Slow Zone, Next Round of Bike Routes on Tap for Brownsville, East New York

Caption. Image: DOT
Blue lines show where new bike lanes and shared lane markings will be installed in East New York and Brownsville. Orange lines show existing shared lane markings, while red lines show existing bike lanes. Image: DOT

The fledgling bike lane network in Brownsville and East New York will continue to grow. The second of three rounds of painted on-street bike lanes — mapped out in a planning process initiated by neighborhood residents — is set to be installed by the end of the year, pending the support of Community Boards 5 and 16 later this month.

The neighborhood, which already has a 25 mph arterial slow zone along Atlantic Avenue, is also set to receive its first 20 mph neighborhood Slow Zone this summer [PDF]. Both community boards joined the Brownsville Partnership, an initiative of the non-profit Community Solutions, in applying for the Slow Zone. The project is bounded by Sutter, Rockaway, Livonia, and Pennsylvania Avenues and averages nearly 72 traffic injuries annually, according to DOT. There are two NYCHA complexes and four schools within its borders.

The bike lane plan [PDF] adds 14.5 miles of striped bike lanes and shared lane markings to a meshwork of north-south and east-west streets, including Pitkin, Blake, and Dumont Avenues, and Hinsdale Street, Snediker Avenue, Thomas Boyland Street, and Saratoga Avenue. While it contains no protected lanes, the plan would create a denser and better connected neighborhood grid of streets with space marked for biking.

Thomas Boyland Street and Saratoga Avenue will have bike lanes north of Eastern Parkway and shared lanes south of Eastern Parkway, while Blake Avenue will switch between bike lanes and shared markings as the street’s width varies from block to block. None of the bike lanes will remove parking, though Saratoga Avenue will receive a road diet from East New York Avenue to St. Marks Avenue, nearly identical to the one proposed for Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights.

Nupur Chaudhury is program manager at the Brownsville Partnership and a public member of the CB 16 transportation committee. After being encouraged by Bettie Kollock-Wallace, who now serves as CB 16 chair, Chaudhury has been working with Brownsville residents and other community groups on plans to bring bike lanes to the neighborhood. Workshops began in June 2011, and efforts have included community bike rides and follow-up sessions to refine the plan. Last year, the boards voted to support the first phase of bike lanes, which were installed last summer.

DOT presented the latest phase of the project to the CB 16 transportation committee last week. “This was one meeting where everything was coming together,” Chaudhury said. “It showed the committee that there is a concentrated effort on Brownsville by the Department of Transportation.”

Residents are looking for more, though: Chaudhury and others are hoping DOT will install mid-block crosswalks on Blake, Dumont, and Livonia Avenues where they cross what used to be Osborn Street in the super-blocks of Brownsville and Tilden Houses, either as part of the Slow Zone or as a separate project.

Although the bike lane plan was well-received, the committee did not take a vote. It could be taken up at the next general board meeting, which is scheduled for June 24. The plans have yet to go before CB 5, which does not currently have a transportation committee chair and is hosting its next general board meeting on June 25. “We’re trying to get them on the agenda,” CB 5 District Manager Walter Campbell said of the bike lanes. (Community boards take a break over the summer, so these would be the final board meetings until September.)

DOT’s plan says the lanes are scheduled to be installed by the end of the year, with a third round of bike lanes coming next year.

  • BBnet3000

    Excellent news for the 20-30 year old brave male cyclists in the neighborhood.

    The connection between Eastern Parkway and Pitkin could still use some work. Eastbound is OK for the aforementioned demographic but westbound is non-existent. Not that Eastern Parkway is worth biking on to begin with, but sometimes you end up there.

  • SteveVaccaro

    The East-West corridor extension to Fountain is a nice step forward. Push it just a bit further east, and I’ve got a replacement for my current inadequate route to Jamaica and Southeast Queens from lower Manhattan, via Myrtle/Rockaway Boulevard.

  • dave “paco” abraham

    The Eastern pkway/Pitkin connection came up at workshops for sure. Dept of Transportation MUST include that in Phase 3. Same with a Southbound route to Shore Pkway.

  • dave “paco” abraham

    let’s push it east… and get Parks department on the Conduit Greenway already!

  • It would seem that something is in store for the Conduit, because we can see a dotted green line there.

  • Joe R.
  • dave “paco” abraham

    That is it… though I’ve spoken with some greenway DOT staff recently. Doesn’t seem like there is much push, or funding, for such a connection just yet. We’d need to press electeds to dole our some discretionary dollars I bet.

  • Jake Stevens

    Not sure why you limit cyclists to the younguns…last year I was 49 and biked around there. I hope the fact I just turned 50 doesn’t prevent me from doing so again this year.

  • BBnet3000

    Youre by far the exception.

    Actually, im 27 and im an exception too. Perhaps it WAS unfair to limit it by age. This level of infrastructure isnt going to encourage anyone but the exceptions, whether 18 or 50.

  • It’s excellent news for everyone. I live near there, in Woodhaven; and I am very pleased to see the bike lanes getting ever closer to me, even in the post-Bloomberg / post-Sadik-Khan era when such expansion is by no means guaranteed.

    I am about the same age as Jake. I ride far more now than I did when I was in my 20s and 30s (only summers back then; nowadays all year round, totalling 5800 miles last year). This is partly because of my greater awareness of the need to keep myself in shape; but it is also because the proliferation of bike lanes has completely transformed the City for the better, making riding much easier than it was when I was a kid.


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