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Bensonhurst civic leaders push DOT to reconsider bike lane plan

Stay in your lane: Bensonhurst Community Board blasted the Department of Transportation’s design for a bike lane along Shore Parkway.
Brooklyn Paper
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They want the city to pump the brakes on its bike plan.

City officials must reconsider their plan to build a bike lane along the Southern Brooklyn coast, according to Bensonhurst civic gurus, who called the city’s current proposal unsafe because it lacks proper protection for cyclists on car-heavy roads.

The Department of Transportation unveiled its proposal, calling for a one-and-a-half mile bikeable route along Shore Parkway, at an April 24 Community Board 11 meeting.

The planned route would run from Bay Parkway to Bay 53rd Street, connecting existing lanes on either side to create a continuous bikeable path from Bay Ridge to the Coney Island peninsula. The largest section of the department’s plan calls for a two-way protected bike lane on Shore Parkway, on the side of the road closest to the water.

Ahead of the unanimous rebuff of the proposal on May 9, the board’s Transportation Committee chair blasted department reps for valuing expediency rather than safety.

“We feel that this is an unsafe plan, there are too many driveways on that side. It’s more dangerous for the bicyclists, not for the drivers. We would like them to explore the other options in this proposal,” said Laurie Windsor. “[They] said it’s the easiest, cheapest, and quickest way to do it. They’re not taking into account when Target goes in next year — what’s going to happen then? It’s like playing with fire.”

The board’s district manager sent a letter to the department’s Brooklyn head, detailing the unsafe conditions that she believed would arise from vehicle operators attempting to turn onto a one-way road, by crossing a bike lane with cyclists traveling in the opposite direction.

“This plan as presented provides no protection to cyclists along this heavily traveled commercial and manufacturing segment, relies on motorists checking both right and left for bicyclists while waiting for a lull in oncoming traffic, and reduces visibility,” said Marnee Elias-Pavia.

Elias-Pavia requested the department consider other options, but said her concerns were ignored by department reps, who were steadfast in their decisions.

“We wanted them to look at other options. We wanted them to look at the other side of the road,” she said. “But, they thought the south side would be easier.”

The department plans to begin work sometime this summer, according to Elias-Pavia, who felt that any further attempts to change the department’s plan were hopeless.

“I don’t think there is a next step,” she said. “They weren’t all that interested in us having a say. They told us what they were going to do, and they’re going to do it.”

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at agraham@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–4577. Follow him at twitter.com/aidangraham95.
Updated 4:39 pm, May 22, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

James Maggio from Marine Park says:
More Bike paths are not the answer. Safer riding is. Bicyclists need tough love and not pandering otherwise the fatalities will increases
May 17, 1:10 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
More bike lanes are great but more enforcement against self entitled motorists is key. Too many reckless drivers on the road. Massive fines, then jail should do the trick.
May 17, 1:43 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Henry Ford, I will support that if the same will apply to cyclists who tend to flout the traffic laws, which they do very constantly.
May 17, 2:50 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
The NYPD already cracks down on cyclists, even after one is killed by a motorist. So glad to hear you're on board!
May 17, 3:41 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I'm glad that DOT is increasingly going ahead with safety projects over the objections of community boards.
May 17, 4:34 pm
Peter from Diker Hights says:
It looks like Bensonhurst might have its first meaningful improvement. I'm not holding my breath that the times are changing, or that the Community Board 11 suddenly changed its thinking and takes safety of the residents in consideration. It seems more of a response to morbid statistics coming from South Brooklyn at large, and gentrification of Bay Ridge, than planned infrastructure improvement for Bensonhurst. Still, we'll take even those scraps as a sign that not all our taxes are syphoned out to neighborhoods with louder voice.
May 18, 12:50 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
You should live in a neighborhood long enough to learn how to spell the name of it before you decide to tell everyone there how they should live. We like our cars here, Peter from “Diker Heights”
May 18, 8:02 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I'm pretty tough here on the internet, Peter. In real life I'm a sniveling coward who cowers at the sight of my own shadow. I probably shouldn't be advising anyone on anything.
May 18, 8:13 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I think it's time I cry some more about it. I'm sad :(
May 19, 11:19 am
Bikes Unsafe in the Streets from Brooklyn says:
Bikes are unsafe in the streets. That's it. They shouldn't be there. 10 bike deaths in 4.5 months. And if the government is going to continue to allow it, they at least need to be registered with plates to hold them accountable for the law that none obey today. They are a menace.
May 20, 9:07 am
Jeff from Brooklyn says:
Hey bikes unsafe,get a life. It's not the bikes that are unsafe, it is the drivers who think they own the road. What ever happen to the 25MPH speed limit? I am a driver and bike rider for over 50 years and I think BOTH have a right to share the streets!!!
May 20, 9:25 am
James Maggio from Marine Park says:
Pay attention to the residents and pedestrians of a neighborhood instead of giving the pedal pushers every thing they want until they learn to pedal safely and keep off the sidewalks when they ride.
May 20, 1:44 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
James Maggio, go back to Ohio!
May 20, 2:26 pm

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