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, November 7, 2015

Fall 2015 South Brooklyn Bicycling Status

The continual improvements and expansion of New York's bicycling infrastructure in recent years has made little impact in the neighborhood of Bay Ridge.  However, 2015 brought some significant new bicycle support: bicycles can be loaded onto buses crossing the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and new sharrows have been placed on Marine Avenue and Ft Hamilton Parkway.  Last month, a presentation was made to Community Board 10 for a plan to link Second Avenue and Owl's Head Park with a connecting segment of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway

Wakeman Place is a narrower street and its real world function has it serving as an extension of the off-ramp from the Belt Parkway.  Providing an effective connector is crucial here.

Second Avenue is a very wide street and can easily accommodate the greenway's bicycle and pedestrian path. The currently proposed plans indicate a loss of on-street parking along Second Avenue.  This stems from both the addition of the greenway and providing additional lane markings for through traffic and turning lanes.  Currently, there are no distinct lane markings on Second Avenue and the street acts as if it had one very wide lane each way.  Parking along this stretch of Second Avenue and the nearby side streets have very limited use; the loss of some on-street parking as the plan proposes would be a very small burden to absorb.  DOT can certainly manage to develop a reasonable plan to implement.

View the full DOT presentation here.

As an additional improvement to the greenway, it would be a good idea to provide an on-street bicycle markings extending along Second Avenue to 67th Street, and west on 67th to Owl's Head Park.  For practical daily riding, this is the best and safest route to navigate.  67th Street is a quiet, low traffic road and the intersection with Colonial Road contains an all-way stop.

These improvements are long overdue in the area.  The bicycling network in South Brooklyn is very small, with limited connectivity to other portions of the Borough.  There is one zig-zagged on-street marked pathway leading from the vicinity of Ft Hamilton and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge into central Brooklyn, and none lead east from the harbor.  Sharrows were placed along 5th Avenue in 2013, leading northward to a dedicated, marked lane in the 20's.

It's good to recall that Brooklyn was once envisioned to have a green network of park and pedestrian spaces criscrossing it's neighborhoods.  This plan at Wakeman and Second Avenue is directly adjacent to one of those linear parks, which now only serves as a vehicular connector from the Belt Parkway to Second Avenue and Fourth Avenue.  This article posted at Hey Ridge documents some of that vision.  The Brooklyn Greenway is an opportunity to gain back some of those ideas lost decades ago.

South Brooklyn Bicycle Network, November 2015, Google Maps

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