What Does Southern Brooklyn Think About Bicycling?

Livable Streets member Sholom Brody files an interesting report from southern Brooklyn, where volunteers with Transportation Alternatives’ Brooklyn Committee recently surveyed subway and bus commuters about their attitudes toward bicycling and bike infrastructure.

KingsHwy_Commuters.jpgBrooklynites wait to transfer to the bus from the Kings Highway subway station. Photo: Sholom Brody

Neighborhoods like Mill Basin, Marine Park, and Gerritsen Beach are far from the nearest subway line and also have "extremely limited bike infrastructure," says Brody. A network of safe streets for cycling could make biking more attractive and improve access to the subway, so the TA volunteers decided to sound out commuters waiting to transfer to the bus from the Brighton line at the Kings Highway station. They asked for opinions on bicycling, bike lanes, and bike parking (sorry, the survey itself is not online at this time).

While not everyone took up the offer to complete the survey, a significant number of people who filled it out expressed interest in a bike-to-train commute. Committee member Murray Lantner, who designed the survey materials, reports:

With some persistence I conducted 23 surveys in 90 minutes. 17 of 23
surveyed, including one skateboarder, wanted to see more bike lanes in
their neighborhoods. 12 of 23 said they would utilize a safe network of
bike lanes and bike parking to get to the Kings Highway Station. 10 of
23 said there was a moderate need for more bike lanes in their
neighborhoods. The rest mainly said there was little or no need for
more bike lanes.

An encouraging observation… younger people were more open to
taking the survey and they reflected a more positive attitude towards
cycling.

The greatest concern for those interested in cycling was
having a safe place to ride and fear of getting hit by motorists.
Several people complained about cyclists running red lights and
endangering pedestrians. Many also worried about losing parking spots
due to any bike lanes. There was some interest in getting bike lanes on
Avenue T and Gerritsen Avenue and some people took the contact
information for their community boards and council members.

The local community board only meets "when issues come up," Brody writes, but TA members are calling for a meeting to present their results and prompt a public discussion.

In other news, Susan Donovan has started some compelling StreetsWiki pages to keep tabs on the Fare Hike Four, and the Alliance for Biking and Walking’s People Powered Movement Photo Contest is now open for public voting. Vote for your favorites before December 31.

  • kapes

    I don’t know why I have to be such a stickler.
    But it is such a common mistake I have to say something.

    “South Brooklyn” is an area of Brooklyn close to downtown.
    It is called this because it was south of the original (and quite small) city of Brooklyn. It includes Red Hook, Gowanus, Cobble Hill etc.
    Mill Basin, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach etc. are in southern Brooklyn.

    I feel so dirty.

  • Thanks for the usage note. I knew something seemed off.

  • I grew up in southern Brooklyn (Sheepshead Bay) and now live in South Brooklyn (kinda, Park Slope). I am back in Sheepshead Bay often. These are two very different places.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I call the area of Brooklyn from Bay Ridge around to Canarsie the “southern rim” to distinguish it from the anarchic “South Brooklyn,” the part of Brooklyn that was south when Brooklyn was a city in just one part of Kings County and Flatbush was a village.

    Anyway, the point is not whether majority would ride bicycles. The point is whether anyone would ride bicycles.

    Let’s say ten percent would choose bicycles with a parking facility and bike lanes, and 90 percent would park and ride a motor vehicle or take the bus. Currently, that 10 percent is not being served, while the other 90 percent is.

    I think a bike parking facility at Kings Highway on the Brighton Line (not an anarchic usage as far as I’m concerned), particularly if co-located with a health club, would be a big hit.

  • Bugg

    I’m a lifelong resident of Marine Park, other than 2 years living in Mill Basin. You have to understand that this is mostly low rise single family homes, most with on street free parking, along with car ports and driveways.It is in many ways almost suburban. but that’s by necesssity.

    Most people who take the subway have to take city bus to get there. And days like today remind us that when it comes to snow removal-critical if we’re talking about bikes-Bloomberg doens’t care about us. Unless, of course, it involves giving a certain group volunteer ambulance plates so they can run around like Dirty Harry at high speeds. And on the occasions when DOT does act, it mostly involves them not listening to the community at all-

    http://www.gerritsenbeach.net/2009/11/21/new-intersection-destroys-community-deadlock-throughout-marine-park-and-gerritsen-beach/

  • Larry Littlefield

    “I’m a lifelong resident of Marine Park, other than 2 years living in Mill Basin. You have to understand that this is mostly low rise single family homes, most with on street free parking, along with car ports and driveways.It is in many ways almost suburban.”

    We dismissed those places as viable locations to purchase a home back when the decision was made, because we wanted to live without a car, or with just one for weekend use when having kids, and didn’t want to take a bus to the subway, waiting two or three times as part of our commute.

    But that’s before I started commuting by bicycle. With a bicycle parking facility, one could live as we do, and bike rather than walk to the subway. Even Gerritsen Beach would be in range.

  • Janice Dougherty

    If transportation cuts are going to end weekend service on the B31, then they better hurry to (1) finish the renovations to the Kings Highway Brighton station – including the elevator (2) add a secure outdoor bike parking area of some sort (3) connect the dots by extending the Gerritsen Avenue bike lane to the train station at E.16th Street. DUH!

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