The Manhattan Beach Community Group and Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association working to remove bike lanes on Oriental Boulevard in Brooklyn, New York’s Manhattan Beach, putting city cyclists on the defensive.
Cyclists are asking the Department of Transportation and local police to consider enforcing traffic laws to help build a safer cycling environment and keep the lanes. “I use the Oriental Boulevard bike lane all the time with my daughter because I think it is a great place to ride in the winter or when it is not the summer months,” said Rich Johnson an avid cyclist, who lives in the Manhattan Beach area.
The path was opened in 2009, but even then some Manhattan Beach residents were against the lane. The area’s Manhattan Beach Community Group and Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association are actively trying to have the bike lanes removed over traffic concerns.
President of the community group Ira Zalcman suggested suing the city to get ride of the bike lanes. Neighborhood association leader, Edmund Dweck, believes the bike lanes should be removed, however, he disagrees with suing the city.
The bike lane runs parallel to the beach and Oriental Boulevard and is rarely patrolled by local law enforcement. Subsequently, large food service trucks and beach goers double park across the bike lane and in no standing zones.
Johnson noted that the Oriental Boulevard bike lane is a useful route for local bicycle commuters to travel to the nearby Kings Borough Community College. And that the introduction of the bike lane on the busy street helped forced speeding drivers to slow down, an observation to which the city agrees.
“Oriental Boulevard is a wide-open strip and there used to be a lot of speeding there before they put the bike lane in and so the bike lane has reduced that a lot,” Johnson said. “There used to be drag racing there at times and people driving way over the speed limit. It is much more of a dangerous road without the bike lanes.”
“I don’t think they should remove the bike lane,” he added. “All together, it reduces traffic speed and it gives people a nice place to ride in the summer. It would be a nice place to ride all year around if the police would just enforce the use of the bike lanes.”