Kent Avenue bike pains

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Opponents are calling on the city to put the breaks on a one-and-a-half-mile portion of a bike route that would stretch from Newtown Creek to Sunset Park — saying Williamsburg doesn’t need more bike lanes.

“There is already a bike lane on Wythe Avenue — now they want a bike lane on Kent Avenue?” Simon Weisser, a member of Community Board 1, told his fellow board members at a Sept. 8 meeting. “You can’t accommodate every single street with a bike lane.”

Weisser, and others, argued that the Department of Transportation should not stripe Kent Avenue — the first phase of the so-called Kent Avenue Greenway, a stretch of biking and walking paths that are separated from car traffic — until further review.

Weisser wants to see the existing bike lanes — on Wythe and Bedford avenues — eliminated when the Greenway is done.

He added that “the whole community” is behind him, a reference to South Williamsburg’s strong Hasidic bloc.But the board rolled over Weisser’s call.

“He sees the greenway as a way to eliminate the bike lanes, but they don’t have the same function,” said Teresa Toro, chair of the Transportation Committee.

The one-way lanes on Bedford and Wythe avenues are necessary commuter routes that connect Williamsburg with Central Brooklyn, while the greenway on Kent Avenue would be more like a “linear park” than a bike lane, Toro said.

Milton Puryear, director of planning for the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, agreed.

“The whole idea for the greenway is to provide a benefit to the people of the community — not just bike riders — by making a truck route into a more inviting streetscape,” said Puryear.

“If you look at Kent Avenue now, it’s just not a place you want to stroll, or ride a bike. Once it’s built, you’re not going to find anybody who will be sorry they traded in what was here.”

The morning after the contentious board meeting, a commuting cyclist was struck by a car service sedan on the future greenway path at the corner of North Seventh Street and Kent Avenue, leaving him with a broken elbow and collarbone.

The driver fled the scene, a friend of the victim told The Brooklyn Paper.

CB1 is not the only area with some anti–bike lane sentiment. In 2006, Fort Greene’s CB2 voted down a Willoughby Avenue lane, but the city painted it anyway.

Updated 5:08 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

JR from Williamsburg says:
I'd put money on it being a Northside car. Those guys are cowboys. I saw one knock down an old lady several years ago on Bedford. And just this morning a Northside driver barely slowed down at the stop sign as I was crossing. He would've plowed right on through if I hadn't looked him in the eye and made him stop. They're going to kill someone one of these days.
Sept. 11, 2008, 10:53 am
Teresa Toro from Greenpoint/Williamsburg says:

It was in fact a Northside car. To make matters worse, the driver took off. He was only caught because a quick-thinking construction worker was able to take down his license plate number.

I'm the transportation committee chair for community board 1 which covers Greenpoint and Williamsburg. I've had scores of people —— to me about various Northside drivers' reckless behavior but they usually stop there. I desperately need people to either put their complaints/comments in writing and send to CB1, or -- better and more compelling -- show up at CB1 meetings to complain. That way I can show the Taxi & Limo Commission that I'm not the only person complaining.

PLEASE help us all out and complain directly to the board. Email is They'll forward to me. I want all complaints, stories etc. To complain in person, check out CB1's calendar for upcoming meetings:

Teresa Toro
Sept. 11, 2008, 3:35 pm
Ann from Park Slope says:
We need to make the bike lanes a different color (green or whatever, and I mean the lanes themselves not the lines) so that drivers are aware of them. Wednesday I attended the very sad funeral of a child killed while in a bike lane (the driver "didn't see him".) Given that drivers often act as if they are blind and distracted, we need a color that will keep them aware. The lanes as they exist now give riders a false sense of safety. I almost NEVER use them. I also recommend bright orange helmets and pole flags for children under age 14.
Sept. 13, 2008, 7:34 am
abr from williamsburg says:
is isaac abraham ruunig for councilmember?
Abraham later said another major concern is the safety of children, noting that cyclists "aren't obeying traffic laws. Green lights and red lights are the same
Sept. 14, 2008, 1:38 pm
Marco from East Village says:
Bklyn communities are not the only ones who don't want these silly bike lanes.

Here in the East Village, that hippy DOT commissioner, Sadik-Khan, is putting them everywhere, despite our opposition.

This is NY. If you want to cycle in the street, move back to Dubuque.
Sept. 16, 2008, 9:22 am
Tom Boone from Prospect Heights says:
Let me guess, Marco, it interferes with your parking. Well, the days of giving away all of NYC's public space to the mode which is the least efficient use of space is slowly coming to an end.

This is NYC. If you want to drive, move to New Jersey.
Sept. 16, 2008, 9:54 am
abr of kremer wigs from williamsburg says:
the ny post

Abraham later said another major concern is the safety of children, noting that cyclists "aren't obeying traffic laws. Green lights and red lights are the same
Sept. 16, 2008, 8:31 pm
Amanda from Bed-Stuy says:
I live in bed stuy off of Bedford ave and Lexington and work in greenpoint. I am a full time cyclist and also a female. I commute down bedford as many as three times a day. I would like to say that I have been run off the road twice by a mini van on Bedford ave in the last 2 weeks. I have had Male Hasidic drivers follow me and honk at me all the way through the neighbor hood. Two weeks ago a school bus driver honked at me and pushed me between cars while I was ridding in the bike lane..while they had children on the bus. Also young groups of hasidic boys have (especially around rutlege) have been playing tag in the bike lane and the street. almost all the cars on the street are many vans and you cannot see people standing between them and there is a constant flow of jaywalkers...I think the city should start enforcing traffic violations on the buses and drivers in the bike lanes. If you take away our bike lane we will still ride through the neighborhood. I don't know what your teachings are but I have felt harrased in the last few weeks. I am pretty sure God would not be okay with a grown man in a car running a lady on a bike off the road.!!!
Sept. 22, 2008, 1:49 pm
TD from Williamsburg says:
I have operated a business on Kent Ave. for the last 32 years. This new bike lane has unjustly hindered our deliveries ( with no stopping anytime signage) and blatantly removed the few remaining parking spaces that were left in this neighborhood. These conditions make it nearly impossible to operate a business here anymore.
Our employees travel by car to get here only to find no place to park.
I am all for advancement but forcing out all businesses will be a detriment to the community.
Oct. 29, 2008, 10:51 am
Brian from Greenpoint says:
As of this week, the bike lanes are being painted onto Kent Ave. And yes, Williamsburg/Greenpoint does need bike lanes on every street. The worse the economy gets, the more the people of these areas will depend upon alternate transportation.
Nov. 7, 2008, 11:26 am
Tracy from Williamsburg says:
I took my bike out for the first time in Williamsburg today. I have to say it was a little scary but I think the bike lanes are great. It's what made me get a bike. I don't see how they take away parking spots though, I saw cars parked all along the bike routes? This city is overrun with traffic- bikes are so much better for everyone and the planet!! I do agree the paths should be a different color- easier for drivers and bikers to see.

I also notice walking daily that bikers tend to ignore traffic lights and stop signs. I know a few people who have been nearly hit by bikers. There should certainly be some sort of consequence if you hit a pedestrian.
Aug. 26, 2009, 4:34 pm
MC from Greenpoint says:
The roads were built for cars and are now being hijacked by arrogant bikers. Where do you think those trucks are going to go? They HAVE to now use narrower and more congested streets.

I am shocked if I see a biker who is actually obeying the traffic rules. Most bikers are irresponsible and have no regard for drivers or pedestrians. They endanger everyone else, but find it convenient to then act the victim.

In many ways I've liked Bloomberg as a mayor, but his Department of Transportation has destroyed the city streets, only making them harder to navigate and thus more dangerous for everyone. I won't be voting for him on this issue alone.
Sept. 23, 2009, 1:10 pm
Guillermo from east harlem says:

The roads where paid by taxpayer money. In NY most people don't own a car. I have 30 years riding my bike through NYC avoiding all kinds of hazards, human, animal, vehicle weather, potholes and rusty unlit bridges all while paying my taxes to this great city. The more bike lanes and pedestrian ways the better everyone will be off. Yes trucks have a place in this city too, but if there where less cars truck and bus routes would become more efficient and there would be more parking for trucks. NY is in the process of becoming greener and a more pleasant place to live because of more consideration to planning of bike ways and green ways the more live able this city becomes.

By expanding the bike ways and green ways all neighborhoods become better places to live and breath.

Bikes are the best invention Man has created.
Dec. 9, 2009, 5:55 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: