Bicyclists Win a Small Victory in Fort Greene

By Janet Upadhye on June 26, 2012 11:18am | Updated on June 26, 2012 11:19am

An example of the proposed design for bicycle lanes on Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn.
An example of the proposed design for bicycle lanes on Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn.
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NYC Department of Transportation

FORT GREENE — Biking in Fort Greene just got a little bit safer.

The executive committee of Community Board 2 in Brooklyn approved a shared bike lane on Lafayette Avenue Monday night.

A shared lane means that there is no solid white line separating the bike lane from the car lane but there is a more pronounced biking area denoted by a bicycle symbol painted on the road and signage posted prohibiting cars to pass bicycles.

The battle over a new bike lane began in October of last year when two cars crashed and jumped a curb on Lafayette Avenue near Vanderbilt Avenue crushing two bicycles underneath their tires, according to Patch.

Nobody was hurt but the crash inspired the birth of a local bicycle activist group.

They named themselves Make Lafayette Safer and had one goal: to install a bike lane on Lafayette Avenue.

The Department of Transportation conducted a study of the area and came back with a compromise: a shared bike lane. 

While the shared bike lane may be a step forward on the campaign to make Lafayette Avenue safer for bikers, the fight is not over.

Make Lafayette Safer also wants "color enhancements for centrally located bike markings, adequate repeating of the symbols so drivers are always aware of the priority for bikes in the lane, and more commercial parking to reduce double parked trucks," according to their website.

Bradford Still owns a café inside of Red Lantern Bicycles on Myrtle Avenue and commutes through Fort Greene everyday. While he believes that the addition of bike lanes in Fort Greene is ultimately a good thing, he also thinks that a shared bike lane on Lafayette Avenue may not be the safest option.

"On a fast thoroughfare like Lafayette Avenue, cars and bikes do not mix well," he said. "I think the city would do better to promote certain streets for cars and other for bikes."

He said Willoughby Avenue is a good example of a safe biking street. "There is a pronounced bike lane and cars move slower," he said. "As a biker, it is much less stressful to travel down that street."

Many Fort Greene cyclists stop by Red Lantern Bicycles for a tune-up or cup of coffee.
Many Fort Greene cyclists stop by Red Lantern Bicycles for a tune-up or cup of coffee.
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Janet Upadhye/DNAinfo

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