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Monday’s Headlines: East New York’s New Bikes Lanes Reduced Crashes Edition

Initial results show East New York's protected bike lanes made Cozine and Wortman avenues safer. Plus more news.

Photo: David Meyer|

Two-wheelers ahead of Saturday’s bike ride in East New York.

Streetsblog joined Transportation Alternatives, the city departments of Health and Transportation and East New York cyclists on Saturday for a ride to Shirley Chisholm State Park via Cozine and Wortman avenues — two streets with brand new bike lanes vilified by local drivers, TV news and the area's newly elected council member.

The two streets saw an average of 80 crashes per year before DOT installed the protected bike lanes in 2023, with the hopes that a narrower space for cars would yield safer driver behavior, yet Council Member Chris Banks has gone so far to call on the agency to remove them entirely.

Speaking at a Council hearing in March, Banks claimed — without evidence — that the new bike lanes had make the street less safe.

"There are bike lanes that are putting pedestrians, the folks who are driving, coming out of parking lots, in danger, and it’s just been a mess," he told DOT reps testifying before the Council.

NYPD crash stats on Cozine and Wortman disprove Banks's claims: The number of traffic crashes in the first four months of 2024 dropped by over 55 percent compared to the first four months of last year, according to city data compiled by Crashmapper. The two streets saw 36 crashes from January to April of 2023 — and just 16 over the same four-month period this year.

DOT's project also added a two-way protected bike lane on Louisiana Avenue.Photo: David Meyer

Cyclists participating in the ride Saturday found the two protected bike lanes mostly free of obstructions in the more residential parts of the neighborhood. Body shops and trucks blocked some of the more industrial blocks on the east side of the neighborhood closer to Shirley Chisholm State Park. The last block of both bike lanes, which connect to the Fountain Avenue protected lanes to the park, was mostly blocked by street vendors selling clothes and other wares.

East New York resident Joshua John, a senior at George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School in downtown Brooklyn, told Streetsblog he regularly rides the two streets to and from the state park, which opened in 2019 over the site of an old landfill.

John, who shares an e-bike with his brother, said he much prefers riding on Cozine and Wortman over the unprotected bike lanes in his part of the neighborhood further west — and hopes they encourage more people to bike in the area.

"I would love to bike, but I'm like, 'That car is a little too close to me.' It's just that like, compared to downtown, [where] you have the nice bike roads, here, they just kind of spray-paint it on," John said. "Hopefully in like two, three years, more people will be more comfortable to come ride."

Hopefully Council Member Banks and the cars-first naysayers are listening.

In other news:

  • Driver arrested one year after hit-and-run killing of 64-year-old cyclist. (Daily News)
  • All aboard the Nostalgia Train to Yankee Stadium. (Larry Penner via Mass Transit Mag)
  • Five Boro Bike Tour riders "rip" MTA push to charge them Verrazzano Bridge tolls. (NY Post)
  • Jets cornerback allegedly paralyzed N.J. man in high-speed 2022 crash. (NY Post)
  • Adams's Parks budget means "more trash, less upkeep." (Gothamist)
  • PIX11 news van driver strikes two kids and their aunt in New Jersey. (Daily News)
  • Cornell covers $20,000 tab for NYC electeds' "green jobs" Denmark trip. (NY Post)
  • Connecticut segment of I-95 reopens after three days. (NY Times)
  • Social media jerks ruin Brooklyn Botanic Garden cherry blossoms. (NY Post)
  • Speeding Sanitation Department driver charged in Suffolk County fatal crash. (Daily News)
  • Upstate D.A. who berated cop who caught her speeding refuses to resign. (NY Post)

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