Earlier this week, city officials unveiled a new two-way, protected bike lane at Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn, considered to be one of the most dangerous areas in the borough. Given the fact that the street allows bike riders to drift from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Manhattan Bridge and vice versa, the announcement has been a long tie coming.
“Schermerhorn Street had been the worst bike lane in Brooklyn for years,” Council Member Lincoln Restler said in an official statement. “Now, we finally have the two-way protected bike lane that our community has demanded and that will allow New Yorkers to cycle through Downtown Brooklyn safely and efficiently.” According to official data, over 1,000 cyclists travel along the street on a typical weekday.
The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) also called attention to a new pedestrian space and one-way vehicle traffic in the area.
The new bike lane in Downtown Brooklyn is actually part of a larger plan dubbed Shared Street that the DOT hopes will help pedestrians and cyclists feel safer while still allowing vehicle traffic to flow into and out of a “pedestrian-centric business district.”
“We are reimagining our use of public space in Downtown Brooklyn,” DOT commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said at the official unveiling. “A disproportionate amount of street space is dedicated to cars and other vehicles. Shared streets use design that naturally slow vehicle traffic to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists, who are the majority in our city. These shared streets are being built with amenities like bike parking and they represent a critical step in elevating safe, sustainable and efficient alternate transportation, while creating more vibrant public space that supports the local economy.”
Speaking of: back in August, a new proposal by Manhattan borough president Mark Levine caught the attention of the public, suggesting that one lane of car traffic on the West Side Highway should turn into a two-way protected bike lane. Specifically, according to the plan, one of the lanes would be repurposed into four miles of cyclable path between Chambers Street and 57th Street.
It wasn’t the first time a proposal of the sort was brought forward. In the midst of the pandemic, a number of local officials asked the state’s transportation department to convert one lane of Route 9A (the West Side Highway’s official name) into a bike lane given a reduction of traffic sparked by the pandemic.
Let’s hope officials will continue pressing on the topic.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.