Back in November, when I first blogged about the Henry Street bike lane being blocked every Sunday, by worshipers from the First Presbyterian Church, I was hoping the coverage would shame them to park somewhere legal, or failing that, get the cops to enforce the law — but neither happened.
Talking to the pastor, speaking (repeatedly) with Captain DiPaolo at the 84th Precinct Community Council Meetings, and calling 311 nearly every weekend, produced no results either. In fact, I was told ‘off-the-record’ that I was tilting at windmills, because the policy of non-enforcement for worshipers came from ‘up above’ (1 Police Plaza).
I kept trying to figure out next steps I could take, what people/groups I could enlist, etc. Nothing panned out, but when I get the bit between my teeth... Besides, I live around the corner, and as summer started and the bike lane saw more use, it irked me every time I saw a cyclist have to swing into traffic to avoid the parked cars.
I called Millman’s office, and spoke with Claire Hudson, her community liaison. She said she’d contact Captain DiPaolo to discuss the situation. I related how I had been blown off by him, but she assured me that she’d find out what was going on.
A few weeks later, Ms. Hudson told me that after speaking with the captain, he had scheduled a meeting to talk with the pastor of the church...and the result (wait for it) — a car-free bike lane! It isn’t a fluke, I waited to see it two weeks in a row. Yes, a few cars do remain, but Ms. Hudson tells me that those are the cars of choir members, and they are “working on that”.
Big thanks to Ms. Hudson, Assemblywoman Millman, Captain DiPaolo, and the First Presbyterian Church.