Thanks for WestView. I remember going to a meeting at your apartment about 20 years ago for PAPA, back when I parked at Pier 40. I’m glad you’re still on the front lines of local advocacy.
I’m not writing you today about the destruction of our city caused by Uber, nor will I rant about one of my narrow minded pet peeves—the “tree guards” which have sprouted up in our neighborhood that have made sidewalk navigation treacherous. Nor am I writing to you about the terminal gentrification that has also destroyed the Village.
I’m writing today about the bicycles, electric bikes, electric scooters and electric skateboards which have made life as a pedestrian outright dangerous. I have been walking, biking and driving in the Village for 40 years. In the last 10 years, especially, things have gotten treacherous. Granted, I live on a cobblestone street, so people think it’s okay to save their precious butts from the jarring ride over cobbles, never mind that sidewalk bicycling is illegal. It’s happening everywhere, though. Adults are riding on sidewalks, they are disobeying all traffic laws when they do ride in the streets, and they don’t care.
I supported Transportation Alternatives for many, many years, but they have come out with blanket support for all e-bikes and, worse, they have tried to make it a social justice issue, claiming that it will cost immigrants jobs to regulate e-bikes. I am completely supportive of immigrants—my grandparents all came here from another country—but this is not about that. It’s about safety, pedestrian safety, dog safety, and the safety of little kids. These bikers—as well as the well-heeled residents of the city who also ride, blow through lights and signs, they go the wrong way, they drive on the sidewalk ALL THE TIME.
I am planning a project to document just how often this happens.
It is out of control and I know I am not the only person who feels this way. The profile of the perpetrators cuts across class, gender, age, nationality, you name it. And why is this happening? Because there is ZERO police enforcement. The 6th Precinct has a couple of local stop sign traps where they nab cabbies almost exclusively, but they do nothing about illegal biking. I have mulled going to the monthly meetings they hold for community relations. There is zero enforcement down at the river, as well. Whose jurisdiction is that, anyway? The only time I have ever seen the Parks people do anything is when they chase a dog owner away from a patch of dirt.
On any night, my sidewalk is a hazard zone, with bikers going both ways down both sidewalks for hours. When will this stop? If you say something to them, they ignore you or, worse, they get belligerent.
The quality of life continues to plummet.