Fed up with a city that is forcing bike lanes down the throat of neighborhoods that don’t want them, a local panel voted on Monday against a plan to give space to pedal pushers in two new lanes on Bay Ridge Parkway and Shore Road.
Community Board 10 voted overwhelmingly against the two new routes, with opponents of the lane arguing that the city has gone too far in accommodating the two-wheeled menaces.
“The city is bent on taking away driving lanes for cars,” said Allen Bortnick, a member of Community Board 10. “We are not going to be able to live with this comfortably.”
The Department of Transportation plan would put a dedicated and shared bike lane along Bay Ridge Parkway from Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst all the way to Shore Road, and paint a second, northbound lane along Shore Road between Fourth Avenue and 68th Street. The city claims the new lanes will not only allow bicycle riders safer passage, but also decrease automobile speeds.
But some members of the community board think that the Ridge, which already has a dedicated bike path in Shore Road Park as well as a southbound lane on Shore Road itself, has done its part for bicyclists, and the city isn’t doing what needs to be done to really make the streets safe.
“The city made the point that the bike lane was put in as a traffic-calming device, yet the city consistently refuses to put in other traffic-calming devices like a stop sign or a traffic light near any of the schools,” said Ron Gross. “So, what we have here is bicyclists being encouraged to use the lane so they can slow down drivers.”
Last week, Community Board 11, which represents Bensonhurst, also came out against the Bay Ridge Parkway plan.
But at least one member of the board thought the lane was a great idea.
“We should be pushing for more bike lanes in our community,” said Bob Cassara. “They provide safety for both cyclists and pedestrians. Do we want cyclists on the sidewalk?”
Cassara pointed out that the bike lane installed on Oriental Boulevard in Manhattan Beach had resulted in an increase in bike ridership, as well as a decrease in traffic and vehicular speed.
“Isn’t this what we want?” he asked, apparently rhetorically.
The bike lanes are being installed as part of the city’s Bicycle Master Plan, which calls for 200 miles of new bike lanes across the city in the next three years. After that, the Department of Transportation plans to add about 50 miles of bike lanes each year until 2030, when it is anticipated that the bike network will be finished.