Since I learned late last year that a landscaper commissioned by the New York City Parks Department had removed vegetables planted by area residents in a protected bike lane median’s tree pit, I and my staff have been working with the Parks Department to ensure that green space bordering bike lanes can be planted and maintained by members of the community.
As a result of a series of meetings my office convened with City agencies, Community Boards and the Chelsea Garden Club, residents in my Senate District may now assume stewardship over stretches of green spaces (tree pits) bordering protected bike lanes. Prospective gardeners must make a formal request to their local community board office for the tree pit(s) they wish to adopt. If approved, they will receive a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts, safety guidelines and a link to the Chelsea Garden Club website, which offers plant and flower suggestions. To see the kind of amazing work that neighborhood gardeners can do in these otherwise unusable plots, visit 9th Avenue in Chelsea or Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side, where beautiful flowers fill the bike lane tree pits. As a longtime advocate for public use of public space, and for maximizing the availability of such space, I have been inspired by the efforts of our community gardeners and hope that you will join them in beautifying our streets.