City & State NY is hosting a full day New York in Transit summit on Jan. 30 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. This summit will bring together experts to assess the current state of New York’s transportation systems, break down recent legislative actions, and look towards the future of all things coming and going in New York. Join Keynote Speaker Polly Trottenberg, commissioner of the NYC Department of Transportation, along with agency leaders, elected officials, and advocates. Use the code STREETSBLOG for a 25-percent discount when you RSVP here!
This is what happens when city officials ignore unsafe streets right in their faces.
On Friday, a cyclist was injured when he was struck by a car driver on the nightmare portion of Flushing Avenue just east of Kent Avenue — a through street and crucial bike route in a community with a long aversion to road safety projects.
The cyclist, who gave the name Anthony, was not critically injured, but the collision itself revealed the many ways in which the city has failed cyclists — 29 of whom died last year:
- The driver of the car that hit the cyclist has wracked up five camera-issued speeding tickets since 2017 — evidence that he is reckless (see his record from Howsmydrivingny.nyc, right). But no authority — neither state DMV nor the City Council — has found a way to hold drivers like this accountable when they are caught on camera with multiple violations.
- Flushing Avenue east of Kent Avenue is a sluice designed to do only one thing: Get cars to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. It is a direct route for many cyclists heading to Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO and both the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, yet there is no infrastructure for cyclists — not even sharrows to indicate to drivers that they are required by state law to share the road (the city’s official bike map indicates that the roadway is a shared route, but there are no painted sharrows).
- At the worst chokepoint on the block — at Taaffe Place — the city has allowed a construction company to park a trailer in the roadway to support its work on a new 10-story community facility.
The fact is Flushing Avenue is a death waiting to happen. Since Jan. 2018, there have been 170 reported crashes on just the three blocks between the BQE and Franklin Avenue, injuring five cyclists, four pedestrians and 33 motorists. (It is unclear if Friday’s collision will even make it into the official records: Cops did not show up while Streetsblog reporter Julianne Cuba was on the scene.)
That part of Flushing Avenue is also a through street through a community which has long been at war with street safety advocates and cyclists.
The clash between the Hasidic community and the city’s efforts to build out the bike network were best dramatized when the city erased a bike lane on Bedford Avenue in 2009 after complaints from Hasidic leaders.
A year earlier, the Post covered more opposition to bike lanes from religious leaders in the neighborhood.
The community’s leaders are not the only ones hostile to cyclists, as this 2013 Streetsblog article showed.
The city continues to show great deference to the neighborhood’s car culture. To this day, there are no Citi Bike racks in the heart of the neighborhood and safe bike routes mysteriously do not continue through that portion of the neighborhood (see Citi Bike app, above left, and the city’s bike map, above right).
Most cyclists just ride on the sidewalk — hardly a solution.
I always use the sidewalk here.
— Doug Gordon (@BrooklynSpoke) January 10, 2020
We reached out to the Department of Transportation and will update this story if we hear back. Citi Bike has long declined to comment about the gaps in its service in Williamsburg.
Another Cyclist Injured Along Dangerous Flushing Avenue in Williamsburg