In April the L train will be shutting down for 15 months. Since more people ride the L train than any other subway train in the city, the Department of Transportation (DOT) looked for ways to give people alternative forms of transportation. Originally it planned to open a two-way bike lane going down 13th Street.
However, our school pointed out that a two-way bike lane going down our street would impact the safety of our students. Many C&C parents joined together last year to stop the DOT from going through with the plan.
This summer, the DOT changed their plans to a one-way bike lane and even agreed to narrow the bike lane in front of our school. Recently Scott Moran, Principal, sent an email to C&C parents, and said, “I’d like to thank all the parents and Board members who were involved in this effort!”
The new bike lane stretches from Avenue A to Greenwich Avenue. The 13th Street bike lane will also be one of the first, if not the first, bike lane to run on a cross street.
Scott noted that even though changes were made to make the bike lane safer, parents should still be more careful when picking up and dropping off their children at the school. Scott has plans to put bike racks outside in order to decrease the risk of students getting hurt. Scott said that he was originally worried about the bike lane, but the new changes make it much better for the school’s safety.
Eileen Botti and Ted Wright, DOT’s director of Bicycle and Greenway Programs, recently visited the VIs and VIIs to show some of the equipment used when making bike lanes.
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connections between the creation of the bike lane and their own school work. Ted and Eileen explained that they have an office where they draw and design different roads and figure out the safest options for our city. Samantha Miller, a VIIsR associate and viewer of DOT’s presentation, told us that oddly enough, smaller streets are actually safer for bikes. Instead of creating more danger, the bike lanes might actually make 13th Street safer because cars will slow down when they know bikes are close by. After all, the number one cause of traffic accidents in the city are cars, not bicycles.
After the discussion, the VIs left the building and were greeted by real equipment used to create bike lanes. The workers helping with the job showed the VIs how each button and lever functioned on the bulky machine. They went on to paint the lanes, a process which took which took a little less than a minute. The hot temperature of the paint makes it have an interesting shimmering quality, so drivers can see the lines and know to stay within those boundaries. The process was mesmerizing, especially to the VIs, who had never seen anything like that before. “It smells like a barbecue hot dog!” said a VI.
So now we ask, “Will the bike lanes be permanent?” Samantha Miller thinks most likely. She says that she didn’t hear any plans about removing them when the L train comes back. Also, it is not an easy process to remove the lanes, as much negotiating and consulting must occur before they are able to due so.