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Amsterdam Avenue Business Owners: Hit Brakes On Plan For Bike Lanes

Community Board Has Requested City Devise Proposal For Routes

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Can Amsterdam Avenue handle bike lanes?

As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, the street is already a busy residential and commercial roadway and a heavily traveled route for outbound commuters. Now, the local community board has asked the city to devise a plan for Amsterdam Avenue that is expected to include a bike lane, a prospect that has left business owners worried.

Nicholas Zingone, a shop owner, said the city’s expanding streetscape of traffic islands and bike lanes has a distinct downside.

“We can’t park in front of our own store and conduct our business,” he said.

Mary Vinci, a shop clerk, added: “We don’t have any more morning business. Our morning business has gone away.”

Nick Bargas who saw bike lanes installed in front of his shop on Columbus Avenue a couple of years ago, said they do pose a challenge for business owners.

“It looks great, but when you lose all the parking spaces, it’s very difficult,” he said.

When asked for his advice for Amsterdam Avenue, Bargas answered: “Don’t do it.”

Proponents of bike lanes argue that reducing car traffic is a worthy goal.

“I think it’s been a help, and it’s calmed the streets and made it more pleasant to walk around also,” said Upper West Side resident Jason Boran.

Young noted that where bike lanes are installed on Columbus Avenue, old traffic lanes have been replaced by parking spaces and turn signals. Combined with delivery trucks that double-park, there are places in the road that are down to one lane of clear traffic.

“For a lot of businesses, it’s a killer,” said business owner Jason Haber.

The Columbus-Amsterdam Business Improvement District believes the area is simply going through some growing pains, adding that new loading zones could solve the problems with delivery trucks and increased bike traffic to stores could offset the fewer cars driving down streets.

“The main aim is to make it safer,” said Peter Arndtsen, district managerĀ of the Columbus-Amsterdam Business Improvement District. “I don’t know how to emphasize that enough.”

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