Statement of Senior Director of Advocacy Thomas DeVito:
“So far this year, six of the 11 cyclists who have been killed in New York City have been killed on the streets of Southern Brooklyn. It is abhorrent, then, that Brooklyn’s Community Board 10 spent last night voting against the minimal bike network safety plan put before them by the Department of Transportation. It is even more troubling that Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Transportation preemptively watered down the safety plan to begin with, and, if they listen to CB 10, now may weaken it further. They should not.
For over a year, residents of Southern Brooklyn participated in an inclusive planning process designed to get feedback on how to build out a safe bike lane network. After a half-dozen well attended, overwhelmingly positive meetings, the DOT decided to return to the community with a watered down plan that provided no protected space for cyclists, but told CB10 they were “maniacally” intent that there be no parking loss. Even this was too much for members of CB10, some of whom insisted, against clear proof, that parking would be impacted.
This shows that the City needs to radically rethink the way it does community process. It is not democratic to have months of painstaking work by scores of well-informed community members swept aside and dismissed by a small number of unelected, unaccountable community board members.
Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets are calling on Mayor de Blasio to follow through with the plans for a Southern Brooklyn bike network in their entirety -- including the proposal for a protected bike lane on Shore Road -- in the short term, and beyond that, to come back with a real plan for protected bike lanes as soon as possible.
We call on local elected leaders Council Member Justin Brannan, Assembly Member Mathylde Frontus, and State Senator Andrew Gournardes to strongly support the implementation of these plans, as well. People are dying on our streets, and Southern Brooklyn is being hit the hardest. Bike lanes are proven to save lives for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers alike, and it’s long past time residents of Southern Brooklyn were afforded their protection."