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.
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