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Transportation & Environment

Request for a comprehensive effort to increase safety measures for road users and to actively enforce the laws that regulate the City’s bicycle networks and bicycle rental businesses, with a particular emphasis on the area surrounding the West 50s.

WHEREAS, The Vision Zero program calls for an expanded bicycle network in Manhattan; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five ("CB5") recognizes the efforts undertaken by the New York Department of Transportation ("DOT") to date to create dedicated bike lanes within Community District Five on Broadway, 5th, 6th, and 7th Avenues, in order to reduce traffic fatalities and improve safety for all road users; and

WHEREAS, DOT has recognized parts of Community District Five as especially busy thoroughfares within the City's bicycle network; and

WHEREAS, DOT has identified 7th Avenue in particular as a Vision Zero Priority Corridor, with more than 1,700 bicyclists utilizing the avenue each day; and

WHEREAS, 7th Avenue serves as a vital segment of the Citi Bike service, which network-wide experiences more than 60,000 rides per day; and

WHEREAS, Previously, CB5 has identified traffic conditions in and around the West 50s as particularly congested, marked by ever-increasing motor vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian flow; and

WHEREAS, CB5 has urged DOT to study the existing vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic conditions in and around Columbus Circle in order to create a complete street plan to make the area safe for all users; and

WHEREAS, The flourishing tourism industry combined with recent improvements to and the expansion of the Community District's bicycle network has led to increased demand for bicycle rentals, which in turn has sparked the proliferation of bicycle renting businesses; and

WHEREAS, Due to its proximity to both Times Square and Central Park, the neighborhood in and around the West 50s has been especially impacted by the exploding number of bicycle rental organizations; and

WHEREAS, The bicycle rental industry has proven particularly competitive and is marked by many bad actors; and

WHEREAS, CB5 has received a substantial number of complaints from area residents regarding bicycle rental organizations, including, but not limited to, those related to:

WHEREAS, These practices exacerbate existing street congestion and further clog already busy sidewalks, directly forcing pedestrians to spill into oncoming vehicular traffic, which creates dangerous walking and driving conditions; and

WHEREAS, Unchecked, this pattern of behavior has led to an increasing number of unsophisticated bicycle riders improperly riding on sidewalks, going the wrong way in bike lanes, and disregarding traffic signs and signals, making it increasingly difficult for the NYPD to effectively enforce safety regulations to protect street users; and

WHEREAS, Local residents lack a viable method for lodging notifications or complaints about these issues; and

WHEREAS, Local residents have demonstrated overwhelming support for the establishment of new measures to address these and other bicycle-related issues; and

WHEREAS, CB5 recognizes that the regulation of New York City's bicycle networks and their ever-expanding number of users as well as the increasing number of businesses renting and selling bicycles requires a comprehensive plan and the coordinated efforts of multiple City agencies; and

WHEREAS, The Vision Zero program mandates a multi-agency effort to implement safety measures for all road users; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five urges the NYPD to actively enforce the regulations governing the City's bicycle rental organizations, paying particular attention to the area in and around the West 50s, which is marked with several potential bad actors (specifically the businesses located at 56 West 56th St., 912 7th Ave., 203 West 58th St., and 1409 6th Ave.), in particular, the illegal use of the portion of the sidewalk intended exclusively for public right-of-way; and be it further

RESOLVED, CB5 urges the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications to update the City's 311 website and related mobile App to include an option for residents to report bicycle-related issues and concerns; and be it further

RESOLVED, CB5 urges the Department of Consumer Affairs to investigate the business practices, advertising and licensing of the City's bicycle vendors, pedicab tour companies, and pedicab taxi services, paying particular attention to the area in and around the West 50s; and be it further

RESOLVED, CB5 urges the Department of Sanitation to strictly enforce regulations concerning the use of New York City sidewalks by bicycle vendors, to maintain safe and unobstructed walkways for the city's many residents and visitors; and be it further

RESOLVED, CB5 urges DOT to actively seek out partnerships with local community stakeholders in order to install much-needed bicycle corrals to help ensure the organized storage of bicycles and maintain safe sidewalks for pedestrians.

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