Jay Street Protected Bike Lane Construction Begins Next Week

Good-bye to all that: with a protected bike lane, Jay Street will (hopefully) be rid of its notorious double-parking.
On Jay Street’s painted bike lanes, double-parking and placard abuse are rampant. A protected bike lane aims give cyclists a clearer path.

Work on the protected bike lane on Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn — including a new signalized crossing at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge — begins next Thursday, July 28.

With around 2,400 cyclists a day, Jay Street is one of the busiest bike routes in the city — cyclists account for 34 percent of vehicle traffic during rush hour. But people on bikes have to deal with chaotic street conditions and rampant parking placard abuse.

The painted lanes on each side of Jay Street will be replaced with parking-protected bike lanes between Fulton Mall and the Manhattan Bridge [PDF]. That should make conditions much less stressful for cyclists, though at five feet wide with a two-foot buffer, the bike lanes will be narrower than design standards recommend.

At the Manhattan Bridge off-ramp north of Nassau Street, a new signalized crossing will enable pedestrians and cyclists to proceed without having to worry about traffic coming off the bridge. A section of fence around the plaza at the foot of the bridge will open up access for pedestrians at the crossing.

Brooklyn Community Board 2’s transportation committee declined to endorse the part of the plan last month in a 5-5 vote, but DOT is opting to proceed with the safer treatment. “After a split vote, DOT is moving forward with the installation of the signal,” the agency said in a statement.

The project includes a new pedestrian crossing and traffic signal at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge [PDF]. Image: DOT
The project includes a new signalized crossing at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge [PDF]. Image: DOT
  • Bluewonderpowermilk96

    The moment of truth. And that signal can be pedestrian-activated (as in it only turns red when a pedestrian hits the button)

  • Reader

    Good on DOT for moving forward with the off-ramp fixes. It’s been screaming out for changes for years and I’m glad community board obstruction isn’t getting the final word here. This should be SOP for safety fixes in the Vision Zero age.

  • Snidely Bikelash

    The crashes (page 10 of the first PDF) increase as you go south, but they’re not doing anything for the southernmost 3 blocks which are collectively the most dangerous? The only fatality on the route during this period was at Schermerhorn, which is untouched.

    I hope to see some data on this lane in a few years time. How many people are using it compared to today, what percentage of people riding use the lane as opposed to riding in the general lanes, and how much has safety improved?

    Compared to the status quo it’s going to be very easy to make this low hanging fruit look good, but let’s compare it to other protected lanes in New York as well as those in other cities in the United States rather than comparing it to the bad old days and declaring “Mission Accomplished!” Streetsblog published some comparative data years ago that showed a huge difference in the safety of NYC’s various protected bike lanes, but absolutely nothing came of it.

  • J

    Fascinated to see how installing one of the city’s narrowest bike lanes in a location with the city’s heaviest bike traffic goes. I suspect it was deliberately made narrow to keep cars out, since Bratton has made it abundantly clear that he could give a shit about cyclist safety and DeBlasio is too spineless to replace him.

    Speaking of the NYPD, it will be interesting to see how they deal with the new setup. Taking things away from the NYPD never seems to go down well, so I imagine they’ll be driving with two wheels on the sidewalk to park in that lane, and all the unprotected bus stops will be clogged with cars.

    This is not a good design. However, it is a step in the right direction, and we’ll soon see how the city tries to improve from here.

  • Reggie

    I remember attending a speech by Bratton followed by a panel discussion, sponsored by TA, during the period between deBlasio’s election and his appointment of a police commissioner. Bratton said all the right things and it was very encouraging. Disappointingly, little of it has been put into effect.

    It will also be interesting to see what impact the new geometry has on cyclists and pedestrians. The latter impatiently drift out into the travel lane when they don’t have the walk signal and bike riders blow through red lights and the people crossing the street like it is a game. I am pessimistic. There is only so much that can be accomplished with engineering.

  • BBnet3000

    Plenty can be accomplished by engineering that isn’t half-assed.

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