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Canarsie: Bike lanes are for Park Slope

Bicyclists beware — Canarsie is off limits to your freewheeling shenanigans.

So declared Community Board 18 members on June 16 as they lambasted the city’s plan to put bicycle lanes along E. 94th and E. 95th streets that would link the Canarsie Pier to East Flatbush.

“Canarsie is not Park Slope or Carroll Gardens,” District Manager Dorothy Turano told community board members. “Our community is, by and large, a driving community. We’re not going to jump on this bike riding bandwagon.”

Board members agreed wholeheartedly, with one member noting that all the bike lanes would bring is “more business for Canarsie Cemetery.”

Other longtime civic leaders said bike lanes would be more trouble than they’re worth.

“They’re going to slow down traffic,” said Gardy Brazella, the president of the Friends United Block Association. “It’s going to take us longer to get to our destination.”

Board 18 put their opposition to the bike lanes in writing, claiming that the city “fails to recognize the highly unusual transportation challenges inherent in our community as well as the unique needs of the population we serve.”

“Historically and currently, Community Board 18’s population includes one of the largest constituencies of senior citizens in the city,” Turano explained in a letter to Department of Transportation Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Joseph Palmieri. “The proposed implementation of bicycle lanes represents an unfair burden to a community that does not need them. [They’ll] only create hazardous conditions in our district, jeopardizing our residents.”

Still, the city is adamant — bike lanes are coming to Canarsie and there’s really nothing the neighborhood can do about it.

In fact, the route is already on the city’s biking map: the lane would begin at Avenue D going eastbound on E. 95th Street on its way to the pier. Bicyclists would use the E. 94th Street bike lane on their way home as they go westbound to Ditmas Avenue. Once at the Canarsie Pier, they can connect to the Shore Parkway greenway that stretches from Queens to Sheepshead Bay.

“These bike routes are part of the effort to extend the bike network to areas of southern Brooklyn that currently have few facilities,” said Department of Transportation spokesman Monty Dean, who described E. 94th and E. 95th streets as “calm neighborhood streets” and added that the bike lanes would not affect traffic lanes or parking.

The bike lanes are expected to be installed in October.

But the city may have to brace itself against a storm of discontent fielded by City Councilman Lew Fidler (D-Canarsie) who said the city’s bike lane plan was done without any community consultation and is already too antiquated.

“[The city] is implementing bike lanes on a master plan that is more than 10 years old,” Fidler said. “I don’t remember any public input on this back then or now and I want to make sure that these bike lanes are going in the right place.”

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