3.2 Miles Of Protected Bike Lanes Completed in Brooklyn, Calls For More

3.2 Miles Of Protected Bike Lanes Completed in Brooklyn, Calls For More
The protected bike lane along Flatbush Ave by the park is officially open. Liena Zagare/Bklyner

Today local politicians, advocates, and transportation planners celebrated the completion of two new protected bike lanes by the  NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) – one along Flatbush Avenue from Grand Army Plaza to Empire Boulevard, and the completion of 4th Avenue from 1st Street to Flatbush Avenue, which ends the three-year-long project to add 8 miles of PBLs along the 4th Avenue from 65th Street by Bay Ridge to the Barclays Center.

The additional 3.2 more miles of protected bike lanes (PBL) brings the total of new bike lanes completed in Brooklyn (since 2016) to 106 miles.

“Brooklyn is getting a real enhancement today, as cyclists from as far as Sunset Park and Flatbush have now gotten easier and safer bike access they deserve to get them to downtown Brooklyn and the East River crossings into Manhattan,” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “As a regular rider, I can say the lanes are already humming, like they were always there.”

The new normal in Park Slope/Prospect Heights. Liena Zagare/Bklyner

As people across the city turn to scooters, bicycles, skateboards, and rollerblades to get around in the pandemic stricken city, the city is slowly making room.

A rider on Flatbush Ave. Liena Zagare/Bklyner

There is currently a call for proposals to implement a Pilot for an e-scooter share in NYC outside Manhattan and in areas underserved by the Citi Bike bike-share program.

The city is also making bicycling prettier:

The administration announced its Green Wave plan last July, promising Brooklyn would be getting at least 10 miles of protected bike lanes following the deadly 2019 when 17 neighbors were killed while bicycling. Unfortunately, citywide another 20 cyclists, if not more, have been killed this year so far.

Streetsblog talked to the new chief of NYPD Transport, Kim Royster, and is encouraged by what they heard. Royster and her husband both bicycle and are well aware of the unnecessary dangers faced by pedestrians and bicyclists daily.

DOT is also planning the next phase of Citibike expansion, which includes new bike stations in Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace, and the immediate area around the park and the  Parade Grounds. It has received over 800 suggestions for individual locations.

With the new bike lane in place, it’s about time.

Ready to deliver, parked along Flatbush Ave. Liena Zagare/Bklyner

Senator Zellnor Myrie commended DOT efforts at “a time that people are seeking alternatives to mass transit, and when delivery workers are even more essential,” saying it is “imperative that the DOT continue to do more to realize Vision Zero and meet its commitment to keep New Yorkers safe on our streets.”

MTA had hoped DOT would create dedicated bus lanes along Flatbush Avenue in Flatbush earlier this year; however, that did not materialize.

The scooters are everywhere and popular with all ages. Liena Zagare/Bklyner

Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, who announced her run for Brooklyn Borough President earlier this fall, said that “there is safety in numbers and in infrastructure, and I hope that with each new protected bike lane, more and more New Yorkers will feel comfortable getting out on their bikes.”

Park Slope Councilmember Brad Lander echoed the sentiment – “as more and more New Yorkers are turning to cycling as a primary form of transit during the pandemic, we need more infrastructure like this to keep people safe and moving around the city.”

Advocates are predicting an increase in bicycling the more PBLs there are.

End of the Flatbush Avenue protected bike lane. Liena Zagare/Bklyner

“Fourth Avenue is a game-changer for a big part of Brooklyn,” said Jon Orcutt, advocacy director of Bike New York. “Once it’s connected to the waterfront and bridges, we expect very heavy usage there year-round. The Flatbush lane adds to the growing protected network around Prospect Park, with great links to Eastern Parkway, Prospect Park West, 9th Street, and the Park drives themselves.”

Braving the intersection at Flatbush Ave and Empire Boulevard. Liena Zagare/Bklyner

“We’re glad to see the completion of protected bike lanes on Flatbush and Fourth avenues, two of the busiest, most dangerous corridors in Brooklyn,” said Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris. “Streets with protected bike lanes are safer for all users, so we commend the Department of Transportation for making these streets a priority as biking is on the rise.”

Just past where the Flatbush bike lane stops, bicycling is a whole other deal. Liena Zagare/Bklyner

“It’s an important advance for cycling equity, and hopefully, a precursor for extending protected lanes well east and south of Prospect Park,” said Eric McClure, Executive Director of StreetsPAC. “We thank Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Trottenberg, and the team at the New York City Department of Transportation, for refusing to let the pandemic hold up these important projects.”