observation revealed over 1,700 infractions, including over 275 cases of motorists blocking bike lanes. But observers for the study reported that they only saw two tickets issued.

Mr. Stringer, who also called bike lanes “unpredictable and unprotected,” issued a set of recommendations designed to help make the lanes safer. Those steps include an awareness campaign about the perils of open car doors and creating reserved parking spaces to facilitate deliveries to businesses.

Tell us about your experiences with bike lane safety in the East Village.

Review Finds New Bike Lanes Are Safer

2ndAve_eae003Emily Anne Epstein By one analysis, the redesigned bike lanes across the city have resulted in safer conditions for cyclists, motorists and pedestrians.

Amid all the opinions raised for and against the city’s new street designs, Gaetano Puglio, manager of the Bean Café, minces no words: he doesn’t like them. Especially not the one in front of the café on First Avenue at East Third Street, the site of a collision on Labor Day.

Around 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 5, a Jeep Cherokee SUV heading west on Third Street tried to turn onto First and collided with a northbound taxi. The cab veered across the First Avenue bike lane and leapt the sidewalk, injuring five people, crushing a bicycle, and taking out the Bean’s front window. One bystander was injured critically and needed surgery at Bellevue. The collision remains under investigation and neither driver has been charged.

Like many observers, Mr. Puglio wondered if last summer’s redesign of the traffic lanes on First Avenue was a contributing factor. The redesign shifted the western parking lane inward to create a protected (“Copenhagenized”) bike lane and reserved the easternmost lane for buses. Mr. Puglio said that he always viewed the previous design – with a row of parked cars abutting the curb – as “a barrier to any kind of accident.”

But an independent analysis by the city’s former traffic commissioner shows that when lanes were redesigned in other parts of the city, the result was safer conditions for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
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The Day | A Look at Bikes and Bedbugs

FishingBen Chislett

Good morning, East Village.

We’ve written quite a bit about the effects of recently installed bike lanes in the East Village. Neighborhoodr has a link to an interview with Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, who talks about biking in the city.

We’re still collecting your stories about bedbugs and wanted to make sure that you saw this piece from Fox New York, which is a solid roundup of bedbug do’s and don’ts.

First Person | The Dangers of Dooring

2ndAve_eae005Emily Anne Epstein New bike lanes in the East Village have brought new perils for cyclists.

The paint and concrete have barely dried on the East Village’s new bicycle lanes, but already business owners and residents are concerned about new dangers for neighborhood cyclists. The new lanes on First and Second Avenue pose a range of potential hazards from open car doors to riders who go against the flow of traffic.

Christopher Feltman, co-manager of the Second Avenue bike shop NYC Velo, estimates that wrong-way bike traffic has increased at least fivefold since the lanes were installed this summer.

“As a rider, I think it’s been worse,” he says of safety on Second Avenue since the lanes were added. “Because they painted it green, a lot of people take that as ‘I can go both ways on it.’”
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Businesses: Bike Lanes Slow Deliveries

Cyclists in bike laneMariya Abedi Some East Village business owners say that recently installed bike lanes are adversely affecting their deliveries.

New bike lanes may be a welcome sight for cyclists in the East Village, but after two months they’re still not going over well with some small businesses.

When transportation officials placed bike lanes between the sidewalk and a parking zone, they separated delivery trucks from direct access to many local stores. Some business owners say they’re having more difficulties with deliveries as a result.

The Department of Transportation has begun installing loading zones but even that step may not completely solve the problem.
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