Nov. 19, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas joined cycling advocates Thursday to call on the governor to sign her bill that would require the MTA to prioritize bicycle access.
González-Rojas and State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx), who sponsored the bill in the state Senate, gathered with advocates at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge Thursday to put pressure on Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign their bill into law.
The legislation — which unanimously passed both the Senate and Assembly in June — would require the MTA to develop a strategic plan to promote both bike and pedestrian access on all MTA bridges and commuter rail stations across New York. It also would require the agency to prioritize such access when planning new capital projects.
“For New York to build back better itself we have to center access and equity in infrastructure,” González-Rojas said. “Increasing bike and pedestrian access to MTA bridges are essential to that goal.”
She said the bill is about combating climate change and helping immigrants — such as the many immigrants who work as delivery people.
“This is important for deliveristas trying to do their work and for cyclists who want to sustain their health during a global pandemic,” González-Rojas said. “It’s an immigrant justice issue and an environmental justice imperative.”
Additionally, the legislation calls for extra members — who are experts on bike and pedestrian access — to be added to advisory councils for New York’s transportation systems — including one such new member to the Long Island Rail Road Commuter’s Council, one to the Metro-North Rail Commuter’s Council, and three to the New York City Transit Authority Advisory Council.
If the bill were to become law, the MTA would be required to conduct a report on bike and pedestrian access within the transit system and future projects. The agency would need to submit the report to the governor and state legislature — and make it available online — within one year.
“With nearly 800,000 New Yorkers cycling regularly, we have a responsibility to ensure that our infrastructure is safe, welcoming, and accessible to cyclists and pedestrians,” Biaggi said. “Implementing this bill will allow us to bring our public transportation system into the 21st century while advancing towards our climate goals.”
The organizers cited the city’s decision to remove a car lane and convert it into a bicycle lane on the Brooklyn Bridge as an example of a sustainable and equitable transportation policy that MTA should follow.
“New York continues to experience a bike boom and it is time for the MTA to catch up,” said Juan Restrepo, a Queens-based organizer at Transportation Alternatives. “As we celebrate a new bike lane on the Brooklyn Bridge, the MTA refuses to open access for cyclists and pedestrians on the Verrazzano Bridge and other state-operated bridges.”
Restrepo said signing the bill would be a step towards bringing the MTA up to speed with the needs of New York City.
“For the sake of our climate, our safety, and for commuters across the region, we urge Governor Hochul to sign this bill without delay,” he said.
Please be serious about this. Anyone who doesn’t think there is a potentional for a dispute to escalate to violence when a bike tries to get on or off of a crowded train has never been on the subway.
Not to mention that some bikers are out right reckless and bold enough to ride thier bikes down the platforms potentially causing injury to others.
If this is really about pedestrian and biker safety, then these politicians should be passing laws to promote safe biking. Vision Zero criminalizes hitting a pedestrian with your car, but you can run a red light in your bike going against traffic while disregarding a unformed school crossing guard, hit and injur and pedestrian and that is not criminalized. It’s time New Yorkers voted these knucklehead politicians out of office.
we need to protect pedestrians, especially the elderly. every bike should be licensed and riders be insured fully and require defensive riding courses and a written exam. there have been too many accidents.
Anyone bringing a bike on a rush hour subway or commuter rail line is deserving of nothing less than swift and blinding violence.
Most are riding scooters, unlicensed, no insurance, no helmets, running run lifts no respecting the traffic laws Rojas is on the wrong side of this issue.
Honest to God, you would think life itself depended upon bicycles according to NYC politicians. Perhaps you folks know something we don’t. Is the subway going to be filled in?Are the elevated tracks going to become bikeways instead? Are half the roads in NYC going to be closed so you can build houses on them and people will have to travel on small lanes that wend around them? Is NYC going to ban all disabled and elderly people from living here? Why do bicycles get so much of the attention in local media coverage? Bikers are not inherently interesting people and their PR is so harsh most people who aren’t already pro bike can’t bear to hear about it anymore. We are busy trying to rearrange our lives to accommodate your demands. No one is covering the effects on people who need cars to make a living or to go somewhere that public transport doesn’t go.
Maybe because drivers have not been affected outside of grousing over parking. Have you EVER not been able to find a parking spot? Can you no longer make a living? Is it no longer a possibility to reach destinations far from transit by car?
Hint: if you answered no to one or more of those questions then your life has not been negatively impacted by bike lanes. The audacity to say bike lanes are not worth it bases on your mere annoyance is nothing short of astonishing.