City: New fencing will defuse bike path ‘bombing zone’

Route problem! Thugs terrorize cyclists on bike path between housing projects
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

The city says it will build a fence to stop brick-tossing teens from pelting cyclists riding along a popular Fort Greene bike route — but some pedalers say much more needs to be done before they’ll brave the path again.

The Department of Transportation plans to install a tall, curved fence over a footbridge that connects the Whitman and Ingersoll houses on Navy Street between Tillary Street and Myrtle Avenue.

Last year, teens threw rocks, bricks, bottles, apples and golf balls off the footbridge, hitting at least six cyclists taking the bike path below that links Fort Greene to the Manhattan Bridge. One bicyclist, a resident of Park Slope, was hit in the face with a brick — leaving him with a cracked helmet and a deep cut to his cheek.

An 18 inch-tall inward-curved mesh barrier will be installed on top of the fence — much like the one on the Manhattan Bridge bike lane — to stop anything from being thrown over the footbridge, a Department of Transportation spokesman said, explaining that the fence, which will be much taller than the one that’s already there, should be in place by the end of the month.

Cyclists — especially those who were injured at the site — said they were happy the city is focusing on the problem, but find the new fence an “incomplete solution.”

“The city doesn’t fully understand what’s going on,” said Stephen Arthur, the cyclist who was hit with a brick last August. “Let’s get this done the right way.”

Arthur says the city’s new fence should extend beyond the footbridge and line the stairs leading up to the bridge to completely block spots where teens can “bomb” bikers.

He also wants a separate ground-level fence — which separates the public housing complex from the street — taken down because it provides bike bombers with an easy getaway route, and is demanding the city hang signs indicating that throwing anything off the footbridge is a crime.

“More measures should be taken,” he said. “They need to give this more thought — we don’t want this to happen again.”

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.