Mayor, DOT announce 2020 bike lane expansion projects in Brooklyn
More cyclist deaths in Brooklyn last year than any other borough
After a bloody year for cyclists in 2019, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said Wednesday that New York City is making a major push in 2020 to build more protected bike lanes.
More cyclists died in Brooklyn last year than in any other borough, prompting the officials to make the announcement on Tillary Street near the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. Of the 28 bike riders killed in the city last year, 17 died in Brooklyn.
DOT will build more than 30 miles of protected bike lanes — dubbed ‘the Green Wave‘ plan — across the city this year, with 10 miles in Brooklyn, de Blasio said. The Green Wave plan involves not only building bike lanes, but includes other measures, like making sure traffic laws are enforced by NYPD.
This year’s new bike lanes will include the Fourth Avenue extension in Park Slope/Gowanus; Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Park (accessing Brooklyn Botanic Garden); Ft. Hamilton Parkway in Windsor Terrace; Franklin Street (Greenway) in Greenpoint; Meeker Avenue in Williamsburg/Greenpoint; Navy Street in Downtown Brooklyn; Remsen Avenue in Canarsie and Smith Street in Downtown Brooklyn.
“Brooklyn had a tough year for Vision Zero in 2019, so that is why we are here at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge to announce our plans for protected bike lanes in this new year,” Trottenberg said in a statement. She said the city is bringing “a laser focus to this borough, with a record number of protected bike lanes coming to a range of neighborhoods.”
The effort is part of de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, meant to reduce traffic-related deaths. “I can’t imagine a better place to kick off this year’s Green Wave than my beloved Brooklyn,” he said.
“Last year was the deadliest year for cyclists in decades, and unfortunately the epicenter of the crisis was Brooklyn,” Borough President Eric Adams said. “I am heartened to see the DOT implementing street safety infrastructure projects our office has long advocated for, including a protected bike lane along Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Park and on Navy Street in Downtown Brooklyn, as well as along other arterial roadways where most injuries and fatalities occur.”
Assistant Speaker Felix Ortiz applauded the Fourth Avenue work, saying it would create a better environment for cyclists, motorists and pedestrians. Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon also gave the project a thumbs up, but added that she looks forward to “community engagement as the city works out the details of this proposal.”
Ken Podziba, president and CEO of Bike New York, said the organization was “thrilled to see DOT taking action and making our streets safer for bicyclists.”
“We’re heartened to see that the city will focus on Brooklyn in expanding the protected bike network in 2020, after what was a grim year for cycling fatalities in the borough in 2019,” said Eric McClure, executive director of StreetsPAC. “Protected bike lanes save lives, and not just among people who bike; they make streets safer for everyone. Completing the northern end of Fourth Avenue, adding a two-way path on dangerous Meeker Avenue, and protecting high volume routes like Smith Street and Navy Street will no doubt get us back on track toward Vision Zero, this year and into the future.”
Trottenberg said DOT received “great feedback” after creating new protected lanes along 4th Avenue last year, and plans to finish the job in 2020. The extension of protected lanes along Fourth Avenue north will bring the lane to Barclays Center and along Meeker Avenue in Williamsburg, connecting the Williamsburg Bridge to the new Kosciusko Bridge bike path.
DOT showed a success with one of its major projects completed in 2018 in Gerritsen Beach. A single mile of Gerritsen Avenue, the neighborhood’s major thoroughfare, had four speeding related fatalities from 2007 to 2016 alone.
Beginning in 2017, DOT added a two-way protected bicycle lane and installed pedestrian refuge islands, new bus stops and enhanced crossings. These have “dramatically improved safety,” DOT said. The corridor has had no fatalities since DOT began the work, with the annual number of crashes declining by 54 percent.
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