Quaglione calls for community board approval for new bike lanes in Bay Ridge
City Council candidate John Quaglione has a plan to curtail excessive ticketing practices for cars or trucks temporarily stopped in bike lanes. He announced his proposal at a Tuesday press conference held at 92nd Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway in Bay Ridge. Currently any vehicle that is over the solid white lines on either side of a bike lane is subject to a ticket that cannot be contested or dismissed.
And that applies to cars double-parked in order to drop off or pick up children from school, trucks making their deliveries along the avenue or to someone stopped to help an elderly passenger into their vehicle. This has caused havoc for residents in the community, especially local business owners.
“As a result there has been an overkill in parking tickets for the community,” said Quaglione. “And it’s not only hurting the quality of life of the residents who live here who are forced to get double-parking tickets when they run in to get a bagel or a slice of pizza, it’s also hurting small businesses with people who are not able to go shopping in those stores because parking is at a premium, and if you only pull over for a second, a traffic agent will ticket you.”
Others who are subject to ticketing include property owners who pull over into their own driveways to drop off any package or passengers, school buses, delivery trucks, utility vehicles, FedEx, UPS and post office trucks, ambulances, tow trucks and cabs.
Quaglione is not averse to having bike lanes, but would like to have more community input as to where they are placed. “We are all in favor of the bike lanes so that our cyclists have a safe means of traveling along our streets here in the city. We have an issue with the fact that both lines of the bike lane, the outside lane marking and the inside lane marking are both solid white lines, and as everyone knows a solid white or yellow line cannot be crossed or you are in violation.
“We all agree that bike lanes are a good idea for our communities, however, we need to make sure that in execution they don’t create more harm than good. We want to make sure our communities have a say in where new bike lanes are placed, and requiring Community Board approval for new bike lanes will make sure we do just that,” said Quaglione.
Quaglione introduced Maria Campanella, a Bensonhurst resident and business owner who has been selling ice cream from her truck for more than 25 years. He said she was a perfect example of someone whose business is greatly impacted by the current laws. “Maria sells ice cream, and while her truck is currently parked here, if it were double-parked so I could get ice cream for my child or myself, she could potentially get a $112 ticket for selling me a $3 ice cream cone. So if that happens once or twice a day on her route, her profits are eliminated.”
Quaglione’s proposal would be to have broken white lines on the outside of the bike lane as in the intersections so that people would be able to stand there for a brief amount of time. “Residents can come home from the supermarket, or with heavy items from Home Depot, pull over in front of their homes and unload their groceries before having to go look for a parking spot.,” said Quaglione.
“Otherwise as the law stands, just to unload their merchandise in a solid white line bike lane they could be hit with a $115 fine or a $165 ticket. We need to streamline the process in order to make it more fair and successful for the residents and the business owners.”
Quaglione is calling for a citywide policy that any bike lane proposed would have to get the approval of the community board prior to its installation. The broken white line would reduce the parking tickets and maintain bike riders’ integrity and safety.
Quaglione has previously proposed plans to reopen night court, which would allow residents who are ticketed the opportunity to fight the tickets, even if they work during business hours.
Calling on the city Department of Transportation to re-examine the policy of the broken white lines for the perimeter of the bike lane, the candidate stressed the importance of maintaining the safety of the cyclist and remembering the small businesses in the area that are subjected to violations and fines simply because the bike lanes are double-white lines.
Quaglione said, “We ask also that the city agree to grant community board approval of each new installation of a bike lane on any new street that the city will look to expand the program.”
Quaglione, deputy chief of staff to state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn), is one of three Republicans running in the GOP primary on Sept. 12 for the seat in the 43rd City Council District. His opponents are Bob Capano and Liam McCabe.
The Democrats running in the Democratic primary, also set for Sept. 12, are Justin Brannan, Kevin Peter Carroll, Rev. Khader El-Yateem and Nancy Tong.
The seat is currently held by Democrat Vincent Gentile, who is term-limited and cannot run for re-election.
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