Holy spokes! Sunset Park bike lanes approved despite protests

Approved: Community Board 7 members gave the green light to the city’s plan to add bike lanes to six streets in Sunset Park.
Brooklyn Paper
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They’re a new way to ride into the Sunset.

Community Board 7 members overwhelmingly approved a city proposal to add bike lanes to six streets in Sunset Park and update the intersection at 43rd Street and Third Avenue at the panel’s Oct. 19 meeting. The pedalers’ paths will be a boon to the nabe’s cyclists, said one local who rides his bike to work daily and testified at the meeting in favor of the proposal.

“I’m very pleased, because obviously bike lanes create a safer environment for cyclists,” said David Strungis, who lives on 40th Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues. “You feel a difference on streets without bike lanes. Even some streets here in Sunset Park, people speed down those streets, they pass you very closely, they go by you very quickly. So if there’s a bike lane, it just creates a general feeling of safety and comfort, which I appreciate.”

The Department of Transporta­tion’s plan includes adding bike lines to the residential portions of 43rd, 44th, 57th, and 59th streets between Third and Seventh avenues, and painting sharrows — chevrons pointing the way for bicyclists — on those same four streets between Second and Third avenues. The transportation agency will also add a lane along 41st Street between Fifth and Seventh avenues, and will install a two-way bike lane on 43rd Street between First and Second avenues as a gateway to Bush Terminal Park.

The stretch of 58th Street between First and Second avenues will also get a two-way bike lane as a gateway to Brooklyn Army Terminal and the ferry, but that addition will take away five parking spaces — three at 58th Street and Second Avenue, and two at 58th Street and First Avenue. And plans to update the intersection at Third Avenue and 43rd Street — by adding pedestrian curb cuts and smoothing the Belgian blocks — will also rob the nabe of four parking spaces on Second Avenue and one spot on First Avenue.

The district manager of CB7 said that the changes are ultimately about better-connecting the neighborhood.

“It’s not just a bike lane proposal — it’s a proposal for better transporta­tion,” said Jeremy Laufer. “We have never turned down a bike lane before, and this one did not seem overly burdensome. It’s a good way to connect to both the waterfront park and the 58th Street pier.”

Laufer also added that the board’s approval came with caveats: that the Metropolitan Transit Authority extend B11 bus service from its current stop at First Avenue to the 58th Street pier, where there is already space for a bus turnaround, that the transportation agency work in conjunction with the sanitation and police departments to ensure the proper safety measures are implemented for pedestrian, vehicle, and biking traffic, and that alternate-side-parking practices remain as they are.

When the plan to add the bike lanes and update the intersection was initially presented to the public at a CB7 Transportation Committee meeting last month, many locals blasted the proposal, citing concerns ranging from increased double parking, to limiting access for emergency vehicles, to being left out of the planning process.

And clashes over the lanes are not new to the nabe. In the past, Sunset Parkers have railed against plans to add bike lanes to Fourth and Seventh avenues, with opponents calling them harbingers of gentrification and supporters calling them community assets.

Many of the residents who opposed the bike lanes at last month’s committee meeting were noticeably absent from the Oct. 19 meeting, when the board voted to approve the plan 34-4, but Laufer rejected the notion that bike lanes contribute to gentrification, adding that the painted-on lanes don’t have that power.

“If we’re talking about economic displacement, which is what gentrification is, I am unaware of bike lanes [contributing to that] anywhere,” he said. “We’re talking about paint.”

Sturgis also said he disagreed with the opponents, saying the lanes represent much-needed improvement.

“When I ride my bike, I see diverse representation, so I would disagree that it represents gentrifica­tion,” Strungis said. “I think it represents welcome change.”

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 5:53 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

ty from pps says:
this will be good for the bodegas selling candles and flowers.
Oct. 25, 2017, 7:23 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Had that opposition showed up at the latest board meeting, they could have actually stopped it from happening.
Oct. 25, 2017, 2:45 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:

Who's this person saying that he doesn't understand or see the connection how bike lanes contribute to gentrification because "it's just paint on the street?" Of course it's just paint on the street. How silly is this statement? Truly, it's nonsensical. The paint is material for the SIGN, the signifier, that has statutory authority supposedly guaranteeing its existence and command, get it? Take traffic lights. They're just colored lights! That's all they are. And yet, those light bulbs get you to stop your multiple ton and potentially lethal vehicle or to go by merely changing color. Why do you obey this phantom's commands? Because of the underlying statutory authority guaranteeing its power. So if you disagree that bike lanes don't contribute to gentrification then say that, but don't be dim-witted and say that mere paint on the street promotes nothing--all traffic would be chaos under that logic.
Oct. 25, 2017, 7:16 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Just another contemptuous dismissal by an agent of gentrification perhaps lacking perspective--I'm amazed this person could claim any expertise over 'traffic' or 'traffic alternatives' and not know how sign systems work, or how they contribute to social changes. Padre en Cielo!
Oct. 25, 2017, 7:18 pm
Larry Littlefield from Wndsor Terrace says:
Pretty soon, Julianne will have to start visiting assisted living facilities to find people to complain about bike lanes for the usual articles. And not long after that, she'll have to find them in cemeteries.

Look for these comments on the stones.

"I'm not here because a bicycle hit me, but once a bicycle almost did. (I'm here because in life I didn't get enough exercise)."
Oct. 26, 2017, 8:26 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Hi Former Neighbor. Gracias por responder. I am sad to hear you are a 'former neighbor,' but hope you are happy wherever you go.

Firstly, I'm not opposed to bike lanes. Indeed, I'm ambivalent and only because of their, as you state, correlation to gentrification--and it appears to be a strong one. It's that Boyle Heights mindset that got me pausing. I likewise look forward to an automobile-less world, but a gentrification-free one as well. There's no point in going over the correlation--it's lengthy. But I'm certain that sooner or later, we will.

Secondly, I'm much more opposed to the TYPE of response by Laufer regarding the connection between 'gentrification' and really ANYTHING, which strikes me as characteristic of agents of gentrification whenever they are confronted or have to explain this connection. This dismissive and blithe attitude that too often surfaces, with a subsequent resort to anecdote and not FACTS or hard DATA to counter those connections, is exactly what Laufer did, and it happens too often by those who claim some authority or expertise or whatnot in or over civics. I draw attention to his contradiction, and his willful self-imposed blindness really, where he sees in fact that bike lanes do in fact have a social impact--here he is eloquent in positive terms. But dare him to muster up the courage to see whether this has some connection to 'gentrification' and suddenly all is stupefied: 'it's just paint' which needs to be listed alongside all the thought-terminating cliches compiled by agents of gentrification over the years whenever confronted with the specter of gentrification. "We're just selling coffee." "We're just opening an art gallery." "We're just building these condos, man." "So what wherever we go the masses are displaced? Look at the MULTICULTURALISM of the remnants."

It serves us (and Laufer) better to actually explore the issue before making conclusive statements and prematurely dismissing these connections. It's precisely this kind of attitude, one that is not fact-based but highly subjective while passing itself off as 'scientific' as in 'urban design' that infuriates and galvanizes respondents--that agents of gentrification refuse to see as their own making. The simple fact of the matter is that correlation or causation there IS a connection between bike lanes and gentrification and full investigation and disclosure of the facts is better for persons who envision a greener Brooklyn.

But more importantly, there has to be an end to this repeated offhand dismissal of connecting to gentrification whenever especially an ostensibly 'progressive' issue is revealed to in fact bear such connections (which is crazy, because gentrification is paradigm and hegemony, connects to and includes all--even its opponents are its agents). It's disingenuous, and easily recognizable. Laufer says gentrification is 'economic displacement,' so he admits that gentrification can be an economic issue, and in fact he uses economic arguments to justify his support for bike lanes and is even quoted at length in this article how bike lanes contribute to 'local commerce'--which is dubious and Comptroller Stringer recently and effectively demonstrated in his New Geography of Jobs (April). It is astonishing anyone can admit ANYTHING has commercial impact so eloquently while simultaneously dismissing a connection to gentrification.
Oct. 26, 2017, 10:44 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
contigo en lucha siempres
Oct. 26, 2017, 10:48 am
Tyler from pps says:
Ya know how we can make bike lanes and other cycling infrastructure not a "signifier of gentrification"?


Let traffic engineers and city planners do their job. Stop listening to whiners with their irrational fears about bicycles being a direct threat to their cars.

It's not a signifier of gentrification if it's EVERYWHERE, robust and complete (i.e., no breaks in the infrastructure... we don't let motor vehicle infrastructure just disappear for 10 blocks, then start up again... but that's standard for bike lanes.)

Or we can keep leaving these decisions to the nut jobs who seem to inhabit the Community Boards and enable these voices who are somehow making the argument that support for a virtually *free* form of transportation (cheap up front costs and tiny maintenance costs) is "gentrification." It's nuts.
Oct. 26, 2017, 11:19 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Some more of that famous "gentrification logicus" by "agenticus"--want to build affordable housing, build luxury housing! Want to end gentrification? Enhance and make ubiquitious the very conditions that make it prominent!

"It's not a signifier of gentrification if it's everywhere"--this is dumb and incoherent. The logic doesn't follow and Tyler seems to think that merely its statement makes its inherent contradiction true. We are discussing whether bike lanes correlate to gentrification. Tyler seems to admit that, but only, apparently, because they are incomplete. 'Completing' this infrastructure seems sound, but we have no way of knowing, and there's every reason to believe that by the time the amenities of gentrification are universally applied that their benefits won't be universal. Since the beginning of this gentrification, it has been argued that merely providing the semblance of 'equal and free' access to something will somehow in fact produce blanket equality and freedom. That in fact is nuts. You know why? Because it's ahistorical. Indeed, unless the bike infrastructure were completed in one fell swoop across Brooklyn, the incremental nature of its adoption GUARANTEES gentrification (if in fact there is a connection)--which Tyler admits.

Also, "bike lanes" are not even a 'virtually' free form of transportation. If they are guaranteed by statutory authority then there are immediate and ongoing costs--the least being that of the taxpayers, and not all of those costs 'financial.' And even if they were offered FREE and cheaply-maintained, that in of itself is no barrier to gentrification, as its history readily demonstrates.
Oct. 26, 2017, 12:17 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
If a sign is not significant because it is ubiquitous, then it's safe to say gentrification doesn't exist not because it is nowhere but because it is everywhere. We've reached the mystical heights with these agents of gentrification, the very paradox of paradoxes
Oct. 26, 2017, 12:21 pm
Tyler from pps says:
WHAT? Way to misread! Good job!

#1 - How you are possibly equating transportation infrastructure with luxury housing?

#2 - It's the CYCLING that is "virtually free" for the human being using the bicycle -- not the infrastructure itself (which, by the way, is DIRT CHEAP compared to maintaining *any* other form of transportation infrastructure!)

#3 - Yeah, you're right. No infrastructure can appear overnight all at once. The library system wasn't plopped down over night. The bus system and trolleys and hospitals and fire houses and street corner garbage bins and blah blah blah .... Oh Yes! All of those are the cause of gentrification!

#4 - I suppose repaving roads causes gentrification, right?

#5 - Your argument is "keep is as crappy as possible and don't even attempt improvements" because SHAZAM! gentrification. That is your argument. There is no other reading.
Oct. 26, 2017, 12:26 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Yes, I am misreading. You take a call for rational discussion on the possible connections between "gentrification" and "bike lanes" with ad hominem and slurs of "nut jobs" to anyone who disagrees with your issue, but "everyone else" is "misreading." Classic inverse projection by an agent of gentrification.

#1 - I am comparing all the idiocies in logic every aspect of gentrification where agents of gentrification argue that activities that support gentrification in fact counter it--just like you

#2 - That was dumb. You cannot isolate the human from the infrastructure--they don't inhabit separate physical universes.

# 3 - Why yes, in fact, you're right. Thank you for validating my argument.

# 4 - They can. Perhaps you overlooked that part of my post above where I state "gentrification is paradigm." You need a dictionary? That means that anything that happens within gentrification is in fact part of it, even actions that are opposed.

# 5 - No. Now you are misreading, perhaps misrepresenting, and definitely misanthropic. I said I am 'ambivalent' about "bike lanes." You need a dictionary again? Any person who cares about gentrification has to pause at the mere suggestion that the connections exist, not up and start yelling like a child and flinging insults and calling other people 'nuts' because they disagree with you. You strike me as quite the fascist. I'm guessing you think you're anything but.
Oct. 26, 2017, 12:35 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Further on #5 - Your argument is "anyone who wants a reasoned and rational discussion on the possible connection between gentrification and bike lanes is a nut job and yells out SHAZAM!" Really read what you're writing. The person who is insane is YOU. The people you ostensibly oppose are asking for answers. Your "answer" is to dismiss their concerns as nuts even though you have no facts to ameliorate their concerns. You in fact agree that the incremental nature of construction contributes to gentrification--somehow the fact that you let this slip has caused you some pain. Perhaps you can go to the doctor after this. Never ignore an aneurysm. Nevertheless, that its an indisputable fact or that its indisputability causes you cognitive dissonance is not grounds for you to dismiss gentrification. That's again insane--you are dismissing gentrification by agreeing that it exists. And neither are you dismissing the possibility that bike lanes contribute to gentrification, with all your magical-speculative budgeting. You just don't want it discussed PERIOD. An anecdote about somebody perhaps falling off their bike and landing in a bodega to buy local cigarettes is more compelling for yo
Oct. 26, 2017, 12:40 pm
Tyler from pps says:
So, in short, all of your comments above are just philosophical mast%rbation. You're just joining the chorus of the anti-infrastructure improvement (anti-bike infrastructure, anti-rapid bus transitways, anti-roadway modifications, etc.) not because you hold a particular view or even believe these infrastructure improvements are harmful, but... because it lets you trot out your mediocre social theory.

The low income person getting to her job, or transferring to a subway/bus hub using a bicycle is a REAL thing. Providing infrastructure to make this journey safer and more accessible is a REAL benefit to that woman.

Feel free to keep waxing philosophic about your "agents of gentrification" bogeymen and your gentrification ecosystem theories... all that accomplishes is creating one more barrier to this woman's journey to work.

(Oh yeah -- rich people like bike lanes too. They also like buses and fire houses and schools and corner garbage cans... and all of the other things being pushed by the "agents of gentrification" within the "gentrification paradigm")
Oct. 26, 2017, 12:49 pm
sinneD from North Brooklyn says:
This is a projection. I'm not sure where you've gotten past "philosophical masturbation" yourself. Yours is hardly a scientific treatise on geometry and geography. You can't let go of your ego for even a second to see that above I posted that in fact I support an automobile-free world. The very moment I had the temerity to wonder if the issue you identify with is in fact less than perfect you decided to froth at the mouth. You have no way of proving that "low income persons" will "get to their jobs" on time except, as I have seen in recent social media flurries by agents of gentrification on this issue, when they are persons delivering your food. Which makes "bike lanes" a whole other kettle from "civil rights" or "social justice" as some of you have attempted portraying--because the triumph of civil rights was not economics (the argument that some critics make that "white people agree to integration because it's good for business") but the vindication of human dignity. But there's hardly any dignity in having bike lanes placed where those delivery men actually RESIDE so they can be effectively displaced. I GUARANTEE that if you ask those same delivery persons if they had to choose between their homes or their bicycles--they'd know exactly where social justice would lay.

Telling and typical that Brooklyn Paper doesn’t block these sexually charged and strange comments. Disagree with gentrification? To the void!
Oct. 26, 2017, 1 pm
Tyler from pps says:
So, now we're talking about restaurant delivery people.

And, yes, your "temerity to wonder" is just super, because nothing could be less self-indulgent mast*rbation than writing a long treatise (above) to describe the less-than-perfect as the evil powers of gentrification. And, we all know, demanding perfection (especially in terms of your broadly construed gentrification ecosystem) is going to lead straight to action and perfect solutions! Yay New York! Dennis is here!
Oct. 26, 2017, 1:24 pm
sinneD from North Brooklyn says:
100 words or so is a long treatise? Seriously, don't you get tired of all this hostility and calling people names you don't agree with and looking in every way to humiliate and embarrass them. I'd take a treatise any day over that. I'm not sure why you're so resentful--you act as if agents of gentrification NEVER realize their initiatives because of critics when the exact opposite is true. Your outrage is invalid. You don't deserve it. The bike lanes will get pushed through whatever criticism follows. You don't simply want people to agree with you--you want them to vindicate, validate and celebrate your decisions that are contrary to their interests. And while I am struggling to discuss this with you, you have written literally NOTHING but insults--"nut jobs," "masturbation" and the most horrible of all, ELOQUENCE (God help us all), while repeatedly projecting some nonsense about mast*rbation. You read like you have something in mind and hand. That's fine. I support that more than I do bike lanes. But please, stop boring me already with your limited set of insults
Oct. 26, 2017, 1:33 pm
sinneD from North Brooklyn says:
This thing about "perfection" and anyone who disagrees with you "strives after perfection"--I don't know where you get this from but it's not an argument. It's not even philosophy. It's a smoke screen for a limited argument, an ad hominem. And while you're busy writing "treatises" yourself, quite the privileged person you are apparently!, you don't like treatise unless it mimes and repeats you. No thanks. If that's winning, I'd rather lose. Now, please, if you decide to respond, and reading your responses are like being on death row--I request a last meal. Make my meal one of facts and data, and not inverse projection please. Don't vomit on my plate and tell me to have manners
Oct. 26, 2017, 1:36 pm
sinneD from North Brooklyn says:
AND you're proving my point above that agents of gentrification, otherwise professional in every regard, fall into dismissive attitudes and ad hominem whenever 'gentrification' is merely raised in discussion connecting to urban design issues
Oct. 26, 2017, 1:41 pm
Tyler from pps says:
I used the word treatise because you said I was being too negative -- thought you'd like that.
Oct. 26, 2017, 2:09 pm
sinneD from North Brooklyn says:
Here's some 'treatise' you may enjoy. Alas, it's history--that subject you agents hate so much for it's "perfection":
Oct. 26, 2017, 2:15 pm
OMG from Shut The Fukk Up Dennis says:
WOW! Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg is a complete loon and needs a hobby. He has hijacked this whole thread with his "woe is me" diarrhea. Shut up already.
Oct. 26, 2017, 4:09 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Like gnarly dude, omg totally, i’m a hijacker obviously talking about nothing to do with the issue.

These agents of gentrification all seem to have a professional license to operate projectors
Oct. 26, 2017, 4:22 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
You’re a real charmer. Did I sleep with your spouse to provoke this response?
Oct. 26, 2017, 8:31 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Haha. That was imaginative. I don’t know if I ever tasted you but I sure hope she was happy. Lots of words and references you’re using there to my recent writings, even in referring to my mother’s place. Thanks for following me. That “macho” sounds lots like the overcompensation by agents of gentrification over the years for having no authenticity. It reads to me like the “sting” you’re describing is again being projected. But unfortunately for you and many others of your colleagues I don’t have leukemia. Neither did my sister. And you spelled my wife’s name wrong. She was at my sister’s funeral and knew she passed from asthma. Anything else?
Oct. 26, 2017, 10 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Also maybe next time you see Kt you can ask her who was paying the rent—not her. I quit my job AFTER my wife left and true, it devastated me. Of course! I love her and she is the mightiest being on the planet. It took me years to get over her and I still love her deeply. God bless her wherever she is in everything she does. Who she sleeps with is none of my business, but her well-being is my truest wish
Oct. 26, 2017, 10:10 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Yea, i’m Pretty bored tonight. I can play with an Internet tough guy since I know you’re gutless in real life
Oct. 26, 2017, 10:16 pm
Moira from SP says:
I just want someone to hold cyclists to the rules of the road their supposed to follow. I'm tired of walking and having to jump out of the way when they're on the sidewalk, or having them run red lights because they're "special".
Oct. 27, 2017, 9:25 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Ugh! Still bored. I think I'll go to the cemetery, dig up my sister, & have my way with her again.
Oct. 27, 2017, 10:22 am
Moira from SP says:
I'm tired of walking (waddling) because of my morbid obesity and overall girth.
Oct. 27, 2017, 10:30 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I don't believe that everybody sees bike lanes as gentrification, some just see them as being a waste of space and money for a group that hardly uses them while creating traffic where there wasn't much originally.
Oct. 27, 2017, 4:35 pm
Alan says:
Moira— the best way to get cyclists off the sidewalk is to put a proper bike lane in place. After the Prospect Park West lane went in:
"Dangerous sidewalk bike riding is down from 46% of bike riders on the sidewalk before the project to just 3% after, many of whom are children and legally allowed to ride on the sidewalk"
Oct. 30, 2017, 12:23 pm

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