New 2-way bike lane signals a reimagined Downtown Brooklyn

October 13, 2022 Mary Frost
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“This is the future of New York City,” NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said at Monday’s ribbon cutting to celebrate the transformation of Schermerhorn Street in Down- town Brooklyn. The event, part of the city’s “Biketober,” was attended by a crowd of officials and bicycle advocates who gathered at Hoyt and Schermer- horn streets.

The heavily trafficked two-lane road has been substantially converted into a two-way protect- ed bike lane, with one-way vehicle traffic and new pedestrian space. The new street design will save lives and also complement a plan to create a greener, “people-focused” business district in Downtown Brooklyn, officials said.

“What we’ve done with Schermerhorn Street represents a complete transformation in the look and feel of the corridor,” Rodriguez told the crowd. “This used to be a chaotic two-way street with rampant double park- ing. The standard bike lane was often blocked, forcing cyclists to enter into vehicular traffic.”

Under the “shared streets” concept, “We are reimagining our use of public space in Downtown Brooklyn,” he said. “A disproportionate amount of street space is dedicated to cars and other vehicles. Shared streets use design that naturally slow vehicle traffic to prioritize pedes-

trians and cyclists, who are the majority in our city. These shared streets are being built with amenities like bike parking, and they represent a critical step in elevating safe, sustainable and efficient alternate trans- portation, while creating more vibrant public space that supports the local economy.”

“All roads lead to Down- town Brooklyn,” said Coun- cilmember Lincoln Restler, who represents the district. “This is personal for me. I bike through these streets every single day. As a candi- date for office, I said making Schermerhorn Street safe was one of my top priorities and I’m fortunate that we

have such a receptive partner in DOT who is committed to make it happen.”

Restler said that when his team came into office at the beginning of this year, “We participated in something called the Schermerhorn Challenge. We did our best to try to stay in the bike lane and bike down Schermerhorn

Street on a February day. It took us 45 minutes to bike five blocks, because there were cars parked in the bike lane at every step of the way. It was wildly dangerous. And it was wildly dangerous for the thousands of people that come by Schermerhorn Street every day. That has changed overnight.”

The two-way bike lane “will connect folks coming in from all over Manhattan into Brooklyn, and from so many neighborhoods that go through Downtown Brooklyn over the Brook- lyn and Manhattan Bridges,” he added.

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