Proposed Bike Lane Would Turn Clinton Ave Into One-Way Street

Proposed Bike Lane Would Turn Clinton Ave Into One-Way Street
(courtesy NYC Department of Transit)

The DOT has pulled out all the stops in promoting its new plan to create a protected bike lane on Clinton Avenue.

The transportation agency is doing it differently this time. The proposal — which would turn Clinton Avenue into a one-way street between Flushing and Gates, while adding a guarded bike lane — is scheduled to come before Community Board 2 (CB 2) on May 17, to allow neighbors to weigh in. (A major complaint over the creation of the Lafayette Avenue bike lane was lack of community input.)

Outreach efforts have included sending ambassadors to different neighborhoods, giving gifts like bike bells, and plenty of social media. As a part of its expanded outreach efforts, the DOT had a table at Myrtle Avenue and Clinton Avenue as a part of its outreach.

(Courtesy the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership)

“Amazing! Five days at different locations at different times and then doing on the weekends as well! They’re really trying to get out there and say what they’re trying to say. The amount of outreach they’ve had is really quite good,” declared an ebullient Hilda Cohen of Make Brooklyn Safer.

However, other residents have taken umbrage with the DOT’s program. Longtime resident and community activist Lucy Koteen told us one of her objections is that the people on bicycles will be given gifts.

“They’re really seeking the opinion of bicycle people more than others,” she said. “They justified this because they said it’s hard to get bikes to stop and talk to them.”

Koteen also said that the Lafayette Avenue changes had occurred without sufficient notice to the community, especially senior citizens who lack social media expertise.

Given this kerfuffle, the Focus got in touch with Richard Perris, the district manager of CB2, who summarized the dispute.

“One of the complaints people had about the Lafayette bike lane is that people hadn’t heard about it prior to its enactment. We’re generally pleased that DOT is out there talking to people. They’ve also convened meetings with community stakeholders like the Fort Greene Association and institutions like Pratt Institute. They’re really doing their advance work and we’re pleased with the change in procedure,” explained Perris.

When pressed about the DOT’s gift giving program and the use of social media, which may marginalize seniors, Perris said that “I certainly can understand that criticism about bike bells,” but that he doesn’t think “smartphones are limited to one side of this argument.”

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