Revealed: Council Member Tish James Tells Us Where She’s Been Biking

Council Member Tish James, left, with Recycle-a-Bike director Pasqualina Azzarello and Brooklyn's own youth bike advocate Kimberly White, who'll be be delivering a keynote at tomorrow's Safe Routes to School national conference in Minneapolis. Photo: Jonathan Perez

Streetsblog caught up with council members Tish James and Brad Lander for a few minutes at Saturday’s “Building Bridges Bike Day” in Grand Army Plaza. James and Lander represent districts with some of the highest bicycling rates in the city, and they’re getting some mileage out of the local bike infrastructure themselves: Lander arrived via bike, and James told us about one of her first ventures cycling the streets of her district.

James said she wanted to put on the event to promote Recycle-a-Bicycle’s work to provide bikes “to those who don’t have the benefit of a bike,” and to talk about street safety. The death last year of Jasmine Herron, who was killed after a driver doored her on Atlantic Avenue, has heightened the awareness of the need for safer streets in the district. “Given all of these ghost bikes,” James said, “they’re a constant reminder about safety.”

The pending release of NYPD data on the locations and causes of traffic injuries — the result of the Saving Lives Through Better Information Act — had Lander buzzing about the possibilities. “I think we’re at a moment when we have an opportunity to make substantial strides on street safety,” he said. The new crash data will provide “the ability to work with precincts… to think about how enforcement can result in fewer crashes, injuries, and deaths.”

James’s staffer Jonathan Perez told us last week that the council member recently started using a bike, so before I left I had to ask what streets she’s been riding on. One of her first bike trips took her from her home in Clinton Hill to see a concert by the East River waterfront in Williamsburg. James started on Washington Avenue and ended on Kent Avenue, taking advantage of the protected bike lane that runs along the route of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. Kent was great. Washington, she said, has a lot of room for improvement.