The family of Lauren Davis, who was killed biking on Classon Avenue in April, appealed to the Brooklyn Community Board 3 transportation committee last night to support a bike lane on the corridor.
Northbound Classon is notoriously prone to reckless driving by motorists heading to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. It’s also a DOT-designated bike route. A 2012 DOT traffic-calming project converted the street from two traffic lanes to one but did not include a bike lane. Instead cyclists are expected to ride in the leftover space of an extra-wide parking lane.
Davis, 34, was biking on Classon in the direction of traffic on the morning of April 15 when a left-turning driver in a Fiat struck and killed her.
“It’s kind of a misconception that that’s an area that’s available for cyclists, and everyone’s using it,” Lana Norton Davis, Lauren’s mother, told the committee. She said detectives investigating her daughter’s death told her that a bike lane on the street would have allowed them to prosecute the driver under the city’s Right of Way law.
In August, Lauren’s sister Danielle launched an online petition urging community boards 2 and 3 and local council members Laurie Cumbo and Robert Cornegy, Jr. to get behind the idea of a bike lane on Classon. Almost 6,000 people have signed on since, but Borough President Eric Adams remains the only local elected official to express support.
“I sincerely believe that if there had been a bike lane on Classon Avenue, Lauren would have been alive today,” Danielle told committee members yesterday. “Building a bike lane on Classon Avenue would do more than define safe, separate spaces for people on bicycles and people driving, it would help prevent the next crash.”
The Davises spoke during a presentation by committee member and neighborhood resident Shawn Onsgard, who proposed a painted bike lane, bulb-outs, and automated camera enforcement on Classon Avenue. In Onsgard’s conceptual plan — which he hopes CB 3 will endorse to compel DOT to put together its own proposal — the bike lane would end at DeKalb Avenue, where BQE-bound traffic increases. Northbound cyclists would be directed to continue to Willoughby Avenue and jog over to Taaffe Place.
Transportation co-chair Greg Glasgow was amenable to Onsgard’s proposal, but the committee did not have quorum and thus did not hold a vote. Glasgow said he would instead bring the plan to the CB 3 executive committee when it meets in two weeks.
“It’s not a comfortable situation, I know for me as a driver and also for people biking,” Glasgow said. “You don’t need to mix bike traffic with all of that truck traffic trying to get to the BQE.”