Saturday: Tish James Gets the Word Out on Bike-Ped Unity

Council Member Letitia James using a bike-powered blender in 2009. Now she's riding a real bike on Brooklyn streets and hoping for better relations between pedestrians and cyclists. Photo: Cafe Habana

Brooklyn Council Member Letitia James wants cyclists and pedestrians to get along. This Saturday, she’s hosting what she hopes will be the first annual “Building Bridges Bike Day” at Grand Army Plaza.

Council members James, Steve Levin and Brad Lander will all be on hand Saturday, along with representatives from Transportation Alternatives and Recycle-A-Bicycle, to foster conversation about walking and cycling, and to hand out safety information and bike maps.

James started cycling herself this summer. If you’re curious where she’s been riding and what she’s learned from the experience, you should be able to ask her on Saturday, said Jonathan Perez, the staffer who set up the event.

The goal of the day is “to build an alliance for bicycle and pedestrian awareness,” said Perez, and to serve as a neighborhood “celebration of the healthy lifestyle choice that bikes offer.” One message he wants to make sure gets across, based on the concerns he’s heard from constituents, is that biking in Brooklyn is calm and safe.

The location is meant to be symbolic, taking place at a confluence of streets that includes some of Brooklyn’s most prominent bikeways and walkways. In a addition to a slate of bike-ped improvements currently under construction, Grand Army Plaza is also slated to get new bike parking spaces from the Parks Department, according to Perez, making it an even more bike-accessible location.