Will Fire Trucks Be Forced To Use NYC Bike Paths?

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It was supposed to be an “ah ha” moment for Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan — an admission that changes had to be made to the controversial Columbus Avenue bike lane.

Unfortunately, it turned into more of an “oh no” moment.

One of the changes the commissioner is considering is to allow cars to park in front of certain fire hydrants, and force fire trucks to use the bike path.

“What we’re going to do is work with the fire department to see if in the floating parking we can allow some parking there,” Manhattan DOT Commissioner Margaret Forgione told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

When asked how many spots were candidates for such a move, Forgione responded “at every hydrant it would be one or two parking spaces that potentially could be restored.”

The changes could be affected on every block from 77th to 96th streets.

Forgione said she was “not sure” how the fire department would react to allowing people to park in hydrant spaces.

On Monday however, FDNY Press Secretary Steve Ritea responded tersely with the following statement:

“Fifteen feet on all sides is necessary to provide quick access to a hydrant and blocking hydrants can’t be permitted under any circumstances,” the statement read.

Questioning also abound over what would happen if more than one fire truck responded to a fire.

  • Fred

    A better solution would be to remove the bike lane.

  • Steve

    Is Marcia Kramer the worst journalist in NYC or the worstest?

    First of all, CBS has filed reports in the past that there isn’t enough parking due to the bike lane. But yet again, there’s Marcia, reporting live from the UWS, with EMPTY PARKING SPACES visible in the background.

    Secondly, this is a non-story. Some minor DOT player, not JSK, threw out an idea — one of many that probably got bandied about — and FDNY said no dice. End of story. Hardly worth the two or three minutes of air time, unless you have some strange obsession with or vendetta against Sadik-Khan, as Marcia seems to have.

    Third, if the FDNY needs to have so much access to fire hydrants, which is understandable, all it takes is one fire truck to block out the other. If CBS was so concerned with safety, it would be wondering why so many cars and delivery trucks double park in front of hydrants on streets without separated bike lanes — which is true of most streets in Manhattan. But you won’t hear Marcia reporting about requests for drivers to lose one spot per block.

    Coming this summer…why bike lanes are bad because too many people use them!

  • YKVMike

    Sadik-Khan has apparently never seen an apartment fire in action. It’s not only about the hydrant itself, it’s about the distance needed to put up a ladder to a window. If the truck is further out in the street, more ladder is needed to get to trapped people. But I guess the commissioner doesn’t care about that.

    • Steve

      Every bike lane gets input from and approval by FDNY. The DOT does nothing without consulting with the fire and police departments and asking them if new designs will hinder emergency access. So far neither department has objected to a single bike lane or pedestrian plaza.

  • Jacob

    Let’s be clear. This was not DOT’s idea. The merchants complained about a lack of parking, and DOT said they’d look into a few things. They looked into this, and it doesn’t look like it will work. Case closed. CBS2 takes any opportunity it can to take a swipe at Janette Sadik-Khan. Nice objective journalism, CBS2.

  • Bob Boudro

    When the thinking is as thin as the ice—-Lives are lost!!

    Just cash your check and let your “Street People” submit the bright ideas!!.

  • Robert

    I was going to publish a snarky remark here about the current administration, but I’m at a loss. Block a FIRE hydrant? And ask permission to do so? Really.

    When is this term up?

  • the bandid

    dear01608, no there is not anybody with brains left in Kings Mike administration . he only has moron around him.

  • Geoffrey Fitzhume

    Another Bloomberg Administration Public Safety Blooper. Bloomberg and Company are a pack of wealthy, out of touch elitist boobs! The Bloomberg Administration is a hazard to the people of N.Y.C..

  • Karen Dodds

    Loss of life? What a ridiculous spin on this story. The engines would have unobstructed access from the bike lane, which they may not have from the street due to illegally and double parked vehicles.
    Why hasn’t the news team mentioned the reduction in traffic fatalities since the bike lanes have been implemented? Guess it’s not sensational enough.

    • Robert

      Karen, I’m not flaming you, but as a NYC Paramedic, who has worked fire scenes, I have seen firsthand how quick a fire can move. You don’t want anything blocking the water supply. The engine (or Pumper) has only limited water supply which it exhausts quickly, hence the reason for the hook up to a hydrant. Yes the bike lanes have reduced bike/car encounters, but this whole concept is a disaster waiting for a place to happen.

  • peter

    this is a dumb idea.

  • 01608

    Park at a hydrant? FIRE. Park at a hydrant? Is anyone thinking?

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