Watch CBS News

Redesigned Downtown Brooklyn street aims to protect cyclists

Officials tout new protected bike lane in Downtown Brooklyn
Officials tout new protected bike lane in Downtown Brooklyn 02:08

NEW YORK -- Officials in Downtown Brooklyn unveiled a new project that aims to provide a safer commute for more than a thousand daily cyclists along Schermerhorn Street. 

The NYC Department of Transportation says hundreds of cyclists ride there on a given weekday, though activists say the trip can be dangerous.

"As folks say, 'all roads lead to Rome.' All roads lead to downtown Brooklyn," said NYC Councilmember Lincoln Restler, who represents the 33rd district. "But for those who are trying to cycle to Downtown Brooklyn, it has been putting your life at risk for far too long."

NYCDOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez and cycling advocates cranked the pedals along the new street redesign that turns Schermerhorn street into a one-way, and introduces 1.2 miles of protected, two way bike lanes.

"This used to be a chaotic two-way street with rampant double-parking. The standard bike lanes were often blocked, forcing cyclists to mix with vehicular traffic," said Rodriguez.

This is part of the city's efforts to promote cycling and ease congestion on streets in the area.

"All the parking is still there, it's just the redesign and giving safety to the neighbors who are trying to help you every day. Helping you with the air quality and emissions, helping you by not being another car on the street, jamming traffic," says Courney Williams, NYC People's Bike Mayor, and cyclist behind The Brown Bike Girl.

This comes as police identified the 25-year-old cyclist killed Wednesday morning after a crash with a tractor trailer near Prospect Park as Kala Santiago. A moment of silence was held for her.

"The 15th cyclist and 192nd person killed this year so far by traffic violence," said Elizabeth Adams, senior director for advocacy at Transportation Alternatives. "This is an outrage. This is preventable."

However, not everyone in the area supports the change. Alejandro Supelveda, a concierge at 45 Hoyt Street, a high-rise on the corner of Hoyt and Schermerhorn, says this will cause frustration for drivers.

"Parking already was a headache and disaster before they put this up. Now they put these bike lanes up, making streets more narrow, making them more dangerous for vehicles," he told CBS2's Hannah Kliger.

The street unveiling was part of the city's annual celebration of cycling, Biketober, which offers bike-friendly events like gear giveaways, self guided rides, and tips on safe cycling across the five boroughs, especially in underserved communities.

The redesign is meant to compliment a new network of shared streets in the area that aim to discourage drivers and create more public spaces.

NYCDOT says protected bike lanes have proven to reduce traffic deaths and serious injuries by 18%. 

Have a story idea or tip in Brooklyn? Email Hannah by CLICKING HERE.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.