Williamsburg, NY – Opponents are calling on the city to put the breaks on a one-and-a-half-mile portion of a bike lane that would stretch from Newtown Creek to Sunset Park — saying Williamsburg doesn’t need more bike lanes.
“There is already a bike lane a Bedford Avenue and a bike lane on Wythe Avenue — now they want a bike lane on Kent Avenue?” Simon Weisser, a member of Community Board 1 told his fellow board members at a Sept. 8 meeting. “You can’t accommodate every single street with a bike lane.”
Weisser, and others, argued that the Department of Transportation should not stripe Kent Avenue with temporary lanes — precursors for the so-called Kent Avenue Greenway, a stretch of biking and walking paths that are separated from car traffic — until further review.
To Weisser, the existing bike lanes — on Wythe and Bedford avenues — should be eliminated when the Greenway is done.
He added that “the whole community” is behind him, a reference to South Williamsburg’s strong Hasidic bloc.
But the board rolled over Weisser’s calls.
“He sees the greenway as a way to eliminate the bike lanes, but they just fundamentally don’t have not the same function,” said Teresa Toro, chair of the Transportation Committee.
The one-way lanes on Bedford and Wythe avenues are necessary commuter routes that connect Williamsburg with Central Brooklyn, while the greenway on Kent Avenue would be more like a “linear park” than a bike lane, Toro said.
Milton Puryear, director of planning for the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, agreed.
“The whole idea for the greenway is to provide a benefit to the people of the community — not just bike riders — by making a truck route into a more inviting streetscape,” said Puryear. “If you look at Kent Avenue now, it’s just not a place you want to stroll, or ride a bike. Once it’s built, you’re not going to find anybody who will be sorry they traded in what was here.”
The morning after the contentious board meeting, a commuting cyclist was struck by a car service sedan on the future greenway path at the corner of North Seventh Street and Kent Avenue, leaving him with a broken elbow and collarbone.
The driver fled the scene, a friend of the victim told The Brooklyn Paper.