DOT Hints at Upcoming Bike Projects in North Brooklyn

DOT is planning a number of bike infrastructure improvements for North Brooklyn, including a buffered bike lane on Metropolitan between Grand Street and Onderdonk Avenue. Image: DOT
A short stretch of buffered bike lane on Metropolitan between Grand Street and Onderdonk Avenue will connect bike networks in Williamsburg and Bushwick. Image: DOT

Last night DOT outlined some of the bike projects it’s planning for Williamsburg and Bushwick in the near future, including bike lanes on Meeker Avenue and improved southbound bike connections from the Williamsburg Bridge. While it didn’t come up at the meeting, the looming L train shutdown lends some extra urgency to bike network improvements in this part of the city. Every L train rider who opts to bike while the shutdown is in effect will be placing less strain on a bus and subway network that can use all the help it can get.

DOT Bicycle & Pedestrian Programs Director Sean Quinn sketched out ideas at a “Vision Zero town hall” hosted in South Williamsburg by Council Member Antonio Reynoso. Design details aren’t available yet, but Quinn did offer some insight into the agency’s timelines moving forward.

On Meeker Avenue, a proposal for “bike facilities” will be presented in the fall, Quinn said. DOT is currently in the process of improving pedestrian crossings along a dangerous stretch of Meeker, but bike lanes weren’t a part of that project. The agency also wants to improve bike connections between Meeker Avenue and Borinquen Place (and by extension, the Williamsburg Bridge), by installing bike lanes on Marcy Avenue and Rodney Street, which both run parallel to the BQE.

DOT is also looking at southbound bike connections from the Williamsburg Bridge. Currently, there is no direct way to get from the bridge bike path to the neighborhoods to the south. “There is a major missing connection across the mouth of the Williamsburg Bridge entrance,” Quinn said. DOT plans to make changes on South 4th Street and Havemeyer Street to address the issue.

Further east, the agency wants to connect the Bushwick and Williamsburg bike networks via a short stretch of buffered bike lane on Metropolitan Avenue between Grand Street and Onderdonk Avenue. The design (above) will go before the local community board in June.

  • Warren Terry

    What would be the reason for not putting the bike lane against the sidewalk on Metropolitan Avenue?

  • Vooch

    you mean a protected rather than a unprotected bike lane ?

    it’s all part of the incremental strategy DOT has adopted. Install some 3rd rate infrastructure as a way to supposedly appease the cranks, then hope cyclists use “the somewhat better than cycling on the BQE” lane, then wait for a critical mass of people push for a upgrade, then after much struggle and years : install 2nd rate infrastructure such as NYC PBL. meanwhile 8 years have passed.

    What DOT fails to realize is the tiny minority of cranks are always going to be cranks. Better to install the 2nd rate NYC style PBL from the start. You will still have to fight the same war with the tiny minority of cranks.

    Colbert framed the subject very well years ago:
    http://www.cc.com/video-clips/2ildb8/the-colbert-report-nyc-bike-share

  • thomas040

    Ostensibly another option could be to carve out a two way bike path (each 4 feet) in the middle of that concrete median, and still have a concrete barrier protecting the path on each side?

  • ahwr

    The median is crumbling, it has trees, lamp posts, shrinks for turns lanes, and is a pedestrian refuge crossing a busy street.

  • ahwr

    Will the [truck] drivers that have killed a few cyclists in this industrial area more reliably see and not kill cyclists in a buffered bike lane or in a protected bike lane a truck might be parked next to? I’m actually asking.

  • Vooch

    the solution is:

    sidewalk
    8′ Bike lane
    4′ Buffer
    9′ Paid Parking
    10′ motor land
    11′ motor turn lane
    4′ added to median

    median grows to 19′ wide from 12′ currently. A 19′ median starts to have enough width to be something in the future.,

  • BBnet3000

    All available stats seem to indicate that protected lanes are the safest. Though the mixing zones are pretty problematic compared to full separation they do offer more reaction time for both parties compared to the turning situation with a buffered lane.

    I worry about the level of visibility of the path at the mixing zones in the NYC design, I’d prefer to see much more and brighter green paint like a lot of other American cities are using in their mixing zones.

  • Miles Bader

    It’s nice to have the bike path on the edge though, it makes cyclists feel safer, and it makes roadside retail etc much more accessible to them, which should please merchants.

    They should have used the median space in some way though, just keeping a giant median as-is and increasing the width of the car lanes seems downright bizarre…

    Some handy guidelines for the DOT:
    (1) never, ever, increase car lane widths
    (2) never, ever, increase number of car lanes
    (3) decreasing car lane count or width is always good
    (4) getting rid of parking is good
    (5) if you can’t get rid of parking, at least make it paid parking
    (6) put bike paths on the edges of the road, not the center
    (7) make bike paths protected, not by parking, but by actual physical barriers (they shouldn’t be high enough to prevent pedestrians from crossing, just enough to prevent cars from easily intruding)

  • Emmily_Litella

    Ridership is low along here, but has great potential. Class 2 lanes are better than nothing. A protected two way in one of the underutilized parking lanes would be better. A BIG problem on this street is the small minority of motorists who still believe bikes don’t belong. At least with the presence of a lane, they can no longer cling to that myth. Once the speed cameras are every where and running 24 hours per day, the habit of observing the speed limit will be part of the driving culture of the city and the class two lane will feel safer.

  • ahwr

    Turning trucks going under the speed limit scare me more than the car drivers who floor it for the few blocks here where metro widens.

  • ahwr

    Is it safer on average, or in all situations?

    Do you have any examples of good bikeway implementations through this sort of industrial area to point me to?

  • Emmily_Litella

    If you are not aware of a truck about to pass you at one of those intersections,then you are not doing it right. A protected path won’t save you. You need a mirror or keep a watch over your shoulder.

  • As other have said, the bikeways s/b protected and between the sidewalk and parked cars, not in the door zone trapping bicycle riders between speeding swerving cars on one side and not-paying-attention parkers on the other.

    What is the purpose of the 3′ buffer between the traffic lane and median?

  • Vooch

    the unintended purpose of the 3′ buffer on the unprotected Bild Lane Is to push cyclists Into door zone. Time to Flip Fifth and create a protected bike Lane from 8th to 23rd

  • N_Gorski

    Or, you know, don’t ride with earphones.

  • N_Gorski

    I assume that there will also be lanes running from Onderdonk north to at least Woodward, so that cyclists can connect e/b from the Woodward lane and get w/b to the Flushing sharrows to access the Onderdonk lane (Onderdonk from Metropolitan is a dead-end, due to the Bushwick branch of the LIRR/NYAR). But lanes all the way up Metropolitan should probably happen, too.

    I’d still like to see lanes–potentially a Flushing-by-the-Navy-Yard protected two-way path–along the east side of Morgan Av and the north side of Johnson Av to Cypress Av in Ridgewood. Even with lanes on Metropolitan, there still needs to be better connections down to Bushwick.

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