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Bay Ridge Community Board Presses DOT for Better East-West Bike Connections

The bulk of DOT’s plan for east-west bike connections in southern Brooklyn consists of sharrows on Bath Avenue. Image: DOT

Brooklyn Community Board 10 wants more than the painted bike lanes and sharrows DOT is proposing for an east-west bikeway in southern Brooklyn.

The plan, which DOT presented last night to the CB 10 transportation committee, would link the Shore Parkway Greenway with points east via 91st Street, 92nd Street, and Bath Avenue.

Both 91st Street and 92nd Street are two-way streets. DOT's plan calls for painted bike lanes on one side of each street. The route would follow the perimeter of the Dyker Beach Golf Course via existing painted lanes, then Bath Avenue, the longest stretch of the project, would have sharrows in each direction.

"DOT is presenting something that's supposed to be a safe east-west connector, but is sharrows for most of the route," said Bay Ridge resident Brian Hedden, who attended the meeting.

One particular area of concern is the 92nd Street crossing over the BQE, where heavy traffic creates dangerous conditions for anyone walking or biking, Hedden said.

"Our feeling is that having [painted] lanes for that segment isn't enough to keep cyclists safe there," he said. "That is an area where you would want to have protected bike lanes."

Hedden said board members felt the route was too disconnected and choppy. The board has not been open to bike lane projects in the past, but last night they were by and large seeking ways to make DOT's project work better for people biking.

Instead of endorsing DOT's plan, the board wants to take a more thorough approach, beginning with a follow-up transportation committee meeting where the comments from last night will be compiled and given to DOT, District Manager Josephine Beckmann told Streetsblog. In the fall, CB 10 plans to bring DOT, bicycle advocates, and others together for a series of workshops and walk-throughs.

"We feel we need to have more of an east-west connection," Beckmann said. "The consensus [last night] was to submit the comments, have DOT look at it, and then work towards looking at the best route, working together with cyclists."

Recently there's been a spate of severe traffic collisions in southern Brooklyn, including one at 73rd Street and Ridge Boulevard on May 10 that critically injured a 29-year-old man.

Dan Hetteix, a lifelong resident of Bay Ridge who also attended last night's meeting, said he no longer bikes because of the lack of safe conditions.

"I stopped because the infrastructure connecting Bay Ridge to the rest of the borough was pretty bad. Even internally, there are really no good routes," Hetteix said. "There's no way to get into or out of Bay Ridge without crossing a highway."

Next Tuesday's meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the CB 10 office, located at 8119 5th Avenue.

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