Monday, April 14, 2008

Brooklyn!

I biked to Cobble Hill the other day. Has it been that long since I’ve been that way? There are minor but significant changes everywhere. New buildings. New pavement. New painted bikes on streets.

Maybe I should leave my borough more.

Coming from Astoria, it seemed like whole new city, and a more bike friendly city at that. But also lots of wasted opportunity. Why don’t all these new painted bike lines actually connect point A to point B?

Why isn’t there a proper way to get back from Flushing Ave. to Kent St. without having to cross the freeway twice or ride on a sidewalk with high curbs?

Why isn’t there a dedicated bike lane on the wide and just redone part of Kent St, where it hits Williamburg St. W., where a lot of people actually bike?

Coming back, on Tillary St—not very bike friendly, but what *is the best way for a bike to cross Flatbush Ave and get to Flushing Ave?—a charming young woman on a charming old bike asked me how to get to Kent St. I told her to follow me through the mess to Park Ave. and then to Flushing Ave.

It was her first day biking on her new (used) bike and her first day biking in New York at all! Almost made me cry little joyish tears of emotion. She was fresh out of San Francisco. I was happy to help.

Sure I felt a little old when she asked me if I was married. Granted, I am married. And maybe I’m not 21 anymore, but am I really too old to just have a girlfriend? No matter, we ended up having a wonderful little talk all the way to Greenpoint, chatting about bikes, and life, and the sights on the way. I love bikes!

4 comments:

Deb said...

from Cobble Hill to Astoria, take take Dean Street (there's a painted bike lane), cross Flatbush Avenue, left on Washington Ave, cross Atlantic, right on Lexington, left on Bedford. This will take you into Williamsburg, which is close, but I'm not completely sure of the details.

Go to Transportation Alternatives or any bike shop and get a copy of the NYC bike street map. All secrets will be revealed.

PCM said...

I don't think so... yes, the map reveals secrets... the problem is the secrets are about as useful as "Eat more Ovaltine."

I have the map links on my blog (maybe I should look at them more).

The map just points out the problem with NYC's bike "system." Say you're at Smith and Dean in Brooklyn and want to get back to the promised land of Queens.

If you go on bike lanes... well first of all it can't be done.

But if you go on the route with the most bike lanes, it is 6.65 miles back to the Pulaski Bridge. If you go the shortest route and not the "bike route," it's 5 miles, that's a big difference.

The map does reveal the secret of Sand St. That may be the best way to cross Flatbush to get the Flushing Ave, even if it is one block out of the way.

Likewise, Flushing Ave, though not a bike lane, is a great street to bike down, as are all waterfront streets. Because in one direction there's no cross traffic and you can bike without stopping. And even in the other direction, it's very fast. Plus you get a salty breeze much of the time.

David Y. said...

i used to live in that area, and i admit the bike lanes suck! they are inconsistent. by the way PCM how do we get intouch with you? there is nowhere to email you...

PCM said...

Comments always reach me.

You can also email: mail@astoriabike.com.