StreetsPAC supporters rode strong despite a high of 95 degrees with candidates Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Bushwick/Williamsburg) and Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Sunset Park/Red Hook). The StreetsPAC-organized ride started in East Williamsburg, passed through Bushwick, and traveled through several Brooklyn neighborhoods on the way toward Red Hook and Sunset Park. Selected stops along the way allowed for discussion of the existing streets and infrastructure, and changes that will improve safety and connectivity as well as incentivize people to get moving through their neighborhoods on foot and bike.
“Riding along Bushwick Avenue makes me realize there is definitely enough space for a bike lane on that street,” noted Andy, an Antonio Reynoso and StreetsPAC supporter. Antonio stressed the need to improve truck-route calming and enforcement on Morgan Avenue, and to expand the bike lane network to better connect East Williamsburg and Bushwick.
The group happily dodged opened hydrants, and made an impromptu stop at a rockin’ block party in Bed Stuy. Everywhere, Brooklynites were out on the street. A special detour along the protected Prospect Park West bike lane led to a stop with Councilmember Brad Lander, a very strong supporter of Safe Streets. “There is a clear distinction between the type of bike lanes in the different neighborhoods. I really like the green ones, and I feel much safer when I am protected from cars,” said Nick, a StreetsPAC volunteer and Reynoso campaign supporter.
From Park Slope, the crew continued downhill to Red Hook, a first for some of the riders. The route magnified the lack of connections to Red Hook from both Park Slope and Sunset Park. Carlos Menchaca spoke about launching a community-led initiative to transform the space beneath the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway along Brooklyn’s Third Avenue, and making it easier to get to the Red Hook community and waterfront. “The Red Hook waterfront is really amazing and it is a true amenity,” said Antonio, “but the trip under the BQE to Red Hook had us crossing eight lanes of traffic.”
“It is not an easy place to get to, and that is such a shame,” stated Nathan, a StreetsPAC volunteer. “It feels like neighborhoods are really losing out.”
To get from Red Hook to Sunset Park, the closest connection to the waterfront requires traveling along Hamilton Avenue under the BQE. “Huddle together and take the lane,” warned Carlos, “cars go pretty fast along here.” For pedestrians, bicyclists, and even those simply waiting for a bus, this route is unpleasant if not downright dangerous. But it is one of the only ways to go.
The ride continued along 5th Avenue, a vibrant street that harmoniously blends customers, businesses, and traffic-calming improvements like shared bike-route signage. The candidates' trip culminated in the shade of Sunset Park, where refreshments quenched the group's thirst and allowed all to finish the discussion of infrastructure improvements that can be made with Carlos Menchaca and Antonio Reynoso in office as members of the City Council.