TransAlt Activists vs. Citi Bike Cravings
In every borough, there is a crew of Transportation Alternatives activists riding bikes, organizing their neighborhoods, and fighting for local change. These are some of the stories from the front lines of New York City’s changing streets.
Staten Island: A Taste of Blue Bicycles
Among New Yorkers, Staten Island residents can feel left out, and access to bike share is no exception.
This summer, Staten Island activists hosted a #CitiBike4All rally on the steps of Borough Hall. Local elected officials and business owners came out to pose with a blue cardboard Citi Bike stand-in, and added their support to the call for the blue bikes to come ashore.
While only a few people mentioned that Staten Island was being left out (again), every activist whooped about how they cannot wait for a taste of Citi Bike on Staten Island.
Manhattan: Protected Bike Lane IRL
TransAlt activists tend to fight for neighborhood bike lanes one stretch at a time, which makes the #MoveMidtown Campaign huge by local standards. Manhattan activists are petitioning for crosstown protected bike lanes, protection for all the gaps in the 2nd Avenue bike lane, and protected bike lanes on 5th, 6th, and 7th Avenue that stretch all the way to Central Park.
Activists demonstrated their demands in real life this summer, holding hands to protect the gap in the 2nd Avenue bike lane with a human buffer. Every passing cyclist cheered at the protection, but five minutes after they’d disbanded, a truck driver decided that the bike lane was a good place to park.
Glad-Handing the Traffic Jam
So what if it stunk? Activists in Brooklyn who wanted to promote their
#FixAtlantic Campaign this summer ended up spending the day next to a pile of garbage under the Long Island Rail Road, and handily proving their point that Atlantic Avenue is terrible for walking.
The one-day encampment gave them the opportunity to tell hundreds of passersby about their campaign, but the highlight came from the street: one woman in a car stopped traffic to sign the petition! Even drivers know it is time for a change.
Queens: A Few Green Spots Missing
The first-ever Tour de Flushing was full of tree-lined paths and verdant parkland, but activists in Eastern Queens were determined to make a few political points on their inaugural local bike tour, too.
They took the ride down Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, and pointed out that the bike route there should be extended to the Long Island border. They rode from Kissena Park to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, and noted the big gap in the bike network in between. By the end of the 20-mile ride, co-hosted by the Flushing Chamber of Commerce, there were a few hundred Queens cyclists (and one unicyclist) fired up and ready to help fill the gaps.
Bronx: How to Survive a Crank Attack
In the North Bronx, activists are practicing deep breathing to cope with one community member who is determined to keep local streets dangerous.
It all started when neighbors asked the Department of Transportation to fix a stretch of Broadway near Van Cortland Park where speeding was common. Everyone loved the plan — with a bike lane to reduce speeding and crosswalks built for the neighborhood’s elderly residents — except for one powerful member of the community board.
Now, delayed votes, long rants, and restricted speaking time are par for the course at meetings of Community Board 8. Every time they’re accused of working for the All-Powerful Bike Lobby, local activists find themselves wishing that the American Legion Post that hosts the meetings would start serving beers.
Learn how to get involved with you local Transportation Alternatives activist committee at transalt.org/neighborhoods.