By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
“May we make a suggestion?” That’s what Community Board 10 members are asking the city’s Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) about the hundreds of miles of bicycle lanes the agency will be installing in Bay Ridge and other Brooklyn neighborhoods over the next few years.
Members of the Bay Ridge community board said they don’t like the routes mapped out by the D.O.T.’s experts. So they decided to come up with routes of their own.
Brian Kieran, chairman of the Traffic and Transportation Committee, introduced the list of alternative bike lanes at the board’s Sept. 24 meeting. The committee came up with the list at a previous meeting. Kieran presented the suggestions to the full board at the Sept. 24 session.
Kieran and other board members charged that the routes chosen by the D.O.T. – including sections of Bay Ridge Parkway, Third Avenue, Fort Hamilton Parkway, and 92nd Street – are concentrated on heavily trafficked roadways and present potential dangers to bike riders, drivers, and pedestrians as everyone will be forced to share the roadways.
“Ninety-Second Street is the worst possible place for a bike lane,” Larry Stelter said. The street accommodates traffic exiting the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, board members said.
“It is better for us to contemplate less used streets,” Kieran said.
The committee’s suggested bike lane routes included sections of Sixth Avenue, 68th Street, 72nd Street, Marine Avenue, and 11th Avenue.
Doris Cruz said bike lanes are not in constant use. “These are not lanes that are constantly trafficked. They are used intermittently,” she said.
The board voted to approve the committee’s list of alternate bike lanes and send the suggestions to the D.O.T.
Linda Sarsour, who noted that bike lanes have already been installed in other Brooklyn neighborhoods, recommended that the board reach out to other community boards to find out how bike riders and motorists are co-existing. “We should reach out to other community boards that have city-installed bike lanes already to see the impact,” she said. “In many cases, it didn’t have the impact they thought it would.”
The number of bike lanes suggested by Board 10 exceeds the amount of lanes originally proposed by the D.O.T., Kieran said.
That’s an important point, according to George Fontas, who said it was important for the board to demonstrate to D.O.T. that Bay Ridge residents aren’t arguing against bike lanes per se. Fontas suggested that the information about how the board is actually offering up more streets for use as bike lanes be included in the packet submitted to D.O.T.
It would be foolhardy to try stopping the D.O.T. from installing bike lanes, according to Kieran, who said the lanes are part of an overall proposal by the Bloomberg Administration to turn New York into a more environmentally friendly city. “New York City has a master plan for bike lanes,” he said. “There will be more bicycle lanes in Bay Ridge and in other communities.”