Pedal pushback: Sunset Parkers rail against city’s bike lane plans

The city wants to paint bike lanes along 43rd and 44th streets between Third and Seventh avenues, and 41st Street between Fifth and Seventh avenues, but locals worry about its effect on parking.
Brooklyn Paper
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It’s going to be another bumpy bike ride.

The city’s plan to add bike lanes and remove parking spots on several Sunset Park streets between Seventh Avenue and the waterfront could increase double parking and make the roads impassable for emergency vehicles and the large trucks that frequently rumble through the nabe, residents claimed at a Community Board 7 meeting Monday night.

“I think they’re taking space away from people,” said Sunset Parker Lillian Maida. “Suppose an old person needs help and a fire truck comes down. They’re not going to get through, because there’s no way, it’s too narrow a street.”

Residents also worried that plans for bike lanes along 43rd, 44th, 57th, and 59th streets would force police to start ticketing double-parked cars that block the pedalers’ path on days when alternate-side-of-the-street parking is in effect — illegal activity that cops usually turn a blind eye to as a courtesy to car owners on street cleaning days.

“I try to find a legal spot, but I do think people are worried about getting ticketed,” Maida said. “There are a number of people who have cars on the block.”

Department of Transportation reps pitched the agency’s proposal — in partnership with Uprose, a local community organization — as a way to better connect the neighborhood to the city’s new ferry service and other amenities.

The city’s plan includes:

• Painting sharrows — chevrons pointing the way for bicyclists — on the four industrial streets between Second and Third avenues.

• Adding bike lanes on the residential portions of 43rd, 44th, 57th, and 59th streets between Third and Seventh avenues.

• Adding a bike lane along 41st Street between Fifth and Seventh avenues.

• Installing a two-way bike lane on 43rd Street between First and Second Avenues as a gateway to Bush Terminal Park.

• Installing pedestrian curb cuts and smoothing the Belgian blocks at Third Avenue and 43rd Street.

The transportation department’s reps admitted the 43rd Street intersection plan would rob the nabe of five parking spaces — four on Second Avenue, and one on First Avenue — but promised the upgrades would improve safety, visibility, and truck traffic flow.

The agency also proposed adding a two-way bike lane on 58th Street between First and Second avenues to create a gateway to Brooklyn Army Terminal and the ferry. That move would take away five parking spaces — three at 58th Street and Second Avenue, and two at 58th Street and First Avenue. A bike crossing and a signal crossing at 57th Street are also being considered.

Another 43rd Street resident said she was frustrated that locals were left out of the planning process, arguing that many do not think the bike lanes are necessary.

“I wanted to know where they got the data to say there’s so many bikers here that would use bike lanes,” said Loretta Holmes. “The streets that are most affected by this, we were not consulted. We were not included.”

But the transportation agency’s rep and Uprose organizers insisted that they held meetings, led walking tours, and hosted community workshops about the proposal over the past two years. In the past, Sunset Parkers have clashed over bike lane proposals on Fourth and Seventh avenues, with opponents calling them harbingers of gentrification and supporters calling them community assets. The nabe’s only current bike lane spans Seventh Avenue between 41st and 65th streets, with an extra bit extending on 62nd Street down to Fifth Avenue.

The community board will vote on the proposals on Oct. 18.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 5:54 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Ridiculous from NY says:
"It’s going to be another bumpy bike ride."
Yes, if Brooklyn Paper keeps parroting inane complaints over a handful of parking spaces.
Oct. 2, 2017, 8:13 am
Resident from Brooklyn says:
The Brooklyn Paper is useless. Everyone involved in these stories ought to consider their life choices and what kind of world they're working to build.
Oct. 2, 2017, 8:46 am
Conchita Gomez from Sunset Park says:
It's not going to be a problem - just park in the bike lane. It's not illegal, and you don't have to pay a meter. It will be more parking!
Oct. 2, 2017, 8:50 am
Adrian from Ridgewood says:
It's funny how one resident thinks that parking spaces are for people. They are for cars. By removing parking spaces, the DOT is GIVING space to people not taking it away. What am I, a person, supposed to do with a parking space? It's useless if I don't have a car, but my taxes still pay for it!
Oct. 2, 2017, 9:01 am
AMH says:
Have the NYPD ticketed anyone for double-parking anywhere ever?
Oct. 2, 2017, 10:06 am
Brian Van from Gramercy says:
There's a lot of of bike-hating cliches being reported here, but the best one has to be "We weren't consulted!" while they are being consulted.
Oct. 2, 2017, 12:23 pm
Ann from Bay Ridge says:
I take the bus through Sunset Park often and the double parking is such an issue up and down 5th Ave. Honestly, I'd bike if there were lanes because it would be so much faster than the bus having to swerve around the double-parked cars!
Oct. 2, 2017, 1:04 pm
Stacey from Brooklyn Heights says:
Adrian - who do you think owns the cars?! It's people. The cars aren't parking for themselves, they're parking for people! How hard is that to understand?
Oct. 2, 2017, 1:11 pm
Joey D from 28th street says:
What is this freakin Tokyo?

4th ave is for cars
Oct. 2, 2017, 2:13 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Maybe some of you should try looking at the causes rather than effects on the opposition. It could be that they don't support the bike lanes considering that they won't be used for the most part and will make them feel like a waste of space as well as causing vehicular traffic to slow down. In all honesty, I could never understand why a small group such as they cyclists always feel that their needs must outweigh all others. Another reason for opposition could be that they feel that many cyclists don't follow the traffic laws to begin with, so special lanes shouldn't be given to them. Still, I don't see why they can't just follow the traffic laws to begin with. My guess is that the bike zealots over on Streetsblog and Transportation Alternatives feel that it will make them part of the establishment that they are trying to fight. On a side note, cyclists are on the very bottom when it comes to commutes in NYC considering that they are less than 1% of them, making them a very small number according to a recent study in the US Census Bureau.
Oct. 2, 2017, 2:48 pm
Ken from Greenpoint says:
how about the city should implementing carriage lanes ??
Oct. 2, 2017, 3:21 pm
Toonie from Staten Island says:
Do this and you might as well change the name from Sunset Park to Sunset Hump!
Oct. 3, 2017, 3:15 am
Jake from Clinton Hill says:
Am I missing something? The article reports that parking will be reduced by ten spots. Is that a lot?
Oct. 3, 2017, 8:36 am
Stephen from South Slope says:
@Stacey & @ Tal - the people who don't own cars outnumber those with cars fairly substantially. People who own cars have a higher median income than those that don't. The vast majority of the people currently riding bikes in Sunset Park are immigrant, working class, people of color doing so out of necessity, not choice. They are riding despite having very little protection or infrastructure designed for their safety. This proposal would establish some *minimal* safety measure for working people and families to access the waterfront where they can take the ferry, get to work, or enjoy recreation. Given all of this, how can one possibly understand this proposal as anything other than the *absolute least* the city can do to benefit the people of Sunset Park with the *absolute minimum* of inconvenience to those that choose to own and drive cars?
Oct. 3, 2017, 10 am
EV Cars from Brooklyn says:
EV (electric vehicles) are here and will soon replace the fossil fuel consuming, carbon polluting relics of the past.

Time to make priority parking with street chargers to make this latest clean air technology work and prosper in an urban setting like NYC where most don't have driveways to charge themselves.
Oct. 3, 2017, 11:02 am
Beth from 58th St from Sunset Park says:
Since I live on 59th St, this has been discussed a lot by my neighbors. It will not take parking away from us, only a few between 1st and 3rd Avenues. But we don't really think it will make bike riders any safer unless it comes with restrictions on trucks. 58th St gets a lot of truck traffic that is avoiding 60th St. It will make it harder for double parking on alternate side days as you can't double park in the bike lane. And I doubt that the bike riders will behave any better than now just because there a lines painted on the street. They will still ride the wrong way, ride on the sidewalk and now make themselves visible at night. Since only 1% on NYers even ride bikes, it is a lot of tax dollars spend to make them happy, and not spend on the majority of us who take the subway or buses.
Oct. 3, 2017, 11:28 am
Joe from Greenpoint says:
85% bikers are not following rules and regulations!! police officers should enforce and handling out summonses to put then in place and educated them.....
Oct. 3, 2017, 11:52 am
Tyler from pps says:
Joe --
You're adorable.
Oct. 3, 2017, 1:57 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Also -- Beth, FYI, it's illegal to double park. Period. Yes, even during alternate side street cleaning. It's illegal to double park. Inside or outside bike lanes. It's illegal to double park. It obstructs traffic, restricts sight lines and forces irregular movement that is difficult to predict. It's illegal to double park. Even on side streets. It's illegal to double park.

(Yes, I have broken this law on occasion dropping something off outside my apartment. But I've never felt entitled to do so and would grumpily accept the ticket.)
Oct. 3, 2017, 2:01 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
And we have reached peak bicycle fetish nonsense in this thread. EV's are now as evil as gas guzzlers unless you can locally source your artisanal energy source.
Oct. 3, 2017, 8:56 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
The claim for cyclists being about 1% off all NYC commuters comes from a recent report in the NYC Census Bureau, not from me. If anyone doesn't like that, then take up with them and not with me. My point about mentioning this is mainly because I don't see much of a reason to spend on building a special infrastructure for a group that isn't even using the roads a lot, which happens to be bicycles. Much of the existing bike lanes that those bike zealots have pushed for have gone unused for a good portion of the time as many others see them as a waste space as well creating traffic for all other vehicles when there wasn't much already. As for the claim that they are supported, I would really like to know if that's really from the said neighborhoods or those bike zealots over on places such as Streetsblog and Transportation Alternatives that flood them from anywhere. I say this because I would like to know where the support is really coming from. On a side note, I won't be surprised that your bias is so much against motor vehicles that you would be hating them even if they all went electric tomorrow to help reduce the carbon footprint all because they are still motor vehicles.
Oct. 4, 2017, 3:22 pm
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
Lots have cars - I have two

Double parking is illegal -
Oh. Heavevs to Betsy - so is a bj in a lot of places but that ain't stopping anyone

Sometimes you have to double park
Oct. 4, 2017, 6:11 pm
Toonie from Staten Island says:
Just build the bike lane but allow double parking on the sidewalk. Then everyone can go.
Oct. 4, 2017, 6:20 pm
Doug from Sunset Park says:
Sorry, no sympathy here. If you're already juggling spaces for 2, 3, or 4 cars per household, you need to leave New York and move to Oklahoma or some other spacious place. As for double parking, there is no more entitled behavior in the city; if you block someone from receiving medical care by double parking, it's on you.
Oct. 5, 2017, 2:40 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I meant to say US Census Bureau in my last my comment, but my point still stands and that was a real study on what makes up NYC commuters, though I know that you bike zealots will claim that it's either fake news or junk science mainly because it wasn't in your favor.
Oct. 5, 2017, 3:33 pm
HONEY Pooter from Williamsburg says:
Doug - I have 5 children! We can't drive just one car! 4 of my children are obese. If we can't double park, they would never get to Sunset Park. Sorry, but Maybe you just don't get it!
Oct. 5, 2017, 4:33 pm
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
Doug - ty for the laugh
If someone can juggle a few cars perhaps they are just better off than you
Now your thinking may work in cup of coffee Idaho but not here

Born and raised in Brooklyn
Did my student teaching at john jay ( where my father went)
Why shoul I or anyone for that matter move out west - my weekend lace upstate works just fine

How long have you been in sunset park aka bay ridge - I had relatives all
Perhaps our families knew each other
Oct. 6, 2017, 7:47 am
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
Well you are paying for my wife's very generous board of ed pension - my soon to be social security - not to mention the rent controlled apt so despite the mocking I must thank you :)
Oct. 6, 2017, 12:33 pm
Stephen from South Slope says:
@Tal, the money spent on this project is a minuscule *fraction* of what is spent primarily or exclusively spent on vehicles. Thermoplastic lines on asphalt is orders of magnitude cheaper than the 794 bridges, expressways, and the overwhelming amount of asphalt and concrete of the streets themselves that are primarily or exclusively designed for moving vehicles. Repaving alone is incredibly expensive, at about $97,000 per lane mile. That means your typical BK block (~765ft * 3 lanes) would cost $42,000 to repave. That's just one block.

Also, while the percentage of those biking *to work* is small, it is growing - rapidly. Many more would choose to do so if there were more infrastructure to provide some modicum of safety. So there's a bit of a chicken and the egg dynamic here. Further, the Census doesn't account for *non-work* trips.
Oct. 10, 2017, 11:08 am
industrial worker from sunset park says:
well i work down near 43rd street and they are installing a 2 way bike lane and taking away all the parking spaces from 1-2 aves, thats roughly 18 spaces. where are we workers supposed to park? its bad enough. parking spaces are more important to the workers than a bike lane is to cyclists, that wont even be worth the trouble, because not many people bike down there is it is industrial and huge trucks are all over.
May 22, 2018, 7:47 pm

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