1,400 Signatures Put Lafayette Avenue Bike Lane Back on Agenda

More than 1,400 people signed a petition to extend the Lafayette Avenue bike lane east, though a compromise might only connect it to Carlton Avenue.

A Brooklyn bike lane scuttled during last winter’s anti-bike frenzy is back on the agenda thanks to some intrepid citizen activism. More than 1,400 people have signed a petition to paint a bike lane on Lafayette Avenue, reports the New York Times’ The Local blog, and the local community board will be revisiting the issue this coming Tuesday.

Right now, there isn’t a great eastbound bike route through the area. A bike lane runs on Lafayette for a few blocks from Flatbush Avenue to Fulton Street, while another eastbound route runs on Willoughby Avenue, five blocks north of Lafayette. The Lafayette lane would serve as a matched pair to the existing westbound lane on DeKalb Avenue. Another benefit of the bike lane would be traffic calming; the proposed design would remove one of two motor vehicle lanes.

Supporters are hoping to extend the Lafayette lane a full 2.7 miles to Broadway, but The Local reports that a compromise might extend the lane only five blocks in order to connect riders crossing Flatbush to the northbound Carlton Avenue lane, where they could zigzag up to Willoughby.

Despite the show of public support for the lane, the debate Tuesday evening is sure to be contentious, given the project’s history. While Community Board 2 never formally voted the bike lane down, the Department of Transportation withdrew its plans to stripe the lane in the face of opposition last March.

Those interested in speaking on the issue should attend the meeting of CB 2’s transportation committee Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m, held at St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street.

  • carma

    it certainly wouldnt hurt to have a lane on lafayette, but on the stretch between flatbush to vanderbuilt is a huge uphill and it sucks riding up.

  • krstrois

    Traffic calming and pedestrian protections for Fort Greene only? Can we view bike lanes a social justice issue already and extend these all the way to Bed-Stuy? 


  • Mike

    I think Mr. Perris, in these quotes, was trying to convey his sense of what certain members of the Community Board’s leadership believe, not his own opinions.

  • Agreed…the district manager’s quotations above seem out of context from the hyperlinked NY Post article. Mr. Perris
    just relayed some of the board member’s views, but he has always been supportive of ideas to fill downtown BK and the vicinity with safer streets. Thanks to Hilda Cohen for creating this much needed grassroots campaign. While I dream of all 1400 signature signers showing up to the meeting, if even just 5% of that crowd comes out I think the board will realize just how important we all feel a calmer Lafayette Avenue is.

  • kevd

    As much as I support a lane there, it is pretty disingenuous to say there isn’t a great eastbound route through the area.  There is, and it is Willoughby.  It is as great as any bike lane I ride in NY City.  
    Granted, it starts at Ft. Greene park – but the Myrtle lane runs east to there.  A single block north of Willoughby.Also, Willoughby forms a pair with Dekalb.  

  • Brooklyner

    Come one, guys. Who are 1,400 area residents to question the desires and opinions of a handful of Community Board members?

  • Mike

    kevd, riders coming from Schermerhorn/Boerum Hill/Park Slope/BAM are not realistically going to detour from Lafayette all the way up to Myrtle to get to Willoughby.  In reality, they either ride on Lafayette or ride the wrong way in the bike lane on DeKalb.  That’s why this gap needs to be filled.

  • Robert Perris

    Noah has misinterpreted the quote from last April, where “one thing” was the community board’s request for improved bike lane connectivity between a truncated Lafayette Avenue bike lane and the Carlton-Cumberland matched pair, and the much grander proposal by DOT being a bike lane to Bushwick.

    Tuesday’s meeting will be in Room 3221 at St. Francis College.

  • Anonymous

    Robert, thanks for the clarification and apologies. In the Post article, that quote seemed to be in the context of a discussion about slowing speeds, but evidently it wasn’t about that. I’ve deleted the paragraph in question. 

  • car free nation

    I have to lend my support for Robert Perris. He really is very supportive of complete streets, and has been a great person to have on the community board.  

  • Hilda

    The presentation would not have made it onto the agenda without the assistance of the District Manager, Robert Perris.  He has been very helpful in everything that has been made possible in meeting with the Transportation Committee on Tuesday.  

  • kevd

    Mike.  I was referring to the entire length of Willoughby not being a great Eastbound bike route, which is what I assumed the author meant when stating that there “isn’t a great eastbound bike route through the area,” not the very small second the constitutes Flatbush to Carlton.  

    There is a great Eastbound route through the area.  And its Willoughby.  I use it to get to Bushwick (from Vanderbilt typically).  And sure, I think a lane on Lafayette is a great idea.  But stating that 5 blocks north doesn’t count as “in there area” is a poor argument in favor of such a lane.  If 5 blocks away isn’t “in the area” I don’t know what is.
    5 blocks is about 75 seconds on a bike (for me, anyway…)

  • kevd

    (I may have misunderstood the author’s point, however.)

  • Joe R.

    “5 blocks is about 75 seconds on a bike (for me, anyway…)”

    5 blocks for me would be about 50 seconds on my vintage Raleigh and about 41 or 42 seconds on my titanium Airborne (both cases assume a level road, no wind, and no stop signs or red lights). Factoring in normal traffic conditions/terrain I’ll average 14 to 17 mph overall, or about 53 to 64 seconds for 5 blocks.  But yes, point taken-even for a relatively slow cyclist, 5 blocks is easily “in the area”.

  • Joe R.

    Just to reinforce the point about a few blocks away being in the area, I’m thinking of the route I take when I ride out to Glen Cove Road. I take Union Turnpike until it ends, then Hillside Avenue. However, I opt to take Jericho Turnpike/Jamaica Avenue back in instead of doing my outbound route in reverse, even though this adds over a mile, just to avoid the steep, long upgrade where Union Turnpike dips under the GCP. In the case being discussed, going only 5 blocks extra each way for a more favorable route adds a mere half mile to the trip. That to me is a no brainer, seeing that I’ll go much more out of my way if necessary for a better route. I imagine the majority of cyclists would as well.

  • Mike

    It just depends how you define “the area”.  It’s safe to assume that whoever said there isn’t a great eastbound route is talking about the area where there is no Willoughby Street lane.  I agree that Willoughby, where it exists, is a quite good bike route, and ride it often myself.  It’s getting to it that’s the problem.

  • J

    Unless the city is planning a protected bike lane on Lafayette, I’m not going to get too excited. The DeKalb Ave lane is helpful, but it is constantly full of double parked cars. I also see cars use it as a high-speed passing lane frighteningly often.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Unless the city is planning a protected bike lane on Lafayette, I’m not going to get too excited. The DeKalb Ave lane is helpful, but it is constantly full of double parked cars. I also see cars use it as a high-speed passing lane frighteningly often.”
    Funny but I’ve never had a problem on DeKalb.  I ride it from Vanderbilt to Ashland, though not recently, as the Manhattan Bridge flip has me detouring to the Brooklyn Bridge inbound.

  • On the subject of Lafayette Ave, I would venture to suggest that a counterflow bike lane between Fulton St and Flatbush Ave would be a much more worthwhile addition to the landscape.

    Back in the 90s, Lafayette Ave was two-way for the three blocks between Flatbush Avenue and Fulton St. That made it really easy to go from Williamsburg or Bushwick to Park Slope and points further south because you could take the DeKalb Avenue bike lane west to lightly traveled St. Felix St, then take Lafayette across Flatbush and get on 3rd Ave heading down to Park Slope or Sunset Park. Nowadays you have to head through Fulton Mall on a long out-of-the-way detour to bike through that intersection. Adding the counterflow lane would make a nice statement supporting bicycling by making it easier to get around on a bike than in a car.

  • kevd

    @ Mike

    It would be a pretty big stretch to suggest that the author is referring to the section of Lafayette  that runs parallel to the part of Willoughby lacking a lane when he writes “in the area,” since the possibility of a short, compromise Flatbush to Fulton lane isn’t mentioned until a paragraph later.  So the “area” referred to must be the length of Lafayette. 
    I’m just harping because I think it is counter productive to construct specious arguments for improvements for which there are valid arguments.  In this case, traffic calming is probably the one with the most support.  I’m for a Lafayette lane, but I’m against bending the truth to support the creation of such a lane.

  • kevd

    And by “Flatbush to Fulton” I meant “Fulton to Carlton”


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