DOT’s ‘Priority Bicycle Districts’ Could Bring More Lanes To Ditmas Park & Sheepshead Bay

DOT’s ‘Priority Bicycle Districts’ Could Bring More Lanes To Ditmas Park & Sheepshead Bay
Prospect Park West protected bike lane. (Photo via Park Slope Stoop)

A new report by the Department of Transportation (DOT) revealed that a few “Priority Bicycle Districts” including Ditmas Park and Flatbush could get more bike lanes in an effort to prevent fatalities and injuries.

Cycling is more popular than ever, with a 150 percent increase in ridership since 2006, outpacing both population and employment growth, according to a new study from the DOT.

Their findings also show that despite the dramatic increase in bikes on the road, the number of fatalities has stayed relatively flat during the same time period — a statistic they attribute to the growth of the cycling community and an expanded network of bike lanes.

Zeroing in on certain neighborhoods, the study found Ditmas Park in Community Board 14 had a higher rate of cyclist injuries and fatalities (referred to in the study as KSI) and also fewer bike lanes. According to the study, the high rate of fatalities most likely has to do with the high number of ridership and fewer bike facilities.

“These districts, seven in Brooklyn and three in Queens, represent 14 percent of the City’s bicycle lane network and 23 percent of cyclist KSI,” the report reads. “Moving forward, the agency will prioritize these areas for bicycle network expansion.”

Photo: DOT

Other “Priority Bicycle Districts” include districts 3, 4, 5, 12, 17, and 15 — which includes Boro Park, Kensington, Midwood, and Sheepshead Bay.

In 1997, the city’s Bicycle Master Plan set a goal to install 1,800 miles of greenways, bike lanes, and bridge paths by 2030, we reported. The master plan was intended to serve as a guide and has been adjusted over the years, a DOT spokesperson told BKLYNER.

However, much of the plan hinges on public support. The DOT must present bike lane plans to the Community Board, who has to approve the plan based on community feedback.

In recent years, several bike lanes have been in the planning stages in the surrounding areas, including a potential lane on 4th Avenue from Boerum Hill To Bay Ridge; on 10th & 11th Avenues in Windsor Terrace; and completed bike lanes on Argyle, Rugby, and Beverley Roads in Ditmas Park and 7th Avenue in Park Slope.

But bike lanes have also been met with controversy and opposition all over Brooklyn. Last year, a bike lane proposal in Marine Park was shut down after fierce opposition from residents. In 2012, a Sheepshead Bay proposed lane faced similar blowback from a community board leader, and further north, the DOT withdrew a bike lane proposal on Clinton Avenue after a heated town hall.

Additional reporting by Carly Miller.

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