Bushwick Residents to DOT: More Bike Lanes, Please
Dozens of Bushwick residents came out in the cold last night to suggest where to add bike lanes to their neighborhood. Currently Bushwick only has a pair of painted bike lanes on Central Avenue and Evergreen Avenue, plus some sharrows linking to bike lanes in Bed-Stuy.
“There was a good turnout from long-time residents, from newcomers. It was pretty diverse,” said Celeste Leon, constituent services manager for Council Member Rafael Espinal, who sponsored the workshop along with Council Member Antonio Reynoso, Brooklyn Community Board 4, the Department of City Planning, and DOT. The public input process will continue through June, and DOT hopes to begin putting paint on the ground next year.
Since July 2012, 222 cyclists have been injured and one was killed in the 11237 and the 11221 zip codes, according to city crash data cited by Transportation Alternatives.
Last night, participants broke into groups and marked up maps to show where they ride, which areas present problems, and which streets would be good for bike lanes. The process is similar to neighborhood bike lane workshops DOT has held for Brownsville, Ridgewood, and Long Island City.
“There was a focus on finding corridors and bike routes that could connect to other parts of Bushwick, but also to other parts of Brooklyn,” said Transportation Alternatives Brooklyn organizer Luke Ohlson. The approximately 30 residents at last night’s workshop singled out Broadway, Knickerbocker Avenue, Central Avenue, Flushing Avenue, and Bushwick Avenues as streets that could use improvement, among others.
“It was exciting to think about the places where you ride that are unsafe, and to get your voice heard,” said TA volunteer Rachel Albetski. At the same time, she said meeting attendees were looking for more detail. “We wanted to know more of a solid timeline for the rollout from DOT,” Albetski said. “We didn’t get a good idea about when the bike lanes would start to be implemented.”
The public input process, which began last November, will continue with additional workshops through June. DOT is soliciting social media photos using the hashtag #BushwickBikes, and an online survey is also available in English and Spanish until June. DOT says it has received almost 600 survey responses so far. The agency hopes to begin installing the first phase of bike lanes next year, followed by a second round in 2017 [PDF].