News & Politics

Strike : More Room for Cars, But Bike Pools Still On

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Mayor Bloomberg revised Manhattan traffic restrictions at a press
conference this afternoon. Noting that Wednesday’s morning commute
was heavier than on the first day of the transit strike, the mayor said
he was “adjusting” the city’s contingency plan to help ease the
gridlock caused by having certain streets and avenues closed to
regular traffic.

“Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue, which previously had been open
primarily to emergency vehicles from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m., will now only have
one lane reserved for those vehicles and the other lanes will be open
to general traffic,” Bloomberg said.

No word yet on what that means for bikers, who previously had been able
to roam those traffic-free streets at will.

But tonight’s bike pool from Columbus Circle is still on, and will
continue each night of the strike at 6 p.m. In fact, Times Up plans to
pedal a “Sound Bike” so folks can better enjoy the ride.

“We’ll definitely still do it. If they give us a hard time we’ll just
go another route,” says Barbara Ross, a Times Up volunteer, when asked
whether going down Fifth Avenue was still an option.

Times Up is also leading bike pools across the Manhattan Bridge,
leaving at 9 a.m. every week day of the strike on the Brooklyn side of
the bridge, then heading uptown on Sixth Avenue to 59th Street,
picking up and dropping off cyclists along the way.

And to encourage more first-time riders, Times Up is also offering free
bike repair services at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan
from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., as well as free hats and gloves to commuting
cyclists, who may not be as prepared for the chill as they should be.
They’re even cobbling together inexpensive used bikes, starting at $40.
To get one, go to their storefront at 49 E Houston Street (between Mott
and Mulberry) from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“We’re trying to get as many people biking to work as possible,” says
Times Up executive director Bill DePaolo.

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