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Pols, Advocates Slam Mayor Adams for Unfinished Ashland Place

Multiple local officials slammed Mayor Adams for watering down a key safety project that links the Manhattan Bridge to the Barclays Center.

File photo: Jesse Coburn|

Advocates and pols are slamming the city for failing to finish its redesign of Ashland Place.

The leaders are following.

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso slammed Mayor Adams — his predecessor in the borough's highest office — for "regressing" on street safety after capitulating to a major real estate developer and declining to complete a protected bike lane on Ashland Place, even as 2023 has become the deadliest year for cyclists ever. 

“New York City is regressing on meeting its Vision Zero goals ... and stalled street safety improvements, like those slated for Ashland Place, are a part of the reason why,” Reynoso said. “It is deeply concerning that the Department of Transportation continues to backpedal on street safety improvements,” referencing other watered-down or entirely nixed projects like on Fordham Road, Underhill Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard.

The area's state senator also decried the Adams Administration for failing to make good on its own DOT's promises.

"I'm disappointed. ... When it comes to safety on our streets, proven strategies to keep people safe shouldn't take a back seat,” said state Sen. Andrew Gounardes, whose mostly Bay Ridge district now includes a sliver of Fort Greene. 

And Council Member Crystal Hudson, who has previously sought to strike a balance between opponents and supporters of such projects, offered more measured condemnation for the half-finished bike path. 

“It's too bad an existing project like that has been cut short, and doesn’t provide a fully completed safe corridor for cyclists,” she said.

The comments came after DOT last week confirmed Streetsblog’s previous reporting that the Adams administration was pulling the plug on the southernmost block of Ashland Place in deference to local business interests — a project that got underway in July, converting Ashland Place from two-way to one-way northbound to make room for a two-way protected bike lane.

The project was supposed to include the block between Lafayette Avenue and Hanson Place, but Two Trees Management, a major real-estate power in the borough, objected to converting the final block to one way, claiming that the plan was "shortsighted."

Advocates say it's a key safety improvement because Ashland is often used by cyclists to ride between Downtown Brooklyn and the protected bike lane on Sands Street that leads to the Manhattan Bridge. In the two years since Sept. 1, 2021, there have been 88 reported crashes on Ashland between Hanson Place and Myrtle Avenue, with the plurality of those crashes on the block that will no longer get the safety improvements. In all, those crashes injured 15 cyclists and six pedestrians, according to city stats compiled by Crash Mapper.

Streetsblog had reported that the abrupt end to the bike lane came at the request of mayoral adviser Ingrid Lewis-Martin — who has repeatedly intervened in street safety projects, including on McGuinness Boulevard — who had called in a favor to DOT at the behest of Two Trees.

At the time, City Hall called that accusation “fabricated nonsense.” But sources confirmed that it was, in fact, accurate.

Another source added that the city’s pattern of rolling back life-saving street safety projects at the request of mayoral higher-ups like Lewis-Martin is “problematic and sets a bad precedent.”

The pols' comments also come after an emergency rally on Sunday, when supporters of the full bike lane gave the dangerous roadway a new moniker: Crashland.

But locals were not only disappointed with the mayor.

“This failure represents an ongoing trend of a mayor who cares more about getting stuff done for friends and donors, than protecting the lives of the average New Yorker,” said Andrew Matsuoka, a Fort Greene resident and a volunteer leader for Transportation Alternatives. "Additionally, this is a missed opportunity for Council Member Crystal Hudson to lead on safe streets: she promised to champion protected bike lanes, but won’t even stand up for one block."

"War on Cars" podcast co-host Doug Gordon rallied the crowd on Sunday. Photo: Kathy Park Price

And a current resident of the Two Trees-owned building on Ashland Place told Streetsblog that he feels “betrayed” by his landlord for choosing the convenience and monetary interest of a parking lot over the livelihoods of his own tenants.  

“The street itself is unbelievably unpleasant to be on, and live on, and is dangerous. It’s quite wide with speeding, excessive noise, double- and triple-parking, and great discomfort anytime you’re out there, walking the dog, you’re doing it in the face of honking and noise and an angry crush of cars,” said Ivaylo Popov. 

Popov added that he had been “waiting with great excitement” for the redesign ever since it was first proposed and approved of back in 2022.

“I believe it would dramatically calm the traffic on that street and would create amazing benefits for everyone,” he said. “It’s not about the bicycles only for me.”

A rep for Two Trees told Streetsblog last week that the firm will “work with public and private sector partners to advance new lanes wherever” it can — as long as they’re not on Ashland Place. 

“While we and many other stakeholders worked with DOT for nearly a year to attempt to make a bike lane work, it is a very complex block with no easy solutions,” said company rep David Lombino. "Two Trees remains committed to supporting biking and bike infrastructure and will work with public and private sector partners to advance new lanes wherever we can."

A spokesperson for City Hall did not respond to the direct criticism over Ashland Place, instead sending over a generic statement blaming the high rate of bike fatalities on e-bikes. 

“As cycling reaches an all-time high in New York City, the city has experienced a spike in cyclist fatalities, driven largely by the growth in e-bikes that provide so many New Yorkers with accessible mobility options. Mayor Adams is laser-focused on reversing that trend so everyone in New York City can feel safe in our streets,” the spokesperson said. 

Assembly Member Phara Souffrant Forrest, who also represents the block in question, did not respond to requests for comment. 

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