Controversy Over New Bike Lanes

Public Advocate Letitia James said she could not support the plan because of the increased traffic it would cause on Vanderbilt and Washington avenues. (Photo by Stefano Giovannini via Brooklyn Daily)

Public Advocate Letitia James said she could not support the plan because of the increased traffic it would cause on Vanderbilt and Washington avenues. (Photo by Stefano Giovannini via Brooklyn Daily)

In Brooklyn and Queens last week, NYC Dept of Transportation plans for bike lanes came under fire, as long-time residents as well as local politicians weighed in about changes that could disrupt established traffic patterns and result in the loss of parking spaces.

At a Community Board 2 meeting in the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn, opponents came out in force at a May 17 meeting to oppose plans to convert part of Clinton Ave. to one-way traffic and introduce a new bike lane, reports Lauren Gill in Brooklyn Paper. The plan would eliminate about 35 parking spaces.

“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.”

Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D–Clinton Hill) and Public Advocate Letitia James were among those at the meeting who opposed the plan as well, and only a couple of people spoke in favor of the plan. Another community board meeting was scheduled to handle the overflow of people wanting to publicly address the issue.

And in Queens, reports Christopher Barca in Queens Chronicle, Borough President Melinda Katz sided with Community Board 4, which had earlier in the week approved safety upgrades along Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst – but voted down proposed bike lanes. Following CB4’s ruling, the city had overruled the decision against the bike lanes.

“To my repeated requests last summer to DOT for a borough-wide perspective on bike lanes, the agency stated they were unable to accommodate such requests because bike lanes are solely community-driven and community-generated,” Katz said. “The community board’s vote this week, however, contradicts the assertion that this plan is driven and generated by the community.

“At the very least,” she continued, “it indicates failure on the part of the agency to adequately address the board’s concerns on the proposed plan.”

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