Eyes on the Street: Brownsville Celebrates Its New Bike Lanes

Getting ready for this morning's bike ride at Brownsville Bike Shop. Photo: Brownsville Partnership

They may be just paint, but bike lanes and sharrows on New Lots Avenue, Pitkin Avenue, Mother Gaston Boulevard, Hendrix Street, and Schenck Avenue are the first step toward implementing a community-based plan for better bicycling in Brownsville. This morning, about 35 people took part in a celebratory ride of the neighborhood’s first bike lanes organized by the Brownsville Partnership.

Before this morning's bike ride on Mother Gaston Boulevard. Photo: Brownsville Partnership

In 2011, Bettie Kollock-Wallace, who now serves as chair of Community Board 16, wanted safer routes for bike rides she led with Brownsville seniors to Prospect Park. She worked with a  range of groups — including the Brownsville Partnership, Transportation Alternatives, Brookdale Hospital, the Brooklyn District Public Health Office, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, and the Pitkin Avenue BID — to make it happen.

Within a year, DOT hosted public meetings asking residents to map out bike routes, and presented a plan to the community board. In February, the board voted to support the plan. “This is the best example of a true collaboration that I have seen in my years of community health work,” Brownsville Partnership’s Nupur Chaudhury said in a statement.

This morning’s ride began at the Brownsville Bike Shop on Mother Gaston Boulevard and ended at the Tilden Senior Center. DOT is also installing more than 600 bike racks in the neighborhood, and more bike-related events will be happening at the Brownsville Recreation Center this summer.