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City expedites plan to implement bike lane through Sunset Park, Park Slope in response to cyclist deaths

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Photo gallery

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Bike plan: Councilman Carlos Menchaca (center) announced the Department of Transportation’s plan to open the Fourth Avenue bike lane ahead of schedule on Wednesday.
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Local pols: Councilmen Brad Lander (center) and Carlos Menchaca (left) have pushed DOT to install a bike lane along Fourth Avenue.
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Too little; too late: Jane Martin-Lavaud; whose daughter was killed by a reckless driver in Gravesend; argued that the city has not acted installed bike lanes fast enough.
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New plan: DOT plans to implement a bike lane that will stretch four miles down Fourth Avenue, from Atlantic Avenue to 64th Street.

A Sunset Park councilman announced Wednesday that a substantial portion of the long-delayed Fourth Avenue bike lane will open by the end of this year.

Transit officials originally planned to completely finish the bike lane spanning Sunset Park and Park Slope this summer, but the project was delayed indefinitely to accommodate much needed repairs to the N and R train subway tunnel that runs beneath Fourth Avenue.

Mayor Bill de Blasio claimed he would “accelerate completion” of the Sunset Park bike lane as part of his “Green Wave” plan announcement last month, but it wasn’t until Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D–Sunset Park) reached out to transit officials on July 29 that the project gained a year’s end deadline, according to a spokesman from Menchaca’s office.

As a result, the two-way, two-and-a-half-mile bike path will stretch uninterrupted from First Street in Park Slope to 57th Street in Sunset Park before the end of fall, according to the Department of Transportation. DOT now plans to complete a four-block stretch of cycling paths between 60th and 64th streets this fall as well, while leaving construction of a three-block gap in the bike lane between 57th and 60th streets for sometime next year.

Transit officials plan to paint the new bike paths and place temporary fencing around them before embarking on a capital project, which will replace the barriers with concrete traffic islands and foliage.

Another bike path called the Brooklyn Greenway is slated to open along Second Avenue and part of Third Avenue in 2022, connecting Gowanus and Red Hook to Sunset Park’s waterfront, transit authorities claimed.

Elected officials and local cyclists praised the upcoming Fourth Avenue project during its announcement Wednesday afternoon.

“We’ve needed a protected bike lane on Fourth Avenue for a long time, and I am proud to stand beside the Department of Transportation to announce its arrival by year’s end,” Councilman Menchaca said.

The Fourth Avenue bike plan comes after a surge in cyclist deaths in Brooklyn, two of which occurred in Sunset Park. In January, a car fatally hit a 26-year-old man on Third Avenue and 29th Street, and last week, a tractor trailer struck and killed 30-year-old woman just seven blocks away, marking the 13th cyclist fatality in Brooklyn this year, and the 18th citywide.

In response to the bike fatalities and a growing demand among transit advocates for better cycling infrastructure, de Blasio announced a $58.4 million initiative to create an additional 80 miles of protected bike lanes throughout the city before his lame duck term ends in 2021. The day before, the City Council passed a law allowing cyclists to ride with pedestrian lights at intersections.

But for Brooklnynites grieving dead friends and family, the mayor’s bike lane project comes as too little, too late.

“We’re being reactive instead of proactive,” said an emotional Jane Martin-Lavaud, a member of the advocacy group Families for Safe Streets, whose daughter was killed by a speeding driver in Gravesend. “These deaths that we read in newspapers as statistics, as numbers, are human beings. They’re family members.”

A Park Slope councilman insisted on the need to keep pushing for better cycling infrastructure in the wake of tragedy.

“We have collective responsibility for the lives we keep losing,” said Councilman Brad Lander (D-Park Slope). “It’s from that place of sorrow and collective responsibility that we have an obligation to keep pushing forward.”

And while the gravity of the cyclists’ deaths weighed on the crowd, Lander encouraged Brooklyn bike advocates to stay positive.

“Every project we do is probably saving lives we don’t know that they’re saving,” he said. “We’ve got to hold onto that.”

Reach reporter Rose Adams at radams@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–8306. Follow her on Twitter @rose_n_adams
Updated 4:09 pm, August 8, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
More bike lanes are great, but stricter penalties for killing while driving are needed. Currently there is no incentive to driving safe, that needs to change!
Aug. 8, 3:49 pm
JS from Midwood says:
We keep trying to be a city that we are not. We're not meant to have all these modes of transport sharing one busy NYC road. Not to mention, there are reckless cyclist just as much as there are reckless drivers!
Aug. 8, 4:11 pm
Steven from Sunset park says:
Make everyone who rides in public streets take a test and carry insurance like drivers so they have some understanding to move with traffic and also can compansate any individual or vehicle they might damage.
Aug. 8, 4:21 pm
Leif Ericsson 33rd... from Mnh Bkl Qns says:
The more bike lanes the better. All New Yorkers need to be able to ride safely throughout the city. Just today there were two drivers that nearly killed me. Clearly a large sector of drivers need to RE-TAKE a proper drivering test. They don't look and go way way to fast. Are life-threatening to pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers. My heartfelt sympathies though to all the innocent drivers killed by cyclists. Wait. There are none!
Aug. 8, 4:30 pm
Steven from Sunset park says:
Drivers take a test and carry insurance, and they never kill anyone. Right? am I doing this right?
Aug. 8, 4:37 pm
Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
JS from Midwood... you make too much sense to post on this website.
Aug. 8, 4:38 pm
eccolo from Midwood says:
Cyclist have to start obeying the law. In a short drive today two cyclists blew through red lights and one through a stop sign. During the same trip i did not see any drivers break the law. As long as there is no penalty many, not all, cyclists will continue to violate the law. ALL motorized bicycles, scooters, etc, must be registered and have a tag. Cyclists cause accidents, it is not only cars that cause accidents.
Aug. 8, 4:45 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Hey eccolo, your whimsical anecdotes do not equate to data. Nice effort though!
Aug. 8, 5:12 pm
and in the meanttime what says:
Are we going to stop the unsafe and unprotected biking in the meantime and in all other streets there is no protection? The city is responsible for leading all these people to their death and the ones that will follow. Talking about what your going to do while knowingly allowing people to die until you get it done is inexcusable. Class action suit against NYC - it's time to get one started.
Aug. 8, 6:24 pm
Common sense from Park slope says:
I rode a bike in the 70s growing up in brooklyn. I remember my mom saying be careful its dangerous watch out for the cars and trucks we had no bike lanes I never was injured. Tell me what makes safer today.
Aug. 8, 6:33 pm
Noomis William Mc Foo from Cobble Hill says:
If anything this shows that we need more car lanes! The roads are overwhelmed by bicycles - a very inefficient form of transport where everyone is on a personal vehicle. Collective forms of transport like trains, busses nd cars move multiple people and items at the same time. Now that the roads are pressured by wealthy and selfish single person transport hipsters, cars are being pressured like never before. Please invest in more car lanes, for our safety.
Aug. 9, 3:31 am
20/20 Vision from Sunset Park/Bay Ridge Border says:
Why are cyclists storing their private property on streets, not only leaving them there but attaching them to light poles and traffic signs?
Aug. 9, 9:19 am
Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
To 20/20 Vision from Sunset Park/Bay Ridge Border And what do people with cars do?
Aug. 9, 9:38 am
20/20 Vision from Sunset Park/Bay Ridge Border says:
I'm much too obese to ride a bike.
Aug. 9, 9:45 am
20/20 Vision from Sunset Park/Bay Ridge Border says:
To Bob, they complain here constantly about cars. i.e., "private property," being stored on the street. To Henry, I WALK and am not obese or even fat. And you are juvenile.
Aug. 9, 11:33 am
Inconvienent Truth from Flatlands says:
If anyone doubts the reckless cyclist, please do a search on Michael Collopy, who succumbed to injuries from a hit and run cyclist this week. The NYPD traffic stat website show injuries to pedestrians and vehicle occupants make up 85% of reported accidents & fatalities. The city needs to make roads safer for all and most of the new bike lanes are not a solution.
Aug. 9, 12:17 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
I agree with JS. Ban free street parking and restrict motor vehicles.
Aug. 9, 12:45 pm
Ro from Park Slope says:
To echo Common Sense, my primary mode of transportation as a teenager was bicycling everyday. I watched for pedestrians and car traffic, following the home-taught rules of cycling courteously. When I drive an automobile, I hope to see similar defensive bike riding.
Aug. 9, 1:44 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
A better solution is to have cyclists following the traffic laws, not giving them more bike lanes. As long as they continue to flout them, they will always be placing themselves into harm's way. Unfortunately, this is something that the bike zealots refuse to acknowledge. Perhaps reading that editorial by Gary Taustine over on the NY Post will give a more clearer answer to what can really help prevent further deaths on cyclists.
Aug. 11, 7 am
Common sense from 5 boros says:
Stop making the city more congested. The bus will not run faster, The subway will never be fixed and we will always have cars until they stop making them. Stop chopping up the streets. Riding a bike was dangerous in 1970s tell me how did it become safer today. When I was working in the city in my 20s the only crazy people to ride in the city in traffic were messenger's.
Aug. 11, 11:01 am
Common sense from 5 boros says:
I'm afraid of change! No more progression!
Aug. 11, 11:39 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
How about instead or resorting to personal attacks, demanding of censorship, or even impersonations, I would like to know why cyclists shouldn't be following the traffic laws, otherwise my statement on their typical nature will be right by default.
Aug. 12, 9:21 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
How about answering the question Mr. Idon'tuseaconsistantnamewhenIcommenteventhoughI'amprobablythatverysameperson? If you have nothing to hide, then you wouldn't be resorting to such. I just believe that the only to help cyclists prevent further deaths is to have them follow the traffic laws rather than defy them. As usual, you don't even bother to answer it, which only makes me feel that you bike zealots do tend to have a hostile nature towards those who don't look at things through your perspective. Seriously, why do you act in a such way? It's not as if anyone is stopping you from stating what you want to say let alone calling someone an idiot, which is something I didn't call you. Also, the way you act almost makes me want to question your age on if you're even an adult, because only those who act childish tend to say such remarks. The truth is that this what makes you have such enemies to wanting bike lanes. The only reason why I claim that my statement on your nature is right by default is mainly because you don't even bother to answer my simple question on why cyclists shouldn't have to follow the traffic laws, but rather act bent out of shape instead. Then again, you probably miss the point just as much as you and other bike zealots tend to miss on all the traffic lights and signs that you tend to treat as decorations that end up placing yourselves into harm's way. On a side note, I have nothing against those who want to disagree with me, but making such attacks is another thing.
Aug. 13, 7:01 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Seeing that you copied and pasted shows how much you have lost this argument. Seriously, it's one thing to say that you don't have an answer, but to make personal attacks is another thing. In all honesty, I do give my condolences to the cyclists that got hit and died, but I do feel that some of those could have been avoidable if they just followed the traffic laws rather than defy them. In reality, respect is a literal two way street that goes both ways. Even Confucius believed that respect is something one must earn, not demand. Again, I'm still waiting for a good reason on why cyclists shouldn't have to adhere to the traffic laws or my claim on cyclists being defensive and hostile on this holds by default. On a side note, hearing this almost reminds of the anti-Israel fanatics who tend to act defensive whenever I ask for proof that Palestine was an independent country before Israel's independence.
Aug. 14, 6:19 am
Common sense from Brooklyn says:
Transplants go home
Aug. 22, 6:24 am
Freddie from Sunset park says:
Go ride and kill yourselves, stupid is as stupid does. You were all lied too that it was safeto ride with cars by the Bloomberg administration. All done for the almighty dollar.
Aug. 22, 6:48 am

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