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Slope’s new Ninth Street bike lanes make road no safer for pedestrians, residents say

Lane drain: A biker heads the wrong way on a protected bike lane the city installed on Ninth Street in Park Slope.
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A stretch of Ninth Street in Park Slope where a driver hit and killed two children last year is now more dangerous to pedestrians than ever, following a redesign that brought new protected bike lanes to the road, locals alleged.

The new bike lanes — which run on either side of Ninth Street between Prospect Park West and Third Avenue, and are separated from traffic by a parking lane — embolden cyclists to speed, according to Ninth Street residents, who on Jan. 24 met with a representative for Borough President Adams at Seventh Avenue’s All Saints Episcopal Church to share their concerns about the infrastructure.

An organizer of the meeting told its roughly two dozen attendees that her neighbor, whom she described as a 93-year-old World War II veteran, nearly died when a bicyclist almost hit him as he recently attempted to cross one of the bike lanes.

“There’s a deep concern about safety, and that’s the reason we’re here tonight,” said Myra Manning.

Another Ninth Street resident told the room his 13-year-old son was skateboarding to school in one of the protected bike lanes in December, when a truck driver turning onto Sixth Avenue struck him. And that incident, coupled with the invitation to speed the lanes’ give to cyclists, has cast serious doubts on the infrastruc­ture’s efficacy, according to the local.

“I’m afraid of getting out of my car, and I’m afraid of my son getting out of the car,” said Jeff Raheb.

Last year, some Slopers warned the city that redesigning Ninth Street would do little to protect pedestrians if officials did not simultaneously crack down on truckers who illegally use the local street as a thoroughfare into Southern Brooklyn.

And those predictions are coming true, according to a crossing guard for Sixth Avenue’s PS 39 between Eighth and Ninth streets, who said truckers that in the past used Ninth Street as an illicit shortcut now drive even closer to the school down Eighth Street, because city’s redesign of Ninth Street narrowed its driving lanes, resulting in more traffic.

“I have huge trucks coming down, making wide turns. It’s inconvenient and it’s dangerous,” said the crossing guard, who only gave her name as Liz. “It’s not just my life, I’m there for the kids.”

Other locals, of course, blasted the Department of Transportation for removing 26 Ninth Street parking spaces to accommodate the redesign, claiming the agency scheme to make the street safer came at car owners’ expense.

“The DOT overkill, without any community involvement, was let’s make it safe and take parking spaces without any regard to the people living here,” said Ninth Street resident, the Hon. Bernard Graham, who serves on the Kings County Supreme Court judge.

Safe-street advocates also turned up for the meeting, one of whom did his best to sow chaos among the disgruntled Ninth Streeters by interrupting them as they spoke, and at one point accusing Manning of pulling information “out of her a--,” a comment that almost induced a fist fight with Raheb.

Other proponents of the new bike lanes, however, argued their points more civilly and effectively, citing city studies that show how dedicated pedalers’ paths reduce injuries and fatalities.

“These protected bike lanes really in every case have been proven to protect the safety of not just bicyclists, but everyone, including pedestrians, and drivers too,” said William Farrell, a traffic engineer who lives in Boerum Hill.

And most in the room praised Adams for being the only elected official willing to entertain to their complaints, after Park Slope’s Councilman Brad Lander and Assemblyman Robert Carroll declined to attend the meeting, according to Manning.

But critics of the new Ninth Street bike lanes shouldn’t expect the beep to push for their destruction, according to a spokesman, who noted his boss is among Brooklyn’s biggest supporters of better bicycling infrastructure.

“The borough president has been an active supporter of the Ninth Street bike lane, he was there at its ribbon cutting, and he conducted a bike ride down Ninth Street to highlight safe streets needs,” said Stefan Ringel.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 11:04 am, February 6, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Bud from Park Slope says:
Anyone surprise that Councilman Brad Lander and Assemblyman Robert Carroll were missing? Lander and his lap-dog Carroll never want to be criticized? Its against the law in Park Slope to disagree with them. Once these two make up their mind, anyone who doesn't tow their line is kind of excommunicated by others in the neighborhood. Lander acts more like the Castro brothers than he does an American politician. At least Lander and Carroll owe it those in the community to hear them out and see if their opinion is valid. But like lion in the Wizard of OZ, they both lack the courage to have any dialect with anyone with an opposing view.
Jan. 28, 3:12 pm
Frank from Furter says:
everyone is entitled to safe streets. that includes pedestrians, bike riders and motorists. NY is essentially lawless with pedestrians, motorists and bikers being equally lawless. Protected bike lanes need getting used to. and riding a bike the wrong way takes more time to get used to.
Jan. 28, 3:23 pm
Charles from Bklyn says:
What's worse, the city installed meters on the corners of 6th avenue and 8th street, making the intersections more dangerous by having cars come and go so near the crosswalk. The city used a tragedy (accident on 9th street and 4th ave) to make more money, and make the whole street more dangerous. Sad and outrageous.
Jan. 28, 3:24 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Unfortunately, the bike zealots don't care about anyone other than themselves even if placing protected bike lanes makes the streets more inconvenient and sometimes even more dangerous for others just as long as they get what they want in the end.
Jan. 28, 3:25 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
It's easier to read these articles now than it was 5 years ago, when they'd make my blood pressure spike. I'm happy that elected officials like Eric Adams and Brad Lander are sick of the entitled car people and the danger and killing they bring with them. Now it's down to 2 dozen jerks gathering in a church to complain to each other. May I suggest that those who are truly committed to and addicted to car culture move back to Ohio where they can drive to their hearts' content? If they can't deal with an urban environment and an urban lifestyle, GTFO.
Jan. 28, 3:45 pm
John from Bay ridge says:
Sorry frat boy- we were here first and we are entitled. You should go back to Kansas or Ohio or whatever armpit of America location you were born in before you graced us post-college with your presence. Bicycles belong in parks, cars on the streets. I'd much rathet see us spend $ on important things like fixing our aging infrastructure, investing in effective mass transit and reducing the scourge of opiate addiction in our communities rather than wasting $ on bike infrastructure for spoiled entitled hipsters and gentrifiers.
Jan. 28, 4:03 pm
Kim from Brooklyn says:
John from Bay ridge says: strong and valued point.....
Jan. 28, 4:29 pm
Jack from Brooklyn says:
“whom she described as a 93-year-old World War II veteran, nearly die when a bicyclist almost hit him as he recently attempted to cross one of the bike lanes.” How about all the times they almost die while just crossing a street filled with cars? “his 13-year-old son was skateboarding to school in one of the protected bike lanes in December, when a truck driver turning onto Sixth Avenue struck him. ” Safety goes both ways. When is son reached the corner he still has to make sure it’s safe to cross, bike lane or not. “Other locals, of course, blasted the Department of Transportation for removing 26 Ninth Street parking spaces to accommodate the redesign, claiming the agency scheme to make the street safer came at car owners’ expense.” And there it is, the real reason. Everyone’s safety should be put on hold so cars have a place to park.
Jan. 28, 4:49 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Nice touch equating parking with “putting everyone’s safety on hold”. No, parking spaces are removed as a passive aggressive act towards removing cars, since they don’t have the political power to enact an outright ban, and because some cranks go into full blown psychosis at the sight of a parked car on a street. There can be safe lanes to bicycle in with little impact on parking, but that’s not the point for the cranks.
Jan. 28, 5:19 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Also, how dumb did people have to be to not realize that bikes were going to fly down the hill on 9th street on an open roadway? You pretty much have to ride your brakes to stay under 30mph on a bike between the park and 4th Avenue if the street is empty.
Jan. 28, 5:24 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Hey John from Bay ridge, horse and buggies were here before cars. That's why streets were constructed, so shut your pie hole.
Jan. 28, 6:28 pm
Mathematician from Brooklyn says:
Will someone give Mike from Williamsburg a free apartment so he can STFU? Also, Henry is right -- what did they think would happen on that hill but bikes speeding?
Jan. 28, 7:54 pm
Frank from Furter says:
Put speed bumps in the bike lanes
Jan. 29, 8:40 am
Robert from Brooklyn says:
i am so sorry that rich people (on average, car owners in brooklyn are far richer than those who don't own cars) lost their free parking. as someone who "donated" those spaces to rich car drivers, and who is himself a poorer non-car driver, i'm glad you lost your parking spaces. i'm glad my money was reallocated to a shared and useful and safer bike lane. go take your 5000 lb SUV to long island or maybe dutchess county, and drive and park to your heart's content. and leave the majority of us in brooklyn, who don't have and can't afford cars with their insurance/registration/fuel costs to enjoy a cleaner less polluted city for us and our children.
Jan. 29, 8:52 am
Reader from Park Slope says:
This is a wildly irresponsible piece of "journalism." Children died on this street and 9th Street has been a known danger for quite some time. The bike lane was installed following multiple community board meetings. A meeting of no more than 30 people in a room that wasn't announced to the public shouldn't warrant this attention. Less sensationalism, more reporting please.
Jan. 29, 8:52 am
Resident from Brooklyn says:
What are the odds that "Hon. Bernard Graham, who serves on the Kings County Supreme Court judge" drives to work from 9th Street to downtown Brooklyn? Take the subway like the rest of us and stop whining about free parking.
Jan. 29, 8:56 am
Peter from Brooklyn Heights says:
I'm the guy getting yelled at in the pic. Maybe my favorite thing was when the guy said, "You're ruining the civility of the meeting. Get the f*ck out!" BTW, I was actually sympathetic to the guy. whose child was struck by a truck, while with the light, in an intersection. Not great reporting. This reporter had my name, and contact info. Never contact me. And I hardly view myself as a "cycling advocate". I'm for safe streets.
Jan. 29, 10 am
Brandon from Park Slope says:
Two children actual—not almost—got hit by a car and actually died. No matter how much the parking preservation crowd howls, protected bike lanes have significantly improved pedestrian safety on every single street they have been installed. The selfishness displayed here is unconscionable.
Jan. 29, 10:05 am
ItsEasyBeingGreen from UWS says:
I doubt that people cycle faster with the bike lane than before, when they were pressured to keep pace with auto traffic due to not having any usable bike lane. I doubt the vast majority of people cycling are speeding. How fast do the bike-haters think people cycling are going?
Jan. 29, 10:10 am
Will from Park Slope says:
Its very telling that the cranks at this meeting cite anecdotes where someone imagines they were almost hit (though probably they were nowhere close) and the street safety advocates cite actual cases where children were hit by cars and actually died.
Jan. 29, 11:02 am
Frank from Furter says:
I am sorry about any child who was hurt. The people who were killed on Smith and 9th were in the crosswalk walking with the light when the driver drove into them. She subsequently committed suicide. Her car which she owned had a history of going through red lights/speeding and being caught on red/speed light cameras. The fine didn't stop her. The City has proposed progressive action when people get multiple speed or red light camera tickets withing certain time frames. There are many more people using the street on skateboards and bikes. The things we learned about driving and sharing the streets with them has changed over the years and it IMO has become more difficult to safely drive. The bikes and skateboards move faster then pedestrians and it requires looking further away to take them into account. Pedestrians are use to crossing and looking out for motorized vehicles. They now have to take into account the speed of the bike riders etc. The increased use of motor assist bikes has also required additional care by drivers. Safety is every one responsibility. Not just the bikers nor the cars not the pedestrians.
Jan. 29, 11:04 am
Bike Lanes Yuck from Town says:
Didn't even have to finish reading this one to know where it was going. A bunch of righteous bike nuts fighting anyone else with an opinion. Blame the deaths on Bloomberg who put the bike lanes on city streets - a death trap for cyclists in his efforts to over populate for real estate gain while putting in minimal dollars/efforts into transportation infrastructure to accommodate. Let the fireworks begin - Bike Lanes Yuck!
Jan. 29, 11:14 am
Mistafa Khant from Atlantic ave says:
Comrades! It’s Agenda 21! Get on the bus!
Jan. 29, 12:11 pm
Lea from Brooklyn says:
As a pedestrian I like that car traffic on 9th St has slowed since the road redesign, and don't mind the short step of checking the bike lane before stepping across to the island. I appreciate the added pedestrian space at each corner, and I'm always much more worried about an Uber speeding into me making a turn than I am about bikes. I do wish more bikers would give pedestrians a little more space when buzzing by, but I also know that "almost hit" is not the same as "run over" and I'm actually just as likely to knock them over as the other way around. It's wild to me that people get so shaken by bicycles while simulataneously taking all the constant hazards of everyday bad driving in stride as "normal."
Jan. 29, 12:23 pm
Chad from Bed Stuy says:
Occasionally the spandex nazis need reminders that they do not own the streets. There are many ways for pedestrians to slow down Lance Armstrong wannabes, and make them respect people walking. A lot of those ways are sitting around in your home right now. If someone is trying to kill you with their bicycle, then you have the right to defend yourself.
Jan. 29, 12:37 pm
Jane from Windsor Park says:
Bike lanes, bikers, electric bike and skate boarders are the causes of traffic safety. They belong in a park, not on our streets. To close off the parking lane for bikes, then take out a lane for parking spaces just slows down traffic. This was a bad idea from Bloomberg which DeBlasio, being pushed by Brad Lander and Bobby Carroll, have made it worse. Lander and Carroll should man up and met with those who are opposed. By chickening out, both show that they are not worthy of holding elected office in New York. Lander shows that he learned corruption from his native Chicago.
Jan. 29, 12:44 pm
Chad is a puffer says:
LOL, a tough guy named “Chad”.
Jan. 29, 1:15 pm
Me from Park Slope says:
I think it’s irresponsible of the powers that be in NYC to let bikers believe streets are safe. They are not! Even with the redesign. Many cyclists are riding in the most congested parts of the city like they own the turf and are getting run over!!! Then we hear the cries and outrage. Are you kidding me? These riders pedal so fast I’m even afraid to walk on the path in Prospect Park! One sure way to slow them down is to make cyclists get a license, put a tag on the back of their seats and get liability insurance!!!
Jan. 29, 1:25 pm
Brian Howald from Brooklyn Heights says:
At last Thursday's meeting, in explaining the safety benefits of protected bike lanes in NYC (injury crashes down 17%, pedestrian injuries down 22%, car occupant injuries down 25%), I mentioned the death of Madison Lyden on Central Park West due to a driver blocking an unprotected, painted lane. Before I could finish, a bike lane critic interrupted me to point out that Ms. Lyden was a tourist, and that as a non-resident, her need to not be killed while biking wasn't as important as the parking needs of people who live in New York. I wonder if all bike lane opponents are so indifferent to the dangers faced by people not like themselves.
Jan. 29, 1:40 pm
Dad from Park Slope says:
Cars belong on highways, not in dense urban environments! Park Slope was a safe and wonderful place before we let all the cars on our streets and gave away our streets so that rich people could park their two ton metal boxes. It used to be safe to play stick-ball in the street. Now my kids can't even cross the street safely in a crosswalk without worrying about being crushed by a Toyota Highlander. It's time we abandoned this failed experiment and get rid of cars.
Jan. 29, 2:20 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Now I know why Whoopi Goldberg said bike lanes are a bad idea and even cause congestion when mentioned on The View.
Jan. 29, 3:49 pm
Boyd from Ft Greene says:
When cars are outlawed bikes will be doing the crashes with pedestrians, injuring and killing them. That will be a true progressive and environmental improvement. It's already happened in Central Park where cars are banned.
Jan. 29, 7:53 pm
Jason from Park Slope says:
John from Bay Ridge is part of the last dying front of narrow minded car addicts who just "don't get it" and never will. You anti-bike fanatics have lost, get over it. The number of bike lanes in this city will always increase from now on, never decrease. And things will always be harder for motorists, never easier. That's the way it should be, and the path to a cleaner, safer and healthier city. The car driving ignoramuses are on the wrong side of history, and they're just going to make themselves ill struggling against it.
Jan. 30, 9:54 am
Me from Park Slope says:
I’d rather get ill struggling against it than get killed by a mountain bike!
Jan. 30, 10:06 am
Electric Car from NYC says:
The future of cars in NYC is electric. Once they pass the laws to install dedicated charging spots for electric vehicles, gas/diesel will be dead - they will be hit with fuel and pollution tax compelling their natural extinction. What will psycholists say about them polluting then? And how do you suppose we'd deal with the times when mickey-mouse bikes can't operate in heavy rain, intense heat & cold, snow & ice? Or just when the psycholists have to take a trip to Vermont to go skiing - we know they're not biking there. Truth is like all fads, the bike craze will die down and the practical reality will settle in - smaller electric cars are the future not bikes. Electric is even taking over peddle power. If you want exercise, just go to the gym or jog in place - don't put yourself in harms way by getting busted up or dead on a bike as you have noting to prove other than the use of common sense and the longer you live the longer you can prove it.
Jan. 30, 11:36 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
Jason from Park Slop is another entitled frat boy from Kansas who doesn't get that the city and state cannot keep increases taxes and fees paid by middle-class homeowners to cover every "good idea" or pet rock. Bottom line-we have REAL & SIGNIFICANT issues that we can't afford to fix. NYCHA houses that are inhabitable due to lead based paint. A subway system that is becoming increasingly ineffective and inefficient. Infrastructure in all categories, some of it over 100 years old, that is rapidly falling apart. Families and communities being ruined by addiction to opiates. Anyone who believes that we should be building more toys, to include bike lanes, before dealing with much higher budget priorities is simply an idiot.
Jan. 30, 12:05 pm
Frank from Furter says:
It will be 20 years before electric cars are the majority. Infrastructure is needed as well. Car share which is in its infancy will become more prevalent as well. I have no problem banning private cars from the city center(Mostly Manhattan). We banned cars in Central and Prospect park. Bikes are a supplement and a replacement for many but not for all. Uber and other similar services(god help us) is also a form of mass transit. Actually the streets are safer now than any time in the last 100 years..zero deaths is a great goal...so is no opioid deaths. We still get most of our food and other supplies by track...
Jan. 30, 2:33 pm
Ro from Slope says:
I hate driving, but have to occasionally, when public transportation is not a viable option. I love my bike. I like walking (being a pedestrian), too. That said, the redesign of 9th Street is far more dangerous now for pedestrians (and those who park cars) due to speeding bicycles, sometimes going in the wrong direction and for drivers (now having to cross solid yellow lines to go around doubled-parked vehicles). The suggestion for bike lane speed bumps is a great idea, especially for pedestrian safety. Now what to do about that sometimes necessary double-parking by delivery trucks and then "the others"....
Jan. 30, 2:36 pm
Chad from Bed Stuy says:
If not speed bumps, tacks and broken glass in the bike lanes would work also.
Jan. 30, 4:22 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I'll have you now that I'm not in the basement anymores, I living in the garage know. Its becauze of the smell I was makking.
Jan. 30, 5:46 pm
Chad is a puffer says:
LOL, a tough guy named “Chad”.
Jan. 30, 5:47 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I could never understand why some of you bike zealots are so hostile when it comes to bike lanes. You guys got to have your say on bike lanes, so I don't see why others that live there or even Whoopi Goldberg can't have theirs'. Many of those who want the bike lanes are saying this because they see how the cyclists are constantly using them as if they don't need to follow the rules. As for this Boyd person, I'm not related to him nor do I even know him. On a side note, knock it off with the impersonations of me and others who don't take your view let alone personal attacks, because I find it very childish and even cowardly to an extent.
Jan. 30, 7:48 pm
Peter from Park Slope says:
An accident on 9 street between 5th and 6th avenue is not a matter of if it will happen but when. On any given day between 7:00am and 1:00 pm there are many deliveries to the businesses there. Double parked trucks now extend to the double yellow line in the middle. Cars going in the same direction must cross over and face oncoming traffic. Truckers making deliveries have to move their merchandise thru the bike lane to make the delivery. Anyone with an ounce of common sense can see how ridiculous this is. It's amazing no one has been hurt so far.
Jan. 30, 9:58 pm
Me from Park Slope says:
I’ve seen delivery trucks pull up to the curb outside of C town on 9th. Bet. 5th & 6th. It’s almost as if they are saying.... this is ridiculous! It’s a matter of time before someone gets hurt either by running into the back of a delivery truck or a delivery person with a hand truck full of boxes!
Jan. 31, 5:27 pm
Al from Bed Stuy says:
I can't believe all this going back and forth between cyclists, drivers, and peds. All these arguments sound like they are amounting to whose is bigger. It's so stupid. Road safety is EVERYONE'S responsibility. I'm a driver, pedestrian, and cyclist. I always follow the road rules never any accidents. I see drivers,peds,and cyclists acting like total dicks on the road everyday. Lets stop placing the blame on 1 group and take responsibility.
Feb. 1, 5:43 pm
Mary from Park Slope says:
Changing the bike lanes has absolutely nothing to do with preventing a horrific accident like the one that killed the two children last year. Instead of finding a real solution the burocracy installed the bike lanes that were long planned and passed that off as a solution. How can a relocated bike lane prevent a driver from mowing down pedestrians who are crossing in a crosswalk with the light? The new bike lanes have only served to divert large truck and auto traffic to the neighboring streets. This is not a solution.
Feb. 3, 10:54 pm

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