Big Bay Ridge Bike Lane Proposal Shot Down

gothamist | April 12, 2011

By John Del Signore

The DOT's proposal to install a 6.3 mile stretch of bike lane connecting Bay Ridge to Bensonhurst has been spiked, in no small part due to opposition from City Councilmember Domenic Recchia, whom you may recall for his cheerleading the evictions of the Coney Island Eight. The proposed bike lane [pdf] would have run along Bay Ridge Parkway from Shore Road to Bay Parkway, making it safer for cyclists throughout South Brooklyn to access the gorgeous Shore Road Greenway. But today the Post reports that Recchia put the brakes on the bike lane... for safety.

"Bike lanes have a place... but not on Bay Ridge Parkway," Recchia, a Democrat, tells the tabloid. "The street is extremely narrow, which means people would be fighting to get around each other... it would only be a matter of time before somebody got hurt." Some of Recchia's constituents had mounted a vocal opposition to the plan; in June of last year local beautician and traffic expert Latoya Hycinthe told the Daily News, "It's a horrible idea. It would make the street even more busy."

The DOT maintained that the bike lane, which would not have been separated from traffic from a "floating" parking lane, was part of an overall "traffic calming" initiative. But with all the anti-bike lane hysteria making trouble for the DOT in the papers, we get the impression that the department is walking on eggshells these days. DOT spokesman Montgomery Dean tells us, "DOT gave a presentation on the proposal last year, continued to discuss it with elected officials and other stakeholders over the following months and, based on their feedback, recently notified them that we will not proceed with the installation. As we've done with our projects across the city, we will continue to work with community representatives on ways to make our streets safer for everyone who uses them."

Transportation Alternatives spokesman Michael Murphy sees things differently, and tells us, "This decision is bad transportation policy. Bike lanes equal safe streets for everyone and a large majority of New Yorkers support them. This important bike lane helps create a network for safe transportation throughout the borough of Brooklyn and citywide. Without it, all street users are at risk." Or as Bay Ridge Journal put it, "God forbid that people who can barely afford gas these days should be made to share the road with free transportation. Outrageous!"
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