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The borough’s first Bike-Friendly Business District is an 11-block stretch without so much as a ‘Share the road’ sign

Veloasis: Car-crammed Atlantic Avenue goes bike-friendly but lanes won’t change

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One of Brooklyn’s most car-congested thoroughfares is now being re-branded as a haven for bikes, though two-wheel advocates say they do not see an end to auto rule happening any time soon.

A stretch of Atlantic Avenue where bikes must contend with six lanes of car traffic without so much as a “Share the road” sign has been designated the borough’s first Bike-Friendly Business District, giving cyclists discounts at dozens of stores, easy access to biking info, and more places to park along the busy commercial strip. The district is the result of a collaboration between the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District, a pro-business group, and the bike advocacy organization Transportation Alternatives, which says that despite the lack of a bike right-of-way, the traffic the commercial strip gets from side street cycling routes made the choice a no-brainer.

“There was a lot of demand that came from a couple of different angles,” said Jill Guidera, a community organizer for the organization that is advocating for but has not seen concrete progress towards adding a bike lane to the 11 blocks of the business district between the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Fourth Avenue. Five streets with bike lanes cross the section and three more parallel it within a couple of blocks and Guidera said there is more than enough pedal-powered traffic to justify the free-wheel-friendly label.

“There are a lot of people who are already bicycling in that district and the businesses were looking for a way to accommodate those customers,” she said.

So far, more than 60 businesses have signed up, including restaurants, clothing stores, toy shops, law firms, bakeries, salons, and delis. Participating shops will offer perks such as five to 20-percent discounts for helmet-carrying customers, free road rules pamphlets, and trainings for bike delivery workers, and some are petitioning for more bike parking.

There are currently about 140 bike racks on the blocks’ sidewalks and neighborhood leaders say that demand for the hitching posts is likely to grow.

“We need many of them,” said Josef Szende, president of the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement and avid biker. “As with car parking, people do not want to have to walk too far from where they park and they do not want to have to cross the street.”

In recent weeks, business owners along the strip, including Twisted Lily, The Herb Shoppe, and Make a Frame have put in city requests for additional sidewalk racks with the help of Transportation Alternatives.

Atlantic Avenue’s Bike-Friendly Business District officially launched on Saturday with a 30-person bike ride along nearby side streets including Smith Street, Clinton Street, Hoyt Street, Henry Street, and Boerum Place.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at nmusumeci@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.
Updated 10:15 pm, July 9, 2018: Story has been updated to include clarification from Transportation Alternatives that the organization is advocating for a bike lane on Atlantic Avenue, though not as part of its Bike-Friendly Business District.
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Reasonable discourse

S from PPW says:
This is great! I'd definitely spend more money on Atlantic Avenue if it was safer to bike on and easier to park my bike!

Thanks.
Oct. 9, 2013, 8:20 am
Frank from Furter says:
Although I support Bike lanes, Atlantic avenue is the main trucking route for many part of Brooklyn. There is no truck route from the BQE to many parts of Brooklyn. So truckers who bring foodstuffs among other things need a place to go. And placing Bikes with so many trucks on a roadway is in my opinion not safe.
Oct. 9, 2013, 9:35 am
ty from pps says:
If trucks can share the road with cars and pedestrians, they can share with bicycles too. I get the concern, but a truck route is not a highway... it's just a route that allows trucks.

There shouldn't be *any* surface roads in NYC that are "unsafe" for bikes or pedestrians...
Oct. 9, 2013, 9:42 am
Joey from Clinton says:
save room on the sidewalks to park the "ghost bikes". Riding a bike on Atlantic is a bad idea.
Oct. 9, 2013, 9:55 am
common sense from bay ridge says:
There are a lot of places and things that should be safe, but are not. I would advise spending as little time biking on truck routes as possible.

The discounts sound great, I'll be riding down the side streets to get to the places offering them.
Oct. 9, 2013, 9:58 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
No room on the sidewalk Joey, the bikers are riding there with their headphones on.
Oct. 9, 2013, 9:58 am
Steve from Brooklyn says:
If trucking is so important to the area, we should do everything we can to reduce the number of private cars that clog up the roads and make deliveries more difficult.

More people on bikes means more parking and less traffic for delivery trucks that serve lots of people.
Oct. 9, 2013, 10:05 am
bkmanhatposeur from brokeland says:
Surprise Tal hasnt chimed in on this.
But yeah, bike lanes! Atlantic avenue is large enough to accomodate all.
Oct. 9, 2013, 10:11 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Forward Comrades!
Oct. 9, 2013, 10:22 am
Pat I. from 70's Brooklyn says:
The problem is that we as humans tend to not pay attention to vehicles small than our own. I've seen wreckless truck drivers but they are far far fewer than wreckless cyclists and motorcyclists.

Truckers don't weave in and out of traffic on crowded congested streets. They can't. Cyclists however tend to not pay attention, duck and weave and perform various non-cycling duties like tending to their i-phones or as in one photo I saw, playing a flute.

If anyone has to adhere hard and fast to the laws it the cyclist. In fact, maybe they should be licensed.

But what gets me is the extreme one sidedness and stubborness of the militant cyclist. You break the rules and get pancaked by a truck, the i-phone militia descends upon the driver like vampires. It always assumed that the cyclist is the one adhering to the law and not the trucker.
Oct. 9, 2013, 11:55 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
"You break the rules and get pancaked by a truck, "

But it's good for business for the candles-teddy-bears-and flowers on the street sellers.
Oct. 9, 2013, 11:57 am
PSloper from PS says:
@Pat - totally agree with you. I see careless cyclists having close calls with autos and pedestrians/mothers with strollers alike nearly every day in the nabe now a days. Regardless of who had the right a way (9/10 times I see is not the cyclist), then they try to blame the other party or just ride away without a care or to even check what happened to the other party. It's to the point where it's getting ridiculous. I hope these careless cyclists grow some common sense and thought to others besides themselves, because they are giving all cyclists a bad rep.
Oct. 9, 2013, 12:40 pm
jay from nyc says:
I don't know about this, the freakin sidewalk is not safe for pedestrians let alone for bicyclists in the street. However once you get past barclays center by a few blocks, it changes, and if they are talking about that part of things that is pretty tough too, especially when you get to the part tht has the above-ground LIRR I would not feel safe ridding there either, there is just so much traffic and space is tight, but maybe it could be worked out. It would be kinda cool to be able to ride almost all the way out to Queens.
Oct. 9, 2013, 6:47 pm
Old Mother Oefer says:
If anyone has an exaggerated sense of entitlement it's "mothers" and their SUV-sized strollers. As if the world has to stop because you choose to own a kid in the most ostentatious, inconvenient fashion, all while talking/texting, walking on sidewalk OBLIVIOUS to any other person(s) etc etc.
Oct. 9, 2013, 10:07 pm
GT from Atlantic Ave says:
Comparing trucks and cars to bike is absurd. Trucks and cars kill people, bikes do not. Most of times when a cyclist "weaves in and out of traffic," it is because there is no other choice, eg. bike lane is absent or blocked by a car or truck. I live on Atlantic Avenue. There should be bike lanes, especially near Pier 6...
Oct. 10, 2013, 3:06 pm
frank from furter says:
I wish people knew what they are talking about. Bikes do kill people. mostly pedestrians but not in the numbers that bikers are killed by trucks, buses and cars. There IS a protected bike lane by pier 6. Protected bike lanes are separated from the vehicle traffic. Atlantic Avenue is a heavily truck route because there is no other way for them to go. There are marked bike lanes on parallel streets where truck traffic is banned(except for local deliveries.). The best way to protect bikers is to keep them separated from the trucks- adding them to Atlantic Avenue would probably kill a few of them
Oct. 10, 2013, 9:38 pm
frank from furter says:
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/19/study-finds-higher-number-of-pedestrians-hurt-by-bikes/
Oct. 10, 2013, 9:55 pm
Thatguy from Uptown says:
Frank,

Only one person has been killed by a bicycle in about a decade in NYC. The threat to public health is not comparable to that of an automobile.

All forms of transportation should be able to coexist on most roads. Our streets are not all limited access roadways.

As for ducking and weaving as mentioned earlier by Pat. Drivers do the exact same when possible. We must be in different cities.

Promoting bicycling is beneficial to everyone. That's less congestion on mass transit or maybe even another car off the road. Zero emissions too.
Oct. 14, 2013, 1:47 am

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