Bicycle blues: Greenway would kill Ridge parking spaces

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Community leaders in Bay Ridge want the city to put a bike path on a stretch of Second Avenue and Wakeman Place near Owl’s Head Park, but not if they have to lose 46 parking spots to do it.

The Department of Transportation and Department of Design and Construction are floating a $17.6 million plan called the Owl’s Head Park Connector that would create a combined pedestrian and bike path uniting Bay Ridge and Sunset Park, shift some traffic lanes, and repair a retaining wall on Second Avenue. But the project has additional costs — the city would have to remove 46 parking spaces from Second Avenue and Wakeman Place to make the plan work. The news surprised members of Community Board 10.

“Initially we weren’t told we would lose that much parking, so some members were a bit shocked to hear that was in the plans,” said Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann.

The area is already choked for parking, and demand will only rise by the time the connector’s construction begins in 2017, Beckmann said.

The mayor’s proposed ferry service expansion would bring a commuter vessel to Brooklyn Army Terminal, but it’s not clear whether ferry park-and-riders would be able to leave their cars at the terminal or be forced to find on-street parking and further exacerbate the problem.

Second Avenue, which is in Community Board 7, would lose a majority of the spots, according to the plan. The board’s manager is concerned about parking, but board members felt they didn’t have enough information about changes to traffic patterns, and he doesn’t anticipate a vote until November, he said.

“We need to have some of our questions answered about operations near the highway entrance to Belt Parkway and more information on traffic patterns,” he said. “If the committee decides we don’t have enough info, we won’t vote.”

The connector would be the latest link in the under-construction Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway — a patchwork connection of bike paths leading from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge. When done, cyclists from Sunset Park and north will be able to get to Owl’s Head Park and continue south on the bike and pedestrian promenade that encircles Bay Ridge’s coast.

The city has divide the plan 24 capital projects, but the Owl’s Head Connector is one of only three that are funded, according information from the Department of Design and Construction. The department expects to complete the connector in 2019, officials said.

Community Board 10 voted to support the plan on Oct. 19, but it is recommending the city to mitigate the parking loss.

Board members are also concerned about plans to put benches along Wakeman Place that could attract vagrants and criminals.

“It’s sort of a desolate area that doesn’t get much foot traffic,” said Beckmann. “We’ve heard complaints before about drug dealing and possibly prostitution nearby. Benches serve a great purpose on certain avenues but in the overnight hours they can attract trouble.”

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

MJ from Bay Ridge says:
Second Avenue is a dangerous road given many trucks traffic, cyclist beware and ride at your own risk
Oct. 23, 2015, 7:55 am
Adam Smith from Parking Socialism says:
When you give away something for free, if course it's overused. If the city provided free apartments, there wouldn't be enough of them either. The question is whether free private property storage is the most valuable use of public space.
Oct. 23, 2015, 8:06 am
Mike from Brooklyn says:
This is a much needed bike path, and I'm glad it's happening. The overprivileged folks who can afford cars need to stop whining and get a garage space. The streets are for everybody, not for your own personal car storage.
Oct. 23, 2015, 8:13 am
Brandon from Sunset Park says:
The primary assertion in this article is incorrect, though the presenters at the CB7 transportation committee meeting could have been clearer about it: the parking isn't being removed for the bike path, its being removed for a separate left turn lane being planned at the same time as the bike path.
Oct. 23, 2015, 8:14 am
Brooklynite from Brooklyn says:
Parking is free. You can't complain about losing something you never paid for. This project will benefit far more than 46 people.
Oct. 23, 2015, 8:55 am
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
Many motorists are also bicyclists. Some of them also walk, I am told. So there is no inherent dispute among bikers, drivers, and people who walk.

Every motorist by definition pays taxes, so the issue of " free parking " by evil car owners is pretty dumb - the motorist is gouged a thousand different ways by a predatory city government.

That being said, a pedestrian and bike path from Bay Ridge to Sunset Park to the Brooklyn Bridge is an absolute must. The existing roads ( Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth Avenues ) are really dangerous for cyclists. Why is this taking so long.
Oct. 23, 2015, 9:02 am
Cal from Flatbush says:
I ride to this area frequently and couldnt agree more that the bike ped path is needed and far more important than some parking spaces. Safety should be prioritized over parking space.
Oct. 23, 2015, 9:03 am
Ken from Greenpoint says:
here we go again with this stupid bikers saga by any chance how about the city implementing some carriage lanes ?????????????????
Oct. 23, 2015, 9:21 am
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
Oh, Ken, your analogy is adorable. You're adorable.
Oct. 23, 2015, 9:42 am
Trollerskates from Moving Target says:
Sometimes, it takes a Phantom to put things in the proper perspective. Now back to your regularly scheduled evil car owner bashing.
Oct. 23, 2015, 10:53 am
Brian Howald from Brooklyn Heights says:
I pay taxes, too, and no one lets me store my couch out in a parking spot. I can't even park my bike in a spot without getting honked at.

So much for the equality of paying taxes.
Oct. 23, 2015, 10:59 am
Brooklynite from Brooklyn says:
Every New York City resident pays taxes. Very few taxes or fees associated with purchasing or registering a car actually go toward maintaining roads. Less than 50%, in fact. So it is non-car-owners who subsidize those who do own cars with the other taxes we pay: real estate taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, etc. While there's a public interest in good roads for emergency services, delivery of goods, and other common resources, there's no public interest in letting private individuals store personal automobiles on the street for free.
Oct. 23, 2015, 11 am
Tyler from pps says:
Brooklynite --

And that 50% figure is really just for State and Federal roads and highways. None of those fees go toward city roads.
Oct. 23, 2015, 11:53 am
Tyson White from UWS says:
Phantom, would the city be OK with me parking my refrigerator on the street near the curb instead of a car? It would really save me on electricity in the cold months.
Oct. 23, 2015, 2:54 pm
Tyson White from UWS says:
Brooklynite. Not onky that, buy the emergency services that the roads are meant to serve are hampered when an ambulance is stuck behind a bunch of single occupancy SUVs
Oct. 23, 2015, 2:59 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
In all honesty, I don't find it worth it or even cost effective to take away a bunch of parking spaces that are used just about all year around for space that will be used by bicycles mostly when weather permitting. Josephine Beckmann has every right to feel concerned about this. Seriously, I never could understand why cyclists need a special infrastructure to get around when they can just get to where they need to be by just following the traffic laws. As for that statement on driving being heavily subsidized, this isn't completely true, because only the infrastructure we use such as roads, highways and crossings are being subsidized while such fees that we motorists have to pay for just about every year have been known to increase, and those aren't subsidized. BTW, I can easily say how much mass transit is being heavily subsidized especially by those who live nowhere near it and are unable to use it just so that riders can have low fares, which is really being subsidized in so many ways.
Oct. 23, 2015, 3:05 pm
Trollerskates from Moving Target says:
Don't worry Tal, we will just park in the bike lane.
Oct. 23, 2015, 5:07 pm
TOM MURPHY from Sunset Park says:
I attended all the "planning meetings" for the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative through the Sunset Park waterfront(Commuinty Board #7) sponsored by NYC Dept of Transportation at St. Michael's School auditorium some years back. I emphasized to them the difficulty that would be encountered because of the increasing truck and peak-hours commuter traffic in that area. They understood and appreciated my input, I thought. I suggested many improvements and opportunities for them to help them succeed in this difficult area which I am very faamiliar with. I have in my lifetime walked, biked and driven through it countless times. I emphatically pointed out that on 2nd Avenue(65th Street to 58th Street) along the edge of the Brooklyn Army Terminal and along 1st Avenue backing onto the freight rail marsalling yard(51st to 43rd Streets), NYU Lutheran Medical Center, the meat vendors distribution center and Industry City that the unused pedestrian sidewalk to the west could be safely shared by bikes and pedestrians because there are no pedestrians there, only trucks and workers' and business customer cars parked at the curb. Off-street vacant space is full-up and not readily available to the public. All major employers have their own private off-street parking. To the east side of 2nd Avenue there are many retail, commercial and manufacturing outlets with many truck bays and curb cuts. These small businesses lack off-street parking. In addition there are rails in the avenue roadbed. To eliminate any of this business resource would curtail the existing economic activity and the future growth that is now evident to all. This fact was a precondition for any approval of any Greenway segment anywhere in Brooklyn.

If the parking is to be eliminated because an invented turn-lane is to be introduced then don't introduce it. That is just bad planning and incompetent re-engineering. If your change creates a greater problem then re-think it.

I understand that when DOT presented their plan to the Transportation Committee of CB#7, they were ignorant of the basic facts. They were unaware ofthe existence of the off-ramp from the Belt at 67th Street(actually the culmulative of two off-ramps). The off-ramp at Colonial Road & Wakeman Place assumes traffic will slow from 40MPH to 15MPH when entering the street(Good luck to the any attentive bikers). Second Avenue at Wakeman Place is a spillway from the Belt and in reality cannot be interfered with so as not to prevent traffic exiting from what is part of the Interstate Highway System. Same is true of 65th to 63rd Street which is a segment of an Intermodal Connector(truck traffic from rail to highway--I-278) 1st Avenue is wide to allow for trucks turning. All of these roadways will handle greater truck traffic with the growth of trade after Panamax, and the rail/barge transfer(65th & 51st Street), the SBMT and Industry City are fully operating.

There are many interests that want a piece of the Sunset Park waterfront. They are ignorant of all other's needs and really competing with each other for space and advantage. And then there's the people of Sunset Park, both residents and workers. We do need some intelligent oversight in all this planning so no one gets hurt and as many as possible prosper.

I could not attend the committee meeting on Tuesday but I will attend the next and will question this proposal at lenght.
Oct. 23, 2015, 5:30 pm
Joe from Greenpoint says:
Phantom, everyone pays taxes--motorists, bikers, pedestrians--but only motorists get massive amounts of valuable public street space, worth hundreds of millions per year, allocated to them to store their personal motor vehicle FOR FREE.

It's totally unfair and serves no public purpose for all taxpayers to be forced to subsidize the storage of private vehicle for a privileged minority.

You want a car? Fine. YOU should pay for it's storage. Stop eating from the public trough and then whining when the city wants to take even the most modest steps to improve street safety for everyone.
Oct. 23, 2015, 6:21 pm
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
I agree with TOM MURPHY that "the unused pedestrian sidewalk to the west could be safely shared by bikes and pedestrians because there are no pedestrians there". There's no way there will be less trucks in the area, and the expanding NYU Lutheran Hospital means the width of the road can no longer be narrowed for bicycles purpose.
Oct. 24, 2015, 7:17 am
Trollerskates from Moving Target says:
Tom, great post. What you are missing is the political agenda to inflict harm on car owners any chance they can, as evidenced by the posts here. Yes, having bikes on the sidewalk is the right idea, but that doesn't punish car owners, so it's not acceptable to the foaming at the mouth car haters. Good luck dealing with the zealots.
Oct. 24, 2015, 10:16 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Joe, the only thing that is being subsidized when it comes to vehicles is the infrastructure that is being used, not the vehicles themselves. I have to pay penny out of pockets for certain fees to maintain it that is every one or two years, and those don't come cheap. BTW, we motorists do pay taxes for the roads as well, so in a way, we are paying for it even if it's not on the spot. Perhaps, there should be annual and biannual fees for using a bicycle as well. Why should it be free to use a bicycle but not a motor vehicle? If anyone is getting a free ride here, it's the cyclists. The entire concept of roads was for transportation usage, not recreational usage, and that goes all the way back to the Roman Empire, who were known for creating roads. Overall, for an area that has a commercial vehicles such as trucks using them, it will be a bad idea altogether to have a bike lane there. Unfortunately, the bike zealots need to understand that they can't always get what they want, and they will have to learn to accept that not every street can be redesigned for them especially if they're not using it all the time. Since the truckers are there constantly, their need outweighs that of the cyclists, and that's the inconvenient truth here.
Oct. 24, 2015, 2:32 pm
Mike T from Bay Ridge says:
Again, the nitwits are listening to a few bike people about these stupid bike lanes. Traffic is already a mess in Bay Ridge especially along 2nd Avenue in the morning and at night.

The bike lanes we have already are NOT being used. An idiot can figure that out just by standing there and watching. It's very rare you see a bike.

With the nuts driving in Bay Ridge, you'd have to be out of your minds to ride in the street. Drivers speed, double park wherever they please, make U-turns anywhere they want, block bus stops and buses have to stop in the middle of the street, Truck stop in the middle of the street and unload right there like they're the only people that are on the planet. Who's crazy enough to ride in the streets?

Cops are nowhere to be found unless you are near a bagel store at the beginning of a shift. Drivers know this and do as they want.
Oct. 25, 2015, 11:21 am
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
If you own a car, you can pay to store it. End of story. That's what the Chooch does, that's what you can do. Storage of motor vehicles is not an entitlement, it's not welfare. Those days are gone, thanks to us. You're welcome.
Oct. 25, 2015, 5:55 pm
john from Bay ridge says:
Anyway you look at the anti-middle class, anti car driving mayor is just looking to make life worse for ther residents of Bay ridge. Biking around the area is not a problem but parking is. We need MORE parking spots not less. No amount of "public transportation" will change that
Oct. 25, 2015, 9:12 pm
john from Bay ridge says:
No need for a left turn lane. Things are just fine the way they are. Electic charging ports on every block would do alot to reduce polution in the area but this mayor is spending a fortune on drawing lines.
Oct. 25, 2015, 9:13 pm

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