Ridgewood group launches petition calling for pedestrian and cyclist safety changes

The Ridgewood Reservoir will receive added environmental protection as a registered historic place.
Photo by Anthony Giudice/QNS

A group of residents who have formed Ridgewood Rides — an advocacy group of bicyclists that calls for safe streets — have launched a petition demanding safer access for cyclists and pedestrians to the Ridgewood Reservoir.

The Ridgewood Reservoir, located within Highland Park, is situated on the border of Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods, including Bushwick and Cypress Hills. The group has garnered approximately 800 signatures in its quest to make access to the 1.18 miles of park space safe to enjoy the neighborhood’s greenery.

Advocates of the petition are calling for protected bike lanes and wide, unobstructed sidewalks along Cypress Avenue and Vermont Avenue — citing unsafe conditions for cyclists and pedestrians. They plan to present the petition to the NYC Department of Transportation and city officials once the petition is fully signed.

Bree Mobley, speaking on behalf of Ridgewood Rides during a Community Board 5 meeting this month, said that it is unsafe for people like her who rely on bicycles and mass transit to get to the reservoir. She called on the board to write a letter of support.

“It’s one of the closest and largest greenspaces that many of our neighbors have access to and it’s primarily a place for motorists,” Mobley said. “For people like me who don’t have access to a car, it’s really unsafe and difficult.”

Ridgewood Rides argues that access to the Ridgewood Reservoir from Ridgewood, Glendale and northern parts of Brooklyn, especially from Cypress Avenue and Vermont Place, is dangerous given that drivers often speed. They also say there is not enough roadway space for cyclists.

Jason Gers, another advocate for the Ridgewood Reservoir, works as a super steward through the New York City Parks Department Program. He removes invasive species, vines, and thorn bushes that crowd native tree growth. Gers says the bike ride he takes to get to the reservoir is unsafe for many and takes the greenery experience away from others.

“I have a 10-year-old daughter who rides a bike and I’d love to take her to the reservoir. Unfortunately, just getting her to the reservoir itself is too dangerous to even accomplish and even having her riding on the sidewalk is dangerous.”

The group is calling for safety improvements along Cypress Avenue, from Cooper Avenue to Cypress Hills Street, as well as on Vermont Place, from Cypress Avenue to Highland Boulevard. Petitioners also ask for the addition of an MTA bus stop at the Ridgewood Reservoir location, arguing that it serves as the only large green space for residents who live near the Queens and Brooklyn border.

The group says that Cypress Avenue is too wide, and it encourages drivers to speed. Additionally, narrow sidewalks located along the Avenue toward the reservoir are covered in trash, overgrown vegetation, and illegally parked cars. Vermont Place is described similarly, as lacking the necessary space for cyclists as well as having an abundance of litter.

Anna Bateman, a stewardship manager at NYC H2O, helps educate New York residents of all ages about the city’s local water ecology. Working with nearby schools and taking them to the Ridgewood Reservoir has been a constant, but a recent clean-up initiative undertaken by the organization and volunteers found as many as 11 abandoned tires on Cypress Avenue and Vermont Place, she told CB5.

“We believe that improving bike lane access will also decrease the illegal dumping,” Bateman said.

The Ridgewood cyclist group uses data found on the NYC Crash Mapper, a website that uses vehicle collision data from the NYPD, to further support their calls for safety improvements on Cypress Avenue and Vermont Avenue.

On Cypress Avenue, from Vermont Avenue to Cooper Avenue, a total of 262 crashes were recorded between 2014 and 2024. Those crash incidents included 15 pedestrians, 18 bikes, and 229 motorists.

From Vermont Avenue to Myrtle Avenue, following along Cypress, a total of 432 crashes have taken place within the same time frame. A total of 34 pedestrians, 51 bikes, and 338 motorist were involved in the recorded total of crashes.

The members of the group are calling on residents to sign the online petition. They believe safety improvements are necessary to prevent any further crashes or loss of life.

An update to this story offers recent stats from NYC Crash Mapper data that reflects information shared by Ridgewood Rides.