The City’s budget this fiscal year is a whopping $101 Billion and Upper East Side residents will actually get to decide how .001% of that cash is spent. Participatory budgeting, as its known, is back again this fall and it is up to neighbors to choose which infrastructure improvement projects should get a piece of $1 Million in funding— just don’t ask for protected bike lanes. Upper East Site has learned the highly sought after, potentially life-saving painted green strips of pavement, are not an option.
Through October 17th, the members of the public can participate in the City’s budgeting process by submitting ideas for projects they want to see funded in District 5, which included most of the Upper East Side and is represented Council Member Julie Menin— who is allocating the $1 Million in funds.
“I’m very excited to begin another cycle of Participatory Budgeting,” said Council Member Julie Menin.
“Our Office’s first annual participatory budgeting process was an unqualified success with robust community engagement as over 1,800 constituents cast ballots.”
Last time around, during the participatory budgeting session in the spring, hundreds of thousands of dollars were earmarked for nine projects voted on by Upper East Siders— including resurfacing a deteriorating schoolyard, technology improvements at public libraries, repaving pathways in Carl Schurz Park and the installation of four new NYPD surveillance cameras.
“In the last cycle, we funded critical community projects that focused on supporting our schools, protecting our green space, and promoting public safety,” said Menin.
“I look forward to engaging with the community and funding more great projects as we run Participatory Budgeting for a second year.”
Upper East Site inquired to the DOT whether we could propose the $1 Million in funding be allocated towards building protected bike lanes on East 84th and 85th Streets, for which there have been an outcry by neighbors following the untimely death of cyclist Carling Mott.
The 28-year-old was riding a pedal-assist Citi Bike on East 85th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues, on the morning of July 26th when investigators say she fell in the roadway, and was struck and killed by a tractor trailer.
Just this week, Community Board 8 voted nearly unanimously to request that the Department of Transportation install a network of protected crosstown bike lanes on the Upper East Side.
“Participatory Budgeting funding needs to go into a capital project,” the DOT told Upper East Site in a statement, “it cannot fund the installation of painted bike lanes.”
Upper East Site pressed DOT for answers as to why protected bike lanes with flex-posts are not considered a capital improvement, when other capital projects include them in safety upgrades for cyclists.
“The addition of protected bike lanes involves green paint, street markings and or dividers that are typically funded through DOT’s operational budget,” said a DOT spokesperson.
“Capital projects are more involved, and generally entail major construction that can include curb, sidewalk, and street furniture changes that last many years after their implementation.”
In response, Upper East Site pointed out the words ‘typically’ and ‘generally’ do not mean always— and that bike lanes create a permanent change traffic that last many years after implementation.
Upper East Site also asked whether DOT had any written policy or rule prohibiting the participatory budgeting funding from being used to install protected bike lanes.
We did not hear back.
In the meantime, Upper East Side residents can submit their ideas for projects to be funded by clicking here.
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How about some benches so seniors or others can sit…perhaps while walking asome distance…
Allocate money for police patrolling streets to protect residents from growing street attacks & thefts AND enforcing street cycling, biking, electric traffic laws. I’m sick of close calls by cycling law breakers and threatening criminals just going out to do errands. I’m sick of pullling back elderly & tourists as cyclists almost mow them down! I never see street patrolmen on foot!!!! ENFORCE OUR
LAWS. Get criminals off the streets.
So miserable living in NYC now; resident since 1975. Use the money to improve our safety !
How about fixing the streets and sidewalks? Raised or sunken manhole covers, cracks and indents are dangerous to walk on and drive on. I don’t care about the bicyclists. They speed and zig zag all over the streets and I’ve lost count on how many times I’m crossing the street with the light and if I took one more step, a bike would have run over my foot! No more bike lanes. NYC is and always has been a walking and driving city and if people cared as much about the crime in this city as they do about saving trees, we’d be a lot safer, even in our own homes and businesses.
SALUTE!! Couldn’t have said it Better!!
Happy New Year!!!