Backpack-sized craters pushing cyclists out of this Ridgewood bike lane

Photo courtesy of Sam Taffel


Ridgewood resident Sam Taffel rides his bike every day, but when he’s heading toward Manhattan or Brooklyn, he’s not just dodging cars but doughnut- and even backpack-sized craters.

Taffel told QNS that pothole-riddled, uneven bike lanes along Woodward and Onderdonk Avenues put him in danger.

“It’s insane,” he said. “I’m going into incoming traffic to stay out of the bike lane on Woodward Avenue.”

When he brought up his concerns at the Sept. 26 Community Board 5 Transportation and Public Transit Committees meeting, members of the panel said that this has been a problem for years. According to Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano, this was the second year that the committee put in a request for a repaving but water main construction has kept the streets from a much-needed repaving.

In 2015, according to a Gothamist report, a 40-year-old man was bicycling along Woodward Avenue when he hit a pothole and was tossed off his bicycle onto a sidewalk. Disoriented from his fall, he stumbled and fell onto a fence. While repairs have been made to that section of the bike lane, the street still has damage.

According to New York City data on 311 calls, there have been more than 30 calls about street conditions on Woodward Avenue and more than 40 about Onderdonk in just the past year.

More than 30 streets within the confines of Board 5 are set to be repaved starting this month, according to a tentative list of given to the board in August.

While the chance of repaving the streets has passed for this year, Giordano said repairs could be made on request.

Taffel said he feels like he hasn’t been heard by the city, though.

“It’s on the DOT to take this seriously. It’s a huge oversight on their end and it’s people lives in their hands,” said Taffel.

Myrtle-Wyckoff pedestrian plaza to see upgrades

Nearly two years after opening, the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues plaza on the Ridgewood/Bushwick border may be seeing some upgrades.

During the Board 5 Transportation Committee meeting, representatives of the Department of Design and Construction revealed plans to give the space new movable chairs and tables with umbrellas, trash and recycling bins, a bench and bike rack, new lighting and plantings as well as a set up for a new kiosk.

There were three fatalities at the intersection of Myrtle and Wyckoff Avenues between 2009 and 2014, two by city buses, but after the installation of the plaza, there was a 100 percent decrease in cyclist injuries and a 48 percent decline in crashes with injuries.

According to the city’s Department of Transportation, the design is expected to be complete this winter, and construction will start in March 2021. The improvements should be finished by September 2022.