Cyclists take bike lane advocacy to CB 10

A crowd of cyclists descended onCommunity Board 10 on Monday, May16, to demand that the boardchange its position on the controversial Bay Ridge Parkway bikelanes.

The city’s Department ofTransportation (DOT) had killed its plan to install the lanesalong the strip between Shore Road and Bay Parkwaylast month, in response to strong opposition from both CB 10 and CB11, as well as several local civic groups, who contended that,rather than increasing safety, the bike lanes would make cyclingalong the busy strip more dangerous.

The bike riders disagreed, andmade their point as speaker after speaker took the microphone toask that the board take their concerns into account.

“Cyclists deserve our place onthe road,” contended Tony Mantione. “Would DOT and cyclistsadvocate for a bike lane in a place that wasn’t safe?”

“To say Bay Ridge Parkway is toonarrow is to say any street in New York City is too narrow for bikelanes,” added Jessica Panettier, who said she had been hit by a carin 2005 while on her bicycle.

A major concern, added DavidAja-Sigmen, is the safety of the elderly and children who could beinjured if cyclists take to the sidewalks because the roadways aretoo dangerous. Installing bike lanes, he asserted, “is responsiblepolicy-making. It’s not just for bikers. Bikes are there. Give thema place.”

Transportation Alternativesrepresentative Aja Hazelhoff concurred. “The statistics really showhow when you improve the street by adding bike lanes, it’s really acritical safety improvement for everyone,” she said.

“The issue isn’t going to goaway,” added Arlene Kriv.

Overall, though, CB 10 membersremained steadfast in their opposition to the Bay Ridge Parkwaybike lanes. A vote requested by board member Bob Cassara, a bikelanes advocate, to overturn a June, 2010, vote to oppose the lanesfailed, although board members did vote overwhelmingly to look into“the placement of bike lanes for the purpose of developing a listof streets [within the board area] where bike lanes could functionsafely.”

The Bay RidgeParkway bike lane was one of many that the city has proposed forBrooklyn, as it has expanded its bike lane network, with the goalof adding 200 miles of the installations over three years. The goalfor the completion of the city’s bike lane network is the year2030, with the city proposing to add 50 miles of lanes a year afterthe initial 200 miles of lanes have been added.

The Bay Ridge Parkway bike lanehad been intended to connect to bike lanes on Colonial and ShoreRoads, as well as to planned lanes on Bay Parkway, Fort HamiltonParkway and Third Avenue.

A recent Quinnipiac pollindicated that a majority of New Yorkers – 56 percent –now supportbike lanes.

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