Riding high! Elevated bike lane coming to Ocean Avenue outside Brooklyn’s Backyard

Raise the lane: The city is planning to build an elevated, two-way bike path on part of an Ocean Avenue sidewalk bordering Prospect Park.
Photo by Colin Mixson

The city plans to install a raised, two-way bike lane on Ocean Avenue along the border of Prospect Park as part of a grander scheme to ring Brooklyn’s Backyard with dedicated paths for cyclists.

The elevated bike lane would run flush against the sidewalk on the Prospect Park side of the avenue, separating bicyclists from traffic in the same way that the pedestrian pathway does, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation.

“The raised bike lane will create a dedicated and protected space for cyclists outside of the roadway,” said Lolita Avila.

The forthcoming lane will rise six inches off of the street, and take up two feet of space on the 30-foot sidewalk, according to a member of cycling-advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, who told this newspaper about the scheme after reps for meadow steward the Prospect Park Alliance announced the project at a March 19 meeting of the Prospect Park Community Committee — a coalition of more than 30 local groups that meets with the city about issues related to the green space.

Installing the lane will also require chopping down 56 trees along that stretch of Ocean Avenue sidewalk, but park keepers plan to replace the axed plants with more than 150 new trees as part of the larger $9.6-million project to repair sidewalks, create new entrances, and install amenities including lights and benches along Ocean and Parkside avenues, according to Transportation Alternatives member Michael Drinkard’s notes from the meeting.

Prospect Park Alliance leaders are overseeing construction of the raised Ocean Avenue bike lane, but the Transportation Department will handle the installation of the project’s other cycling paths on Prospect Park Southwest and Parkside Avenue, as well as new protected lanes on Flatbush Avenue, a separate effort that city reps last June discussed with the community committee, Drinkard said.

“I think its awesome that the park is going to be lined by protected bike lanes,” he said. “My feeling is most people at the park and the Alliance are really excited by it too.”

The Ocean and Parkside avenue project is still in its design phase, but the Parkside Avenue component is not fully funded, according to alliance spokeswoman Deborah Kirschner, who said officials hope to complete it by fall 2021.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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