Welcome to BRBRbrooklyn! Whether you are pedaling to the shore, the store, your neighbor’s stoop, or back to your own coop, this blog is for you. Bay Ridge Bicycle Routes is an effort raise to awareness within our neighborhood and among civic groups about the activities of bicyclists in Bay Ridge and other nearby communities in southern Brooklyn.

Our neighborhood’s immediate access to the harbor, less congested street traffic, friendly atmosphere, expansive parks and flat terrain (except, of course, for the steep ridge in Bay Ridge!) makes our corner of New York City one of the most fantastic places to ride a bicycle. Whether for transportation, recreation, fun or fitness, cycling is great in Bay Ridge.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Promoting Bicycle Lanes as if They Were on the Ballot

Struggling to control the controversy over one of its signature transportation policies, the Bloomberg administration is embarking on an unusual kind of political campaign: convincing New Yorkers that bicycle lanes are good for them.

Read the full article at the New York Times.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

PPW - the Data by Soma

BRBR is still thinking about our northerly neighbors up in Park Slope. They have been kinda hard to avoid in recent weeks since the news about the Prospect Park Bicycle lane might be receiving more media coverage than Justin Bieber.

I wonder what Justin thinks about the PPW lane, maybe we should ask him.

Anyways, back to business. BRBR found this very interesting posting by data-cruncher Soma using DOT information recorded about the PPW roadway. Take a look here. There are Before bike Lane (BL) and After bike Lane (AL) comparisons. For example:

Car Speeding:
BL: 3 of 4 cars
AL: 1 of 5 cars

Bike Lane Popularity:
BL: 349 bicyclist on PPW in a day
AL: 1010 bicyclists on PPW in a day

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Just in case one of the two occasional readers of the BRBR blog has been out-of-town (how was your trip?) or in a coma (hope you are feeling better!), a link to the New York magazine cover story, Bikelash: Not Quite Copenhagen, is here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Get Ready to Rumble!

Community Board 6 must must have a hidden love for the Spring Classics. The recent article in the Brooklyn Paper reports on their proposal to install rumble strips along the Prospect Park West Bicycle Lane. What a perfect commemoration! The CB6 press office must have coordinated this announcement with upcoming major races such as the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix. Perhaps early morning viewing parties of the live events can be scheduled along the bike lane!

FYI: how do pro bicyclists deal with cobbles? They go over them at MAXIMUM speed. "The slower you go, the worse it is. You have to go fast to smooth out the bumps," says Fabian Cancellara, a winner at both Flanders and Roubaix.

For expediency, DOT could probably install some dainty EuroCobble, though it would scarcely create a bicycle buzz through the tires. You can give the Eurocobbles a try out on Wall Street.

BRBR welcomes the installation of more cobblestones in Brooklyn. BRBR loves cobbles. The installation could even help to offset the loss of some of the finest uninterrupted lengths of cobblestone in Brooklyn that existed prior to IKEA’s arrival in Red Hook.

Beard Street was nearly a 1/2 mile length of bicycling bliss upon the stones. The Civil War era warehouse in this photo was demolished for the IKEA site and the stones were paved over with smooth asphalt.

And if you don’t believe us about speed over the cobbles, go see it for yourself this Saturday night at the Red Hook Criterium.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

These Streets Were Made for _____

Six years before German Baron Karl von Drais introduced the forerunner of the modern bicycle to the public in Mannheim in the Summer of 1817 and decades before Karl Benz began production of his motor carriages, the Commissioners' Plan was introduced to Manhattan on March 22, 1811.

Most every issue and precedent regarding roadway use in New York City is a reflection and influence of the plan.

So go out and turn 90 degrees wherever you can and enjoy some broad avenues and narrow cross streets today, wherever you may be on this second day of Spring.

NY Times Story here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Brooklyn Bike Share

BRBR reported in our prior post about a bicycle share program coming to New York City, mostly focused in Manhattan to start.

Now there is another initiative to bring bicycle sharing to Brooklyn.

From what we've read in the Brooklyn Paper, it sounds like there will separate system for Brooklyn, though we cannot yet confirm. Thought it would make a lot of sense for the network to be shared, right? Maybe this will go back to the early transit days of BMT/IND/IRD subway lines where independent transit companies competed against one another for the best service to gain passengers and profit.

Another article on NBC, here.

You can also read about the Department of City Planning's Bike share opportunities report (2009) here.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

EBI #3: West Broadway, Manhattan

We're going a bit farther afield on this Epicenter of Bicycling Interest and into an area that many long-time Bay Ridge-ites simply call "The City". Our staff confirms it did happen, though not while actually riding a bicycle but just carrying a bicycle wheel that had recently been rebuilt and repaired by the Sensesi of Bicycles.

This minor occurrence took place Friday evening, approximately 24 hours after EBI #2 in the triangular urban park at the corner of West Broadway and 6th Avenue in Manhattan. A young man and his girlfriend saw BRBR carrying the wheel and asked "Are you taking that to a shop? Where is there a bicycle shop around here?"

See BRBR's evolving EBI Map here.

EBI#2: Atlantic Avenue at Hoyt Street

Just 5 days after identifying EBI #1 at Avenue P, another Epicenter of Bicycling Interest has been found at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Hoyt Street.

While riding home from Manhattan and heading back to Bay Ridge, a member of the BRBR staff was in the bicycle lane at Hoyt Street, waiting for the light to change to cross Atlantic Avenue. A pedestrian at the same corner came over to ask about how far we rode our bicycle and how to ride out of New York City and go upstate.

See BRBR's evolving EBI Map here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

NYTimes: Green Development? Not in my (Liberal) Backyard

We at BRBR have to object... all of these publications on bike lanes in recent weeks is making it hard for us to keep up with all of it. I remember last summer when we'd struggle to think of content, and when we did, the upload could be spread out over a few days' time or even a whole month. This seems like work, not the hopeful fun we thought to blog about once in a while. Jeez!

Hope you get the joke of our paragraph of blog NIMBY-ism above! The graphic on this New York Times article is pretty good, so is the viewpoint. Our BRBR staff has also been trying to write something more big picture viewed about these bike lanes, but we can only get so much done while typing on the subway or when we're not commuting by bicycle.

Green Development? Not in my (Liberal) Backyard
"Park Slope, Brooklyn. Cape Cod, Mass. Berkeley, Calif. Three famously progressive places, right? The yin to the Tea Party yang. But just try putting a bike lane or some wind turbines in their lines of sight. And the karma can get very different."

Read the full article in the New York Times.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Living In: Bay Ridge

Both New York and the New York Times seem to cycle Bay Ridge into reviews and articles for "next" or "best" places to live in NYC every 5 years or so. Otherwise, we're off the radar for the 4 years in between. No matter, it doesn't change what the neighborhood's residents already know.

This picture of the promenade and bicycle path made it into the slideshow this past weekend in the New York Times.

EBI#1: Avenue P

BRBR is starting an effort to document new findings in Brooklyn: Epicenters of Bicycling Interest, or EBI's

Stopping along the curbside yesterday afternoon on Avenue P to make a 60 sec bicycle adjustment, 2 workers at the Fine Fare Grocery Store stopped hanging a banner on the windows of the store to ask about bicycling and if there were any races happening in the area. Within 2 minutes, another passing woman stopped to ask about bicycling, where she should look to find a "good bike" and how to get into the activity even more.

Amazing, eh?!

These were sporadic, unplanned and unexpected events. Even the location was incredible since BRBR was far from any marked bicycle routes (except, of course, for the oldest one in the country on Ocean Parkway) and in a community district reportedly hostile to bicycle lanes.

But the conversation happened and BRBR has begun a map to document these EBI's as they are found.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How one New York bike lane could affect the future of cycling worldwide

Wowza - That's quite a headline.

"Connect the dots, and this becomes a much more significant story than the future of one bike lane in Brooklyn, or even the career of one official. New York City justly sees itself as the world's greatest city: here, in some sense, people live the way everyone would live if they had the chance. How New York – the city that still has a uniquely low level of car ownership and use – manages its transport planning in the 21st century matters for the whole world: it is the template. If cycling is pushed back into the margins of that future, rather than promoted, along with efficient mass public transit and safe, pleasant pedestrianism, as a key part of that future, the consequences will be grave and grim."

Read the full story by Matt Seaton at The Guardian.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Brooklyn Greenway - How to Make a Park

If you recall from our prior post, the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway held a public visioning session about how to develop a future park space at Columbia and Kane Streets. The park will serve as one of several nodes along the completed Brooklyn Greenway.

BRBR attended the meeting last month and served as one of the facilitators at the discussion tables. It was a great night and many good ideas were heard from community members about needed neighborhood amenities, bicycle access and broad visions about identity for the park.

Read more about it at the Carroll Gardens Patch blog.

The Bicycle Wars - Road Rights Blog

From the magazine Bicycling, a very interesting editorial about the cycling's evolution, rights on the street and attitudes towards striking balance:

"What is it about cycling that engenders such animosity in New York? The usual angry rhetoric accuses New York’s cyclists of ignoring the laws. But here’s the thing: ALL New Yorkers, pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists alike, disregard the traffic laws.

So if New York cyclists disregard the traffic laws, how does that make them any different from any other New Yorker?

It doesn’t. Well, except for that traffic safety part. Last year, 269 people were killed in crashes in New York City; 151 of these fatalities were pedestrians, 18 were cyclists.

And who was responsible for these fatalities? Eighty-percent of all New York City crashes resulting in serious injury or death to a pedestrian involved a male automobile driver, with 79% of the most serious crashes involving private passenger cars.

Bicyclists are apparently so insignificant a factor in traffic fatalities that they did not even figure into the percentages."

Read more

Lane named SUE!

Sure, you probably know all about the efforts of "well-connected New Yorkers have taken the unusual step of suing the city to remove a controversial bicycle lane in a wealthy neighborhood of Brooklyn." (aka Prospect Park West) Read More in the New York Times

Or read the pros (by Brad Lander) or cons (by Louise Hainline).

And now inspired, the Manhattan Beach Community Group wants to sue the City under that same grounds in order to remove bike lanes along Oriental Boulevard. Read more in the Courier Life.

Well, we can only think of the fights that are inspired when anyone shouts "Sue!"

Sunday, March 6, 2011

RRR#5 - Bay Ridge to Howard Beach

Did you know that you can ride a bicycle from Bay Ridge to Howard Beach with about 3/4 of the route on bicycle lanes completely separated from traffic? It's true!

The past two weekends, we've pedaled this route and couldn't be happier about it. Admittedly, it has been a few years since we've tried going this far on this route. The path along the Belt Parkway used to end just past Carnarsie Pier at Pennsylvania Avenue. Now it goes all the way to Howard Beach.

Follow the on street lanes to Crossbay Boulevard across Broad Channel to the Rockaways, and return on the Marine Parkway Bridge on Flatbush Avenue and you have a great loop.

Sure, there are still the closer-than-you'd-like-to-be-to highway-traffic sidewalk bridge crossings over the water inlets (You can high-five the drivers if you'd like). Some of the route has a whole lot of debris from construction, winter snowplows, and those segulls near Canarsie Pier that always drop shells on the path to break them open. A portion of the path is still washed out at Plumb Beach though you can cyclocross your way through it without dismounting or resorting to the highway shoulder. And parts of the construction areas around the Fountain Ave and Pennsylvania Ave landfills are a bit tight to maneuver.

But imagine yourself as Emerson Fittipaldi buzzing the barriers in Monaco as you cruise across Jamaica Bay, and it's all suddenly a lot of fun!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

For City’s Transportation Chief, Kudos and Criticism

ON a balmy night last June, the city’s Congressional delegation gathered for dinner at Gracie Mansion. Representative Anthony D. Weiner, who aspires to live in the mansion someday, knew he would have only a few minutes with the host, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. So he brought up the hottest topic he could think of: bicycle lanes, and the transportation commissioner who had nearly doubled the number of them, Janette Sadik-Khan.

“When I become mayor, you know what I’m going to spend my first year doing?” Mr. Weiner said to Mr. Bloomberg, as tablemates listened. “I’m going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your [expletive] bike lanes.”

Full Story

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lawmaker Withdraws Bike-License Bill

A state Assemblyman has quickly withdrawn a bill that would require paid registration and license plates for all bicycles in the state, whether ridden by adult or child.

The Assemblyman, Michael G. DenDekker, Democrat of Queens, said he had been flooded with complaints from people who lived outside the city that they were being taxed and regulated to address concerns about unsafe cycling that existed largely in New York City. The measure had also drawn fire from cycling advocates in the city and elsewhere.

Full Story