2011-10-21 / Community

Sand In Your Shoes Blog Surveys Rockaway’s Bike Lane Preferences

Rockaway resident and Community Board 14 member Vince Castellano has started a new blog called “Sand In Your Shoes,” an online community website dedicated to everything Rockaway.

One of the more heavily debated topics on the peninsula and throughout the city is the growing presence of bike lanes.

A nuisance to some, while others welcome them with open arms. Castellano took a survey, that is now available on the blog, that includes some interesting statistics about Rockaway’s view on bike lanes.

According to the survey’s results from 60 registered users of the site that Castellano polled, the overall view on bike lanes is somewhat split down the middle. The survey found that 51 percent of its respondents said they preferred bike lanes in their community and 49 percent were opposed.

“Bike lanes may be popular in Manhattan and among the political elite, but out in the hinterlands, it is a different story,” Castellano wrote in his report. “Subsequent questions reveal that people are very unhappy about where the bike lanes are now, so it is likely their unhappiness with the current placement affects their view on bike lanes in general.”

When asked if people approve of where the bike lanes are now, only 17 percent were satisfied with their placement and 83 percent were opposed. In many cases the bike lanes have their own dedicated lane, but in certain areas along Rockaway Beach Boulevard, the lane is shared by drivers and bike riders, creating, at times, traffic jams and near accidents. This is why it comes as no surprise that the great majority is displeased with the idea of shared bike lanes. Only 13 percent of respondents in the survey approve of the city’s mixed use lane idea that Mayor Bloomberg was inspired to adopt from a smaller city such as San Francisco where, he says, statistical studies prove they are safe and effective for both driver and bicycle riders.

The survey also asked its participants if they would allow their children to ride in the bike lanes. More than a third said, it depends and as a result are selective about which lanes they would prefer their kids ride in. Only 23 percent of the respondents said yes and the other 40 percent said no.

The Rockaway boardwalk stretches from Beach 9 Street west to Beach 126 Street and 74 percent of these respondents feel the bike lanes should be taken off the street entirely in this stretch of the peninsula and moved to the boardwalk. More details of the blog and survey can be found at sandinyourshoes.org.

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If you want to see the proper

If you want to see the proper way to create safe and secure bike lanes, go visit Munich, Germany, where half of the city's population use bicycles to commute to work, at least part of the way. The bike lanes in Munich have their own curbs, separating them from automobile traffic (the notion that bikes and autos can "share" a lane is absurd on its face). The bike lanes also have their own stop lights and other traffic devices and, most importantly, are sacrosanct in the minds of the drivers of Munich who know that to violate the bike lanes means a swift trip to a magistrate who will hear the driver's excuse and then impose a hefty fine on the spot! The bike lanes in NYC -- including the Rockaways -- are a joke. A dangerous, often deadly joke.

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