Bike lanes posing problems for Upper West Side businesses

Sandra Bookman reports from the Upper West Side
October 21, 2013 2:57:48 PM PDT
It's no secret, that the average New Yorker hasn't exactly embraced the now seemingly ubiquitous bike lanes crisscrossing city streets.

Add to them the traffic islands and lost parking spaces, and well, just ask Nick Bazas.

"It's just been one big headache for a lot of the merchants," said Nick Bazas, of Q Florist.

The Bazas family has owned and run "Q Florist" near 81st and Columbus for more than 40 years. Nick says the reconfigured street has made getting deliveries nearly impossible.

"They refuse to come here for the simple fact they come to drop off stuff and if they get they get a ticket for $115, it's clearly not worth it," Bazas said.

He says the Department of Transportation did respond early on to complaints by adding a few more commercial parking spaces, but it hasn't helped much.

Up the avenue, at Schweitzer Linens, they're complaining the lack of parking for customers has taken a toll on their bottom-line.

"We did a lot of business. In fact, it's like a 50 percent drop," said Doris Petrescu, of Schweitzer Linens.

Neighboring Amsterdam Avenue may well be next in line for a makeover. But the busy roadway with heavy truck traffic poses some unique issues for planners.

That's one reason Community Board 7 will be voting next month a proposal to study the specific challenges along Amsterdam Avenue before moving forward with redesign plans.

Still, those on Columbus have a warning for their neighbors one block east.

"I would not want to have a restaurant or any small business on Amsterdam Avenue. It's going to be tough for them," Bazas said.