Proposed Bike Lanes in Clinton Hill Spark Heated Debate

A community board meeting in Brooklyn got heated as residents debated a proposal to install bike lanes on a stretch of busy Clinton Avenue. 

The Department of Transportation is proposing adding two bike lanes going in both directions on Clinton from Gates to Flushing in the Clinton Hill neighborhood. 

But at the meeting Thursday, officials were caught in the middle of a battle between cyclists and pedestrians. 

"I am petrified when I step into a crosswalk because I see these cyclists, before I event set my foot, zoom past me, and I'm a victim of that," said one neighbor. 

Sean Quinn of the DOT acknowledged that cycling in the neighborhood was continuing to rise. But neighbors say it's not just pedestrian safety they're worried about. They say traffic is also a concern: right now, Clinton Avenue is a two-way street. Under the new plan, it would become a one-way, and residents say other roads will become congested or busier as a result.

"There's major traffic problems now, all because you want to have a bike lane," said James Hardy of Clinton Hill.

Bicyclist Jenny Kane saw differently: "Making this a one-way street would make it safer for all of us. It would." 

The DOT says traffic studies show congestion would not be an issue. 

On Clinton Avenue, cyclist Shawn Onsgard of Bedford-Stuyvesant advocated for the lanes, saying, "It's easier for cars to share the road with cyclists because they're separated from the vehicle lanes." 

Yet another concern is parking and access-a-ride space. After seeing the community's response, a spokesperson for the DOT says they'll talk more with local leaders and residents before making a final decision. 

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