Friday, December 4, 2009

UPDATE: City To Remove 14 Blocks Of Bike Lanes On Bedford Ave.

UPDATE: City To Remove 14 Blocks Of Bike Lanes On Bedford Ave.: "

2009_11_bikelanemap.jpg



Just when it seemed like the hoopla over bike lanes in Williamsburg had come to a close, Gothamist has learned that the Department of Transportation is planning to remove a 14-block section of the Bedford Avenue cycling route.



A spokesman said that the agency will remove the 'small portion' of the bike lane between Flushing and Division avenues in South Williamsburg 'as part of ongoing bike network adjustments in the area.' The agency will install new signage directing bikers two blocks west to the bike lane on Kent Avenue, which earlier this year became an issue of contention particularly in South Williamsburg's Hasidic community.



Some Williamsburg residents protested the Kent Avenue lane over concerns it took away parking spaces, hurt local businesses, and was used by badly-behaving bikers who purportedly fail to yield to stopped school buses. The city then reconfigured Kent Avenue, prompting complaints about truck traffic being diverted onto residential streets.



2009_11_bedfordbike.jpg While the dispute over the cycling route on Kent Avenue turned heated, the bike path on Bedford Avenue has been relatively noncontroversial — though some have called for its removal due to the number of 'schools, stores and religious institutions' on the street. The Bedford Avenue lane was also one of the cycling paths where scantily clad cyclists were first spotted.



The Department of Transportation's decision to eliminate a section of bike lane from the borough's longest street is a surprising move, considering the agency's recent efforts to bolster the city's cycling network under the leadership of bike-loving Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.



UPDATE: The biking advocacy group Transportation Alternatives opposes the removal of the lane and is urging cyclists to continue commuting on Bedford Avenue. 'This is a very heavily-used segment of the Brooklyn bike network, providing a critical connection to thousands who bike to the Williamsburg Bridge, and we disagree with the decision to remove it,' said spokesman Wiley Norvell in a statement. 'Cyclists will still use Bedford Avenue in large numbers, and we call on the Bloomberg Administration to provide the safe route they deserve. We encourage cyclists to continue using this route, and assert their legal right to the road.'





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