A look at Brooklyn, then and now.
The Bedford Rest was established as a destination and rest stop in the late 1890s for the hundreds of cyclists enjoying Bedford Avenue and Eastern Parkway. As the years passed, and the cycling fad waned, the Rest maintained its reputation as a fine restaurant and event space near the excitement of Ebbets Field and Automobile Row. All was well, until Prohibition.
When we think of Prohibition today, it’s remembered as a time when the nation disastrously toyed with a powerful experiment in social engineering. Banning alcoholic beverages seems ridiculous today. No doubt people thought so then, too, and were shocked when it actually happened.
Between 1920 and 1933, alcohol was illegal in the United States. The effects were devastating not only to consumers, but to businesses.
Across the country, breweries, distilleries, wine and spirits merchants, restaurants, saloons and bars went out of business by the thousands.Organized crime, based on bootlegging, grew and flourished.
The country went dry on January 17, 1920. By November of that year, the Bedford Rest was finished. Although the Rest had been running out of steam for years, Prohibition was the final nail in its coffin.
The countdown to the Red Hook Criterium has literally begun: A timer on the event’s site lets visitors know exactly how many days, hours and minutes are left before the race kicks off this Saturday. The grueling and competitive track bike crit will draw entrants who run the gamut from professional road racers to bike messengers, all of whom will test their handling skills and fitness levels on fixed gear track bicycles.
“It’s the most exciting cycling event I’ve witnessed,” four-time champion Neil Bezdek told us. “It cuts across cycling subcultures by attracting all types of athletes and transcends cycling culture by appealing to a mainstream audience.”
The Brooklyn Bike Jumble is back. The only flea market devoted exclusively to bikes in New York City, it’s where bike aficionados can get their summer gear fix.
New and used bikes, parts and accessories, clothing, collectibles, artwork and more will be available at bargain prices from a collection of east coast vendors. There is also a not-for-profit component: Bike organizations the Bicycle Messenger Foundation, Times Up! and WE Bike will be there to meet cyclists.
Construction on the Pulaski Bridge bike lanes has been pushed back once again. Streetsblog reported that the protected bike lanes, originally scheduled to finish this year, likely won’t open until the end of 2015. Last week, we reported construction would wrap in the spring.
Then the DOT gave a presentation [PDF] on the project and said the contractor will start work in April and continue through October or November. Pedestrians and bikers currently share the crowded walking paths, but the DOT plans to convert one lane of Brooklyn-bound traffic to a two-way bike lane.
Officials blamed the delays on the engineering of the 60-year-old drawbridge, which can’t support an additional concrete barrier, and the fact that funding for the bike lanes is tied to work on 10 other bridge projects that needed approval first. The cost of the improvements has also increased from $3,460,000 to $4,200,000.
At least the DOT has finalized a design, which will include textured rumble strips at both entrances to the bridge reminding cyclists to slow down.
Pulaski Bridge Bike Path Now Scheduled to Open by End of 2015 [Streetsblog]
Pulaski Bridge Coverage [Brownstoner]
Rendering via DOT
The Department of Transportation plans to “launch” the long-awaited Pulaski Bridge bike lane project at a community meeting tomorrow. The DOT will present its plans at 6 pm at MoMA P.S. 1 at 22-25 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City.
Last we heard about the Pulaski bike lanes, construction was delayed until sometime next year. But last month, the DOT announced that it had found a contractor and work would wrap by spring 2015. When it’s finished, there will be a two-way bike lane and a dedicated pedestrian lane. To create the bike lane, the agency will cut three lanes of Brooklyn-bound traffic to two lanes.
Rendering via DOT
After two years of planning, it looks like the Pulaski Bridge bike lane promised for this year will be delayed until sometime next year at least, Streetsblog reported.
A year ago, the city approved DOT’s plan to convert one lane of Brooklyn-bound car traffic on the Pulaski Bridge into a bikes-only path with separate lanes for Queens- and Brooklyn-bound bikes. Construction was supposed to start in the spring and wrap late this year (at the latest). But construction has not yet begun, and the city is still reviewing the final bid from the contractor. A spokesman for Assembly member Joe Lentol, who has been lobbying for the bike path since 2012, told Streetsblog that it’s “unlikely” work will start by the end of December.
Pedestrians and cyclists currently share the narrow path, with traffic going both ways in the same lane, creating hazardous conditions for everyone. Reconfiguring the traffic lanes is also expected to calm car traffic on McGuiness Boulevard by slowing down drivers as they come off the bridge.
As soon as the contractor gets the green light from the city, the DOT will announce a new construction timetable. Incidentally, the state is contributing $2,500,000 to the project with federal funds, and the city is contributing $625,000.
Pulaski Bridge Bikeway Likely Delayed Until Next Year [Streetsblog]
City Says Yes to Pulaski Bike Lane [Brownstoner]
Photo by NYC Tom
After a cyclist struck and killed a pedestrian in Central Park, the 78th Precinct is rolling out ways to get cyclists in Prospect Park to slow down and stop for pedestrians at lights. Park Slope Stoop attended the precinct’s local community council meeting last night, where the cops said they’re going to set up portable stop signs and pedestrian-activated signals manned by officers during the day starting Saturday, October 4.
When cyclists stop at the signs, officers will remind them to stop for pedestrians at the signals and give out a flyer noting the 25-mile-per-hour speed limit. Eventually, Captain Frank diGiacomo said, if cyclists don’t stop for pedestrians, cops will pull out their radar guns and start giving out tickets.
“A summons blitz is just going to piss off a bunch of people, so education first,” he said. “But we’ll go there if we have to.”
Prospect Park Safety in the Spotlight Again Following Deadly Crash in Central Park [Park Slope Stoop]
Photo via Park Slope Stoop
Community Board 8’s Transportation Committee voted last night to install four new bike corrals in front of bars and restaurants on Vanderbilt and Washington avenues in Prospect Heights. The corrals will bring bike parking to three bars on Vanderbilt: Bar Chuko on the corner of Pacific Street, Milk Bar at Prospect Place (pictured) and Branded at Bergen Street.
Bar Corvo is also slated for a bike corral on the corner of Washington Avenue and Lincoln Place. The whole board still has to vote before it’s a done deal, but approval is likely.
Photo via Jane Kim Design
Get a free bike helmet today and bike around Brooklyn’s historic landmarks this weekend with Brooklyn Public Library’s Bike the Branches event. BPL is hosting a helmet fitting and giving away free helmets today at the Central Branch at 10 Grand Army Plaza from 4 to 6:30 pm.
And on Saturday, kids and adults can bike to all 60 of BPL’s neighborhood libraries and participate in various special events. African dancing and folk tales at Clarendon Library in Flatbush, puppet-making for children at the Brower Park branch in Crown Heights, and a Slavic Soul party in Sheepshead Bay are just a few on the long list of events taking place all over Brooklyn.
The library has also posted 12 themed bike routes that highlight Brooklyn’s historic places, including landmarked architecture, breweries and distilleries, literary sites, and early settlements. You can register for Saturday’s bike tour here — tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children or seniors. All the proceeds go towards maintaining and upgrading the library’s branches.
Photo by Brooklyn Public Library via Brooklyn Based
Image source: Seth W. on Flickr
Trying to get around has been crazy this week, with hurricane-related transit issues, and many people have been biking to work. It’s a great time to bring up the topic of bike sharing again, for those of you who wish you could get around on two wheels. Unfortunately, the Citi Bike program, which will bring about 10 bike rental stations to Long Island City, hasn’t gotten up and running yet. Now it is slated to launch in March 2013.
There’s another option in the meantime: renting bikes from your neighbors using Liquid.