Did you bike to work? - Local official takes part in ‘National Bike to Work Day’

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It is only fitting that the councilmember who represents the cycling-loving communities of Williamsburg and Greenpoint is himself a bike rider.

Last Thursday, Councilmember David Yassky, along with Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White and City Council Transportation Committee Chair John Liu, biked to a press conference promoting Friday’s “National Bike to Work Day.”

The day falls in the middle of the City’s 17th annual Bike Month, which seeks to draw attention to the myriad benefits of cycling.

At the press conference, Yassky promoted his bill that would make cycling a more viable option for working New Yorkers by requiring office buildings to accommodate bike parking.

The bill, which Yassky first introduced in 2006, is currently in the Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee. Yassky spokesman Jake McGuire said he hopes the bill will be voted upon and come before the Council within the next two months.

“Riding your bike to work is a great way to stay healthy, save money, and take care of our environment,” Yassky said.

“There are New Yorkers all over this City who would bike to work if we could make it just a little bit easier. That means making the roads safe for cyclists and making sure they have a place to put their bikes once they get to the office,” he continued.

More than 75 percent of the driving trips in New York City are five miles or less, many of which could be done with a modestly strenuous bike ride.

If there is any neighborhood has grasped the convenience of the cycling, it is Williamsburg-Greenpoint, where poor public transportation options have forced residents to depend on cycling.

An estimated 3,000 cyclists pass over the Williamsburg Bridge each day, making it the most heavily cycled East River bridge.

To make things easier for area cyclists, the Department of Transportation announced in April the addition of ten new bike lanes in Greenpoint. The 4.9 lane mile project is scheduled to be finished by July.

“Cycling is becoming one of the preferred transportation choices in the Greenpoint area in Brooklyn in part because of limited transit options and its convenient location,” wrote DOT Brooklyn Borough Comossioner Joseph A. Palmieri in a letter to Community Board 1 District Manager Gerald Esposito.

“Long Island City and Manhattan are both accessible by short bicycle trips. Biking to transit is also a popular commuting method,” Palmieri wrote.

Another measure the DOT has taken to accommodate the area’s bike culture is installing bike racks to be placed on four new sidewalk “build-outs.”

These build-outs will be similar to the one on North 7th Street and Bedford Avenue, which represented the first time in city history that car parking had been taken away in favor of bike parking.

The Department of Transportation is currently in the design phase of the build-outs. After they are installed later this summer, there will be bike racks at: Manhattan and Driggs Avenues; North 7th Street and Driggs Avenue; North 5th Street and Bedford Avenue; and Powers Street and Bushwick Avenue.

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