Late last winter a plan to extend the Lafayette Avenue bike lane—which currently only runs for a few blocks between Flatbush Avenue and Fulton Street—all the way to Broadway in Bushwick was quickly kiboshed for no apparent reason, save perhaps perceived community opposition and its possible snowballing into a Prospect Park West-caliber kerfuffle. Though the project was euphemistically taken “off the table for at least the rest of the year,” it has found new traction in the new year thanks to a petition begun by two local residents.
In light of the 1,400 signatures collected by Hilda Cohen and Alexandra Loxton as part of their Make Lafayette Avenue Safer campaign, reports the Times‘ Local Fort Greene Blog, the pair will present their proposal for the bike lane to Community Board 2’s transportation committee on Tuesday. CB2 dismissed the plan when it was originally presented to the full board in March 2011.
“I’m hoping that the community board is going to listen to the community,” Cohen says. “There may be personal opinions on the board, but it’s their role to listen.” The plan to extend the lane to Bushwick would involve removing one lane of car traffic to create a protected bike lane on a popular bike route that currently doesn’t even have painted-on lane.
Anticipating opposition, supporters of the proposal are already espousing a shortened version of the lane that would go from Flatbush to Carlton Avenue. “Even if it was just the piece from Flatbush Avenue to Carlton Avenue, it would make a big difference,” says Jenn Zala, a manager Lafayette Avenue’s Bespoke Bicycles. “It’s a dark street, and there’s always ambient noise, so you can’t tell if there’s a car coming up behind you.”
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