Community Board Meeting on Protected Bike Lanes

Community Board Meeting on Protected Bike Lanes

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Institution:

 

Community Board Meeting on Protected Bike Lanes

Community Board 1 Queens

Meeting Time: 7.00 pm, Third Thursday of October

Date: 15 October

Location: LL Suite, Room 125

Opening By: Joseph Risi

Attendees:

  1. Demographics of the attendees

Age: 25- 65 years

Race: Mixed

Gender: Mixed

  1. Population size: 45
  2. Name community groups present
  • Astoria Community Group
  • Long Island City Community Group
  • Queensbridge Community
  • Ditmars Community Group
  • Ravenswood Community Group
  • Garden Bay Community Group
  • Woodside Community Group
  • Old Astoria Community Group

Issues Discussed:

  1. Policies on Construction of Bike lanes
  2. Benefits of Bike lanes on the Community and District
  3. Financial Sources for Construction of Bike lanes

Mood of the Meeting: Optimistic

Approval of Agenda: Approved by Florence Koulouris

Approval of Minutes: Approved by Florence Koulouris and Joseph Risi

Open Issues

Main Motion: Policies on Construction of Bike lanes

  1. Name: Geoffrey McFarlane
  2. Seconded: Astria Finntly

Motion 2: Benefits of Bike lanes on the Community and District

  1. Name: David Orlando
  2. Seconded: Faith Zany

Motion 3: Financial Sources for Construction of Bike lanes

  1. Name: Abadan Shaun
  2. Seconded: Sectary Shawn

Secretary’s Signature:

Date of Approval:

 

Introduction

In the United States, there has been recent discovery of the importance of protecting bike lanes. As a safety precaution, protection of the bike lanes will ensure that cyclists are protected from incurring injuries as they undertake this activity. According to statistics in each state, an estimated 690 cyclists are treated for injuries from cycling (Cassisilawfirm.com, 2015). Various researches have been conducted to study on the occurrence of such accidents facilitated by unprotected bike lanes. Suing the case-cross over design, researchers have been able to demonstrate the devastating impact of unprotected lanes hence prompting individual states top enact policies that reinforce the development of protected bike lanes for a safer transport for cyclists. Queens is a neighborhood in New York City, which is amongst the cities that have the largest numbers of bike crashes because of unprotected bike lanes (Cassisilawfirm.com, 2015). According to statistics, despite the fact that bicyclists injuries have drastically decreased, there is still a steady rate of fatalities since 1996. 225 cyclists have died from bike crashes between 1996 and 2005 (Cassisilawfirm.com, 2015). Additionally, over a decade, this rate has remained steady. Based on this information, the Queens neighborhood should be prompted to implement measures that will ensure the safety of the residents especially the children. With the implementation of the safety bike lanes, the safety of the roads will be greatly improved as well as those of the residents within the neighborhood. This effect will also be experienced from the city’s perspective as well.

In the meeting, the main issue that was being discussed was the construction of protected bike lanes. The reasons provided for this project was the traffic deaths that have occurred with bicyclists being amongst the fatalities. The second reason was that this step would reduce these dearth which based on the statistical reports estimated that 24% of all accidents occur in Queens (Cassisilawfirm.com, 2015). Evaluating the mood of the audience, it was evident they felt very strongly about this project and the positive impact it would have on the safety of their families and other residents as well. The main concern forwarded was the issue of costs used to construct the protected bike lanes. However, the issue was resolved quickly by the Chairperson, Joseph Risi, who explained that it was a state initiative to ensure the roads were safer for cyclist as well as increasing business opportunities for the people. Hence, the costs would be allocated for the completion of the project under the supervision of the county and state representatives.

The legislative policy emphasized in the meeting is under the AB 1193 Protected Bikeways Act. The main goal of this law is to promote the development of bike lanes through which bicyclists are able to pass and is not near the pedestrians and moving traffic (Buehler & Pucher, 2011). This separation is imperative in guaranteeing the safety of the cyclists hence the reasons why its enactment was encouraged by the California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike) (Cassisilawfirm.com, 2015). The implementation of this legislation in Queens will allows for a class 4 or protected bikeway to be constructed under the supervision of the county and state project managers. Additionally, it will curtail the hectic natures of ensuring adherence of the queens residents to designing roads and Local Street, which dictates the manner in which the bike way will be designed.

There was no division amongst the people in attendance as they supported the construction of the Bikeways. The main proposals that were forwarded included going through the extensive process of designing the bikeways. This would translate to incorporating experimental bikeways that will provide input on the strategies that will ensure the bike lanes are safe and spaced well enough for the bicyclists traffic within the neighborhood. The second proposal included making preparations that will be directed towards accessing legal permission from an attorney prior to developing the bike lane. The attorney is question will be able to utilize the viability of the liability law as a protective measure of Queens. There is because as a neighborhood, it can be sued if the reasons provided for creating the bike lanes are not in accordance with the guidelines of the state. The third proposal included accessing guide from NATCO for the bike lanes to be created. NATCO is capable to permitting this construction (Krizek, 2006). However, it is a must that its approval is received from a public hearing that is arranged in order for the reasons prompting this construction to be heard and evaluated for permission to be granted.

Discussion

Neighborhood Background

Queens is categorized as the second most populated neighborhood in New York. In terms of population, it is important to consider that there is equality in ethnicity distribution as neither of the races existing within the city that comprises of half the population (Buehler & Pucher, 2011). The population is estimated to be 2.3 million residents as of 2013. Out of this population, 48% are foreign born, it has been estimated that the population is consistently increased. Statistics show that the increase is estimated at 2.9% from a 27.3 % (Cassisilawfirm.com, 2015). Long Island has the highest increase of residents comprising 11.7% of New York’s populous. In terms of ethnicity, the census conducted in 2012 indicates the large portion of the population in Queens is comprised of the Latinos who comprise of 27.9 % of the total population.

The second popular race is the Whites who total 27.2% of the populous. The Asians come in third with an approximated 24.8% of the total population in Queens. The whites in this community are mostly Irish or Italian. Poles and Germans are also included in this population as well as Russians, Albanians, Greeks, and Bosnians. Most members of the white community are located in different areas within Queens. However, higher concentration of this population is found in Howard Beach, Middle Village, Glendale, Maspeth, Astoria, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Whitestone, and Bayside (Buehler & Pucher, 2011). The Native American comprise of a lower percentage of Queens’s population. They comprise of 0.5% of the total population. This population is also comprised of those that consider themselves a biracial. Original Native Americans are only 1.1% of the total population.

Members of the Black American community comprises of 18.8% of the population in Queens. This is inclusive of those that are non-Hispanic and Hispanic as well. Approximately 434,400 blacks reside in the Queens locality with an eight of them being categorized as being of sub-Saharan descent. Most of the blacks in Queens reside in Locust Manor, South Jamaica. Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Cambria Heights, Far Rockaway, and St. Albans.

Background of the Issue

Statistics indicate that Queens reports an estimated 55 bicycle accidents yearly. This is inclusive of the 70,403 accidents that occur in New York on a yearly basis (Buehler & Pucher, 2011). According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, it is evident that Queens is one of the affected neighborhoods within this region. This is validated by the fact that hotlines which have been established to assist the victims of such accidents. One of the law firms that have greatly assisted those affected by these accidents includes the Cassis Law Firm (Krizek, 2006), which is willing to assist on legal issues. Reports filed by New York Motor Vehicles Department indicate that over yearly, approximately

Theoretical Analysis

The first theory that explains the issue about bike lanes and accidents is that the ever-increasing population of bicyclists within New York is the major contributing element that has led to the increase in the frequency of accidents occurring in Queens. Cycling, as an activity has been greatly embraced in the United States (Krizek, 2006). This is because it serves as a form of transport, recreational activity and for exercise. School going children also use cycles of transport to school which is also observed in the older generation as they commute to work. Additionally, the benefits of cycling, as an activity is not only restricted to the health aspects but also in terms of the economy whereby it is a cheaper mode of transport (Krizek, 2006). It is also useful in the alleviation of stress, which is caused by the constant traffic observed in busy cities such as New York. These benefits the primary aspects that should be considered as the Board paces the bike lane plan under consideration.

The second theory that explains on this issue is that at a particular point, it is imperative that the cyclists are prompted to share the road with other drivers and passengers. Despite the fact that some states have incorporated well-designed and segregated cycle bike lanes, accidents are still occurring due to the compelling instance where there is sharing of roads (Buehler & Pucher, 2011). In actuality, the cyclists are more shorthanded because they suffer from reduced mass hence are likely to incur more injuries after an accident has occurred. This also leads to reduced visibility from motorists who at times are unaware of the presence of the cyclists as they drive. This makes it easy for accidents to occur. Measures that are more stringent should be implemented to ensure there is restriction of this sharing in order to reduce the occurrences of deaths because of bicyclists’ accidents (Krizek, 2006). Additionally, the bike lanes can be widened to avoid congestion, which might also be a contributing factor explains the reasons why some cyclists decide to cycle on the road.

Commercialization of the bike lanes is an effective strategy that will prompt the incorporation of these structures in Queens. Many studies have been conducted that justify this claim. Firstly, bike lanes will fuel development hence increase real estate value in the neighborhood (Buehler & Pucher, 2011). An explanation that is elaborate in illustrating this development is the fact that with more growth within a city, the higher likelihood of car congestion being an issue that requires solving. The effectual solution that can be suggested is construction of bike lanes, which will establish predictability and order as they also assure transport (Krizek, 2006). Additionally, bike lane also enables the neighborhoods within the region to extend the geographical coverage of travel.

Most motorcyclists happen to rely on this form of transport to get to work (Krizek, 2006). This elaborates that through the process of commercializing bike lanes, it will empower corporate organization and companies to access talented employees, which will further improve the outlook of the neighborhood through raising its economic value through the increase of the household income (Buehler & Pucher, 2011). The employees being sought after in the current modern day world includes the millennials and generation x members. With their preferences of jobs that are located near homes and downtown jobs, protected bike lanes will ensure that their needs are met in terms of making transport more popular and comfortable. With this ease, companies located in the downtown area will be assisted in accessing workforce and the employees will have a much safer mode of transport.

Conclusion

It is evident that Queens is facing a dire situation with the ever-increasing incidents of motorcyclists’ accidents on the roads. The primary reason why these accidents occur is due to collision with motorists especially those driving large trucks or buses. Additionally, they also occur outside the bike lanes constructed. Thirdly, there are also human factors that contribute to the accidents. Summarily, it is important to note that these fatalities are solvable through the construction of more spaced bike lanes as well as enactment of policies that will ensure that cyclists adhere to them. These policies should be directed towards ensuring that cyclists are restricted from sharing roads with motorists which is the causative aspects that has led to the accidents and the consequential fatalities (Krizek, 2006). The effectual course of action that should be spearheaded by the chair of the Board is implementation and enactment of this policy in reducing the number of accidents that occur within Queens and keep the neighborhood safe.

 

References

Buehler, R., & Pucher, J. (2011). Cycling to work in 90 large American cities: new evidence on the role of bike paths and lanes. Transportation, 39(2), 409-432. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11116-011-9355-8

Cassisilawfirm.com,. (2015). Bike Accidents :: Queens Bicycle Accident Lawyer The Cassisi Law Firm. Retrieved 4 December 2015, from http://www.cassisilawfirm.com/bike-accidents.html

Krizek, K. (2006). Two Approaches to Valuing Some of Bicycle Facilities’ Presumed Benefits: Propose a session for the 2007 National Planning Conference in the City of Brotherly Love. Journal Of The American Planning Association, 72(3), 309-320. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01944360608976753

 

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