Ridgewood Rides launches petition to protect pedestrian, cyclist access to Ridgewood Reservoir

Ridgewood Reservoir. Photo Credit: Jonathan Atkin

Ridgewood Rides, a grassroots organization that protects people’s right to bike, is petitioning to save pedestrians’ and cyclists’ access to the Ridgewood Reservoir.

The petition advocates for installing bike lanes along Cypress Avenue and widening sidewalks along Cypress Avenue and Vermont Place, both of which lead to the entrance to the reservoir.

“I have first-hand experience of how dangerous it is as a pedestrian and a cyclist to try and access the Ridgewood Reservoir along Cypress Avenue and Vermont Place,” said Mallory Woods of Ridgewood Rides.

Woods told QNS that the area near Cypress Avenue and Vermont Place is hazardous for pedestrians and cyclists because of the on-ramps near the Jackie Robinson Parkway.

“We identified that as an especially dangerous area for pedestrians and cyclists because there are several on-ramps to the Jackie Robinson Parkway,” Woods said. “There are a lot of cars traveling at quite high speeds and then they get filtered into a residential neighborhood very quickly.”

According to Ridgewood Rides, there were 79 crashes along a three-mile radius on Cypress Avenue that led to 51 pedestrian injuries and 32 cyclist injuries from 2016 to 2022. The area also saw an accident earlier in February at the intersection in which a pedestrian was hit by two cars while trying to cross Cypress Avenue safely.

The group also advocates for an MTA bus stop near the Ridgewood Reservoir entrance, making it more accessible for families without a private vehicle.

“We are also very much advocating for improved pedestrian access and all alternative means of transportation access to Ridgewood Reservoir,” Woods said. “Families who have kids and strollers who want to go to Highland Park or the Ridgewood Reservoir to have a picnic or play games and be outside for the day — it’s incredibly difficult for that type of family to get to these public spaces if they don’t have a private vehicle.”

So far, the group petition has collected more than 300 signatures since it launched in 2022.

Local Councilman Robert Holden said his office requested the DOT (Department of Transportation) to add a protected bike lane between Cypress Avenue and Vermont Place several years ago, but DOT has yet to fulfill the request.

“Our office made a request several years ago for a protected bike lane along the sidewalk of Cypress Avenue between Cypress Hills Street and Vermont Place and others. It is unacceptable that the DOT has failed to fulfill this request, and they need to get their act together,” Holden said.

Assemblyman Juan Ardilla told QNS that residents needed a safer way to access Highland Park and the Ridgewood Reservoir.

“Residents of Ridgewood need a safe way to access the Ridgewood Reservoir and Highland Park, one of the only large green spaces in our neighborhoods,” he said. “People of all ages and abilities should be able to safely travel to and from the park in a way that is convenient to their homes, whether on foot, bike or bus.”