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Cyclists vs. Pedestrians in battle over new bike lane

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Cobblestone streets are becoming a cause for concern as bike traffic increase in the city especially with the new Bike Share program.  

So the DOT has come up with a new bike lane proposal, but that plan is not sitting well with some pedestrians.

Varick Street south of Canal is the continuation of Seventh Avenue in lower Manhattan. The city's Department of Transportation wants to put in a bike lane there but does not want to put it on the rough riding cobblestoned street. Instead, it wants to put it on the sidewalk. 

A sidewalk the city measured at just 10 and a half feet wide and when the city proposed a sidewalk bike lane to the Community Board 1 Tribeca committee Wednesday -- it was rejected.

 "Bike lanes are great but not on sidewalk. They need to come up with some other way, use some money to figure out a way," said Mark Costello, Community Board 1 member.

On Friday, full time bikers like delivery men rode over the bone jarring cobblestones but the amateur bikers rode onto the sidewalk. Fox 5 could not get bikers to tell us the obvious -- they wanted to get away from traffic.

But pedestrians of all ages spoke Fox 5, like 10-year-old Nikki and his brother 8-year-old Matias.

"You kind of have to move because they go pretty fast and you don't have much space," said Matias.

This is part of the city plan to have bike lanes for Union Square to Tribeca.

That plan calls for a bike lane on Varick Street. If a bike lane there is not on a cobblestoned street, not on the sidewalk, the only other path would be through the adjacent, very small Albert Capsouto Park. It's named for a deceased member of Community Board 1.

The DOT issued a short statement.

"We will review the input we received from the Community Board and look forward to working with them further on this project."

Community Board 1 will meet again in two weeks to discuss new proposals and see if the city will break its own rules and let bikers ride on the sidewalk, though many seem to be doing it already. 

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