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The city may be putting the brakes on its plans to bring bicycle lanes to car-crazy Southern Brooklyn.
Once adamant about painting lanes on E. 94th and E. 95th streets in Canarsie — despite claims from community board members that bike lanes shouldn’t extend past Park Slope — the city is now taking a second look at its plan.
The change of heart came after Councilman Lew Fidler (D-Canarsie) lambasted the Department of Transportation for extending its bicycle network into Canarsie without community input while using decade-old data.
“[The city] is implementing bike lanes on a master plan that is more than 10 years old,” Fidler told us. “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.”
In his letter to Department of Transportation Brooklyn Commissioner Joseph Palmieri, Fidler said it was “imperative that community feedback be factored into any proposed changes.”
A few weeks later, Palmieri responded to Fidler’s letter. He said he’s asked the city’s Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs “to investigate this location and recommend appropriate actions.”
Palmieri promised a response to the new investigation by Sept. 14.
The Department of Transportation confirmed Friday that it is reviewing the project.
Yet the Canarsie 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 Canarsie Pier. Bicyclists would use the E. 94th Street bike lane on their way home as they go westbound to Ditmas Avenue. Once at the pier, they can connect to the Shore Parkway greenway that stretches from Queens to Sheepshead Bay.
First proposed in June, city officials said the Canarsie bike route was “part of the effort to extend the bike network to areas of southern Brooklyn that currently have few facilities.”
They also said the changes would “calm neighborhood streets” and not affect traffic lanes or parking.
Community leaders disagreed, claiming, rather surprisingly, Canarsians don’t bike.
“Canarsie is not Park Slope or Carroll Gardens,” Community Board 18 District Manager Dorothy Turano explained. “Our community is, by and large, a driving community. We’re not going to jump on this bike riding bandwagon.”
If no changes are implemented, the bike lanes will be installed in October.
Complaints about bike lanes are not new to southern Brooklyn. In the past residents of neighborhoods like Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights have raised red flags over unwanted lanes during the past few months.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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