The opposition to rolling out a bike lane in Canarsie is so strong, even bicyclists are against it!
“It’s the stupidest thing ever,” Brownsville pedaler Charles Hanson told us during a June 19 visit to the Canarsie Pier.
Yet Hanson’s vitriol wasn’t aimed at the proposed bike lanes on E. 95th and E. 94th streets per se, but rather the fact that the city wants to pen bicyclists along certain streets.
“People end up doing dangerous things when they’re forced to drive next to bike lanes,” he said, claiming that he wouldn’t use the Canarsie bike route once the lines are painted in October. “Bicyclists know how to navigate and know which routes to take. Why should the city stop us from going the way we want to go?
“It’s troubling when the city tells me where to go and that’s not where I want to go,” he said before pedaling off down Rockaway Parkway (which is “perfectly safe to ride,” he noted).
Hanson was one of three bicyclists found at the Canarsie Pier Saturday afternoon. The other two didn’t seem to care either way if a bike lane was created to cut through the neighborhood.
“Bike lanes are a good idea, but you can get doored,” said Marvin Bethea, who rode his two-wheeler to the pier from his home in Far Rockaway.
Yet Bethea takes the Shore Parkway Greenway from the foot of Rockaway Parkway and probably won’t use the new bike lanes.
Neither will anyone else, if Saturday’s visit was any indication.
While the proposed Canarsie lanes are already on the city’s biking map, a tour of the route stretching from Avenue D to the pier turned up just two bicyclists. Both men were going in the wrong direction and didn’t appear to be riding their bikes for exercise or recreation.
The city’s route is also misleading. It claims you can go right down E. 95th Street to the pier, but it isn’t a straight shot — you have to make a right down Skidmore Avenue to Canarsie Road, which will then take you to the Rockaway Parkway roundabout by the pier.
Either way, bicyclists aren’t limited to riding in bike lanes — city law allows pedalers to ride on all local streets.
Despite the apparent lack of interest, biking advocates are hailing the new lanes as the second coming — for everyone involved.
“It shouldn’t be overlooked that projects like this have a lot of benefits for drivers and pedestrians,” Noah Budnick of the bicyclist advocacy group Transportation Alternatives explained. “Its not uncommon for bike lanes to be put in for pedestrian safety and driver safety.
“It’s a great way to calm traffic and slow it down,” he said.