CLINTON HILL — The Department of Transportation has tabled a controversial proposal to add a two-way protected bike lane to Clinton Avenue following fierce backlash from longtime residents uneasy about mounting change in the neighborhood.
At the request of the DOT, Community Board 2’s Transportation and Public Safety Committee removed the proposal from the agenda of a Thursday night meeting — a continuation of Tuesday’s meeting held to accommodate a lengthy list of speakers from the public.
The committee did not vote on the proposal, which would turn Clinton Avenue, now a two-way street, into a one-way northbound street, with one travel lane, two parking lanes, a pedestrian island and the bike lane.
But the withdrawal didn't stop residents from airing out their frustrations — often yelling and booing at the DOT as representatives tried to answer questions.
“I don’t know why you ask me to answer and then you yell at me, it’s crazy,” Director of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs Sean Quinn said as he was called up to answer questions from the community.
Several residents faulted the DOT for not consulting community members before drafting the proposal.
“It’s not really about the bikes, it’s about people coming into the neighborhood and saying, ‘We need to change it, we need to transform it because it doesn’t work,’” said Claire Wood, a Clinton Avenue resident since 1979.
“I’m against the bike lane, but I’m not against bikers. I’m against all the people who come into this neighborhood and feel like they have to fix it, because it’s not broken.”
OTHER BIKE LANE BATTLES:
One Brooklyn native and Fort Greene resident of 49 years said she doesn’t even recognize her neighborhood anymore.
“I don’t know where I am half the time, I don’t know what you’re doing to my Brooklyn,” resident Paula J. McKeller said.
Transportation committee chair John Dew had drafted a motion asking the DOT to conduct further outreach in the community, but the motion was dropped with the department's withdrawal of the proposal.
“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," says the motion, read by Dew at the start of Thursday's meeting. "The residents of Clinton Avenue and the surrounding neighbors have not been given an opportunity for input for this proposal."
The DOT said Thursday it would go back to the drawing board and continue to gather input from local community groups in drafting a revised proposal before returning to the community board next month.
“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. We look forward to returning to CB2 next month,” a DOT spokeswoman said in a statement.
CB2’s next Transportation and Public Safety Committee Meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on June 21 at Long Island University’s Jonas Board Room.