Bicycle Backlash Gets Industrial in Greenpoint

greenpoint bridge lanes e1325519584380 Bicycle Backlash Gets Industrial in Greenpoint

Make way! (Streetsblog)

As if there were any question that the bikelash would continue for another year, it is only the second day of the year and the stories have already begun popping up. The Brooklyn Paper called the Prospect Park West bike lane fight one of its stories of the year, and now it looks like brownstone dwellers are not the only NIMBYs wary of new bike lanes.

According to Crain’s, businesses along Greenpoint Avenue are opposing the extension of the boulevard’s bike lane over the Greenpoint Avenue bridge and into Queens. Cyclists celebrate it as an important safety improvement on a popular bike route, one that needs extra protection given the prevalence of heavy truck traffic on the strips.

But the potential loss of some 50 parking spaces has local businesses worried about their health.

“The community board wants safety first but also wants to balance businesses’ needs,” said [community board transit chair Karen] Nieves.

As some businesses see it at this point, that may not be possible. Andy Tsai, assistant branch manager at Scrap King, a scrap-metal yard located near the entrance of the bridge in Brooklyn, fears trucks won’t be able to get into his warehouse.

“If they can’t come in, sometimes they go to a competitor,” he said.

This is not the first time Greenpoint has seen such a fight. The DOT wants to add a bike lane to West Street, as part of the waterfront greenway, but industrial businesses their also fear for their future. It is an increasingly serious problem as residential encroachment grows in these former factory wastelands.

Indeed, the north Greenpoint waterfront is already scheduled for massive redevelopment. The bike lanes are only the first chink in the armor.

mchaban [at] | @MC_NYC


  1. Ask Yourself: Who is responsible for the Safety of the Cyclists-   should the Government build Bike Lanes, or should Individual Motorists be more courteous and careful?
    I turns out that the Government must shoulder (no pun intended) the responsibility. 
    I’ve driven cars and I’ve ridden bicycles. From the viewpoint of a driver, I can say that Bicycles are not invisible, you can see them, and slow down , check your mirrors, and move left to pass. 
    When I ride a bike, I notice that most motorists pass with seven to ten feet of clearance, so it can be done. It’s just a matter of getting ALL the drivers to clear the Bikes with enough room to spare. 
    Okay, looking at the existing and proposed diagram, I have a different idea. The width overall is 56 feet. Get rid of the (flush) median, make the travel (moving) lanes 20 feet wide in each direction, with 8 foot shoulders on either side. Then the cyclists can travel safely, either on the shoulder, or by sharing the now twenty foot wide travel lane.

    1. J F Sabl says:

      Make a lane that wide, and cars will go two abreast.  Doesn’t matter what signs you put up.  However, intermittent zones for parked cars could replace part of the buffer zone, so long as there are also generous and frequent gaps for people (in cars, on bikes, on foot) wanting to cross.  Put a modest “hump” between the parked cars and the bikes, and also angled at the back and front of the parking zones, so there’s no temptation to drive in the parking strip, even when it is empty.  Take the median down to 2.5 feet (enough for a pedestrian to rest safely) and you’ve gained what you need for the “humps.” 

  2. Danny Wade says:

    We’re all for less people getting killed, but there are precious parking spaces involved.  We have the balance the value of your neck with the concerns of automobiles.  Cars are the dominant life form on the planet, as any alien with a telescope could tell you.  (apologies to Sagan)

  3. Weary of NIMBY Moronism says:

    Someone needs to ask Mr. Andy Tsai how two white stripes of Thermoplast will prevent trucks from entering his scrap metal yard. Are these scrap metal trucks able to drive over crosswalks and other road markings? If so, I think he’ll be OK.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Everyone knows that anywhere a bike lane or pedestrian plaza has been installed, businesses have failed.  Times Square is a barren wasteland.  The Williamsburg waterfront is littered with the carcasses of empty condos.  Prospect Park West?  More like Bosnia.  No one can be convinced to live or shop in Chelsea along 8th and 9th Avenue now that there’s a bike lane.  And Columbus Avenue might as well be a lava-filled moat now that the green paint has gone in.

    So it must be the case that these warehouses and truck depots, which rely on no foot traffic and very little in the way of parking spaces turning over, will go under the minute even one inch of bike lane paint is laid down on the street.

    God help New York City!