BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Brooklyn’s Community Board 3 voted against a proposal that would have linked Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights by a network of bike paths after residents said they didn’t want the lanes and that traffic congestion could increase with the changes.
Board members put a halt to the Department of Transportation’s plan to bring shared bike lanes connecting Tompkins and Throop avenues to Brooklyn and Kingston avenues via Fulton Street.
The plan was rejected with 16 votes against it and 11 in support.
DOT had sought to connect existing bike lanes in CB3 with those in Crown Heights’ Community Board 8, according to project manager Nick Carey.
In April, CB8 supported a plan for improved lanes on Brooklyn and Kingston avenues and the DOT looked to create improvements for bicyclists traveling between the two neighborhoods, according to DOT representatives.
“We want to do this so cyclists don’t get lost and are not zigzagging across Fulton to find their way,” Carey said. “The idea is to use Fulton Street as a connector in the bicycle network.”
The plan proposed shared lanes with markings for both bikes and cars on the last block of Tompkins Avenue headed south to Fulton Street, and on Fulton between Tompkins and Brooklyn avenues, going westbound.
The same would apply from Kingston Avenue headed north toward Fulton Street and eastbound on Fulton to Throop Avenue.
Residents at the CB3 meeting last week were particularly concerned with congestion on Brooklyn Avenue, which many deemed too narrow. Others cited safety issues on Fulton’s main thoroughfare.
“Coming down Tompkins and making that short right to make a left on Brooklyn is one of the most dangerous intersections,” said Michael Lambert, director of Bed-Stuy’s Gateway BID.
“There’s a lot of danger for pedestrians — people are basically playing dodge car with their lives.”
DOT representatives acknowledged the worries by saying they would work with the police department to better enforce parking regulations on the corner of Brookyn and Fulton and possibly install overhead signage for new lane assignments.
Still, some community members expressed discontent with bike lanes in general.
“We were never asked about them but they came,” one resident said to applause.
“I can’t pick my child up from school because the whole neighborhood is gridlocked. Most of us didn’t want bike lanes, but we got them. They’re everywhere.”
As early as September 2014, DOT presented a proposal to the community to add shared lane markings and signage to Tompkins to guide cyclists toward Brooklyn Avenue.
CB3 had initially asked DOT to address the fact that the bike lane markings ended abruptly at MacDonough Street, according to members and the agency.
“I ride a bicycle on a regular basis and, as far as bike lanes go, more bikes and less use of cars did improve the air quality where we live,” said board member Christopher James. “I do applaud the use of the lanes.”
The DOT is discussing options for CB3 and will meet with the board at a later date, according to agency representatives.
“We want your input,” DOT’s Deputy Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Claudette Workman told residents. “Nothing is written in stone.”