Bridging the gap: New bike lane would help cyclists cross Gowanus, backers say

The Brooklyn Paper
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Getting from Park Slope to the Columbia Street Waterfront District would get a lot easier for cyclists if the city rolls out a new bike lane on Sackett Street, planners say.

The Department of Transportation wants to install a path for two-wheelers on Sackett Street that would connect to an existing Park Slope route and cross the Gowanus Canal on Union Street — helping bike riders safely get from the brownstone neighborhood to Van Brunt Street.

“The main goal is to improve connectivity in the neighborhood from Grand Army Plaza to the Brooklyn waterfront,” said the Department of Transporta­tion’s project manager Kimberly Rancourt.

The proposed Sackett Street bike path would begin at the foot of a lane that runs from Grand Army Plaza to Third Avenue, via Lincoln Place and Degraw Street. From there, the route would extend to Nevins Street, skirt the canal by way of the Union Street Bridge, then swing back to Sackett Street until it hits the water.

The proposal would turn the Union Street Bridge into a two-way cycling conduit, supplementing an existing Park Slope-bound bike path by replacing a painted section of roadway with a westbound route for riders.

The bridge — which currently accommodates a single lane of Park Slope-bound automotive traffic — would remain one-way for cars.

Bike boosters are thrilled about the new travel prospects, saying that striping a waterfront-bound lane across the canal would make things safer, considering cyclists tend to dangerously ride against the traffic when there are not bike lanes heading in both directions.

“It’s very much necessary,” said Cobble Hill resident Paco Abraham. “I’m very pleased that a logical solution to a constant problem has been reached.”

The city would also extend Union Street’s already existing eastbound bike lane by three blocks, from Henry Street to Van Brunt Street.

To cap it off, the agency plans to install two on-street bike corrals that can hold up to eight bikes each — one in Park Slope, and the other in the Columbia Street Waterfront District.

One could pop up in a current truck-loading zone in front of Union Street’s Rose Water restaurant between Fifth and Sixth avenues, occupying half of a parking space when the loading zone gets shifted, said agency officials.

“I thought that it’s a really great use of dead street space,” said Rose Water owner John Tucker, who was motivated to request the bike corral after the city installed one in front of Fifth Avenue’s Gorilla Coffee last year.

The other bike rack will supplant a parking spot on Columbia Street between Degraw and Kane streets, in front of the headquarters of the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative — the group behind a planned 14-mile landscaped cycling route linking Greenpoint and Sunset Park.

Community Board 6’s transportation committee signed off on the plan to implement the Sackett Street bike path, the eastbound cycling path extension on Union Street, and the bike corrals in two unanimous votes. Up next is a full-board vote.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at
Updated 10:09 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

diehipster from Real & Pure Brooklyn says:
Holy effin ——. How much more can the city cater to these worthless, pussifying, kazoo-voiced, leisurely, pseudo-creative hipsters and yuppies????

Awwww..... Poor Ethan and Zoey need a better and safer way to get from their $2500 a month 'sweet' Gowanus apartment to the waterfront? EFF THAT SH*T!!

All bike lanes must be removed immediately.
March 22, 2013, 7:57 am
scott from park slope says:
diehipster must be removed immediately. GTFO, nancy
March 22, 2013, 8:36 am
ty from pps says:
diehipster's pathetic whining is kinda sad. His mom clearly didn't love him enough.
March 22, 2013, 8:48 am
s from brooklyn says:
This is great! Makes it much easier to get around.
March 22, 2013, 9:31 am
dielogic from Realer & Purer Brooklyn says:
Hilarious! Car drivers are the ones shelling out hundreds of dollars per month on their form of transportation, yet it's the guys on bikes who are the rich yuppies. They park their private property on public streets for free and drive around on roads paid for by taxpayer dollars we all contribute to yet the city is catering to bikes? Makes sense!

I'm guessing die hipster and Tal Barzilai are the same person!
March 22, 2013, 10:32 am
malembi from bk says:
dh is a knob
March 22, 2013, 10:34 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
That stencil is racist showing a guy in a coolie hat riding a bike.

Without those stencils, can't bikers find their way?
March 22, 2013, 10:59 am
Doofus Speaking from BH says:
It's true! Everyone knows that highways have no signs, streets are unnamed, and there are no pavement markings. Drivers just get around by intuition!
March 22, 2013, 11:05 am
ty from pps says:
The stencils are for the OTHER roadway users... telling the cars to stay out. But obviously that's too tough to understand.

(And these pictures are clearly too difficult to understand for many drivers in this town. How are they licensed?)
March 22, 2013, 11:13 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
It's still racist.

Why do bike riders ride on the sidewalk?
March 22, 2013, 12:04 pm
Andrewwyao from greenpointe says:
I support bike lanes! The benefits of riding a bike are extremely high for both the individual and society.

Better air quality, less traffic (cars on the road), healthier people, and reducing dependence on foreign oil
March 22, 2013, 12:23 pm
JAZ from hunting redbeards says:
If people just rode their bikes with common sense and lost the smug "It's MY right of way, like yahh" attitude that these pseudo creative types all seem to bring with them from the midwest, then nobody would really need bike lanes at all.

Somehow as kids me and all my friends were able to ride our bikes all over the damn place in the city without bike lanes and we managed to do just fine. All it took was to realize that the car beats your bike every time so stay out of the way; if you don't like it, too damn bad. Go back to Dogfelcher Falls where you can have all the room you want to roll around on your ironically vintage Schwin.
March 22, 2013, 12:48 pm
DyeHipster from Jaz's Anus says:
Damn yupsters! Go back to Middle America! You don't contribute nearly as much to society as Jaz and I. My opinion means I'm more of a somebody than you!

Now I must teach Jaz how to spell Schwinn.
March 22, 2013, 1:25 pm
diehipster from exterminatingdiehipster exterminating Ethans says:
I just love how the hipster defenders refuse to admit that these bike lanes are empty 95% of the time. Stupid mother effers. Like yaaaaaaaa dayuuuuude!
March 22, 2013, 2:59 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I have to agree with diehipster on this. Most city cyclists only seem to be around when it's weather permitting. In other words, this new bike lane and the bike corrals will go unused when it's bad outside. Then again, most of the bike lanes go unused most of the year anyway, and this when the weather is good outside. Why should the roads by remade for just a small part that uses them especially when there is a larger group that is using them almost frequently? This new bike lane will just be seen as another waste of money. I really hope that the next mayor will end this insanity and spend the taxpayer dollars where it's really needed. Also, I hope the next mayor removes JSK and places someone who really knows how to make the roads more efficient for the city rather than the other way around.
March 22, 2013, 3:27 pm
ty from pps says:
"and places someone who really knows how to make the roads more efficient for the city"

Tal Barzilai for NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner!!!
March 22, 2013, 4:27 pm
ChrisC from yours says:
Great idea - I like to ride to the waterfront and Red Hook but figuring out how to get through Carroll Gardens always requires checking a map. It would be nice to have a clear direction of the best route to take through the area. And Sackett Street is actually wide enough to accommodate it.
March 22, 2013, 4:29 pm
Real New Yorker from Brooklyn says:
I like Tal's comments. I think they help make the case for better biking in NYC better than an advocate can. His arguments against biking are so absurd yet have just enough elements of truth about them that they seem real!

Thanks for all you do to promote safe streets in NYC, "Tal."
March 22, 2013, 4:51 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I don't think that any special bike lanes are needed to get there. Just ride with the traffic rather than against, and everything will be fine. Is there really a reason to treat the streets as if they are part of the Tour de France with all those Lance Armstrong wannabees? I still don't find making any sense to have some lane that will only be used either seasonally or when weather permitting, which many will see as a waste of money.
March 22, 2013, 5:28 pm
Jay from nyc says:
a bike lane here makes a lot of sense, and is much safer than say trying to give people a bike lane on atlantic ave.
March 22, 2013, 5:40 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
It's a bad idea to place bike lanes on major thoroughfares to begin with especially with all the commercial vehicles that are using them for loading.
March 22, 2013, 6:43 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

How do you know so much about Brooklyn?
March 22, 2013, 8:16 pm
Paco from Cobble Hill says:
Tal, have you ever been to one of the community board meetings you so willing write about in the BK papers comments section? If you did, I think you'd see that many of your arguments simply don't hold up with regarding to bike lanes. Especially since this week's statistics realease showed winter cycling in up citywide, the exact opposite of what you suggested. Come to the next CB6 Tranpo meeting and I'll save you a seat. April 18th @ 6:30.
March 23, 2013, 1:06 pm
Stu from Clinton Hill says:
The bike lanes on 8th and 9th Avenues in Manhattan, major thoroughfares, have resulted in lower injuries to all users and higher profits for merchants. Sounds like a win to me and a good argument for more bike lanes on commercial strips.
March 23, 2013, 1:41 pm
ty from pps says:
Reality is not one of Tal's strong suits.
March 23, 2013, 2:17 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Stu, those avenues are a lot wider compared to where this bike lane would be going, so this is apples and oranges to make such a comparison.
March 23, 2013, 3:53 pm
Stu from Clinton Hill says:
This is a quiet street with low traffic. So putting a bike lane there isn't a big deal. There's one there already on one side and a big wide buffer on the other. This won't change the amount of space available to motorists on Union in the slightest.
March 23, 2013, 4:15 pm
ty from pps says:
Stu -
Tal thinks that installing bike lanes means cars can't use the road anymore. His grasp on reality is very limited.
March 23, 2013, 6:42 pm
Pat k from Bay Ridge says:
I don' care for this Middle America annoying crowd either
I drive
I LIKE TO BIKE I like the idea of biking to the waterfront. The view from brooklyn bridge park is outstanding , good use of that waterfront. Biking there makes sense and is enjoyable. I dont ride on the sidewalk.
And cycling is one of the best things for you. I bet some of these drivers chiming in can't walk more than a few blocks without having to drive everywhere. I bet they never did long walks or hikes in the city. First ones to honk at someone for no reason. pathetic.
March 23, 2013, 9:50 pm
Joe from Carrol Gardens says:
There already are bike lanes on both the Union St and 3rd St bridges -- why wouldn't DOT or the Paper mention this fact?
March 24, 2013, 7:09 am
Stu from Clinton Hill says:
There's a one-way bike lane on Union. You can't go the other way right now. This bike lane will fix that.
March 24, 2013, 8:32 am
Zarda from South Slope says:
Sure, more bike lanes. Good for the thieves who escape on their bikes after the robberies. An BTW: city data (stats) are now and have always been skewed in flavor of the city and corporate groups who sponsor. Let's not be naive.
March 24, 2013, 9:11 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I have to agree with you on that Zarda. Both Bloomberg and JSK keep claiming that the ridership on bicycles are up, but there has been evidence that the bike lanes hardly ever go used. Just go over to home Louise Hainline and ask for her to show you what she recorded with her camera on that PPW bike lane, and you will see how little it's used. BTW, fudging data isn't something new, and there have been politicians who have a history and doing so. Right now, I can't understand how there is money for this bike lane but not any to help save some of the closing hospitals and schools, which are much more important than bike lanes. As for Joe from Carroll Gardens, the reason why those aren't mentioned is because the bike zealots always want more bike lanes even after they hardly use the ones they already have.
March 24, 2013, 12:22 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- You are so precious. Have you met Louise Hainline? You should write her. I bet she'd want you to join her cause (whatever that is).

Zarda -- So, bikes are the primary mode of transportation for thieves? And... what percentage of bicycles on the streets would you estimate have thieves on them?
March 24, 2013, 12:29 pm
ty from pps says:
Umm... Joe from Carroll Gardens (and Tal)...

"The city would also extend Union Street’s already existing eastbound bike lane by three blocks, from Henry Street to Van Brunt Street."

That looks like a pretty explicit mention by the paper. No? You should try reading better before you start your conspiracy theories.
March 24, 2013, 12:31 pm
Moishe from Boro Park says:
Thank goodness we don't allow hipsters in our neighborhood. They would only end up forcing us out of our homes as they have done to so many black & hispanic families. How these hipsters sleep at night is beyond me. How can a black or hispanic child in this city have an equal right to a good education when these hipsters collude to take over classrooms so that their children of privilege can have an easier commute to school? It is so sad what these hipster pogroms are now trying to do the honest, hard working Jewish communities in Wiliamsburg.
March 24, 2013, 1:27 pm
Peter Engel from Fort Greene says:
Moishe is a better satirist than whomever this Tal character is.
March 24, 2013, 2:57 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, I find it awkward that you don't believe a person who is constantly looking at a bike lane and even has the evidence to prove such a point. At the same time, you tend to get defensive whenever the stats are being questioned, which makes me suspect that you probably have connections with Bloomberg or JSK otherwise you wouldn't be sounding like that. As for Peter Engel real funny.....................NOT!!!!!! Seriously, I don't find you funny from saying that, and you deserve to have bad foods and other trash thrown at you for that.
March 24, 2013, 6:04 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- I don't get defensive, I just actually live in reality. Have you seen Louise Hainline's videos? Has ANYONE?! The answer is a plain NO. She claims she has counted the bikes... She has provided no data. She has provided no evidence.

Do you know who also counted bikes? Several community groups and the DOT. All of these folks shared their data.

Interesting, right?

So, it's fine to question the validity of data. But you don't challenge data with "well, Louise Hainline said something and it must be true because her penthouse apartment is a city block above the street..."

Or do you have Louise Hainline's data? Did she share it with you? Because you would be the only one.

Tal -- You should think about visiting some of these "empty" bike lanes. You might actually change your opinion (I think that's possible, right? If you saw something with your own eyes, would that be good enough for you to stop saying ignorant things?)
March 24, 2013, 6:19 pm
ty from pps says:
(Tal, I also know Louise Hainline personally... I know her character. And, No, I don't trust her.)
March 24, 2013, 6:22 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, her camera looks at that bike lane all the time. I doubt that she just selectively chooses what times to show and what times not to show. She isn't just making claims here, she is actually witnessing it, which is more than what Bloomberg and JSK are doing. The real ignorance here is picking bike lanes over public schools and hospitals that don't have the money to stay open, but Bloomberg is ignoring them greatly while saying that bike lanes have much more of a priority over them when they really serve a small part of the population.
March 24, 2013, 7:06 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- I'll repeat, since you seem to have trouble comprehending.

Have you seen Louise Hainline's videos? Has ANYONE?! The answer is a plain NO. She claims she has counted the bikes... She has provided no data. She has provided no evidence.

And "The real ignorance here is picking bike lanes over public schools and hospitals" are words of PURE ignorance. You, sir, are truly an amazing piece of work.
March 24, 2013, 8:51 pm
Eliot from Brooklyn Heights says:
Wait, is Louise Hainline still recording the PPW bike lane? Because that would be insane....
March 25, 2013, 9:54 am
Curious from Brooklyn says:
Who is Louise Hainline and what does she have to do with bike lanes?
March 25, 2013, 10:54 am
ty from pps says:
Louise Hainline is a former dean of Brooklyn College who lives in the Penthouse of 9 Prospect Park West... who, along with a small cabal of fellow politically connected NIMBYs on Prospect Park West, tried UNSUCCESSSFULLY to remove the protected bike lane from in front of their building.

Hainline was part of the cynically named "Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes" -- whose mission had nothing to do with better bike lanes, only the removal of the highly successful one running along the edge of Prospect Park. Other members of this group are/were former deputy mayor, Norman Steisel, and Chuck Schumer's wife and former DOT commissioner and current CUNY Vice Chancellor, Iris Weinshall.

The added piece or nutbaggery about Louise Hainline is that she set up a camera on PPW to monitor the bike lane... counting bikes, apparently. Though absolutely no evidence from this activity has been shared. (Probably because it doesn't support her position and just reinforces the findings of the DOT.)

The PPW Bike Lane was installed after YEARS of community engagement... lots of public meetings, etc. etc. The so-called "Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes" never participated in any of these public forums leading up to the project. Instead, they sued the city after it was built.

Lots more here.
March 25, 2013, 11:25 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
"And "The real ignorance here is picking bike lanes over public schools and hospitals" are words of PURE ignorance. You, sir, are truly an amazing piece of work."

As long as you have your bike lanes, you probably couldn't care less about this.
March 25, 2013, 3:06 pm
Accountant from Brooklyn says:
Tal, in a world where hospitals and schools are underfunded, why, in your opinion, are bike lanes the only thing that need to go. Why not public pools, tennis courts, or parks? Dog runs? Sideawalk benches? Where does your logic begin?

Or, more accurately, where does it even start?
March 26, 2013, 10:56 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
How about the fact that these are more essential than bike lanes especially when they are used more constantly? In some neighborhoods, a loss of a public school or hospital can hurt many, but the loss or a bike lane won't affect much. Assuming you are an accountant, I guess you don't care about the 99 percent seeing that you are probably a one percenter. Also, reading what you said, you sure sound like someone who may have connections with either Bloomberg or JSK by saying such.
March 26, 2013, 4:29 pm
Jimmy from PH says:
Benches and tennis courts are more essential than bike lanes? And bike lanes are for the 1%'ers?

These comments are getting weirder and weirder. Is this Tal character a regular around here? Pretty amusing.
March 26, 2013, 6:12 pm

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