Longtime Clinton Hill residents rail against planned bike lane for ‘settlers’

Blueprints: The city is proposing to convert two-way Clinton Avenue into a one-way street with a two-way protected bike lane.
Brooklyn Paper
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The city must slam the brakes on its plan to eliminate parking and a lane of traffic on Clinton Avenue to make way for a bike path, longtime locals demanded at a packed town hall meeting on Tuesday night, claiming it will create traffic jams, enable reckless riders, and is the latest in a long line of changes to the neighborhood designed to serve only gentrifiers.

“I oppose this plan,” said Esther Blount, who lives on Vanderbilt Avenue, one of 21 people who spoke out against the plan at Community Board 2’s transportation committee meeting. “I feel like settlers have tried to come into the community and tell the neighborhood what to do.”

The overwhelming majority of speakers — including Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D–Clinton Hill) and Public Advocate Letitia James — slammed the Department of Transporta­tion’s proposal, which would transform the currently two-way Clinton Avenue from Gates to Flushing avenues into a one-way street with parking on both sides, and a two-way bike lane between one of the parking lanes and the curb.

The proposal would also eliminate 35 parking spaces along the stretch — up to five on each block — to create room for wide turns and pedestrian plazas. The islands would include new trees — an addition the crowd jeered.

The changes would create a safer and more peaceful alternative to Vanderbilt Avenue, where nearly 2,000 cyclists share the road with cars each day, department rep Sean Quinn told the crowd.

“We’re pushing to make more protected bike lanes because that makes more and more people safer, and it also makes it safer for vehicles,” he said.

The department set up street-side booths at 12 locations within the community board — which stretches down to Brooklyn Heights — in April to explain the proposal, and the majority of folks who stopped by were in favor of the plan, Quinn said.

But opponents argued the outreach effort didn’t go far enough to engage a broad range of Clinton Avenue residents, and skipped crucial community gathering places such as churches in favor of the yuppy cyclists who they say have only recently moved into the nabe and are now wreaking havoc on pedestrians and drivers by flouting the rules of the road.

“We have seen an invasion of people who have not invested in the community, they want to change what serves them but not serves all,” said Fort Greene resident Lucy Koteen.

Others expressed concerns about emergency vehicles getting stuck on the newly one-way street, which is home to a number of elderly residents. Quinn said ambulance and fire trucks would be able to use the bike lanes for quick entry, and garbage trucks and street sweepers could also operate within the bike lanes to minimize congestion.

Only two proponents were given the chance speak in favor of the plan, arguing it will make the street safer for everyone — a sentiment shared by other supporters in the crowd.

“Plans like this make it easier to share the road with each other,” said Clinton Hill resident Shawn Onsgard, who claimed critics were letting their biases against “hipster p-----” blind them to the plan’s benefits, but didn’t get a chance to speak publicly. “This is an engineering solution that addresses all the things everyone is complaining about.”

Due to the overwhelming number of people wanting to speak, the transportation committee held off voting and will hold a second meeting on Thursday where people will have another chance to say their piece.

Community Board 2 transportation committee meeting at Brown Memorial Baptist Church (52 Gates Ave. at Clinton Avenue in Clinton Hill), May 19 at 6 pm.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
I hate to say this, but all they need to do is widen the streets/push back the houses 4.5 feet on both sides of the road. I don't want to start trouble, but this isn't "brain surgery".
John Wasserman
May 18, 2016, 1:12 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
Settlers lol. But really they are telling the truth, whether some like it or not. How the hell somebody who hasnt been in the neighborhood for the last 10 years or so just gonna come in & say "we need more bike lanes"? It things like this cause even more tension between old-school & gentry bk. And im on old-school bk's side, needless to say
May 18, 2016, 1:20 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
Most of these didnt even wanna set foot in clinton hill back when it was mostly non-settler. Now they wanna come in & take over sh't like they discovered it. Its just pure disrespect to the faces of the longtimers. Thats why i laugh when i hear about the robberies that happen there because i know who's getting got lol. Keep up the good work & run them out, yall.
May 18, 2016, 1:26 pm
Mario from Nazereth says:
Anything that makes our streets safer for all of us is a good thing. These bike lanes will make crossing the street a lot safer, less roadway to cross and slower traffic.
May 18, 2016, 2:56 pm
Like it really is from Brooklyn says:
The Transportation Alternatives self-entitled persist in what the New York Daily News so brilliantly referred to as a belief that cyclists belong to a privileged class that owns the road by virtue of being environmentally friendly and physically fit.
May 18, 2016, 3:46 pm
Benny from Park Slope says:
Ah, yes. How refreshing to read the enlightened insights of the likes of jjm, celebrating thugs and crime -- as long as those being "got" are settlers, i.e., white. No wonder people don't give a —— when long-timers complain about gentrification, when lowlifes and muggers are applauded for keeping it real, or whatever the f$&@ jjm's point might have been.
May 18, 2016, 3:49 pm
Resident from Brooklyn says:
If the mayor and DOT listen to these NIMBYs that's crazy. They are entitled to their opinions, but not their own facts. The fact is that configurations just like this one work all over the city. People get deliveries. People can get picked up. The world does not end.

This is fear of change and a prioritization of parking over safety. That is all.
May 18, 2016, 4:03 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
Benny, you can try to twist my words all you want to but you know im right. Im not saying they deserved to get mugged but at the same time, if they're walking around thinking that they own the neighborhood & all of sudden someone gets them for their wallet, iphone, etc. then it is what it is.
May 18, 2016, 4:07 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
Even in "tony" park slope, as some people call it, peple are getting robbed & burglarized, benny. I think people like you need to check that entitled elitist attitude at the door & realize you're in nyc.
May 18, 2016, 4:09 pm
Frank from Ft. Greene says:
So Transportation Alternatives brags about working with the DOT to develop a plan to make the world a better and safer place (in their opinion) and damn everybody else who wasn't invited to the table...and then when those citizens object to the plan, they call them names (REAL mature!) like misinformed (re: stupid,) "Nimby", or my favorite, "Old."

I used to defend TA when people called them BikeNazis. Now I understand.
May 18, 2016, 4:27 pm
ty from pps says:
cars are bad. except for zip cars. bikes are good. they will save the world. get on the bus, you will like it. except when it doesn't run. take mass transit. you will like it.
May 18, 2016, 5:03 pm
Victoria Jefferson from Fort Greene says:
Yes, because no black (or "Spanish") folks ride bicycles, OK. And what'a the diabetes rate among black people, though it's by no means a health issue for any single group. What's especially bizarre is to see Clinton Hill reactionaries yapping the same nonsense as-- you got it- the Hasids in Williamsburg, though they may get theirs yet if Preet keeps pushing.
May 18, 2016, 5:51 pm
NoBodySpecial from Fort Greene says:
I have been here 19 years. I am 60 years old. I am a settler if you define me by either my skin or by the fact I ride a bike. I have always ridden a bike in NYC. I enjoy it. I also drive my car, take car services, buses, and subways. My concern is the traffic. Clinton Ave, Washington, Vanderbilt, Carlton are all extremely full of cars. The traffic is the worst in the afternoon. Drivers who sit in traffic jams are frustrated. Without protected bike lanes, often the cars use the bike lanes as another car lane (think about Plaza West near Union) Also cats and trucks double park in the bike lanes. We need dedicated and separate bike lanes.
May 18, 2016, 8:13 pm
Cynthia U from Clinton Hill says:
Jim I totally agree with you, been here in Clinton hill for 40 years its fine the way things are, it the Christopher Columbus syndrome the gentrifer are suffering. And no I don't have diabetes. I walk I don't ride Bicycles.
May 18, 2016, 8:22 pm
Feeling The Bern from Bernsonhurst says:
This is a big problem on Clinton Avenue caused by that evil witch, Hillary Clinton. Who does she think she is???? She is stealing the nomination from Bernie, and stealing our streets from us and taking something that isn't rightfully hers. Who made this Clinton Avenue anyway? Change the name to Sanders Avenue!!! THE SYSTEM IS RIGGED!!!
May 18, 2016, 8:36 pm
Liam says:
I grew up riding a bike in this city and welcome intelligent urban design.
May 18, 2016, 9:49 pm
Ian from Williamsburg says:
As a father of two young boys that ride their bikes to and from sports and school, this is a critical safety improvement. These are just selfish residents that aren't considering the safety of their neighbors. Don't make it out to be anything more and please protect our riders young and old.
May 18, 2016, 9:54 pm
Mom from Clinton Hill says:
We have been invaded. The protected bike lane will protect bikes from cars, but what will protect pedestrians from bikers? Traffic lights? Stop signs?
May 18, 2016, 10:34 pm
Pam Staples from Park Slope says:
Barely hidden racism. People who live in this neighborhood have needs, and you can't block projects to address these because you wish they didn't live there. Get over yourselves.
Anyone who lives there is part of the neighborhood. These supposed long-term residents also once displaced other residents who didn't like them. It's life.
May 19, 2016, 3:14 am
Rob from Williamsburg says:
Jersey Barriers don't necessarily protect cyclists and pedestrians from motor vehicles...
May 19, 2016, 7:04 am
15 Years and Counting... from Clinton Hill says:
As a biker, car owner, home owner and 15 year resident of this area, I'm scratching my head at some of these comments, and I have questions: -- what's the cap on "settlement"? How many years in must you be before someone deems it ok for you to have an opinion about where you live, work and play? -- will the bike lanes have "whites only" signs on them? I'm a person of color and I would surely use the bike lanes vs. taking chances with my life on the streets of North Brooklyn. I can tell you one thing about the bike lanes: they would surely help separate the traffic -- my car has been side swiped and damaged by more bikes than anything else. (And why not address the laws and regulations and psyche of bikers, while we're at it; most of them tend to think that traffic rules don't apply to them. I know. I'm out there stopping at stop lights on my bike when they don't. Because I'm also a driver, and I can relate.)

The psychological effects of fear of change sadden me; people who grew up here basically would rather have things be the way they always were (high-crime, run-down or empty storefronts, etc) instead of accepting change which helps build neighborhoods. New people overwhelmingly want to come in and take advantage of prices relatively low for them and "cool" factors, without respecting/involving the existing community and culture that was in place. This is not about bikers vs. drivers vs. pedestrians. This is not about someone being healthier or "more fit" because they bike to work vs. those that take public transportation. And please, stop generalizing along black vs. white lines, because it does not apply. Even socio-economic guidelines aren't entirely applicable. This is simply about people afraid of progress/change and the disrespect/disappearance of the status quo. More people use bikes now in this city as a form of transportation, just like the tipping point when more people became car owners than horse owners some centuries ago. Why not want everyone to be safe? Yes, parking is difficult here. And thanks to new construction making areas dense without the requirement of providing parking spaces, it will become worse. Because no matter what the bike people or the government thinks, people still own cars. (But that's another can of worms, isn't it?)
*Sigh.* It's becoming extremely unappealing, un-neighborly and un-fun to live here, on top of unaffordable. Welcome to Manhattan II.
May 19, 2016, 7:46 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Never underestimate the entitlement and self-satisfaction of old property owners. Getting rich through no work of their own isn't enough for them. They need to keep the streets dangerous so that it's a little easier for them to store their seasonal linens.
May 19, 2016, 8:29 am
Pam Staples from Park Slope says:
I know Mike from Williamsburg - their god-damned seasonal linens? I mean really? Why don't they just use nuetral linens all year long???!!!
May 19, 2016, 8:55 am
Mike from Park Slope says:
Mayor DeBlasio needs to just step up and let everyone know this DOT proposal is happening whether they like it or not. Getting into the weeds with the "community" isn't productive.

Build on his Queens Blvd victory.
May 19, 2016, 9:11 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Right, Mike. It would look pretty bad for De Blasio to override the Queens "community" but kowtow to the wealthier brownstone Brooklyn "community." But that is why I think he will cave.
May 19, 2016, 9:58 am
Mjollnir from Bay Ridge says:
Whenever any 'long-time member of the community' complains about 'settlers' or 'gentrifiers' or 'rich people' or any other euphemism, they should be asked directly:
'On what basis should property ownership or 'community' membership be based?'
Any basis other than economic is by definition a type of racist tyranny, with expressed ostracism and implicit threats of violence just below the surface.
This society is based on capitalism and free enterprise: it is not some tribal kleptocracy.
A quick review will show that things never function too well in those places.
You can rent or own property wherever you wish, and that gives you a say in what happens there.
May 19, 2016, 10:09 am
Sandra from Clinton Hill says:
Thanks Park Slope Mike. You don't care about people or neighbohoods. You care about big government that doesn't care about people or neighborhoods. Why don't you apply for a job with DOT? If not DOT, how about a job with DeBlaszio?
May 19, 2016, 10:09 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Sandra does us all a service by making such blatantly stupid arguments that we can safely mock and ignore her. Unless she'd like to try again...
May 19, 2016, 10:24 am
Frank from Ft. Greene says:
...and that's why they're called BikeNazis. Thanks, Mike & Mike & Jim & PamStaples & etc!
May 19, 2016, 11:12 am
Joanna from Greenpoint says:
Installing bike lanes is a caring effort.

If you've a problem with neighborhood turnover, better identify the source of the turnover instead of misplacing blame. What a piggish fallacy their argument is!
May 19, 2016, 11:55 am
Joanna from Greenpoint says:
Bike nazi? Ridiculous! Unwilling to share the roadway is car nazi. A bike nazi would demand all of the roadway be dedicate to bikes.
May 19, 2016, 11:59 am
Leslie from Cobble Hill says:
City street parking is intended to be a place to store you car.
May 19, 2016, 12:03 pm
b from gp says:
If the proposed changes are reasonable and will leave a lasting positive result, graciously allow for them.
May 19, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sandy from Carroll Gardens says:
Cars make traffic, not bike lanes.
May 19, 2016, 12:23 pm
Leticia James says:
I love carnage, pollution and ignorance.
May 19, 2016, 12:28 pm
Frank from Ft. Greene says:
Joanna, maybe you missed why I have come to agree with what many people say about Transportation Alternatives. From high on their superior moral horse they sneer at anyone who has a different opinion from theirs, and legal requirements be damned. THEY developed this plan with DOE without working with community members and then go on name-calling sprees about how ignorant or old they people who disagree with them are. Their way or the highway.

Just loving all the posts about how DeBlasio shouldn't listen to the local people who will have to live with this! And the references that his de-blase decision to over-ride the local community board and force through the IDIOTIC decision to place a bike lane on Queens Boulevard without other traffic calming measures! Can we start the body count now?

We are supposed to be a society of law and regulation, equal voices, one man/one vote, etc. When one group feels they have the right to dictate to all, even if they are genius saints (self-annointed) we know we're dealing with kool-aid drinking idiots. And, as they're called, BikeNazis.
May 19, 2016, 1:11 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Transportation Alternatives is in a tough position of being absolutely morally correct, but also having to try to save lives while not hurting the tender feelings of sensitive souls like Frank.

Yes, your opinion that people should die so you can store your seasonal linens more conveniently is abhorrent. Poor TA has make you feel like you're valid too though.
May 19, 2016, 5:14 pm
Frank from Ft. Greene says:
Your morality doesn't seem to keep you from taking a jet whenever you want to get somewhere, and I doubt you insist on a Prius when you rent a car, does it?

And that smug, economically and racially superior attitude is again typical of the BikeNazi.

Thank you again for proving my point.
May 19, 2016, 5:19 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Just hearing this does remind me about what happened with what is being planned for Queens Boulevard. As a matter of fact there were even letters on the Daily News for the past couple of days saying how the bike lanes were shoved down their throats and that it would make the street itself much slower than it already is. For the Clinton Avenue bike lane, the street is one lane both way with parking on both sides. Seeing how the neighborhood doesn't have much places for street parking, this is a bad idea. Why should they cater for a small group that won't even use them for the most part. I'm glad that the community spoke up against this as they did on the other one, but they feel as if they are being side stepped. Then again, bike zealots do have a history of elitism when things don't go their way. Seriously, I thought that de Blasio was going to be against unilateral and backroom decisions, which has been the case a lot of times for Bloomberg, but I'm starting to think differently on this. Of course Streetsblog will most likely be celebrating this despite the fact that elitism has been used, but they probably support this idea as long as gets them what they want.
May 19, 2016, 6:18 pm
Joanna from Greenpoint says:
Frank, Are you a real person? Your written words contradict themselves. Roadways are one of several arteries of the city, not belonging to a single neighborhood. To refuse to encourage an environmentally sound proposal such as this one is the equivalent to biting yourself on the a55.
May 19, 2016, 9:23 pm
Derek from Ridgewood says:
I do wish people would stop casually tossing the word 'nazi' around.

'other traffic calming measures'?
May 19, 2016, 9:28 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
To be real, i think some of the cyclists are somewhat looking & talking down on those who oppose the lanes. They're probably saying in their head "these folks are about to get gentrified out so to hell with their opinion". Dont act like im the only one that senses that.
May 19, 2016, 10:52 pm
Old Glory from Clinton Hill says:
I’ve lived on Clinton Ave. for 31 years and I attended the community meeting on May 19th. My impression is there’s a minority of residents who own cars and are fighting to protect the loss of 35 parking spots on Clinton Ave., which would be eliminated with the plan. This is a reasonable and understandable criticism.

It was difficult to take much of what was said seriously as the room reverberated with crescendos of empty rhetoric. The go-to straw man presented at the CB2 meeting was that a “minority of elitist bicycling newcomers,” and “recent gentrifying transplants” were disrespecting the needs of a mythical ‘established community’ …with the evil newcomers trying to dictate public policy. The opponents of the plan certainly didn’t lead by example as many in the audience were poorly behaved, discourteous, and disrespectful which speaks to their own qualities and says nothing about ’newcomers’. Many of the ‘old time’ residents wish to occupy the moral high ground they’ll need to pass though the door of marked ‘denial’ first.

Owners of cars, it appears, desire to retain a disproportionate usage of the streets for their own exclusive use, and bristle at the thought that the overwhelming vast majority of residents in the neighbourhood do not own cars, but use public transportation, walk, and/or ride bikes and would like to use and share our streets in safety, and that we’d wish to embrace the evolution of the city as it moves into the 21st century. The minority of car owners in the neighbourhood oppose this. Essentially, it’s a minority of dinosaurs who want to obstruct the city from evolving to serve the needs of the whole community and they are hindering NYC from evolving to meet the demands of the present and lead the way into the future.

None of the other criticisms I heard opposing the plan, other than the parking issue, were reasonable or based on facts. The idea that emergency vehicles wouldn’t be able to travel down the proposed one way street has no basis in fact. There’s clearly plenty of room even with a double parked car for emergency vehicles to travel. (One should take note also that Clinton Ave. is not a designated Emergency Route, whereas Washington Avenue four example is). Clinton Avenue terminates abruptly at Atlantic Avenue, whereas Vanderbilt one block to the west runs south to Prospect Park and Washington Ave. two blocks to the east advances deep into Brooklyn. Quite simply, Clinton Avenue is not a major thoroughfare in the neighbourhood, and that fact doesn’t change whether one has live there for 6 months or for 60 years.
Clinton Avenue isn’t like Flatbush, or like Washington or Vanderbilt. Clinton Avenue services a limited strip of blocks. Clinton recently had speed bumps installed which was a good move … I’ve witnessed the speed and volume of this street increase dramatically over 30 years … the speed bumps are indicative of the nature of the avenue and the need to intervene with increased traffic. The conversion of this short, tertiary, north-south street into one way street to match Waverly while designating it a bike lane, and separating the bikes from the cars make perfect sense. The pedestrian component of the plan will integrate and complement the original character of Clinton Avneue and update it as a beautiful promenade with its wide sidewalks and deep setbacks, the pedestrian quality has been slowly eroded by the speeding cars and increased traffic (that speed bump has helped a little bit). Clinton Avenue will regain a tarnished pedestrian character.

Of course, dedicated bike lanes will be safer for bikes, safer for pedestrians, and safer for cars, as they will be segregated to as large a degree as is possible in NYC and thus prevent jostling for the same street space.

The issue is that New York city is entering into the future … into another era. What was heard at the CB2 meeting on May 19, 2016 was the last gasp and predictable belly aching of the dinosaurs who are trying to resist the inevitable change. As can be seen in the reproductions present at the meeting, Clinton Avenue back in the day was designed for horse and carriage … indeed the grand street view vintage picture of the Pratt houses features a horse drawn carriage riding down the street. The street has seen many incarnations. I believe the last of the street car tracks have now been covered over … but some were visible 30 years ago when I moved here. NYC used to have a huge transportation problem: horse sh*t in the streets in such a large volume that the teams of city sh*t shovelers could not keep up, it was losing battle with no possible solution envisioned. It took the emergence of the automobile to change that.

30 years ago when I moved onto Clinton Avenue one could see the huge Detroit long wheelbased sedans parked: LTDs, Impalas, St. Regis’, Newports, Grand Furys, LeSabres, Lincoln Continentals, and of course Cadillac Fleetwoods. You’d see dudes washing their cars on the weekends, with a big fat cigar in their mouth. Those days … and that culture… are gone. Cars are smaller now with shorter wheelbases (yet look at how many SUVs there … automaker’s ploy hoisted on a gullible public). Times have changed. Now, Hybrid cars (and Taxis) are being adopted and are seen throughout the city, sub compacts are making inroads, and electric cars will be the next wave especially for urban drivers, once the infrastructure for charging stations gets established … only a matter of time. It’s already been implemented elsewhere on a nationwide scale whereas in the USA the vast distances of a huge continent will demand innovative solutions, but for an urban context and densely populated geography it will be more easily implemented). The nation, and NYC, has been changing, and is now changing, and going backwards is NOT an option.

Bicycles are now a significant part of the changing urban landscape in NYC. 30 years ago bikes were few and far between and they literally battled cars, bike messengers swinging chains at Taxis and Taxis running bikes out of lanes. Personal transportation in NYC is evolving across many fronts: pollution, congestion, convenience, space. Cars will continue to get smaller, lighter weight, more efficient, with fewer emissions. The forces of history are at work. What was heard at the CB2 meeting were the inevitable growing pains of this change. The type of street changes proposed change will occur in NYC regardless of whether one resists it or embraces it.

In a short time, the minority will become extinct, they will go the way of the men with big Cadillacs and cigars in restaurants… it’s not that there’s anything wrong with big Caddies and stogies, but what’s clear is that their time has passed. The emissions from the gas guzzlers, leaded gas, 2nd hand smoke from cigars, they no longer make sense as instruments to lead public policy into the future. A car centric minority of residents are out of touch with the development of NYC, are out of touch with better designed and safer streets, are out of touch with bicycles commuters, out of touch with sharing the limited resource of roads. NYC will lead the way forward, and will not be held prisoner by the inertia of a doomed and obsolete past. What made sense ten years ago has passed. In the next ten years those SUVs will have disappeared, smaller/lightweight/more efficient/less polluting cars will be the norm, electric/hybrid/alternative fueled vehicles will replace fossil fueled guzzlers, bicycles/mopeds/electric bikes will multiply (and new forms which we cannot conceive of will emerge … that information is as yet unavailable to us). What was heard at the CB2 meeting was the inevitable growing pains of this change. This change will happen in NYC whether one likes it or not. The forces of history are are at work.
May 20, 2016, 6:07 am
Mike from Park Slope says:
@ "Old Glory from Clinton Hill"

Very, well said comments and an excellent analysis of the current situation. I couldn't agree more.

The constant in NYC is change and the need for the city to adapt to change as it happens. Cycling is a permanent part of Brooklyn's transportation infrastructure and the DOT has a responsibility to set up safe passage (i.e protected lanes) for those residents.
May 20, 2016, 10:02 am
Frank from Ft. Greene says:
And yet, at last night's continuation meeting the DOT led off with an admission that there are flaws in the design, withdrew the application and went back to the drawing board.

I guess they must be in league with satan!

Or are you smugly thinking this is just a delaying tactic until they can push it through? You can live in whatever fantasy world you want thinking that this community is going to let themselves get rolled over by bikes, or you can take your heartless (and stupidly hypocritical) comfort in the belief that they are all old and will die. But you are wrong, soooo wrong.
May 20, 2016, 12:53 pm
Mike from Park Slope says:
@ Frank I think it's that the DOT was tired of hearing straw man arguments from morons and they paused for now.

I'd imagine next step is getting the Mayor's office to force this plan through regardless of CB support.
May 20, 2016, 1:01 pm
Old Glory from Clinton Hill says:
As I stated above, access to parking spaces is a valid concern.
Access to streets where traffic can flow freely as one commutes by car from point A to point B in the city is also a valid concern. The road structure of the city wasn’t designed for an endlessly increasing supply of car traffic … it’s reaching towards a congestion impasse. The incorporation of a safe and functional network of bike lanes into NYC is one component to solving this problem of congestion.

Preventing the bike lane network from becoming fully established in a safe manner will only increase, not decrease, the problems car owners - and indeed the entire community and city - face. Parking is still very doable here and is also very much free. Car ownership is a privilege, not a right. The privilege that car owners and non-car owners in Clinton Hill enjoyed in the past (except for some periods of break-in crime…think back to crack cocaine days) of exceedingly casual and intermittent residential traffic is over. The demographics of Brooklyn have changed, and are changing rapidly. The mid 20th century saw an exodus from urban centers as people moved to the suburbs. That trend is now reversing, more and more people want to live in NYC.

New residential construction in Clinton Hill/Fort Greene was pretty much stagnant for DECADES. Wake up call: take a walk to Fulton St. and scan the horizon. Thousands of new residential housing units are now in the process of being planned and built within/or in extremely close proximity to our neighborhood. The eastern terminus of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park with its numerous residential towers is just ONE block from Clinton Avenue. The overwhelming majority of this new housing is upscale/luxury with a token affordable element included: this translates into a household demographic that can afford car ownership. Furthermore, North and North Central Brooklyn is being heavily developed. People want to move here now, it’s no longer ‘settling’ for living in this and surrounding neighborhoods. The Brooklyn population is growing.

Do you want to be able to actually use your car? Do you want to not be stuck in traffic jams? An increasing demographic is using bikes as transportation. Bikes now are an integral and imperative piece of the puzzle for commuting in NYC. Bikes and public transportation are the safety valve that reduce road congestion and keep car traffic from becoming exponentially more frustrating than it currently is.

The bike path network isn’t yet fully established and it’s not yet safe. When it reaches a point where it’s fully established and safe, even more people will be using it. Newer generations of NYC’ers will be adopting bike transport instead of car transport. Visit Europe or Asia to see what two wheeled transport is like when fully established. Segregating bikes from cars, as much as possible, prevents the insane clusterf*cks that can exist … go to Asia to get an eyeful of what that can be like when there’s no enlightened urban planning at work.

Sticking one’s head in the sand is not a solution.
Many thanks to the DOT for stepping up to the plate.

•If you want to drive a car efficiently from point A to point B in NYC, you are going to want to not have to fight for lanes with bikes, or crawl behind a bike.
•If you want to drive a car efficiently from point A to point B in NYC, you are going to want there to be less cars on the roads, not more cars and more car traffic. By preventing a fully implemented bike network, you are encouraging people to avoid biking and you are encouraging increasing traffic congestion.
•If you want to drive a car efficiently from point A to point B in Brooklyn, you will want the many thousands of new residents now moving into the newly constructed housing in Clinton Hill/Fort Greene, as well as the newly arriving residents in other developing Brooklyn neighborhoods and who will all be passing through Clinton Hill/Fort Greene on a daily basis … you will want as many of these folks to ride bikes as possible (or bikes to public transport) so the streets do not become an impossible traffic jam clusterf*k of untold proportions.
•If you want to drive a car efficiently from point A to point B in NYC, you will need to understand that introducing exponentially more cars into the limited road network to accommodate the growing population is not a viable solution.

Sticking one’s head in the sand is not a solution.

Whereas there used to be the dead space on Atlantic where Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park is now being built, the same is going to be occurring along the Brooklyn waterfront and Wallabout. There’s going to be more people, and more reason for all of us, to want to go to these different parts of Brooklyn. Along with bicyclists commuting, there needs to be a viable and safe bike route north-south. The Clinton Avenue DOT plan is a fantastic solution. True 35 parking spots will be lost, but that seems a well-balanced sacrifice in restructuring the transportation network to meet the present and upcoming transportation issues that Brooklyn is facing.

Car owners unfortunately are blinded to the fact that they’re a main beneficiary of this transportation plan. Excepting for those that very rarely use their cars (but essentially ‘warehouse’ it in a parking spot only for occasional weekend travel) the DOT plan has foresight, it makes the streets safer, it makes the quality of driving, riding a bike, and walking in the area much improved, it provides a vital link to the bike lane infrastructure that has as it’s main purpose to relieve the car traffic in an already heavily congested NYC.
May 20, 2016, 4:01 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Old Glory, I hate to break this to you, but being against bike lanes doesn't make anyone against bicycles as a whole or even against progress in that matter. In all honesty, I don't really see a need for bike lanes especially when I believe that cyclists will be much safer if they just followed the traffic laws rather than constantly flout them. Also, not every street can have a bike lane especially due to the width of the street itself. It makes me feel as if the purpose is to promote some form of road pricing by creating the very congestion, which I like to call the Bloomberg Way since he was known for addressing problems by creating them while using some scapegoat(s) to blame for them. Until there can be a way to make cars fold up into suitcases like on the Jetsons, there will be a need for parking spaces. Just eliminating existing parking spaces will make motorists circle around elsewhere looking for them, which other neighborhoods don't want. Unfortunately, your group doesn't seem to understand how those of us who drive on a normal basis have to go through and feel that your kind always know better. Since you brought up the Atlantic Yards (now called Pacific Park), that land wasn't empty, there were people living there and were forced out by either selling to Forest City Ratner or via eminent domain while choosing not to sell was never an option, and I know this from actually meeting with them in person including Daniel Goldstein himself, who lead that fight. The only real blight there was the Vanderbuilt Yards itself, but not everything else. BTW, how can those living in what was the proposed footprint and opposing it be NIMBYs when it would be going over their property? A real NIMBY would be the ones having to live with it, which wasn't the case for this one. You almost sound like one of Ratner's paid supporters for saying this, and I suggest you see the film Battle for Brooklyn to get the real story on this project. Overall, I don't hate bicycles, just those who use them and serious attitude problems in claiming that riding a bicycle places them above all.
May 20, 2016, 5:23 pm
Old Glory from Clinton Hill says:
The there were very few buildings on Atlantic Ave. along that strip prior to the Pacific Park development. Actually, I liked it how it was prior to the development, with the train yards and empty lots. I even liked the derelict building there. I prefer NYC to not be homogenous. I also prefer Barclays never to have been built.
Nonetheless, the Brooklyn landscape and population are changing radically but transportation advances have not been incorporated to meet that change.

It's hard to argue the greater value to the city and community of 35 parking spots compared to putting in place an essential link integrating the safe biking lane network which will create the central north-south artery in this area of Brooklyn connecting Atlantic to the waterfront.

Anyway, it's too late, the toothpaste is out of the tube. Look around you at the new housing and retail developments already in process and planned (and the retail developments that will arrive in their wake) within just a dozen blocks or so to the west, to the East in Crown Heights/Bed Stuy, to the South in Prospect Heights/Lefferts Gardens, and more expected in the north Wallabout/waterfront that will impact the transportation stresses in this area.

In previous decades from an eye in the sky Clinton Hill, Fort Green, Bed Stuy, Crown Heights, Lefferts, Boerum Hill, etc. would look like a maze of tiny puddles. Well seasoned brownstones and apartment buildings with very few structures rising over 6 stories, dead spots and undeveloped areas, lazy blocks in dappled sunlight, empty lots with weeds, mellow traffic, easy parking (excepting bustling mainlines like Mrytle, Atlantic, Eastern Parkway, Flatbush, plus Fulton & Washington).
Fast forward to 2016 with all empty lots bought up and under development, a major and massive sports stadium, a developing waterfront, a dizzying makeover to a neglected downtown, a horizontal extension now being converted to vertical extension, an undreamed proliferation of residential towers, either completed, under construction, or slated to break ground all within a dozen blocks, completely dwarfing in scale what a quarter century ago was the highest structure in the area, the Williamsburg Bank Tower on Hanson Place, now displaced in scale by its neighbors and resembling a quaint spire in lost in a towering landscape of a growing Brooklyn.
All the little puddles have started to run together creating first a pond, now a lake, and soon it will become a sea. That's what our previous little puddle of a neighborhood is now, due to proximity and extension, an integral part of.

The amount of curb hasn't multiplied or reproduced itself during this land grab and development, and this is something that should be addressed, of course parking is important.

However, in the bigger picture 35 parking spots vs. transporting the growing sea of the population safely north-south through this area, with as little impact as possible to car traffic flow with improved safety for all concerned is worse than just backwards or static thinking. It's sticking one's head in the sand.

One can expect that a more integrated, complete, and safer biking lane network in this part of the city will reduce the car ownership and take some strain off the parking and car traffic flow. I do not want to see parking spots eliminated but in this instance I think it's a well thought out compromise.

The residential development has metastasized and it's outdistanced the previous infrastructure dating from when the area was separate neighborhood 'puddles'. When was there previously the scope of residential development in this area of Brooklyn, as we are now witnessing? It's unprecedented. The days of easy parking are going to become a distant memory, and the car and bike traffic is going to exponentially increase. That’s the reality.

DOT deserves props for addressing the problem and finding an elegant solution.
May 20, 2016, 6:51 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, I don't want to get too much into the Atlantic Yards here, because that's not the issue here, but I suggest you look at the blog known as the Atlantic Yards Report by Norman Oder, who is telling what is really going on there. Anything else is just irrelevant to what is being said here, and the area south of the rail yards wasn't empty nor blighted as some try to spin it not to mention the thousands that were displaced and vilified by the media for the most part. My point on why there is opposition to the Clinton Avenue bike lane is that community doesn't want it, but both the DOT and Transportation Alternatives are trying to get it done despite their input. In reality, not every street can have bike lanes especially if the street being proposed happens to be a two way street with one lane in each direction. Other streets that shouldn't have bike lanes include those that happen to be major thoroughfares with commercial vehicles using them and making them very dangerous for cyclist when they don't always come into view of them. Other reasons why some bike lanes are opposed much is because of how much they are used and being seeing as a waste of space for streets, while others just don't think they deserve any due to their nature of flouting the laws, though some feel as if their tax dollars should be used for something more important than bike lanes. Overall, I suggest you try looking at the causes for the opposition rather than the effects.
May 20, 2016, 7:18 pm
Tanya from Cobble Hill says:
Streets don't belong to neighborhoods.

Street parking doesn't belong to individuals.

This is about interconnecting neighborhoods.

It's necessary and a cost effective solution to reducing the city's carbon footprint.
May 20, 2016, 7:37 pm
Samir Kabir from downtown says:
I don't feel "more safer" when a cyclist mows me down as I'm cross the street using a crosswalk with the "go"sign. Or "more safer" when cyclists don't stop at red lights or stop signs. And how about when they ride the wrong way in traffic? I wish the cyclists would run over all the joggers, since the cyclists ride on the sidewalks anyway. "More safer", indeed!
May 21, 2016, 6:33 am
John from Graves end says:
Why is this black lady aloud to be racist without people condemning her comments . She does not like that said "settlers" are white
May 21, 2016, 11:05 pm
Jeremy from Clinton Hill says:
Has anyone noticed how the afternoon traffic runs south? Stand on any of the N/S avenues for the late afternoon rush: It's backed up going south on Vanderbilt, Clinton, Washington. So why does the DOT want to make Clinton one way going north? Is the DOT completely clueless?
May 23, 2016, 12:46 am
Mike from Park Slope says:
@ Jeremy, "what goes up must come down" or vice versa.
May 23, 2016, 3:47 pm
ClintonHillion from Clinton Hill says:
I don't drive; I walk, I bike, and I ride as a passenger. There are jerks who ride bikes and there are certainly jerks who drive. when necessary, I curse both out. But, one substantive difference is that the drivers have tons of steel behind them.

Protected lanes and narrower streets make car traffic drive more slowly and make things safer for pedestrians - who have less traffic to traverse and cyclers - who don't have to dodge double-parked jackasses or get run down. They also benefit drivers by calming and segregating traffic. Those are just facts.

Another fact: on-street parking is a privilege, not a right. And this neighborhood (like the City in general) needs more bike infrastructure and more traffic-calming measures. After decades upon decades of tax dollars only being spent by DOT to facilitate car driving - which should largely be discouraged here - my tax dollars are finally being spent for something that I actually use regularly.

I've lived in the neighborhood for over 20 years - I've lived here longer than I've lived anywhere; if that makes me a 'settler,' then let me grab my smallpox blankets and muskets out of storage. And as long as this settler pays his taxes to support the City then this settler has every right to advocate for services and infrastructure I need within reason.
May 23, 2016, 7:14 pm
Old Glory from Clinton Hill says:
Regarding 'settlers', there was a large dose of thinly disguised, and undisguised racism at the meeting on May 19th. For ex., an unusual comment from an African American speaker thanking people of color for keeping the neighborhood clean ... not sure what to make of that ... was the underlying assumption that people of color can't keep their neighborhood clean thus should be congratulated for doing so? Or was it to segregate and stereotype the demographic of the neighborhood (and meeting) into 'colored vs. non-colored, and to compliment the former while disparaging the latter and dismissing them? In either case, it made me feel ashamed for my neighbors viewing transportation, and the meeting, through a race and/or racist lens. It's unclear how owning and parking a car, dealing with traffic, or riding a bike is a race prerogative. Yet another instance of the straw man arguments, poor thinking, and empty rhetoric that unfortunately drove so many of the community responses.

Yet another gem was a wannabe preacher, who began his speech about the degree of ‘love in the room’, moving his comments into more sentimental moralizing rubbish, then showed his true colors by stating he was not going to respect the bylaws and structure of the assembly and meeting … and would speak beyond his allotted time slot forcing them to 'bodily remove' him if they wanted him to stop. He went on to condemn bicyclists because they come from other neighborhoods and just pass through Clinton Hill … he seemed incapable of grasping that car traffic originating elsewhere passes through Clinton Hill. Indeed, that’s what STREETS are for. This low-level sociopath was silenced when they turned his microphone off.

It felt dirty to be in the room, lol. It's hard to recommend the value of community input when so much of it is on the order of kindergarten level behavior at best, and the seediest sort of emotional - and unsupportable - rabble rousing at worst.

There was a woman claiming to bike who gave an emotional fearful rant about her children possibly being struck by a bike on the proposed bike path while exiting their parked car. That there’s a buffer zone between the car parking lane and the bike lane in the proposed plan, while conversely there is NO BUFFER at present, leads to the conclusion that the danger is higher for her children as the street is PRESENTLY configured. Yet another example of the political theater on display, as opposed to reasonable or insightful criticism.

If one is to take the meeting on the whole as political theater, it’s a rather poor presentation. Perhaps there was some political organizing to make these presentations happen, and if so it seems to have backfired … people were fighting their own straw-men. The other explanation - which is likely closer to the real truth and saddens me to state - is that many of my neighbors are emotionally dysfunctional dimwits. That’s a hard truth to acknowledge, but it’s worth digesting nonetheless. My imagination had given them more credit than they deserve.

Everyone has a voice, but some voices are more beneficial than others, and many are downright worthless. I hope the powers that be rise above this sort of nonsense and attribute the value it deserves, when assessing transportation and safety issues that impact the entire city.

As I mentioned elsewhere, the issue of parking is a valid one.
Likewise, the issue of traffic flows as a whole, in and through Clinton Hill, and around Brooklyn is also a valid concern.

I too wonder what DOT and our politicians can be expected to incorporate when so much ignorance is displayed such as at this CB2 meeting. It would suggest the benefits of NOT consulting with the community and that it’s more productive to just move forward with whatever plans the professionals in charge come up with after having studied the problems, the traffic patterns, and considering criticism from enlightened and intelligent critics. One certainly wouldn’t want a crowd such as that gathered on May 19th to be left with any responsibility for designing the streets of NYC.


Re: Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park - Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville:

I wrote, "The there were very few buildings on Atlantic Ave. along that strip prior to the Pacific Park development."
That's a fact.
I'm not disputing that there were structures on Atlantic (and elsewhere) and that eminent domain was invoked, and it's unclear what motivated your reply and diatribe.
May 23, 2016, 9:05 pm
Carol Brown from Carroll Gardens says:
It seems like the Dysfunctional Organization of Transportation (DOT) is at it again. They don't listen to the residents of the community, instead have meetings to appear to listen to the residents, and then do whatever they want. They make decisions that endanger our pedestrians by putting bike lanes where there is heavy truck traffic, and we have lost children's lives, as well as adults.
It seems to me that if all these bikers are on the streets, they too should get special permits for their bikes, because they too have injured people and cars. They feel they are untouchable because they can't be traced. The city is giving these bikers all sorts of conveniences and are not willing to have them be eligible for any liability they cause. Most of these bikers are adamant to drivers, don't stop at lights, stop signs, and are not courteous. The city should hold them liable for their actions, but they totally ignore this aspect of the bikers and the privileges they get.
If the city agencies listen to the cries of the residents of these communities, I think fair, and just decisions can be agreed upon by the majority of the residents.
May 24, 2016, 8:32 am
Mike from Park Slope says:
@ Carol Brown from Carroll Gardens.

The reason why the DOT doesn't always listen to people like you is most of what you just said there is completely made up BS that you pulled out of god knows where. You live in a made up delusion world whereas the DOT is performing studies and using data to make decisions.

1) Explain to us how bike lanes endanger pedestrians? And use facts and data to back your answer.

2) How many bikers have injured or killed pedestrians in the past 5 years? I know the answer but you clearly don't

3) Regarding "courteous" this is NYC so you won't get any. You are a mis-informed idiot. See I'm not courteous either - welcome to NYC - deal with it.

4) Creating infrastructure to keep cyclists and in turn pedestrians safe isn't a privilege.
May 24, 2016, 4:58 pm

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