Eyes on the Street: Our Long PPW Bike Lane Nightmare Is Almost Over

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Repaved sections of Prospect Park West are being striped, with orange barrels marking the bike lane in the meantime. Until now, the lane had been erased, pushing northbound cyclists onto the sidewalk or into head-on traffic. Photo: Heather Boyer/Twitter

Lesson learned? Last week, DOT wiped away the Prospect Park West bike lane for street repaving without installing any temporary cones to preserve the bike route during construction. Drivers parked at the curb, pushing northbound cyclists into oncoming traffic or onto the sidewalk. Now, DOT has demarcated the bike lane with orange cones as it re-stripes the road.

There can be a gap of at least a month between repaving and restriping lanes and markings, including bike lanes. The wait on PPW should be shorter. Word on the street is that DOT expedited the job in response to complaints.

As of today, some but not all of the striping is back on the avenue’s northern blocks, with orange cones to the south. The cones direct drivers to the correct lane for parking and clear the bike lane to cyclists — something DOT should have done from the start.

  • Neighbors for Better Barrels

    We’re going to sue each and every one of those orange barrels.

  • Joe R.

    Where I live it’s quite common for them to cut the street in preparation for repaving, then leave it that way for weeks. Indeed, there are spots on Hillside Avenue where they cut parts of the pavement, but not all of it, something like a year ago. Don’t know what they were thinking, but cut pavement is really dangerous for cyclists at any speed. By the glacial standards I’m used to, it seems the PPW repaving was a super rush priority job.

  • Entitled whiny babies

    Does this really warrant 2 posts? PPW is one of the best bike facilities in the nation, and meanwhile there are entire neighborhoods in this city that aren’t served by the bicycle network at all. There are more important things to whine about.

  • millerstephen

    It warrants a Friday afternoon follow-up, yes. The headline is clearly tongue-in-cheek. You’re right, DOT’s fast attention to this particular issue highlights the lack of attention to bike infrastructure in many neighborhoods — an issue, by the way, that we cover quite a bit.

  • Eric McClure

    Let’s not forget that PPW was, and may still be, the world’s most high-profile, if not most important, bike path: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2011/mar/09/new-york-bike-lane-cycling.

    So what happens there is undoubtedly newsworthy, and sets a tone for the rest of New York City. And here’s hoping that tone is great protected bike infrastructure throughout NYC, especially in those neighborhoods that don’t generate tons of NYTimes.com page views.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Actually, it was a first rate job in terms of the time taken and other factors. I doubt they work that fast in general. And tip you hat to the benefits of technology, which allow streets to be stripped down and resurfaced much faster.

    I had a nice smooth ride both ways today, and am happy to be away from 8th Avenue.

  • Norman Louise Weinswell

    Yes. This is the most high-profile bike lane in America. There is still a law suit pending against it. How Bill de Blasio’s DOT treats this bike lane is significant and worth watching closely.

  • Yes. It’s perhaps more critical to maintain existing network and set a precedent for the level of maintenance and availability needed than to build out new network that can’t or won’t be maintained. If it’s not done from the start it likely won’t change.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    Where I live it’s common to grind up the street in fifty-foot patches rolling down the block, so the same street has at least one horrible patch either for years, or all the time, depending on the length of the street. It’s also common to tear up the road in such a way that the crews spend three hours patching it with steel plates and tar in the afternoon and three hours tearing up the plates in the morning, and only an hour or two actually working on the job. This usually goes on for years and years (I point to Spear St in SF as the exemplar).

    This PPW business seems to be a lot of noise about a job very well done indeed, although I understand the anxiety.

  • J

    Glad to see that DOT has responded with a simple common sense approach, one that should be standard with this type of project.

    The city would never simply shut don the BQE with no planning for how traffic would be impacted, and they shouldn’t shut down major bike connections without a thought to diversions, especially when most people that use them don’t feel safe on any other facilities. This is certainly not the only place cycle tracks are simply closed, and such closures shows a profound lack of understanding and indifference on the part of the city towards the use of bicycles as a mode of transportation.

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