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Kent Avenue bike pains - Brooklyn Paper

Kent Avenue bike pains

Opponents are calling on the city to put the breaks on a one-and-a-half-mile portion of a bike route that would stretch from Newtown Creek to Sunset Park — saying Williamsburg doesn’t need more bike lanes.

“There is already a bike lane on Wythe Avenue — now they want a bike lane on Kent Avenue?” Simon Weisser, a member of Community Board 1, told his fellow board members at a Sept. 8 meeting. “You can’t accommodate every single street with a bike lane.”

Weisser, and others, argued that the Department of Transportation should not stripe Kent Avenue — the first phase of the so-called Kent Avenue Greenway, a stretch of biking and walking paths that are separated from car traffic — until further review.

Weisser wants to see the existing bike lanes — on Wythe and Bedford avenues — eliminated when the Greenway is done.

He added that “the whole community” is behind him, a reference to South Williamsburg’s strong Hasidic bloc.But the board rolled over Weisser’s call.

“He sees the greenway as a way to eliminate the bike lanes, but they don’t have the same function,” said Teresa Toro, chair of the Transportation Committee.

The one-way lanes on Bedford and Wythe avenues are necessary commuter routes that connect Williamsburg with Central Brooklyn, while the greenway on Kent Avenue would be more like a “linear park” than a bike lane, Toro said.

Milton Puryear, director of planning for the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, agreed.

“The whole idea for the greenway is to provide a benefit to the people of the community — not just bike riders — by making a truck route into a more inviting streetscape,” said Puryear.

“If you look at Kent Avenue now, it’s just not a place you want to stroll, or ride a bike. Once it’s built, you’re not going to find anybody who will be sorry they traded in what was here.”

The morning after the contentious board meeting, a commuting cyclist was struck by a car service sedan on the future greenway path at the corner of North Seventh Street and Kent Avenue, leaving him with a broken elbow and collarbone.

The driver fled the scene, a friend of the victim told The Brooklyn Paper.

CB1 is not the only area with some anti–bike lane sentiment. In 2006, Fort Greene’s CB2 voted down a Willoughby Avenue lane, but the city painted it anyway.

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