East New York

City announces 100 miles of protected bike lanes installed under de Blasio

October 23, 2019 Noah Goldberg
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The de Blasio administration has constructed its 100th mile of on-street protected bike lanes in the city, even as cyclist deaths spike in Brooklyn, the administration announced in East New York on Wednesday.

The construction of the new protected bike lane in East New York leading into the new Shirley Chisholm State Park comes amid a disastrous year for cyclist safety — particularly in certain pockets of Brooklyn — Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg admitted.

“These bike lanes are also entirely within Community Board 5, which is — as we have been speaking about this year, we’ve had unfortunately so many cycling fatalities in Brooklyn — one of our bicycle priority areas.”

Bicycle priority areas are parts of the city where cycling is increasing but injuries are high and bike infrastructure is low, Trottenberg said.

Trottenberg, other officials and advocates biked the new protected lanes Wednesday morning before hosting a press conference. A Streetsblog reporter noted trucks and cars blocking the lanes.

The lanes that marked 100 miles run between Sutter and Seaview avenues on Fountain Avenue in East New York. The lanes were completed about a month ago, with the vertical protections installed in the last weeks, DOT officials said.

Trottenberg called the number of cycling fatalities in Brooklyn so far in 2019 — 16 out of a citywide total of 25 — “incredibly disproportionate.”

The new protected bike lanes come on Fountain Avenue, a street where DOT says a majority of drivers speed. The street ranks in the top third of Brooklyn’s “crash corridors.” Between 2012 and 2016, 14 people, including three pedestrians, were severely injured on the street, according to the agency.

“For me to see Shirley Chisholm State Park in East New York, it makes my heart sing. For me to ride on a protected lane to the park makes my heart flutter. It is so big for us,” said Teresa Kamara, an East New York resident who works for Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration.

“It’s great to see protected bike lanes in East New York, a neighborhood which has few safe biking routes,” said Joe Cutrufo, a spokesperson for safe streets group Transportation Alternatives. “Mayor de Blasio has just over two years left in office. If he’s bold enough to attempt to build another 100 miles, we’d be glad to provide all the tailwind he needs.”

The protected bike lane leading into Shirley Chisholm State Park. Eagle photo by Noah Goldberg

Before de Blasio, just 26 miles of protected bike lanes existed citywide — bringing the total now to 126 miles of protected on-street bike lanes.

Trottenberg spoke Wednesday about green wave, a new project the city is testing to time streetlights to the pace of cyclists — about 15 miles per hour — so that riders are not caught at red lights constantly and tempted to run the lights. The city started the program on Hoyt and Bond streets in Boerum Hill. The program’s next stop will be Clinton Street in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights.

“It makes cycling safer. It makes it a lot more comfortable and enjoyable for cyclists,” Trottenberg said. “So far the reviews have been great. Cyclists, because they get more greens, are less likely to run reds.”

She also said the program is not having a big impact on car speeds.

The green wave program is part of the de Blasio administration’s major — and identically named — “Green Wave” plan, a $58.4 million plan to implement “design, enforcement, legislation, policy and education” to make the city’s streets safer for cyclists and hire 80 new DOT workers.

Under the plan, the de Blasio administration plans on increasing protected bike lane construction to 30 miles per year as opposed to the previous rate of 20 miles per year.

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