Board 11 seeks to put brakes on Shore Parkway bike lane

May 14, 2019 Paula Katinas
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A plan by the New York City Department of Transportation to install a bike lane on Shore Parkway in the Bensonhurst-Gravesend area is raising a red flag for Community Board 11 whose members charged that putting a bike lane in such a heavily trafficked location would be dangerous for bike riders and motorists alike.

“Our committee has some concerns over this,” Board 11 Transportation Committee Chairperson Laurie Windsor told the board at its meeting on Thursday.

Specifically, Windsor said, the committee objected to the fact that DOT is looking to install a two-way bike lane. “There will be two bike lanes; one for each direction,” she said. In addition, 24 on-street parking spaces would have to be eliminated to accommodate the bike lane.

Windsor offered a frightening scenario of what could happen to a driver and a bicyclist should the bike lane be installed as proposed.

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A driver pulling out of the parking lot of BJ’s Wholesale Club at 1752 Shore Parkway would naturally look to his or her left to make sure there are no cars coming. With the two-way bike lane there, the motorist would now have to also look to his or her right, Windsor said.

This creates a great potential for crashes, she contended.

“Our committee’s view is that this is an unsafe plan as it has been presented. It is more unsafe for bicyclists,” Windsor said. “We are recommending that this plan not move forward.”

Immediately following Windsor’s presentation, the board voted to send a letter to DOT requesting that the agency not move forward with the Board 11 section of the bike lane at this time. Shore Parkway also extends into Coney Island, which is not part of Board 11.

The bike lane is part of the Shore Parkway Greenway Connector, an ambitious DOT project aimed at connecting the Southwest Brooklyn waterfront with a 4.5-mile-long recreational path for biking and jogging. The Greenway Connector will provide the public with easier access to parks, beaches and the waterfront, DOT officials told the Transportation Committee in April.

Part of DOT’s goal is to close any gaps that exist between different segments of Shore Parkway, some of which have bike lanes while others do not, agency representatives told the committee last month

DOT is expected to begin installing the bike lane this summer, Windsor said.

The bike lane would be located on the northbound side of Shore Parkway, said Windsor, who is also the board’s vice chairperson.

The Bath Beach and Gravesend portions of Shore Parkway are busy, heavily trafficked commercial areas boasting the Ceasar’s Bay Shopping Mall as well as shops, box stores and other entities like BJ’s Wholesale Club, a Mercedes-Benz dealership and Adventurers Amusement Park.

A DOT spokesperson said the agency is taking Board 11’s concerns seriously and is willing to make adjustments if necessary. “DOT is aware of the concerns and is taking CB11’s feedback into consideration, including enhanced visibility at driveways,” the spokesperson told this newspaper.

The bike lane will serve as a traffic calming feature, according to DOT, which pointed to the fact that other New York roadways that have been redesigned with bike lanes have seen crashes reduced by 15 percent. Pedestrian injuries were reduced by 21 percent on those same streets, DOT said.

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