Images courtesy of the Brownsville Partnership
As one of New York City’s most challenged neighborhoods, you wouldn’t expect bike lines to be the top story in Brownsville this summer.
Yet, with the unveiling of freshly painted lines last week, Brownsville is now a bike-friendly community in the national spotlight.
While a point of contention across Brooklyn, bike lanes have become a valuable tool for advocates in making streets safer and giving space for cyclists to exercise and commute.
Brownsville resident Bettie Kollock-Wallace, a 76-year-old fitness enthusiast, had trouble convincing her neighbors to join her for bike rides around the neighborhood. They didn’t think it was safe.
As Chair of Community Board 16, Kollack-Wallace set out to bring bike lanes to Brownsville. But she needed support. She began working with the Brownsville Partnership, Brookdale Hospital, the Brooklyn District Public Health Office, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Transportation Alternatives, the Pitkin Avenue BID, the Department of Transportation, along with hundreds of her neighbors.
Two years later, following extensive collaboration and community building, the lanes are in place along Pitkin Avenue. And it’s just the beginning of big plans many more residents have for transforming Brownsville into a place of healthy, active living.
With our grantee the Brownsville Partnership, neighbors are voicing their concerns and sparking change. In addition to biking tours and expanding bike lanes, more than 100 residents are members of a neighborhood walking group. They’re also working to help bodegas carry fresh food, running weekly farmers markets, and ensuring that local schools are serving healthy meals.
Brooklyn Community Foundation is proud to fund these efforts through our new Healthy Neighborhoods initiative to empower public housing neighborhoods through healthy eating and active living. Stay tuned for much more information in the weeks and months ahead.
Want to hear more about cycling’s impact across Brooklyn?
Join us for the next event in our Brooklyn For Good series, Wheels of Change, featuring a conversation on top bike issues with leaders from Citi Bike, Transportation Alternatives, and Brooklyn Greenway Initiative on Wednesday, August 14th from 6:30-8:30PM at the Brooklyn Community Foundation in DUMBO. Tickets are $5 and include wine and light fare. Register now, space is limited!