Bike paths around the Jamaica Bay inlet are getting a boost.
The Department of Transportation hosted its third and final round of workshops on June 3 on a series of projects to improve extend bike paths across Marine Park and Sheepshead Bay as part of the Jamaica Bay Greenway.
Representatives from the department met with locals to discuss the plans and get feedback. Residents broke into groups with department representatives, along with reps from the Regional Plan Association and the National Parks Service, to go over proposed features of the paths and ideas for improvement.
A local who leads a youth group that makes extensive use of the parks was thrilled to see the departments of transportation and parks collaborating with the community and was encouraged by the number of locals participating in the process.
“I’m excited to see a packed house of residents that are excited about this,” said Paul Curiale, administrator of the Bergen Beach Youth Organization. “I’m excited this growing trend is finally happening to Sheepshead Bay and that people are looking for alternatives to cars, like biking and walking.”
Proposed projects include a Plumb Beach bike path along Emmons Avenue connecting Bedford Avenue to Brigham Road, a path along Avenue U connecting the Marine Park Loop to the park’s main greenway entrance, and Flatbush Avenue bike-path improvements that would provide barriers between bike and car traffic and adapt ramp crossings for better safety.
Safety was a primary concern of park-goers, who want to isolate bike lanes from car traffic and use parking lanes as protective barriers between moving cars and cyclists.
“I’m glad these agencies want to make biking safer,” said Curiale. “I’m excited to see these changes come about in our lifetime.”
Many also expressed interest in extending an Emmons Avenue bike path further than the proposed endpoint at Bedford Avenue.
“Bedford has the bike path already,” said Denise Zhivanaj, who attended the workshop with her grandson. “If you can extend it further, you can connect it to the beaches as far as Coney Island.”
Overall, locals were excited about the proposed changes and were grateful for the opportunity to workshop ideas.
“I’m glad I went,” said Zhivanaj. “I’m glad they’re doing what they’re doing and I like the way they’re doing it.”