Bay Ridge to city: No more bike lanes!

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Fed up with a city that is forcing bike lanes down the throat of neighborhoods that don’t want them, a local panel voted on Monday against a plan to give space to pedal pushers in two new lanes on Bay Ridge Parkway and Shore Road.

Community Board 10 voted overwhelmingly against the two new routes, with opponents of the lane arguing that the city has gone too far in accommodating the two-wheeled menaces.

“The city is bent on taking away driving lanes for cars,” said Allen Bortnick, a member of Community Board 10. “We are not going to be able to live with this comfortably.”

The Department of Transportation plan would put a dedicated and shared bike lane along Bay Ridge Parkway from Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst all the way to Shore Road, and paint a second, northbound lane along Shore Road between Fourth Avenue and 68th Street. The city claims the new lanes will not only allow bicycle riders safer passage, but also decrease automobile speeds.

But some members of the community board think that the Ridge, which already has a dedicated bike path in Shore Road Park as well as a southbound lane on Shore Road itself, has done its part for bicyclists, and the city isn’t doing what needs to be done to really make the streets safe.

“The city made the point that the bike lane was put in as a traffic-calming device, yet the city consistently refuses to put in other traffic-calming devices like a stop sign or a traffic light near any of the schools,” said Ron Gross. “So, what we have here is bicyclists being encouraged to use the lane so they can slow down drivers.”

Last week, Community Board 11, which represents Bensonhurst, also came out against the Bay Ridge Parkway plan.

But at least one member of the board thought the lane was a great idea.

“We should be pushing for more bike lanes in our community,” said Bob Cassara. “They provide safety for both cyclists and pedestrians. Do we want cyclists on the sidewalk?”

Cassara pointed out that the bike lane installed on Oriental Boulevard in Manhattan Beach had resulted in an increase in bike ridership, as well as a decrease in traffic and vehicular speed.

“Isn’t this what we want?” he asked, apparently rhetorically.

The bike lanes are being installed as part of the city’s Bicycle Master Plan, which calls for 200 miles of new bike lanes across the city in the next three years. After that, the Department of Transportation plans to add about 50 miles of bike lanes each year until 2030, when it is anticipated that the bike network will be finished.

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

Mike from GP says:
Oh Bay Ridge *sigh*

“The city made the point that the bike lane was put in as a traffic-calming device, yet the city consistently refuses to put in other traffic-calming devices like a stop sign or a traffic light near any of the schools,” said Ron Gross. “So, what we have here is bicyclists being encouraged to use the lane so they can slow down drivers.”

Mr. Gross is incorrect. Stop signs and lights are not traffic calming devices, they are traffic CONTROL devices. They do not actually force drivers to slow down, they only say "you'll break the law if you don't stop (and slow down)". Whereas bike lanes, street trees, narrower streets, more street activity, speed humps, chicanes, bulb-outs, two-way streets, etc... those are traffic calming methods because drivers psychologically perceive the need to slow down in order to be safer.

Anyway, yes, the DOT sometimes can be a bit silly in their rejections of stop signs and stop lights, but in order to really improve safety, traffic calming devices are what you want, including bike lanes.

"...with opponents of the lane arguing that the city has gone too far in accommodating the two-wheeled menaces."

Wow, and what mode of transportation kills hundreds of people per year in NYC, and injures and maims thousands of others? Not bicycles. What vehicle has the City bent over backwards to accommodate for the last 100 years? Widening streets, shearing off the front of buildings, narrowing sidewalks, tearing up parks, ramming highways through vibrant neighborhoods and blanketing vast parking lagoons across the city? Not to mention the pollution (both in the air and in our water .. ehem) and delays, etc. that an over-reliance on cars costs us.

Only now are we beginning to reverse this damage with tiny steps such as a few bike lanes, public plazas, market-rate parking, etc. So I think some people in Bay Ridge, and the rest of the city, need to cool down and get some badly needed perspective.
June 23, 2010, 7:03 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
I really don't like the direction that this is going in - I am from Bay Ridge and am in favor of the bike lanes. i love to bike. In fact I know plenty of people in BR who would love more bike lanes (and especially if it also calmed down traffic) but had no idea that this was even being discussed.
Shouldn't they consult the community before deciding that they think we want to block bike lanes?!
June 23, 2010, 8:02 am
J from BK says:
With the way the residents of Bay Ridge drive their SUVs and self-righteously double-park, they should't have any say whatsoever in traffic calming measures. It's truly a case of letting inmates run the asylum... These people need to have traffic calming imposed on them, for their own protection as well as that of others.
June 23, 2010, 8:10 am
mike says:
There's nothing to oppose here -- these bike lanes wouldn't take away any car lanes or parking. It's a sad state of affairs when people are so locked into a pro-car, anti-bike worldview that they can't see that a project could be good for cyclists without being bad for anyone else.
June 23, 2010, 8:32 am
M from Bay Ridge says:
I am also in Bay Ridge and LIVE on Bay Ridge Pkwy. We NEED this bike lane. Not only do I bike, but I walk with my children and drive. A bicycle lane would surely calm traffic and make it easier and safer to bike and walk.

Unfortunately, this meeting date and time was not made public with enough notice for more people to vote FOR the bike lane. I am very disappointed in the Community Board. 10-12 parents have shown up at many of your meetings shouting about needing safety measures for traffic and you turned your head and voted "no!" Thanks a lot.
June 23, 2010, 3:32 pm
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
I, too, am a Bay Ridge resident and would have loved to attend the meeting to voice my support for the bike lanes. While I wouldn't have had a vote (only board members can do so), it might have influenced some of the board members if lots of us showed up to voice support.

Unfortunately, as has been pointed out, notice of the meetings and agendas are not publicized very well. Many CB's in the city have websites, CB 10 does not.
June 23, 2010, 7:27 pm
Yana from Bay ridge says:
This decision is absurd and we are outaged. We want to ride bikes more and use our cars less. Who are these people to oppose bike lanes and why are their few opinions more valuable than many of ours? Our views are grossly misrepresented by the district's decision and this poorly written article. We are all supposed to use less fuel and exercise more. Why don't you write a piece on that subject!
June 23, 2010, 10:19 pm
Stefania from Bay Ridge says:
I am so disappointed with CB 10's decision to oppose bike lanes. As cyclists we are by law required to stay off the sidewalks. So must ride in the street. We pay taxes and so we deserve a safe place to ride. CB 10 does not speak for all of us!!!!
June 24, 2010, 10:53 am
Jane from Bay Ridge says:
CB10 does in fact have a website and the agenda was posted. Score another point for the ignorance of BR residents.

You get what you give. The truth is that most BR residents have zero interest in these community meetings until something like this happens.

The next general meeting is on 9/20 at 7:15 pm at Shore Hill. That gives you all 2 months to wipe your noses and clear your calenders.
June 24, 2010, 11:25 am
Al from Bay Ridge says:
Jane, your combative tone is one of the reasons many people feel disenfranchised in Bay Ridge political circles.
Despite this outright self-righteousness and narrow-minded ignorance often reeking at CB10 meetings, there is a group of Bay Ridgers (BRAKES) getting involved with CB10, attending committee meetings on transportation to improve our quality of life, despite the resistance we feel to protect cars and a way of life in BR that is unsustainable. We are not complaining, we are just getting organized, and look forward to changing an increasingly monolithic way of thinking in Bay Ridge. Happy to share with you my handkerchief in those moments.
June 24, 2010, 11:48 am
Patty from Bay Ridge says:
Wow, I feel really welcome at the CB 10 meetings after reading Jane's response, NOT. We are organizing and we will be more vocal and we will get the bike lanes. I have a good feeling about this.

Please join B.R.A.K.E.S. on if you want to get involved. We are growing everyday.
June 24, 2010, 12:23 pm
Jane from Bay Ridge says:
And I consider your defensivness to have struck the old truth nerve. You may consider my post combative; however, after living in BR my entire life, I speak from experience. Hardly anyone attends these meetings and then when something happens, a couple of people will form a group, usually outside of the CB, instead of trying to work with the CB (cause you know now you're all so active and civic-minded and your going to save Bay Ridge from itself). So you can call it combative, but I call it well-earned cynicism. I am a member of the FB group -- hopefully they will continue to work with the CB and more people will become ACTIVELY involved instead of just clicking the "like" button on their computers.

And for the record, you should always feel welcome at the CB10 meetings, they are held for your's and the community's benefit, but then you would probably know that had you attended any on a regular basis. And, sometimes you even get cake!
June 24, 2010, 12:45 pm
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
That website must be relatively recent, because I've looked for it.

And, while I do not consider your post combative, it is certainly snarky, and not something that makes folks feel welcome. Even in your most recent post, where you ostensibly welcome folks to attend a CB meeting, you continue with the same tone.

I've attended CB meetings in the past, and understand why folks don't want to attend. There is definitely an air of "insider baseball" to the meetings, where if you don't know how to plug in, you are ignored. Would that the atmosphere there change. Perhaps I'll take you up on your offer of cake.
June 24, 2010, 1:42 pm
Jane from Bay Ridge says:
I'm not CB10 therefore I do believe I can be as snarky as I like - and I do appreciate being downgraded from combative cause that wasn't my intent -- though if it lights a fire I'll wear the badge proudly.
Of course CB10 is pretty much old guard, they're the ones who have been consistently involved in the community despite how boring the meetings or the agenda can be. A few younger people have stepped up but not enough. You won't get anywhere by fighting from the outside; you need to get in. The Board is set up with its rules for speaking at meetings for good and practical reason, but the method for attaining a speaking spot is not some guarded secret.

The website is definitely over 1 year old - possibly 2. And Shore Hill is the meeting place most likely to provide you with cake or sandwiches. ;)
June 24, 2010, 2:07 pm
Jane from Bay Ridge says:
btw, for those interested CB10 has an address where you can write to express your displeasure:

CB 10
Attn: Josephine Beckmann,
District Manager
8119 5th Avenue
Brooklyn , NY 11209
T: (718) 745-6827
F: (718) 836-2447
E: communitybd10 @

If you're prompt, you can catch them before the summer recess.....
June 24, 2010, 2:17 pm
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
Thanks for the info Jane. It has been some time since I checked whether there was a website for CB10. I gave up hope of it ever happening; thanks for directing me to it.

I do believe your snarkiness will indeed light a fire under a few folks. It has certainly done so here. As has been said, the group forming here in Bay Ridge is new, and once the groundwork has been laid, I'm sure you'll see some new folks at the meetings.

I like an outside/inside approach, personally. Since the appointment process to the board is too much inside for my preference, I'd likely not seek it. There's room for all approaches, and viewpoints, I'd argue.

And I am not speaking as a member of the group forming, simply as a supporter of the group.
June 24, 2010, 3:54 pm
Jean from Bay Ridge says:
I still don't understand why CB10 voted against bike lanes and I too am disappointed about this - just because some people who care about this issue are coming to the table late doesn't explain why the CB10 members voted it down in the first place. Also, I checked the CB10 website and while the general board meetings are scheduled through 2010, there are no agendas set yet and the "bike lane" vote is in no way clear in the June meeting where it was voted down

(Jane, I'm ambivalent about your posts because you seem well intentioned and clearly care about this stuff so thank you for your efforts; but keep in mind that it's not that we aren't active and don't care until we care, it's that we all have busy lives and have to pick and choose our battles, and rely in part on volunteers who have more time to give - so give us the benefit of the doubt here.)
June 24, 2010, 9:37 pm
Mike from GP says:
I'm not a resident of Bay Ridge, but I honestly have to say that I like where these comments are heading. Just kinda nice, ya know?

Anyway, get involved folks!
June 24, 2010, 10:15 pm
Julie from Bay Ridge says:
what can we do to revert this decision?
June 24, 2010, 10:50 pm
David M from Bay Ridge says:
The Facebook Page for the group is and I wonder what someone who is interested in this group but not on Facebook should do?
June 24, 2010, 11:05 pm
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
Thanks Mike from GP, there is less need to sigh about Bay Ridge than you think.
June 24, 2010, 11:47 pm
Stefania from Bay Ridge says:
You can write to the DOT expressing your support for the lanes and you can write to the CB at

Josephine Beckmann
District Manager

8119 5th Avenue
Brooklyn , NY 11209

or email them at communitybd10 @
June 25, 2010, 10:17 am
Jennifer from Bay Ridge says:
B.R.A.K.E.S !!!!!!!
Let's get the bike lanes and try to reduce reliance on CARS!!!! It's getting impossible in this area- to park, to get errands done, to feel safe taking a simple WALK!!! To feel confident letting a child have any independence at an appropriate age!!!
I support any effort to calm traffic.
June 25, 2010, 12:45 pm
Pat K. from Bay Ridge says:
I'm a Biker, The Bike lanes should be thought out, Bay Ridge Parkway and Bay Ridge Ave should not be expressways ( speed). Bay Ridge reflects a very car- drive everwhere attitide that could be improved on with more acceptance of Bikes. I hope more people will become invoved with CB 10 - including myself because our overall goal should be quality of life in a GREAT NEIGHBORHOOD!
June 26, 2010, 11:37 am
Paul A. from Bay Ridge Ft. Hamilton says:
I'm in favor of bike lanes to ease congestion of traffic etc. but so far all I've seen is some bikers using these lanes as if they're Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France. In the past three weeks Ive almost been hit by bikes four times!Along the water there are groups of bikers I see almost every day really moving between fishermen and families with small children by the parking area beneath the V.N. bridge.Some people have complete disregard for others.Are the food delivery guys that use the curb cuts in the sidewalks using the bike lanes. Everyone has their own agenda. I'd just like to be able to walk the streets and park areas without feeling like a torero.
June 27, 2010, 7:29 pm
Jane from Bay Ridge says:
Is there still outrage?

Traffic and Transportation Meeting at CB10 on 10/13 with DOT re: bike lanes.
Oct. 4, 2010, 4:35 pm
eleanor epstein from Houston says:
I would like to reach Al
Dec. 25, 2012, 1:43 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.