The Brooklyn Paper chatted with experts to figure out the best ways to make peace in the borough’s war between motorists and cyclists. Here’s are some recommendations we heard:
1. Install physical dividers separating bike lanes from vehicle lanes on major arterial routes. This would protect cyclists from speeding traffic on roads that accounted for 53 percent of cycling fatalities between 1996 and 2005, according to Department of Transportation statistics.
2. Make some key auto routes off-limits to bikers. Car advocates say that some arterials — like the Adams Street entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge — simply should not be forced to accommodate bikes.
3. Create incentives to keep drivers off the road — like eliminating free curbside parking. This would lessen car traffic, making streets safer and less congested for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.
4. Construct a cross-river freight tunnel to decrease the number of trucks on the streets. Trucks comprise fewer than 20 percent of vehicles on city streets, but they were responsible for 32 percent of cycling fatalities between 1996 and 2005, according to the Department of Transportation. (Of course, a tunnel would cost tens of billions of dollars.)
5. Issue cycling licenses. This would allow the city to mandate safety classes for bikers, which could reduce risky riding, like pedaling against traffic or riding on sidewalks.
6. Chop up long one-way through-streets like Bergen Street — currently a major car route, despite its quiet residential look — into shorter segments that alternate car direction, yet retain a contiguous bike lane. Such “traffic cells” would protect cyclists by diverting through-traffic to more appropriate routes.