Keep Ward / Safer Streets

Keep Ward on board
Since taking the helm of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2008, Chris Ward has shown strong leadership throughout a rocky economic period, and has made enormous advances on some of the thorniest issues that had been impeding downtown and World Trade Center development.

We call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to refrain from the ambiguous statements that lead to any discourse involving Mr. Ward’s replacement. To replace a man who embodies effective community outreach and deft navigation of the numerous bureaucracies of Lower Manhattan, is an ill contemplated decision and one we hope is quickly abandoned. The last thing Lower Manhattan needs at a time like this is yet more discontinuity.

Community Board 1 passed a resolution calling for Gov. Cuomo to abandon any notion of replacing Ward. We second that resolution. Chris Ward represents progress, continuity and collaboration, and he should be supported so that he can continue to get things done, and done the right way.

Safer streets for all
As much as the number of people bicycling and bicycle safety both have increased in New York City, recent tragic accidents hammer home the fact that the streets are still far from benign for cyclists.

On Sunday, East Village bar owner Ray Deter died six days after he was hit while cycling by a Jaguar at Canal St. and West Broadway. The day before, Marilyn Dershowitz, sister-in-law of famed attorney Alan Dershowitz, was killed while bike riding when she was struck by a postal truck in Chelsea.

Wearing a helmet vastly improves the chances of surviving a serious bike accident. Yet, while Deter wasn’t wearing one, Dershowitz was.

An article in Sunday’s New York Times noted that three times fewer women than men are currently biking the city’s streets, largely due to concerns that it’s too dangerous. New York lags behind other cities like Copenhagan or Amsterdam where women are the majority of cyclists. But the health benefits, convenience and fun of biking ensure that it will undoubtedly continue to grow here.

Basically, as biking in the city continues to mushroom, there’s a continued need for everyone — drivers, pedestrians and cyclists — to work at sharing the streets and ensuring everyone’s safety.

Drivers need to realize that cyclists are in an incredibly vulnerable position, and need to give them a wide berth. That means not cutting off cyclists at turns, especially, and certainly not speeding, which ups the chances of a serious accident by each additional mile per hour.

More than a few cyclists also need to slow down, both for their own safety and for that of pedestrians. Now that a sprawling bicycle-lane network has taken shape, cyclists more than ever must abide by the rules of the road. They have to ride with courtesy and defer to pedestrians, just as cars, in turn, must defer to bikes.

The bike lanes, which have exploded under Mayor Bloomberg and his Transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Kahn, are a great thing, at last creating safe, and sometimes physically protected, spaces for cyclists — but bike riders must use them responsibly.

For their part, pedestrians can contribute by not jaywalking — and not straddling the bike lane while waiting to cross the street or hailing cabs.

Ultimately, we have to realize: We’re all in this together. Street safety is something we can all participate in. The bicycling boom isn’t going to disappear. But as Deter’s and Dershowitz’s tragic deaths show, we’ve still got light years to go in terms of safety.

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One Response to Keep Ward / Safer Streets

  1. Maybe there should be a speed limit in the bicycle lanes? u00a0There is a difference between riding a bike and racing a bike. I've seen speed limit signs on the Hudson River Greenway and the Central Park loop. Maybe the speed limit for cars is laxly enforced? Maybe the speed limit throughout the city should be 20MPH maximum. The cyclists are pedaling as fast as they can to avoid having a speeding taxicab plow into their rear ends.nThere is a law on the books which mandates that all bicycles should have a bell, to warn pedestrians. Enforce the existing laws. Maybe pedestrians should look around and over their shoulders, and be on the lookout for bikes, just as cyclists are on the lookout for cars?

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