Bushwick Residents to DOT: More Bike Lanes, Please

Bushwick residents at a forum last night told DOT where they would like to see bike lanes in their neighborhood. Photo: NYC DOT
Bushwick residents told DOT where they would like to see bike lanes in their neighborhood. Photo: NYC DOT/Flickr

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.

The neighborhood is currently not well-served by bike lanes. Image: DOT
Bike lanes are scarce in Bushwick. Image: DOT

“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].

  • J

    $1,000 says this plan results in double parking lanes and sharrows, and not a single protected bike lane or bike boulevard. And most people in the area who don’t bike already will continue to not bike.

  • BBnet3000

    Absolutely not a single protected lane, that’s pretty much definite. Whether we get even a half mile of regular bike lanes is even money I’d say.

  • c2check

    I mean, most of Bushwick streets are pretty low-traffic, so I don’t really see a dire need for PBLs here in particular (I’d think Bushwick Ave could be a candidate if they were to do so since both the streets and sidewalks are relatively wide).
    I would love to see some bike boulevards go in, though.

  • Simon Phearson

    I dunno, given the way they tend to implement cycling infrastructure, I personally feel safer without it than with it. There’s a two-way bike lane in my neighborhood that periodically becomes a bus stop (and is unprotected throughout, so it’s often parked in). My regular commuting route puts me in a buffered lane that switches from the left side to the right side of the street, with the cross happening precisely where most car traffic is trying to turn across the lane.

    I’d rather mix with traffic, where I can at least behave predictably. I often purposely choose routes with no bike infrastructure, so that I don’t have to worry about getting ticketed for not using it when it seems designed to get me killed.

  • IlIlIl

    The roads need to change less than the mentality of drivers in this city. Who cares if there are pretty green lanes if no one acknowledges their purpose? Manhattan Ave bike lane is a parking/loading/unloading zone for people and the police 24/7.

  • J

    But would you want your child to mix with traffic? What about friends or loved ones? Most people would not and thus this type of bike lane design serves a VERY limited section of the population. The places where riding a bicycle is a comfortable and convenient option for a broad cross-section of the population do not rely on mixing with traffic, except on streets with very low car speeds AND very low car volumes.

  • J

    Fair enough. A network of low speed, low volume bike boulevards could be an excellent option for Bushwick.

    A network of sharrows and double parking lanes would not be much of a change, though.

  • Simon Phearson

    Oh, absolutely agreed. Protected infrastructure is the way to go. But not if it, uh, funnels you into oncoming traffic that’s not expecting you to pop up there – which is kind of how the DOT tends to do things.

  • J

    Indeed. DOT’s designs at intersections are not good at all. Nothing like what’s done in the Netherlands.

    http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2011/04/state-of-art-bikeway-design-or-is-it.html

  • D’BlahZero

    And now they’re full of ice and garbage.

  • c2check

    (Actually, perhaps I’ll modify my opinion—perhaps Bushwick Ave would be a great choice for a PBL, especially given the sidewalk+road widths and directness of the connections to north and south)

  • Take a look at my analysis to see how the new bike lanes in Bushwick in 2017 impacted real estate values in the neighborhood.

    http://andrewlax.net/2017/07/08/do-bike-lanes-predict-nyc-real-estate-growth/

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ff57e1456e47ba82d8a8636f096e059e14dc24ab84214196c3892b79cc6e46f1.gif

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