Dust off the old 10-speed Huffy; bike lanes are coming to Ridgewood this year.
After years of surveying and studying by the Department of City Planning and unanimous support from Community Board 5’s Transportation Committee, CB 5 voted 29-5 in favor of the implementation of 9.5 miles of bike routes throughout Ridgewood at it’s Feb. 12 meeting.
The board voted on only the first phase of the network, as a second phase, involving routes throughout Middle Village and Maspeth, will be studied throughout the year.
Phase 1 will include three sets of dedicated bike lanes, the first running along Woodward and Onderdonk avenues from Flushing Avenue to 69th and Catalpa avenues.
The second set, also dedicated bike routes, will run along 69th and Catalpa avenues to Fresh Pond Road.
Himrod and Harman streets between Metropolitan Avenue and Evergreen Avenue in Bushwick will have dedicated lanes as well.
Also a part of Phase 1, shared lanes, known as sharrows, that both cyclists and motorists will occupy, will run along the district’s more bustling streets like small sections of Metropolitan and Myrtle avenues as well as Fresh Pond Road.
Board member Roseann Rosado, who voted against the measure, argued that bike lanes on the district’s busiest roadways would increase the risk of accidents involving motorists and bicyclists.
“Why would bike routes be placed on our main thoroughfares like Metropolitan Avenue, Grand Avenue and Fresh Pond Road?” Rosado asked. “When I drive from Williamsburg into Maspeth over the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge ... there’s a bike lane there. Ninety-nine percent of the time, a tractor trailer is in that bike lane making the turn.”
CB 5 Transportation Committee Co-chairman John Maier spoke in favor of the lanes, saying that cyclists have just as much of a right to the road as motorists do.
“Just like you in a car, bicyclists need to get places,” Maier said. “But with New York State law, bicyclists can be on any street a car is with the exception of a parkway or a freeway.”
“We don’t not build roads because drivers are bad drivers,” he continued, “just like we shouldn’t not have bicycle lanes because some bicyclists are bad bicyclists.”
Phase 2 of the plan includes routes along Metropolitan, Eliot and Grand avenues.
The streets surrounding Juniper Valley Park, 61st, 69th and 80th streets among others are also included, but implementation is not planned until the spring of 2015, if that phase is passed by CB 5.