New East Village Bike Lanes: Good for Bikers, Bad for Business
The new bike lanes on First and Second Avenue that run from Houston to 34th Street are positioned between the sidewalk and a line of parked cars to protect bikers -- which means delivery trucks can no longer double park right next to businesses, causing new frustrations to downtown business owners trying to keep their shelves stocked.
Employees of Dual Specialty Store, an East Village Indian grocery shop, say that some of their deliveries have stopped coming in the past two weeks because the trucks can't pull over with the bike paths and cars in their way. "It's hampering business," sales manager Anwar Hossain says. Now store employees have to travel to Brooklyn and the Bronx to pick up goods that vendors refuse to deliver. "It was never part of our plan. It's a waste of time, money, everything," Hossain says.
"The Bloomberg green is shit," Delware Patwary, the store's manager, adds. Patwary points out that the new parking patterns eliminated many spaces, so customers can't easily pull over and enter his store. Bike traffic hasn't made up for the loss, he says. "Business won't pick up with bikers."
The new traffic patterns upset drivers as well. "I think it's just wrong the drivers have nowhere to drive now," says Andy Pabon, who commutes through the East Village often and picks up his prescriptions at the Rite-Aid on First Avenue and 5th Street. "It's a setup, too, so people can get more tickets," he says, because parking is limited.
Bikers, however, no longer have to ride along side traffic on First and Second avenues and are enjoying their freshly painted fast lane. "Love them, I absolutely love them," says Rom Morin, a student who commutes along the new paths to his job as a sports instructor at a summer camp. "It makes it safer; it makes it quicker...[Bikers] need somewhere to go, and it's better that they're not moving out into the middle of the road during rush hour," he says.
The floating parked cars look kind of weird -- like a line of stopped traffic along First Avenue. "It does throw you off for a second," says Steven Lynn, a restaurant owner who parked in an East Village floating space for the first time yesterday. "I think it's a good thing because anything that enhances New York to the people living in it, and the people coming to it, that's what New York is all about," he says.
The same type of bike lanes exist along stretches of Eighth and Ninth avenues. The Department of Transportation said in a statement (via NY1): "On Eighth and Ninth Avenues, injuries plunged more than 50 percent for everyone -- pedestrians, cyclists and motorists -- following the installation of protected lanes."
Well, that sounds good to us.
Here are photos from EV Grieve, which has been chronicling the bike lane and traffic changes along First and Second avenues.