Brooklyn’s First Bike Friendly Business District

Image Courtesy Andrew Hinderaker

It’s official: Atlantic Avenue between the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and 4th Avenue is Brooklyn’s first Bike Friendly Business District.

More than 65 shops and restaurants along the corridor have declared themselves “bike friendly,” and committed to making the area safer and more welcoming for cyclists, as well as walkers and shoppers who don’t arrive on two wheels.

Businesses participating in the program range from a toy store to a dentist’s office to a Middle Eastern importer to hair salons to, of course, a bike shop. Each of these merchants has pledged to either give cyclists a discount, distribute Biking Rules! educational materials, request a new bike rack from the city or commit to training their delivery cyclists in the rules of the road.

The Atlantic Avenue Bike Friendly Business District is just the second of its kind in the five boroughs, and the first to partner with a local business improvement district, the Atlantic Avenue BID, as well as 12 community groups that rallied behind the project.

As study after study has shown, biking is good for business. A team of researchers from Oxford University found that neighborhoods that prioritize walking, biking and quality public space see local retail sales jump by 10 to 25 percent, and a recent New York City DOT report concluded that locally-based businesses on 9th Avenue saw a 49 percent increase in sales after the installation of a protected bike lane.

At the Atlantic Avenue Bike Friendly Business District’s official opening on October 5th, those eye-popping estimates looked low, as scores of cyclists and hundreds of shoppers ambled, pedaled and perused their way down the street.

“Atlantic Avenue cuts through the heart of Brooklyn’s downtown and is a vital commercial stretch for locals and visitors alike,” said Jill Guidera, T.A.’s Field Organizing Coordinator.

“With Citi Bike stations dotting the landscape and some of Brooklyn’s finest tree-lined bike routes crossing the avenue, it is a perfect fit for a Bike Friendly Business District. As we went door-to-door to speak with local business owners, we heard an overwhelming demand for a people-friendly Atlantic Avenue. These businesses requested bike infrastructure. That’s how they came on board. It’s their desire to not only encourage cycling but see real improvements in their community.”