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City to enhance safety along Coney Island Avenue in response to cyclist death

The city plans to paint bike lanes near Coney Island Avenue during the next two years in response to the death of cyclist Jose Alzorriz at the intersection of Avenue L on Aug. 11.
Brooklyn Paper
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Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan to enhance traffic safety along Coney Island Avenue in response to a deadly crash that claimed the life of a cyclist in Midwood earlier this month.

“This was a heartbreaking tragedy, and we’re taking action to make this corridor safer for everyone,” de Blasio said. “Starting immediately you’ll see enhanced NYPD enforcement of reckless driving, while DOT accelerates the installation of nearby bike lanes and other safety measures. We will not rest until we reach Vision Zero.”

As first reported by AM New York, de Blasio ordered the Department of Transportation to install pedestrian islands and new left turn signals, in addition to lengthening pedestrian crossing times at intersections along the bustling north-south thoroughfare between Park Circle and Brighton Beach Avenue, according to mayoral spokesman Seth Stein.

Transit officials will pay special attention to intersections at avenues L and C, Dorchester and Quentin roads, and Ditmas and Crawford avenues, each of which will benefit from at least one of the aforementioned safety enhancements, Stein said.

In the near term, both police and transit workers will step up enforcement along Coney Island Avenue, while the mayor’s office also promises to install new, unprotected bike lanes within the next two years somewhere nearby Coney Island Avenue and Avenue L, according to Stein.

A spokeswoman for Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to questions regarding where the new cycling paths would be placed, or explain how the new proposal differed from the Green Wave bike lane expansion de Blasio announced in July, which already lists the area near the deadly Midwood crash as a priority zone.

The rapid safety push comes in response to the death of Park Slope cyclist Jose Alzorriz, who was stopped at Avenue L when 18-year-old Umar Mirza Baig blew through a red light and T-boned another car there, which then smashed into the biker.

Police cuffed Baig on Aug. 21, and he was indicted on a laundry list of charges that include reckless manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and two-counts of assault, court documents show.

One transit advocate slammed hizzoner’s proposal for not going far enough, saying the city must install protected bike lanes that separate cyclists from traffic using parked cars, bollards, or other forms of physical barrier.

“It’s absolutely outrageous to look at a street that’s designed like a highway and then throw up your hands and say we can’t do anything to make it safer for the most vulnerable,” said Thomas DeVito, a spokesman for advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.

The city has given southern Brooklyn the shaft when it comes to cycling infrastructure, according to DeVito, who said it’s high time in the wake of Alzorriz’s death that transit officials extend additional bike routes into the borough’s southern reach.

“[Coney Island Avenue] runs through neighborhoods that have borne the brunt of cyclist fatalities this year, southern Brooklyn has experienced it the worst,” he said.

The city previously upgraded the bike lanes on Ninth Street in Park Slope to include buffers and parked cars between bikes and traffic last year after Staten Island motorist Dorothy Bruns ran a red light and struck and killed two children who crossing Fifth Avenue a few months prior.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Posted 12:00 am, August 26, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Wilhemina from Ocean Parkway says:
Is this really enough? All of these foreign crazies driving with no license, or something they got in Mexico or Pakistan, are a real danger! Not just to bikes, but to pedestrians and even other cars.
Aug. 26, 2019, 3:24 am
Jenny from Queens says:
Wilhelmina is right unfortunately. They're just doing what they know from their own countries. That's why traffic deaths are so high there.
Aug. 26, 2019, 8:10 am
Frank from Furter says:
Racist nonsense. Most of the deaths involve people born in the good old USA. Yes some are from other places. But you have been listening to the Donald and Faux news too much. The woman from staten island who killed two by running a red light was born here. Traffic deaths are so high because people disregard the laws. It breeds disrespect and violations. It becomes habitual and eventually deadly.
Aug. 26, 2019, 8:22 am
Frank from Furter says:
Bike riding is inherently dangerous because cars are big and your body small. Only separating vehicles pedestrians and bikes makes it safer but not totally safe.
Aug. 26, 2019, 8:28 am
Tyler from pps says:
Enforcement.... speeding, double-parking (not ticketing, immediate towing), aggressive/dangerous turning, not yielding, not maintaining adequate space.
Aug. 26, 2019, 9:35 am
JD from Gravesend says:
Yet another knee-jerk reaction to a non-problem. While tragic for the bicyclist, it could have as easily been a pedestrian (almost was), or no one at all that got hit. Accidents happen, and had the jack-hammer behind the wheel been paying attention it wouldn't have...THAT is the root of this problem, not the lack of protection for cyclists.
Aug. 26, 2019, 1:30 pm
JIm says:
The UK has a more stringent process in giving out driver licenses.
Aug. 26, 2019, 1:32 pm
JIm says:
Getting a license in NYC is a third world free for all. Not a racist. Just want standards for everyone's safety. Please don't use my name and then pretend it's me when responding to all of you unemployed jerks with nothing better to do.
Aug. 26, 2019, 1:33 pm
Gerry Bernstein from Soho says:
Just keep making it more congested so people can be more angry so we can have more accidents. There are bad drivers and bike riders on both sides. You wouldn't catch me riding a bike in New York City and I grew up here. Too Dangerous!!!!
Aug. 26, 2019, 1:57 pm
Bunny from Midwood Brooklyn says:
The accident that occurred at the beginning of this month on Coney Island Ave. was because a car was speeding past the intersection. This cyclist was not killed because of missing bike lanes. I think that the bike lanes are dangerous because the bikers sway into the car lanes at times because they are not paying attention to the vehicles traveling next to them. Reflectors on the bikes might also help prevent accidents at night.
Aug. 26, 2019, 2:04 pm
fiddle Faddle from Flatlands says:
Coney Island Avenue is a relatively narrow street which is basically commercial with lots of trucks, buses and other motor vehicles on it . Bikesters should avoid it and use Ocean Parkway or Ocean Avenue instead.
Aug. 26, 2019, 4:48 pm
fiddle Faddle from Flatlands says:
Coney Island Avenue is a relatively narrow street which is basically commercial with lots of trucks, buses and other motor vehicles on it . Some a$$hole speeding on it ran a red light and killed a cyclist. That's really all you need to know.
Aug. 26, 2019, 4:51 pm
Marion Frances from Midwood says:
# 1 Good Neighbor Bunny was originally correct. Her opinion is the one shared by most Street Walkers. Pedestrians have lost faith in bicyclers. Bicyclist advocates can be really nasty people and have no concern for those who walk the streets of Brooklyn
Aug. 26, 2019, 4:52 pm
Marion Frances from Midwood says:
What do I know? I'm just a dried up old fig that smells like a shoe box filled with clams, that's been buried in the desert for a year.
Aug. 26, 2019, 5:13 pm
Thomasina Rhodes says:
How about making it unlegal to drive drunk?!
Aug. 26, 2019, 5:23 pm
AlmadeCubano from Right Here says:
This is more than just protecting cyclists. That dead man might have been a pedestrian but for inches and how the kid smashed the van. We need red-light cameras on every light, and speed cameras on every corner. Otherwise what will stop another stupid punk from driving ——ty and killing another innocent law-abiding person?
Aug. 26, 2019, 6:54 pm
AlmadeCubano from Right Here says: from Who cares says:
No one cares what you say, only henry ford
Aug. 27, 2019, 1:10 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Although I do give my condolences to that dead cyclist, the answer to prevent further deaths isn't more bike lanes, it's having them follow the traffic laws. In reality, bike lanes don't give any real sense of safety. Also, cyclists have a history of claiming that it's their get out of traffic laws free card. As long as cyclists continue to flout traffic laws, they are placing themselves into harm's way. Unfortunately, we can never get groups such as Transportation Alternatives to understand especially with their anti-car bias sort of like how the Boycott Divestment Sanctions with their anti-Israel bias or even the National Rifle Association with their anti-gun safety bias.
Aug. 27, 2019, 2:48 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Fed Up, who is probably just someone already here using another to sound like someone different, nobody will argue that cars and other motor vehicles do kill more and that is a fact but, that still doesn't give a reason for bicycles be flouting the laws. Also, flouting the laws does place you into harm's way, but you tend to ignore that fact as well. In the some of the accidents, it was found that it was the cyclist who was at fault just because they disobeyed the traffic light and sign that would have saved them had they followed them hence making it avoidable. As for my analogies, I use those because they are examples of those who only see things their way while never look at the other side, which shows how much they aren't fair and balanced. For whatever you say that I'm biased on, I can easily say the same back at your side. BTW, I have read the comments on the Streetsblog, and they have a clear anti-car bias over there, and it does remind me a lot of the Electronic Intifada where they always state things against Israel while never once calling out terrorist groups such as Hamas. Then again, you bike zealots tend to miss the point just as much as you miss all the traffic lights and signs you tend to ignore a lot that ends up either killing or injuring you. Seriously, I could never understand the irony over on that blog where they want us motorists to follow every letter of the law with major enforcement while at the same time they should be exempt from them all just for using bicycles hence the Animal Farms reference. However, I'm willing to believe otherwise on TA if anyone can give me a direct quote from a major member that actually calls out scofflaw cyclists or my claim of them having an anti-car bias will remain correct by default since I actually prove it. Should you act defensive or refuse to answer, it will only further prove that I'm right about them. On a side note, cut the personal attacks especially since I'm not doing that towards you let alone calling for censorship, which really shows how less of an adult some of you really are.
Aug. 29, 2019, 6:52 am
Fed Up says:
Shut the fuk up tal, you fat reatrad joobag.
Aug. 29, 2019, 8:35 am
Amin from Bayridge says:
Deblasio just creating more accidents, pollution, traffic and congestion in the city.
Aug. 29, 2019, 9:31 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Amin, this actually goes back to Bloomberg, who always was bending over backwards for the bike lobby while constantly snubbing the public sector throughout his term as mayor.
Aug. 29, 2019, 2:42 pm
Cruising from Queens says:
Actually Bike lanes were instituted by then Mayor Ed Koch. Upon his return from a trip to China, where he saw how well they worked when riders obeyed the law. He quickly had them removed when he saw New Yorkers didn't have discipline to make the bike lanes feasible. Smart man that Ed Koch
Sept. 4, 2019, 7:19 am

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