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One Way Around the Traffic Muddle in Brooklyn: Riding a Bicycle

The New York Times: One Way Around the Traffic Muddle in Brooklyn: Riding a Bicycle

By KATE TAYLOR
Published: November 1, 2012

With subways still not running under the East River or between Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, traffic snarled in many places and lines for buses stretching for blocks, many people in Brooklyn took to bicycles on Thursday to get where they had to go.

“I’m extremely glad I have a bike right now — it’s one of the best assets you can have,” said James Emery, 22, who was riding on Thursday afternoon from Williamsburg to Red Hook to help a friend whose screen-printing business had been flooded.

Thomas Jarrels, 46, who biked home to Crown Heights from his job as a sous-chef at a Midtown law firm, said he was glad to have had an impetus to bike to work. He said he was a bike messenger in the 1980s and loved biking, but had never commuted by bike until the storm disabled the subway. Though it took slightly longer than the train, he said, he thought he would keep biking even after the subway started running again.

“It saves money, and it’s less of a headache,” he said. “It gives you time to think, meditate and get your exercise on.”

Susan Creighton, 26, a teacher who lives in Park Slope and is running in the New York City Marathon on Sunday, said she had decided to bike into Manhattan to pick up her number at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center after seeing the long lines for buses on the news.

She said she usually biked only recreationally and had been intimidated by riding on more congested routes. “This kind of showed me it’s not that bad,” she said, adding that on Friday she might bike to the school in Williamsburg where she teaches.

Many frequent bike commuters said that, with sparse traffic in downtown Manhattan, conditions for biking were ideal.

“I just bombed all the way down Broadway right now — I think I saw five cars,” said Jason Jaramillo, 34, who had just biked to Brooklyn from the Upper West Side. “I wish it was always like this.”

But David Pimentelli, 42, said that biking in some areas of Brooklyn had been frightening on Thursday, with drivers waiting anxiously in long lines for gas and little police presence.

“I’m scared to be going back to Brooklyn right now,” he said, as he exited the Brooklyn Bridge after a trip to Manhattan. “People are running red lights, very agitated, they don’t care.”