Brooklyn's Community Board 2 transportation committee was supposed to hold a spillover session on Thursday, to hear out nearly 70 people who didn't have time to testify earlier this week about a proposed protected bike lane on Clinton Avenue. Instead, transportation chair John Dew announced that overwhelming opposition to the DOT's proposal—that it was ageist, discriminatory against the disabled, and downright disrespectful to drivers—was enough to send the planners back to the drawing board.
The DOT will give it another shot next month.
"It is clear that the plan proposed and presented by DOT has not yet had any input from the local community that is most impacted by this plan,” Dew said, as reported by Streetsblog.
To refresh, the DOT is hoping to install a north-south bike lane in a section of Brooklyn that's lacking in that department. Clinton Avenue is relatively wide, and has comparatively light car traffic since it doesn't intersect with Atlantic Avenue. The original plan called for a two-way protected bike lane on the east side of the street—Clinton Avenue would be converted into a one-way northbound street between Gates and Flushing, and pedestrian islands would discourage speeding.
While the DOT and cycling advocates argued on Tuesday that the plan wouldn't only serve cyclists—that it would result in a safer throughway for drivers and pedestrians as well—most residents weren't having any of it.
"I'm 100% against this plan," Esther Blunt, who lives on Vanderbilt Avenue, told us earlier this week. "It's for young people; it's discriminating against the elderly. Everybody can't ride a bike. I feel like settlers have come into our community and try to tell the natives what to do."
Others argued that the lane would make it difficult for elderly residents to reach ambulances or Access-A-Ride. "I have a problem with the people talking about the bicycles, the people riding the bicycles," said CB2 member Ruth Saunders. "What about the people who are driving their cars? What about the people getting out of their cars? What about the children?"
"After hearing more from the community at this week's meetings on the Clinton Avenue proposal, DOT will conduct additional outreach with community leaders and residents," a DOT spokesperson stated Friday. "We look forward to returning to CB2 next month."
Last night's vote would have been purely advisory, ahead of a full committee meeting scheduled for June. It's worth noting that CB votes are purely advisory. And though the City has historically worked in lock-step with local boards, Mayor de Blasio recently bucked that trend on the Boulevard of Death in Elmhurst. Earlier this week, Upper East residents shot down a "terrible" proposal for bike lanes on 70th, 71st, 77th, 78th, 84th, and 85th Streets.