Bay Ridge CB Overwhelmingly Backs Bike Lanes, Pedestrian Safety Fixes
Bike lanes and pedestrian safety improvements are coming to Bay Ridge after a pair of votes at Brooklyn Community Board 10 last week. It’s a turnaround from just a few years ago, when the board gained a reputation as one of the most anti-bike in the city.
After voting down a 2011 DOT proposal to add bike lanes to Bay Ridge Parkway, CB 10 went back to the drawing board and came up with its own list of streets where it wanted bike lanes. DOT came back with a plan last summer, and the plan finally passed the transportation committee on April 16 before clearing the full board in a 30-5 vote on April 20 [PDF].
“Most of the people were quite satisfied with the changes that DOT made. The process was very long and cumbersome, but in the end the final proposal that DOT brought forth was perfectly in line with the wishes of the committee,” said CB 10 member Bob HuDock. While a handful of people, led by former transportation committee member Alan Bortnick, voted against the plan, it passed the full board with flying colors last week.
“It was a really stunning turnaround from four years ago,” HuDock said. “It was not a very controversial thing. Everybody had seen this plan evolve over the years.”
The proposal [PDF] forms a loop on the northern, eastern, and southern sides of CB 10. Shared lane markings will be added to Sixth Avenue from Fort Hamilton Parkway to 68th Street. Fort Hamilton Parkway will get striped bike lanes, from Sixth Avenue to 92nd Street, and shared lanes from 92nd Street to Marine Avenue. Shared lanes will also be added to Marine Avenue from Fort Hamilton Parkway to Colonial Road.
In the northern section of the neighborhood, striped bike lanes are being added to 68th and 72nd streets west of Sixth Avenue. Fifth Avenue from 65th Street to 72nd Street will receive shared lane markings.
Some of the biggest changes are coming to Seventh Avenue near the Gowanus Expressway, where extra-wide lanes will be narrowed to make room for striped bike lanes.
The plan also includes a leading pedestrian interval and concrete curb extensions on the southern corners of Fort Hamilton Parkway and 92nd Street, where Donna Blanchard and her 4-year-old daughter Michele were killed by a hit-and-run box truck driver in 1994. The case remains unsolved, and family and friends dedicated a mural to Donna and Michele at the corner last summer. Curb extensions and leading pedestrian intervals are also planned for Fort Hamilton Parkway and 86th Street.
There are additional changes for 65th Street [PDF] that were supported by CB 10 last week in a 34-1 vote [PDF]. The multi-leg intersection at Seventh Avenue, where Xiaoci Hu was killed last year, will receive a curb extension on its southwest corner and heavy-duty plastic bollards to prevent drivers from making wide turns. 65th Street will also be re-striped between Sixth and 12th avenues to more clearly define lanes and reduce speeding.
DOT said the changes will be installed this fall, according to CB 10 district manager Josephine Beckmann, with the potential for some construction to begin early this summer.
Bay Ridge isn’t the only neighborhood getting new bike lanes: Last Thursday, Manhattan CB 2 passed a resolution supporting a plan to add sharrows and striped bike lanes to Spring Street in Soho.
In addition, the Brooklyn Community Board 2 transportation committee voted 13-0 on April 21 to support DOT’s plan to add bike lanes and shared markings to Joralemon and State streets in Brooklyn Heights [PDF]. Some blocks of these streets are cobblestone, and will get granite paving strips to provide a smooth surface for cyclists. The proposal now advances to the next CB 2 full board meeting on May 13, according to district manager Robert Perris.