Community Board 2 wants to slam the brakes on the city’s plans to add more miles to an emerging network of bike paths — one of the first bumps in the road for Brooklyn’s increasingly powerful cyclist constituency.
In a vote so tight it resembled Spandex on a cyclist’s rump, the board voted last month not to support a Department of Transportation proposal to add five miles of new bike lanes along Carlton and Willoughby avenues and Cumberland Street.
The timing of the vote was striking. A few days before, a group of bike advocates rallied at the memorial of a cyclist who was killed by a truck last year on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope.
And a few days later, another Brooklyn resident was mowed down and killed on Houston Street in Manhattan, the latest evidence that the city’s byways are mean streets for two-wheelers.
Bike advocates have enjoyed a string of recent coups, including a dramatic reduction of car hours in Prospect Park this summer, and bike paths spreading down borough streets like lines on an Etch-a-Sketch screen.
Bike advocates have even gotten the city to admit that it needs to fix the maze of Grand Army Plaza.
But CB2 was unmoved.
“This is one of the first times that a community board has spoken out against such a common-sense plan,” said Noah Budnick of Transportation Alternatives, who happens to live in the area.
CB2 members who voted “no” rejected the notion that bike lanes calm traffic.
“What they do is create bottlenecks,” said board member Cheryl Goodman. “New lanes will narrow Carlton Avenue and will make the street more congested.”
The board voted to support the bike lane plan, 16-15 — one vote short of the required majority, thanks to two abstentions.
The Community Board vote is only advisory, and the work is expected to proceed as planned. The city said it would be completed by the fall.
The Carlton Avenue bike lane will stretch from Flatbush to Flushing avenues. In the southbound direction, a bike lane will run along Cumberland, from Flushing to Pacific.
The bike lane on Willoughby will run from Washington Park to Myrtle Avenue.
©2006 Community News Group
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