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Monday’s Headlines: Better Bedford Avenue Edition

12:03 AM EDT on April 24, 2023

Council Member Chi Ossé joined the bike ride in favor of a protected bike lane on Bedford Avenue. Photo: David Meyer

A better Bedford Avenue is possible, and on Saturday we got a little taste of why.

A diverse group of 150 cyclists organized by bike advocates and Black-led bike clubs rode up the "spine of Brooklyn" from Flatbush to Bedford-Stuyvesant over the weekend to call for protected bike lanes on Bedford Avenue — ahead of meetings this week where the Department of Transportation will present plans to redesign the street north of Dean Street.

"If you ride with Good Co.  everything we do is about safety — getting people from Point A to Point B safely, and a protected bike lane is the best way to do that," Drew Bennett, the founder and director of Good Co. Bike Club, said before the group headed out from Paedergat Park in East Flatbush. A petition led by Good Co.and Transportation Alternatives have over 1,300 signatures in favor of protected bike lanes between Flushing and Flatbush avenues. The New York chapter of Black Girls Do Bike also participated.

Around 150 cyclists participated. Photo: David Meyer
Around 150 cyclists participated. Photo: David Meyer
If you build them bike lanes (and somewhere to park), they'll ride. Photo: David Meyer

The riders were joined by Hercules Reid from the Mayor's Office of Community Affairs and Council Member Chi Ossé (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant), who gave his full-throated support for DOT's upcoming redesign, which will run from Dean Street to Flushing Avenue.

"I'm a cyclist, I don't know how to drive. I bike everywhere," Ossé told the group. "This avenue is so dangerous. I've almost been killed multiple times on Bedford Avenue."

City officials will present their plans online to Community Board 8 on Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. and in person to Community Board 3 on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Ossé urged attendees to show up for the two meetings, "because the parking people are going to show up."

"We need cyclists to show up, because this is about saving lives," he said. "This isn't about recreation, it's about saving lives."

Council Member Rita Joseph, whose district the ride started in, did not attend but gave a show of support on Twitter — saying she's "on board" with extending the protected lanes to her district. Council Member Crystal Hudson, who represents the stretch of Bedford in between Joseph and Ossé's districts, has yet to comment on the matter.

In other news:

    • New York City saw four million subway rides for the first time since March 2020 on Thursday. (NY1)
    • Lyft — which operates Citi Bike — plans to lay off 4,000 employees, or 30 percent of its workforce. (WSJ)
    • Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand appeared with Los Deliveristas Unidos to boost new legislation to regulate lithium-ion batteries. (NY1, AMNY, CBS New York)
    • The city's rising office vacancy rate bodes poorly for the MTA. (THE CITY)
    • State pols may forgo a long-term MTA funding solution and kick the authority's fiscal cliff to next year. (Zack Fink via Twitter)
    • RIP Former MTA Chairman H. Dale Hemmerdinger, 1944-2023. (Legacy.com)
    • LIRR quietly kills Islanders arena shuttle service. (The LIRR Today)
    • Nerd Alert: The city's contribution to the MTA will "likely" be smaller than the $500 million Gov. Hochul wants, Sen. Mike Gianaris tells Marcia Kramer. (CBS New York on YouTube)
    • A driver is wanted by NYPD for plowing into an outdoor dining shed (while being chased by cops). (ABC7NY)
    • Gov. Hochul's ambitious housing plan is dead. (THE CITY, Crain's)

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