And in the context of things, the Council members’ proposed bills are not a major smackdown: After a rocky start with some early projects—construction of a Ninth Avenue bikelane irked many local elected officials, which included Council Speaker Christine Quinn—DOT has made a habit of going to the community board and putting their plans online.
The bills would mandate the community board appearances and add new requirements for timeline (30 to 60 days of review), set up public hearings, and require DOT to provide certain information about its planned projects.
“Often DOT comes up with pilot programs without much, if any, input from the community, and they’re not required to present the plans to the community board,” said Councilman Vincent Gentille, a sponsor of a bill that specifically targets pilot programs.
Mr. Gentille said he had been annoyed by DOT’s implementation of a bike lane on Seventh Avenue in his South Brooklyn district. “They effectively took away two lanes of traffic, and [it] has backed up traffic right from the Belt Parkway,” he said. “We’re not against bicycle lanes, we’re just against the way it was configured.”
The main sponsor on the other bill that applies to major projects, Alan Gerson, had similar sentiments, saying he favors the bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly policies, but wanted more consistent review.
DOT declined to comment on the pending legislation, though Transportation Alternatives, a main cycling-focused advocacy group that strongly backs Ms. Sadik-Khan, is generally supportive of the bills and the prospect of mandated community board review.
“Community input often improves these projects,” said Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for the group. “This is something that’s still taking place, but something that’s worth codifying.”