Volume 21, Number 37 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 23 - 29, 2009

Transit Sam
The Answer man

By Sam Schwartz

Dear Transit Sam,
During the summer months, our family frequents the Hudson River esplanade in Battery Park City, specifically between Stuyvesant High School and Battery Park.  My question is what’s the rule for bicycles on the esplanade?  Shouldn’t they be on the bike path along West St. instead?  It becomes very dangerous when bikes are sharing paths with kids, baby strollers, dogs and joggers.  How do we go about enforcing rules that may exist?  How do we get rules in place?Rob, Battery Park City
Dear Rob,

There is a well-defined West St. bike lane, but bicyclists may also use the portion of the promenade closest to the water in Battery Park City. Cyclists are not allowed to use the area between the line of trees and the building lines.  When using the promenade, the cyclists must always use caution with lots of children, elderly and people with disabilities also at water’s edge.

The Battery Park City Authority pays for Parks Enforcement Patrols, also known as PEP, and they can ticket those who bike on the wrong path. You can reach B.P.C.A. security at 212-417-3100. If you want to change the rules I suggest you first contact the district manager of Community Board 1, Noah Pfefferblit, 212-442-5050.

Transit Sam
Dear Transit Sam,
There is a frustrating situation at the World Financial Center in Manhattan.  Each evening on Vesey St., black cars with T.L.C. plates line up on both sides of the street, double- and triple-parked, constantly make u-turns in search of passengers.  In addition, they idle with their engines running right under the sign that warns them not to do so.  It is difficult to board the buses that are supposed to stop there because of all the cars.  Can something be done?
Bill, Battery Park City

Dear Bill,
We have multiple jurisdictions involved and I recommend complaining to them all. I’d start with the T.L.C. They have offices across the street at 40 Rector St. Feel free to pay them a visit and say Transit Sam sent you, or call them at 311. Next I’d call the First Precinct at 212-334-0611. For a longer-term approach you can contact D.O.T.’s Lower Manhattan Office at 212-788-8989. You may also wish to work through Community Board 1, Noah Pfefferblit, 212-442-5050.

In the meantime, I contacted the T.L.C. and they said attention will be given to this particular area.

Transit Sam

Dear Transit Sam,
What are your thoughts on the five-minute grace period for parking tickets the City Council is proposing? I’m all for it!

Kelly, Tribeca

Dear Kelly,
I’m not in favor of the City Council legislating parking policy. Look what happened when they enacted “no metered parking on Sundays.” The city lost millions in revenue, parking got harder and merchants lost customers to suburban malls where parking’s aplenty.

In most cases when readers write me (and then Parking Violations Operations) for tickets written within one to four minutes of the start of a regulation, the ticket is dismissed.

That being said, the proposed regulation is written so poorly, traffic enforcement would be crippled. Specifically it reads “No notice of violation shall be issued …until five minutes after the time that such a violation occurs.” One can claim (and a smart New Yorker will) that N.Y.P.D. officers would have to observe a violation for five minutes before writing a summons. Secondly, how about the lost revenue? Last time, the City Council just passed a bill and left all of us in more debt. How do they plan to make up the lost revenue this time?

Transit Sam

Sam Schwartz, a former first deputy commissioner of city transportation, is president and C.E.O. of Sam Schwartz Engineering, a traffic engineering consulting firm to private and public entities including the Port Authority at the World Trade Center site. Email your questions to TransitSam@DowntownExpress.com




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