By William Kregler
Bravo to Community Board 2 in Queens for voting down the ill-conceived protected bike lane proposal.
The rhetoric of the bicycle fanatics in attempting to stir emotions over logic on the issue was appalling. They used the death of bicyclist Gelacio Reyes, who was killed in the intersection of 43rd Avenue and 39th Street at 2:53 a.m. on April 1, 2017, as justification for the expensive project without regards to its negative impact on the community.
Forgetting all the other factors in this case (violation of traffic signals, alcohol, legal status, unlicensed operation, disabling of interlock devices, revoked licenses, etc.) the one undisputed fact is that bike lanes would not have prevented this tragic event from occurring because it happened in the intersection of cross streets. Yet, the bicycle fanatics contended that if one life is saved, then it’s money well spent. That is an opinion of a few and not the consensus of the majority.
Mayor Bill de Blasio will move forward with the project and totally ignore the board’s decision and the concerns of the communities involved. Furthermore, let’s not forget the actions of City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. Van Bramer was so passionate about the idea that he held a press conference at the location of Mr. Reyes’ death, demanding the NYPD move quickly in their investigation — which they did with the arrest of Christian Guiracocha — and calling upon the Department of Transportation to install protected bike lanes on 43rd Avenue. He also inserted a family member on the board of Transportation Alternatives. He then hid in the shadows while ignoring the rally held prior to the community board meeting and did not attend to give his position or support for the proposal he demanded.
If this issue is so important, then make it a proposal for the next election and live with the results. That is the democratic way of doing things. Yet the sad truth is that we are ruled by a dictator for a mayor and the sheepish local officials that support him.