NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Believe it or not, you can fight city hall – and win.

Angry drivers, along with a determined borough president and a city councilman, got the Department of Transportation to erase a bike lane in Staten Island.

How many men does it take to remove a bike lane? In the case of the one on Father Capodanno Boulevard on Staten Island, it takes two – one with a machine to eat up the white line, and another to sweep up the debris.

“It’s easy to put it in, hard to take it up,” DOT worker Tino Prada said.

In a city with a bike-centric transportation commissioner, truer words have never been spoken.

Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro and City Councilman James Oddo fought with the city for months to get the bike lane removed. They argued that it killed the traffic flow on a very busy street.

“Drivers were upset,” Molinaro said. “There’s one number you should realize – we’re five percent of the [city’s] population in Staten Island, we have 18.5 percent of all the registered vehicles in New York City.

“Traffic here is horrendous, absolutely horrendous,” Borough President Molinaro said.

“There’s pushback on Staten Island, and we have to find the appropriate locations, and perhaps Father Capodanno wasn’t the best location,” Councilman Oddo said.

Although not all of the bike lane signs have been removed, drivers seem thrilled that the lanes themselves have been erased.

“Good idea, because if you ride in the lane, they would give you a ticket,” resident Walter Greene said.

“They say if you can fight city hall, you know, more power to you,” resident Russell Reeves said.

Councilman Oddo has advice for others who want their bike lanes removed.

“Bang the drum, don’t accept ‘no’ for an answer,” he said. “Continue to put the pressure on your local elected [officials], continue to try to get the interest of the media.”

Only one other time has a DOT truck been seen taking up a bike lane after it’s been put down – one year ago in Brooklyn, members of the Hasidic community successfully complained about the bike lane on Bedford Avenue.







Comments (15)
  1. jesus coolman says:

    As if Jay walking isn’t bad enough in NYC, now we have an over zealous environmental mayor and DOT putting up bike lanes in the most beautiful of avenues, turning them into an instant eye sore.

  2. Aunt says:

    Anybody who ever rode the Capodanno Blvd bike lane can see that it did not in any way impede motorists. It took a mere three feet off both sides of the road, leaving room for two lanes in each direction and parking along one side of the road.

    And anybody who ever drove on Capodanno Blvd can see that the biggest problem on it is speeding drivers….one of the main reasons why they put a bike lane there in the first place.

    1. Aunt_Bike says:

      Beachbum, the bike path along the beach does not lead anywhere but to another beach, there is no connection to the SI ferry or any other transportation hub, and it was recently gated shut by a catering hall that regularly uses the bike path for it’s valet parking.

  3. BeachBum says:

    One thing no one mentioned -Ride2Wk – where the bike lane was removed there’s not one but TWO others bike lanes not 200 ft. away.
    There’s a special asphalt bike lane near the boardwalk and specially designated lanes for bikes ON the boardwalk. Both run into a bike lane on the promenade. So a biker can travel from at least Sand Lane all the way to Lincoln ave. without impeding the rush hour car traffic.

    1. BikeRider says:

      The bike path along the boardwalk and the beach are a joke. They are used by dog walkers and parents with baby carriges. Anyway it’s a moot point because under the law bicycles are considered vehicles and have the right to take up any lane. Without a bike lane all it does is make it unsafe. I hear that a Bus only lane will be installed so cars still will not have access.

  4. Ride2Wk says:

    Stupid car drivers & the fat president clearly have no idea. Councillor removing the bike lane will force some riders back into their cars to cause more traffic congestion. And just how is removing the bike lane, which gets bikes out of the traffic lane and allows cars to actually pass cyclists more easily, going to help speed up traffic ? As a road engineer, I find that incredibly ignorant of the facts.

    Suffer in your traffic jams and air pollution caused because too many people drive cars instead of walk or cycle.

    1. joewee says:

      Ride2wk, you are ignorant of the facts too. If you live on SI and work in Brooklyn you can not ride a bike to work. It’s illegal to ride over the bridge on a bicycle. It’s also nice to know that a road engineer thinks drivers are stupid. How many drivers think the DOT & engineers that design the some of roads are stupid?

  5. terribletim says:

    How about doing something that would really make a difference like time the traffic lights correctly so the main flow of traffic does not have to constantly stop for red lights? Molinaro claims that this would be out of his control because he cannot make the dot fix that problem but he can apparently make the dot remove bike lanes.

  6. Abner says:

    I don’t bike so I couldn’t care less, but I don’t think a major artery should be impeded, especially when vehicular traffic is life support for the burough and city, but heavy traffic on Staten Island? C’mon.

  7. Yogi says:

    I am all for bikers riding in parks and such. They have NO place in a busy city like New York City. Most bikers I see are rude, angry and break the rules all the time. I even got punched in the shoulder last week by a biker as I stood at a traffic light waiting to cross (as a pedestrian). He was angry I was standing next to the bike lane along the West Side highway, which incidentally was the only place to stand if you wanted to cross at the crossing. Plus, bike lanes break up traffic flow. This story gives me hope we can erase some of the stupid new bike lanes put up elsewhere in NYC!

    1. Stan says:

      Funny, I’m all for driving cars on racetracks and rural highways. They don’t belong in dense urban cities like New York.
      Leave some roads in the outer boroughs but get cars out of Manhattan.

  8. Jim Redd says:

    Right. Cars Rule! Ever wonder why “Traffic here is horrendous, absolutely horrendous”? Well, that’s the reason for bike lanes. To encourage drivers to switch to environmentally-friendly, healthy, efficient bikes, which take up a tenth of the space of a car. But it apparently doesn’t work in Staten Island. Too bad.

    1. IvoryJive says:

      Exactly right Jim. If traffic is an “horrendous” problem, then giving more space for cars to drive ain’t exactly gonna solve the problem. “Traffic” means cars. If you drive a car, and you complain about “traffic”, you are complaining about yourself because you ARE traffic. The only way to reduce car traffic is to get car drivers onto bikes, buses, trains, ferries – whatever else – to make traffic lighter. Removing one of the few facilities on Staten Island that is actually promoting an alternative to driving – the only way to reduce traffic – just serves to maintain the “horrendous” status quo. I see no way that this improves the situation for anyone. The Borough President clearly has spent a lot of energy to get rid of this bike lane. How much energy will he spend trying to find other ways to get more “traffic” (i.e. cars) off the road? Where is HIS traffic improvement plan?

  9. Skipper says:

    In our little upstate community there is a bike lane between two opposing lanes of traffic. A DOT with little common sense as only a drunk would ride his bicycle there. Whatever happened to bike riders using the traffic lanes and obeying traffic rules?

  10. rugbball says:

    Molinaro said. “There’s one number you should realize – we’re five percent of the [city’s] population in Staten Island, we have 18.5 percent of all the registered vehicles in New York City.

    Thats actually two numbers, but what ever.

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