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Manhattan, North Brooklyn, and parts of Queens and the Bronx have seen a dramatic improvement in bike-friendly streets in the past few years. Southern Brooklyn has been left behind — there are few bike lanes of any kind, even fewer protected bikeways, and flat out zero options for anyone trying to move across the borough to the east or west.
We’re calling on the city to establish protected East-West Connectors to allow safe passage for cyclists of any skill level. Fixing the Shore Greenway gap between Bay Parkway and Plumb Beach should be one of the connectors, in addition to protected bikeways on or near the Bay Ridge Parkway, Avenue P, and Flatlands Ave corridors.
Finish 4th Avenue
As part of its Great Streets program, the city government introduced several radical changes several miles of 4th Avenue through Park Slope and Sunset Park to increase safety and make the avenue an appealing city boulevard rather than a high-speed freeway. Car lanes were removed, pedestrian crossing distances were shortened. And in a new twist, the city will be bringing protected bike lanes to 4th Avenue, starting in 2018.
But none of these changes are currently expected in Bay Ridge – the Great Streets project is only looking at 4th Avenue north of 65th Street. We believe it is time for the city to finish what it started, and Finish 4th Avenue — with reduced car lanes, shortened pedestrian crossings, and protected bicycle lanes — all the way through Bay Ridge.
Bikes On Bridges — the Verrazzano and Marine Parkway Bridges
Southern Brooklyn is connected to neighboring boroughs via two key MTA-managed bridges — the Verrazano Bridge to Staten Island, and the Marine Parkway Bridge to the Rockaways in Queens. Yet, both bridges have serious limitations for bicycles.
The Marine Parkway pedestrian walkway is off-limits to bike riding — cyclists are required by law to dismount their bikes and walk over a mile across the bridge. Riding had previously been tolerated through lack of enforcement, but cyclists have recently been subject to increase ticketing stings. We ask the MTA to Legalize Bike Riding On Bridges such as Marine Parkway, and require cyclists to stop only when necessary to yield to pedestrians.
The Verrazzano Bridge has no pedestrian walkway of any sort — a true monument to shortsightedness and selfishness of Robert Moses. Cyclists are forced to use racks mounted to the front of the S53 and S93 buses to get across the bridge. The maximum capacity is two bikes at a time, and frequency varies throughout the day. It is time for the MTA to rectify the 54-year-old design flaw in the Verrazano and create a pedestrian-and-bike path that is the missing link in The Harbor Ring.