Fidler: Bike Lanes Should Not “Drop Out Of The Sky”

Councilman Lew Fidler unveiled details of a hotly anticipated bill requiring community input before bike lane implementation.

“Bike lanes drop out of the sky without any notice to the community and they’re based on a master plan that’s more than 10 years ago,” Fidler told the 61st Precinct Community Council’s September meeting. “That plan is out of date and the community should at least have the opportunity before we go through the expense of changing our streets.”

The legislation, which the councilman said is still being drafted, comes in the wake of outcry from his Canarsie constituents to a planned bike lane on East 94th Street and East 95th Street. Sheepshead Bites was the first to report that he was considering such a bill.

The proposed legislation will require the Department of Transportation to notify local community boards before the placement of any new bike lanes. The community board can organize public hearings to evaluate the plans.

“That doesn’t mean that we dont want to have bike lanes,” said Fidler. “Some don’t, some do. But it also means that the bikers have some say where they want bike lanes.”

He said that the city’s plans don’t always match up with the way bicyclists use the roads, and that installation on some roads have left some dumbfounded. For example, a proposed lane on Gerritsen Avenue was shot down by motorists and bicyclists alike, while the bikers pushed a route along Marine Park instead. Though the DOT cancelled the Gerritsen Avenue route, they never bothered installing the Marine Park path.

Other legislation Fidler discussed during remarks included a recycling bill he sponsored and Mayor Bloomberg signed into law. The bill expands the recycling of plastic to include all plastic materials. Technically, only certain kinds of plastics are currently recycled, with others being transported to New Jersey for burning, he said. But now, residents won’t have to bother checking the identifying number imprinted on containers.

“If it’s plastic, it goes into the recycling,” he said, pointing out that it costs less to recycle a bottle than to cart it off as trash. “It saves you money, it helps the Earth, [and] it makes life simpler.”

The new law goes into effect in about two years, when the new Sunset Park recycling center is completed. Fidler added that he and fellow sponsors resisted pressure from the Bloomberg administration to raise fines, and said if residents error in sorting the materials they cannot get a ticket for it.