Press |

Brownsville Residents Push for Neighborhood’s First Bike Lanes

  |  November 10, 2011

Brownsville wants safer streets for biking.

Currently there isn’t a single bike lane inside this eastern Brooklyn neighborhood, though two bike lanes run along the edges of Brownsville on East New York Avenue and Rockaway Parkway. Neighborhood activists, including the business community, senior citizens and public health advocates, are now organizing to convince the city to install both north-south and east-west routes through the area.

The push for bike lanes originated from Bettie Kollock-Wallace, the first vice president of Brooklyn Community Board 16. “My philosophy is the more active you are the younger you get,” she told Streetsblog.

Last summer, the 72-year-old Kollock-Wallace was leading Brownsville seniors on group rides in Prospect Park. Without a strong network of bike lanes, however, she found it difficult to get there, especially with inexperienced cyclists trailing behind her. “If we had the bike lane you could easily follow the route,” said Kollock-Wallace. “You could be safe.” She identified Mother Gaston Boulevard as the preferable location for a lane connecting to the existing bike network.

Three weeks ago, the Department of Transportation came out to Brownsville for a group ride co-hosted by the Brownsville Partnership, an initiative of the non-profit Community Solutions, and the Brooklyn District Public Health Office, a local arm of the NYC Department of Health. Scouting an eight-mile loop of the area, they discussed street conditions and obstacles to safe cycling. A spokesperson for DOT said the department is in the process of identifying bike routes that could be implemented in the future.