NEW YORK - In a landslide win for cyclists, Community Board 7 members on Tuesday approved installing new protected bike lanes along Central Park West.
"I live on Central Park West, I'm just so happy to know that the community values my life more than free car storage," said one supporter of the plan.
"More people get injured, more people die so I am so glad, my son bikes around here," said another supporter.
The vote took place after a heated meeting where the prospect of losing 400 parking spaces to more bike lanes sent tempers flaring.
"Pitifully few bikes that are using that bike lane," said one Upper West Side resident.
"Make the park drive north and south bound, that takes care of crossing the transverses," said another Upper West Side resident.
The Department of Transportation's plan to install protected lanes along some 51 blocks comes in response the death of an Australian tourist who was killed last year when she was hit by a sanitation truck. Officials say the installing the lanes and keep spaces for cars just wasn't an option.
"Central Park West is about 63 feet wide and we would be unable to maintain two lanes in each direction parking on both sides and install a protected bicycle lane," said DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Ed Pincar.
But with the board now greenlighting the plan aimed at prevent cycling deaths and injuries, some now worry about the loss of so many parking spaces.
"It's going to be disastrous, I think people are going to be roaming around the streets looking for parking spaces for a lot longer than they do now," said one Upper West Side resident.
"Devastation to us financially, the face of the matter is not just for rich people like some people have proposed it's for the middle class," said another Upper West Side resident. "The garages in our neighborhood range from 600, 500, 800 some are even a thousand dollars a month."
In a year where more than a dozen cyclists have been killed while biking on city streets, bike lane supporters say the choice here was simple.
"It's a major step forward for safety and I think it will be a very good result," said one bike lane supporter.
If approved by the city the new bike lanes would run from 59th Street to 110th Street.
DOT officials say they hope to begin work this installing those lanes this summer.