Assemblywoman: Planned Bushwick bike lanes a danger to kids, commerce

Watch out: Bicyclists ride down Myrtle Avenue in Bushwick.
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Bushwick cyclists may be getting new bike lanes, but won’t somebody think of the children?

Now one local pol has, claiming neighborhood youngsters and old folks will be at the mercy of rule-flouting speed demons if the city goes ahead with the cycling paths.

“This neighborhood is filled with many children and senior citizens, and bike lanes pose hazards for them specifical­ly,” said Assemblywoman Maritza Davila (D–Bushwick), who in a March 11 letter to the local community board, urging it to reject the for the neighborhood’s commercial corridors. “Many users of bike lanes ride at high speed, often ignoring traffic laws and signals.”

Community Board 4 nevertheless voted 13–10 with two abstentions to approve the new designated lanes for Irving and Knickerbocker avenues between Cooper Street and Flushing Avenue, as well as Jefferson Avenue, Cornelia Street, and Hancock Street between Broadway and Wyckoff Avenue — despite many members echoing the Assemblywo­man’s concerns about reckless riders overrunning the streets at a meeting last month.

Transportation officials countered that cyclists are already traversing Bushwick’s boulevards, and said the new lanes will just offer them a designated space that will make the streets safer for motorists, pedestrians, and riders alike. If they are breaking the law, it is up to police to crack down, they said.

“The fact is, there are bicycles in your neighborhood, and we want to make it as safe as possible for everybody on the road,” said spokesman Theodore Wright.

Davila also argued the lanes will harm businesses on heavily-trafficked Knickerbocker Avenue by obstructing deliveries and turning off shoppers. But Wright claimed the change would have no impact on stores trying to load or unload their goods, as there will still be a parking lane, and the bike path won’t block traffic lanes or sidewalks.

“This is a simple thing — this is a bike lane, it’s not moving traffic and not impacting the neighborhood in any other way,” he said.

The Assemblywoman further slammed the city for not reaching out to locals when planning the lanes — but the reps claimed they actually did more community consultation than is typical, conducting a year of surveys and workshops with residents.

If the city goes ahead with the lanes, they will appear this summer.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Posted 12:00 am, March 18, 2016
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
If Antonio Reynoso wants to run against her, I'd vote for him.
March 18, 2016, 1:49 am
Rob from Bushwick says:
Wonder what unholy seance she had to perform to summon Vito Lopez's opinion on this.
March 18, 2016, 9:34 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I think her sole qualification for office is she worked on Vito Lopez's staff.
March 18, 2016, 10:14 am
Brooklynite from Brooklyn says:
We're literally talking about paint here.

Davila is insane.
March 18, 2016, 10:24 am
Trollerskates from Moving Target says:
If they aren't going eliminate parking spots, then what is the point? Take away all the free space for polluting machines, and have the bike lane abut the curb. That's the only thing that will increase safety for bikers, and get the damn cars out.
March 18, 2016, 10:49 am
Chris from Bushwick says:
Maritza Davila should be ashamed of herself. We're talking about paint on pavement that doesn't remove a single parking spot and might actually calm traffic. She doesn't care about the safety of her constituents. But why am I surprised? She's part of the Vito Lopez political machine that people in this district inexplicably continue to vote for. Hopefully her political fate is similar to that of the dinosaur she worked for.
March 18, 2016, 11:38 am
Rob from NY says:
Talk about tunnel vision! The L tunnel shutdown is going to flood the neighborhood with bikes so Davila needs to get onboard with every alternative possible. Even the car-owning pols and community board members are going to be gridlocked by the 300,000 L train riders trying to cross the East River.

Davila should be begging NYC-DOT to install protected lanes and acres of bike parking at M and J train stations. And as a NYS legislator, she should demand that Governor Cuomo's MTA pay for it since Cuomo, not De Blasio, runs the MTA and the L train.

These unprotected lanes are not going to get enough of those 300,000 who are 'interested but concerned' to use a bicycle. These people want the safety of protected lanes along most of their route.
March 18, 2016, 11:40 am
Ken from Greenpount says:
must of the bikers not respecting kids at all and not stopping for red flashers of school buses what a shame!!!
March 18, 2016, 12:31 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
As usual, the bike zealots here know how to dish criticism but they can't seem to take it. I suggest some try looking for the causes to why Maritza Davila is saying no to this. However, you can just look at the picture at the top to see why it's a bad idea to place a bike lane there, which pretty much explains that. As for the shutdown of the L train, the MTA will be providing free shuttle buses or something else to replace that as they always do for such occasions, so quit whining on that.
March 18, 2016, 4:29 pm
Will from Boerum Hill says:
If this Assemblywoman thinks that a 15mph 150lb bicyclist is the danger on a street full of 40mph 2000lb cars, she may be in need of refreshing her memory of Physics 101.

People walking and biking can coexist symbiotically, with each reinforcing the safety benefits of the other. The only malignant mode of transport here is the motor vehicle, imposing the risk of life and limb upon all, motorists included.
March 18, 2016, 5:15 pm
CJ from Bushwick says:
Tal, your opinion doesn't matter. Save it for your fellow suburbanites and get bent.
March 18, 2016, 5:51 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Thank you CJ for proving the attitude I believe that would come from you and other bike zealots when it comes to taking criticism.
March 18, 2016, 6:08 pm
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
Bike lanes are good.

Protected bike lanes are great.

They can coexist wonderfully with pedestrians, and motor vehicles.

I say this as a committed pedestrian and walker and an occasional motorist.
March 18, 2016, 8:12 pm
b says:
I am a bike zealot and find Tal's opinions to be strange and enlightening of kind.

The lady needs to better determine the source of her beef. I know what it is.
March 18, 2016, 10:32 pm
Gerri says:
Bicyclists over the age of 16 are mentally ill.
March 18, 2016, 10:35 pm
Guest from NYC says:
The bike lanes are coming, the community wants them. They provide awareness for drivers and even provide guidelines for driving.
March 18, 2016, 10:58 pm
b says:
So Gerri, Can we then assume if two wheels are added and a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine, they are life threatening?
March 18, 2016, 11:59 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I don't really see why some are so bent out of shape just because an assemblywoman decides differently on bike lanes. Seriously, you guys had your say, and she had her say. Also, how do any of you know that the community really wants them? Are your claims from those actually living and working there are from places such as Streetsblog and Transportation Alternatives, which are always full of bike zealots? Perhaps, she feels that it's a bad idea especially when Bushwick Avenue is one lane both ways and taking away the parking spaces will just cause more to circle around other areas not to mention hurt stores that really on commercial vehicles loading right in front of them. I suggest looking at the causes of the opposition rather than the effects to understand what is really going on. Seriously, I don't understand that when a politician doesn't share your view, some of you tend to act as if they should be burned to the stake or executed just for disagreeing with you.
March 19, 2016, 4:14 pm
Kristin from Bushwick says:
Hi Tal. Bushwick is two lanes depending on the time of day. If you lived here, you'd know that though, wouldn't you? This citizen of Bushwick (Van Buren and Bushwick) who has children, owns a car and is a cyclist, wants more protected bike lanes. Unlike the rest of the city, we have very few. Which is why when the study was being done, they listened to us. Hence, bike lanes. Davila is out of touch with her changing neighborhood.
March 20, 2016, 9:29 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Kristin, I just feel that major thoroughfares altogether shouldn't have bike lanes. They are used constantly by commercial vehicles that account for most of the traffic on them. Personally, I don't see why cyclists need special lanes when they can get by easily just by simply following the traffic laws that they continue to act as victims of. Perhaps, another reason for why this assemblywoman opposes the bike lanes is because she to feels that they won't be used a lot as many others don't throughout the year making them feel like a waste of space and money whereas parking and travel lanes for vehicles are used all the time. For the record, I have nothing against those that like to ride bicycles, just those who feel that they are above all just for riding, and claiming that they don't contribute to the carbon footprint isn't an excuse nor a reason for flouting the laws. As for claiming that the you met with those in the community that support them, I or other opponents can easily find those who oppose them just to claim that my view is correct. On a side note, it doesn't take a special insider to know what is going on.
March 20, 2016, 4:10 pm
CJ from Bushwick says:
Tal, I'm not a "bike zealot" and don't even own a bike. I also don't troll comment sections about infrastructure improvements in Pleasantville, a place I have as little knowledge of as you seem to have about my neighborhood. We're talking about paint on pavement that doesn't even remove a lane of traffic on a street more than an hour's drive away from you, and you're ranting in paragraphs about it. Do you realize how absolutely absurd that is? Please, find a new hobby.
March 21, 2016, 2:53 pm
Fred Farmer from I actually LIVE in Brooklyn, Tal! says:
Mr. Barzilai, there are so many odd things about your emails to this publication, and I now learn we are nowhere near where you live! The first question, of course, is "what's it to you?" I can only imagine what a wonderfully perfect major metropolitan city you must live in, given your endless expertise and wheat I'm sure is impressive experience and accreditation.

But personally, I think that anyone who is endlessly giving advice to a place several hundreds if not thousands of times larger than where they really live might want to re-examine their priorities. I feel the same way about all the well-intenioned arbiters of "thus it shall be, I have spoken," but especially when they can't be bothered to do any research where they would have learned that NO ONE in NYC has been killed by a bicycle in over 10 years but, but thousands of pedestrians and bicyclists have died after being struck by cars. The statistics are slightly more dramatic when you widen the question from "deaths" to "serious or crippling injuries."

Just saying, do your research, get the facts and then shear them with your neighbors, wherever you live. I'm sure they'll be very grateful.
March 21, 2016, 3:19 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Fred -- Tal Barzilai lives on a golf course in the basement of his mom's house. He's been, I assume, hit by many golf balls over the years and his mom only allows him upstairs when she doesn't have company. So, I assume his obsession with bicycles in Brooklyn is a coping mechanism for some sort of golf-related trauma.
March 21, 2016, 6:11 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, knock it off with the personal attacks, and I don't make such at those who don't agree with me nor do I insult them to where they live. Last time I checked, I didn't see something here saying locals only, so cut it out. Getting to the topic, I won't argue that motor vehicles do kill more, but that doesn't make bicycles any less dangerous. A lot of what you are basing this off of is more of the effects rather than the causes. This is almost exactly what the anti-Israel crowd uses to sometimes justify in defending terrorist groups such as Hamas by saying, "Since the IDF kills a lot more than what Hamas does, they must be the real terrorists here rather than Hamas." Did you see what I just did there? I just used your logic and made an analogy from that. My point is that when cyclists flout the traffic laws as do pedestrians, they are running the possibility of placing themselves into harm's way. However, many of those bike zealots believe that if they get hit despite that, they know that they can't get in trouble because they are the ones that get hurt hence believing that they will always get off scot free while the motorists will always take the blame no matter what even if they can prove that they weren't solely responsible for their actions. Overall, if you people have a right to saying that there should be bike lanes on that street, then opponents such as that assemblywoman can have a right to saying that there shouldn't be as democracy does work both ways.
March 21, 2016, 7:03 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Was that last comment the result of another golf ball?
March 22, 2016, 11 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Tyler, perhaps you should spend some time with Sarah Palin, because you two seem to have a lot in common.
March 22, 2016, 4:51 pm
CJ from Bushwick says:
Holy cow, Tal. You need to seek professional help. Please put down the computer and call a psychiatrist.

If you're trying to do the anti-bike crowd a favor with your unhinged rantings, you're not. Stop.
March 22, 2016, 5:20 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
CJ, I don't hate those that like to ride to bicycles, I hate the way some tend to act with them. The only reason why I used the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an analogy was because you are trying to make a claim that if one gives more on the output, then they are the more dangerous ones while ignoring what the other does. For the record, I don't support reckless drivers, but this doesn't excuse the actions of rogue cyclists when they are flouting the laws. This is why I feel that the only way you can really have safe streets is to get them to follow the laws as well, which so many of them try to act as if they are above them. One other thing, when I said this at a Vision Zero hearing, I was actually applauded for this, not booed.
March 24, 2016, 5:04 pm
CJ from Bushwick says:
Tal, equating "reckless drivers" and "rogue cyclists" is a false equivalency because one poses a far greater threat to life and limb than the other. The problem with cyclists is not being ignored; it's being given the proper attention it deserves in relation to the danger it poses.

And back to the point at hand -- these bike lanes remove no traffic lanes, no parking, and make cyclists' actions more predictable and lawful. These are exactly the kind of bike lanes you should support if you truly believe in making streets safer rather than just being a kneejerk anti-bike zealot.
March 25, 2016, 10:17 am
Tyler from pps says:
Tal, did the people applaud you at the hearing because they were so proud of how well you recovered from the golf ball trauma? "Oh, look at him. So brave."
March 25, 2016, 10:43 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
CJ, when you say that, you almost sound as if you want enforcement to be selective to only what you want it to be. I didn't say that there shouldn't be a crackdown on reckless drivers, but it still doesn't excuse the actions of rogue cyclists. Committing a misdemeanor is still a crime as is committing a felony even if it's something less. I can easily invert your comment and make you sound like a knee-jerk anti-car zealot. Whether or not these bike lanes get placed, it's still no excuse for cyclists flouting traffic laws and the call to step up enforcement for that isn't a small number. As for my claim on safe streets, getting cyclists to follow the traffic laws isn't being a knee-jerk anti-bike zealot, it's asking for your group to play your part when my group is doing ours'. Sometimes I ever wonder if those who support bicycles and hate motor vehicles ever do practice what they preach when it comes to safety or if they just mean it for everyone but themselves.
March 25, 2016, 4:47 pm
Fg from Willamsburg says:
Bike lanes are dangerous!
Now that you have bike lanes. A law should be pass, all bikers must have bike insurance, bike license, bike plates , registration sticker, inspection sticker and must wear helmets. It will create more revenue for the city, and bikers will have more respect towards the usage of bike lanes.
Sept. 24, 2016, 10:26 am

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