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‘Private’ Bike Rack, We Hardly Knew Ye

IMG_0217Stephen Rex Brown All that’s left of the rack.

The bike rack on East Fourth Street that a scofflaw cyclist claimed as his own has been removed.

Kyle, the East Fourth Street resident who had his bike stolen from the rack last weekend, noticed that the rack was gone this morning. Sure enough, where once was an arched beam with “Private Bike Rack” painted on it there is now nothing more than six bolts in the sidewalk.

“It’s obviously a bummer that the bike rack had to go, but it’s better than having to put up with someone’s abuses,” said Kyle, who did not wish to give his last name for fear of a confrontation with the rack’s “owner.”

He added, “That guy probably wasn’t going to relent. If it were the bike rack or the guy, the only thing that would have changed is the rack.”

The Local is awaiting a response from The Department of Transportation, regarding whether it removed the rack between Avenues A and B. Back in October the department confirmed that it hadn’t installed the rack, and that it was illegal to claim it as one’s own. In fact, the department can bill whoever installed the rack for the expense of removing it. Of course, that seems unlikely given that the owner has never come forward, though rumors abound.

Update | 4:31 p.m. A spokeswoman for The Department of Transportation confirmed that workers removed the rack today, and that it had received no complaints about it since October. Read more…

Wheeee! A Zip Line Over Union Square

Robin Manning glides down the 160-foot zip line.Melvin Felix Robin Manning glides down a zip line at Union Square Park.

Some lucky pedestrians around Union Square got to zing down a 160-foot-long zip line before going off to work this morning.

A preview of Summer Streets 2012 at Union Square.Melvin Felix A group waits in line to ride the zip line.

“It was so fun,” said Robin Manning, 48, who lives in Hanover Square and said she was late on her way to therapy.

The zip line is one of several free activities associated with Summer Streets this year. For three Saturdays in August, the city will clear traffic on nearly seven miles of streets and turn them over to pedestrians. This year’s events, which will take place from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the first three Saturdays of August, will include a 25-foot climbing wall, sports-themed activities such as dance and yoga classes and, of course, the zip line.

“You don’t need a cup of coffee,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who glided down the long cable at Union Square twice this morning. “You can start your morning off with the zip line.”

D.O.T. Commissioner Janette Saik-KhanMelvin Felix Department of Transportation Commissioner
Janette Sadik-Khan.

Ms. Sadik-Khan, who spoke with a bike helmet at her side (they were given out at the event) said community groups would also offer family-friendly activities, dubbed Weekend Walks. Fourth Arts Block will host the East Village’s Weekend Walks on August 18, 19, 25 and 26, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. at East Fourth Street between Second Avenue and Bowery.

15 Congested and Dangerous Intersections Targeted for Improvement

houstonandboweryNatalie Rinn The intersection of Bowery and Houston.

Ten East Village intersections have been targeted for improvement by the Department of Transportation, including one – the intersection of Houston and Bowery – that has seen a bevy of biking accidents.

Last night at a joint meeting of Community Boards 2 and 3, the department unveiled the findings of a two-year survey covering a southern portion of the East Village as well as portions of Greenwich Village, NoLIta, and the Lower East Side. The study, which can be seen below, identified 15 intersections (10 of them in the East Village) that the city will target for future makeovers, including five intersections (one in the East Village) that were said to be “high accident locations.” From 2008 to 2010, the intersection of Avenue A and First Street saw 25 accidents, 18 of which resulted in injuries and one of which resulted in the death of a pedestrian.

Though the intersection of Houston Street and Bowery wasn’t among those identified by the D.O.T. as the most dangerous, it was that crossing – the city’s most accident-prone intersection for bicyclists from 1995 to 2009 – that initiated the study to begin with, and it was the one most East Village residents spoke up about. The study found noticeable congestion at the intersection, where 10 to 15 percent of daytime vehicles were trucks, and noted that it was in need of changes to better accommodate turns. Read more…

No, You Can’t Say Your Bike Rack Is ‘Private’

privateNoah Fecks

The city’s Department of Transportation confirmed late yesterday what seemed obvious: you can’t claim a bike rack on a sidewalk as private, even if you installed it yourself.

The Local submitted the oddball inquiry yesterday after reporting on the mystery of the “private” rack on East Fourth Street. A local plumber told The Local he installed the rack at the request of Flash Courier Service, and assumed it would be available to the public. But as it turned out, someone has claimed the rack as his own, and left notes warning that the “trespassing” bikes will be forcibly removed.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation said that the rack did not appear in city records. “Still, even if a permit is issued for installation, that does not mean the bike rack is for the exclusive use of the owner if it is installed on a public sidewalk,” the spokeswoman added. Read more…