Eyes on the Street: An Early Look at the Lafayette Protected Bike Lane

lafayette_street_1

Crews have been making good progress on the Lafayette Street redesign [PDF], the first protected bike lane project installed by the de Blasio administration. As of yesterday, the striping work had progressed from Spring Street up past 4th Street, where Philip Winn of Project for Public Spaces snapped these photos.

The Lafayette Street project will convert the northbound buffered bike lane into a protected lane from Prince to 12th Street. Some intersections will get pedestrian islands between the bike lane and motor vehicle lanes. DOT is really knocking this one out fast — Community Board 2 voted in favor of it less than a month ago. The redesign isn’t complete but people are already making good use of it:

lafayette_street2

You can tell in the top photo that this project is going to bring some order to what used to be a wide-open expanse of asphalt. From 2007 to 2011, 12 people were severely injured on this stretch of Lafayette, according to DOT. Here’s a look at the old Lafayette with very faded bike lane markings:

Photo: Ben Fried
  • AnoNYC

    They striped it before installing the islands? Hallelujah!

    I remember waiting for the completion of the First Ave parking protected lanes in East Harlem. The DOT started by installing the pedestrian islands before any signage or markings. Felt like an eternity before that short stretch was completed.

  • PaulonCentre

    I really wish this was going to be a two-way bike lane

  • Rider

    This is great! Keep the protected lanes coming!

    I just hope that in the near-future DOT can move toward wider bike lane designs. This is a good temporary measure, but eventually we’ll need lanes that allow for cyclists to ride two abreast or that allow for a faster rider to safely pass a slower one. There are some protected lanes that have only been in for a couple of years that already feel too squished at times.

  • JP

    I agree. With no bike lane on Broadway, this would be perfect for a two way lane. There is plenty of road width to accommodate.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    Still waiting in Queens…

    no rush.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    Judging by the uniform dark color of the asphalt it looks like the street was recently resurfaced.

  • Indeed it was.

  • _okra

    if only the mixing zones had speed bumps or rumble strips for when cars enter them! so many drivers still completely fail to slow down at all as they barrel left onto, say, 13th st from first ave, which takes much of the protection right out of the protected lane.

    edit: i should add that i’m happy about the project and more bike lanes! the above did not make it seem that way. any progress is good progress!

  • Bob

    This is terrific. It is unfortunate that they did not continue it to 14th Street — 4th Avenue between 12th and 14th is the worst part of this street. I understand that stretch includes the hotel and apartment building. I hope DOT’s plan does something to address those frenetic blocks.

  • Kevin Love

    Or, better yet, if there was no mixing zone. By following the world-class CROW traffic engineering design standard. So that cyclists are protected through intersections when they most need protection. Like this:

  • _okra

    yes! that would be the ideal.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    Good idea! I still have drivers trying to hook me in NYCDoT’s mixing zones. I applaud NYCDoT for coming up with the design. It’s a good idea but it needs to be made better.

    Also, I never seen NYCDoT install a mixing zone on a right-side save for Grand St. I don’t think they work as well in that situation due to drivers being on the other side of the car. The mixing zone design needs to be made better so it can be more universally applied.

    I would like to see a mixing zone design that leads cyclists into the middle of the zone/lane in a more controlling position. The current “gutter bunny” position leaves cyclists in a very submissive location and at the will of the driver.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    You know, it seems that one MAJOR advantage of protected lanes is that the paint doesn’t get worn away from all the heavy motor vehicles. Ben’s photo above shows how totally useless that conventional bike lane is after a few years.

  • Kevin Love

    A “mixing zone” deters a vast number of people from cycling. One of them is my 75-year-old mother. Her exact words “At my age, I am not going to play tag with two-ton lethal weapons.”

    A lot of people are like my mother. In The Netherlands, 25% of all trips taken by people over the age of 65 are on bicycles. I feel it safe to predict that this will never, ever, ever happen in any city that does not have protected cycle infrastructure.

  • Sabina

    I find it problematic that the bit of no-parking right before the mixing zone (at least in, for example, the 1st Ave design) has become a truck loading/unloading zone. So, right at the point where I should be able to see the cars (and vv), there is a huge truck in the way. Unless we can change people’s attitudes, I think it might require some physical thing (planters or islands) to enforce the no-parking.

  • Wilfried84

    That was pretty ridiculous. The bike lane went through the pedestrian islands! And cars were still parked against the curb, so you couldn’t use the bike lane, or the space inside the islands, leaving only the first lane of traffic.

  • stairbob

    Also would be great if this connected via Centre Street from the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • Sir Otis Dozer

    If the lane has a mixing zone, it’s useless. Not only do you fail to protect cyclists where it’s needed most, at intersections, you’ve introduced another conflict point.

  • Rabi

    Looking good. I haven’t biked the street since the resurfacing – it was a huge pain when it was torn up.

  • Hello

    Why aren’t any of the new bike paths using signal timing like on ninth avenue. Ninth avenue’s mixing zones still separated vehicles with bikes and didn’t leave it up to them to figure it out.

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