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.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Verrazano Bike & Pedestrian Lane

Kudos to Brooklyn Community Board 10 member Bob Hudak for recommending that the DOT consider installing a bicycle and pedestrian path across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, in combination with the planned road deck and approach improvements.  Unfortunately, the reply was "no."  Read the Eagle's article here.

The bridge is designed to accommodate the pathway but the installation was nixed by Robert Moses during construction for concerns about budgets and potential suicide jumpers.  (Suicide?  We suppose that when you are caught between bell bottoms and the Bronx burning some 35 to 50 years ago, plus the President is telling your town to drop dead, ending it all might have seemed like a viable option.)

A study done in 1997 to consider a retrofit to add the path as intended.  It is a through document and was years ahead of its time in comparison to the current pro-cycling attitudes and initiatives of NYC.  One of the study's deputy directors, Regina Myer, is now director of Brooklyn Bridge Park, a place that is becoming a significant connector along Brooklyn's waterfront. It also has a bike and pedestrian path along its edge.  That park and path also has tremendous community and city support.

But in Bay Ridge, it's a different story.  Our community will not give a 5' wide painted stripe on the road for bicyclists.  And in Staten Island, bicycle lanes have been removed along Father Capodanno Boulevard.  Staten Island has also been frequently noted as the least friendly bicycling borough.

Mr Hudak also asked if MTA buses could be equipped with bicycle racks to provide some basic means to cross the Verrazano with a bicycle.  If other cities can do it, NYC should have the capacity, too, rightBRBR's online survey indicates that 88% of respondents would want to cross the bridge on a bicycle path and 53% would load their bicycles on a bus rack.

Currently, there is a total of zero bicycle racks on buses in NYC.  Maybe the S53, S93 and S79 can be the first?  BRBR suspects that an initiative for racks on buses would have to come from a higher city agency or the Mayor's office, rather than starting solely with the local representatives.  Lack of a bicycle and pedestrian connection across the Verrazano Narrows is one of the most obvious missing links in the expanding NYC network.

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