The Jay Street Bike Lane Won’t Work If NYPD Parks All Over It

Double-whammy: these caps are blocking a bus stop and the bike lane. Photo: Brandon Chamberlin
Police officers block the bike lane and a bus stop on Jay Street this morning. Photo: Brandon Chamberlin

As crews restripe Jay Street to implement a curbside protected bike lane, some sort of learning curve is to be expected. Drivers need a little time to adjust to the new parking lane, which floats to the left of the bike lane buffer. But NYPD should know better from the start.

Streetsblog reader Brandon Chamberlin snapped the above photo of two police vehicles parked in the bus stop in front of City Tech on Jay Street this morning, blocking the way for both buses and cyclists. The bus stop has always been there — it’s not new.

In DOT’s redesign, the bike lane and curbside bus stops are “shared space” — as opposed to a floating bus stop design where bus drivers would pull up to a boarding island to the left of the bike lane. It’s a situation that requires some extra effort, with cyclists and bus drivers having to look out for each other — even without factoring in illegal parking.

If police ignore the rules and park at the curb, things will break down quickly. Cyclists will have to weave out of the bike lane into traffic, and bus riders will have to walk off the curb to board. The stress and chaotic traffic conditions that the Jay Street redesign was supposed to fix will just resurface in slightly different form.

DOT's redesign includes mixing zones that maintain curb access for cyclists at bus stops. Image: DOT
In DOT’s Jay Street redesign, some bus stops occupy the same curb space as the bike lane [PDF]. Image: DOT
Illegal parking by police and other placard holders has been the scourge of Jay Street for a long time. When DOT presented its Jay Street proposal to Community Board 2 in March, transportation committee members worried that the new lane would be compromised by rampant parking placard abuse, which NYPD has overlooked for years.

Police from all over Brooklyn come to the courts on Jay Street (one of the squad cars in the photo is from the 73rd Precinct in Brownsville). If the redesign of one of NYC’s busiest bike routes is going to work, NYPD needs to get the message out that officers can’t block bus stops or the bike lane.

  • JudenChino

    This morning, there was a large ass semi Sysco truck making deliveries and taking up the lone travel lane on Jay heading north, just above Johnson St. Huge back-up. Yah, between the placard abuse, government buildings, legitimate deliveries (that are illegitimately parked), “quick double-parkers” and tons of peds . . . this will continue to be a cluster fuck. You can’t really feel too safe in that bike lane.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    The cops have always blocked the bus stops but I at least thought they’d leave the ends of this bike lane open so people could get in and out of it. That SUV is really adding insult to injury. Let’s hope they have the decency to not ticket people for cycling in the general travel lanes.

  • Pat

    Frankly, I’m in total disbelief that the NYPD isn’t practicing the

    Courtesy
    Professionalism
    Respect

    as their vehicles so boldly claim.

  • AMH

    Those free-for-all bus stops are a disaster. How is a bike lane supposed to work when it’s designed to be blocked by buses? You can’t even go around a bus very easily or safely. There should be a boarding island the width of the parking lane, which would have the added benefit of eliminating bus pull-out delay.

  • JudenChino

    Is this the same precinct that habitually parks in the heavily used bike lane on Hoyt?

  • rao

    So Bratton’s quitting. He’ll be replaced by top commander James O’Neill. Now what?

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    The station on Schermerhorn near Hoyt is a transit police station. The problem on Jay is that cops from all over Brooklyn park there when they’re in court.

  • I rode this home last night and found it to be a very big improvement, so I’m optimistic. I’m also grateful to Streetsblog for highlighting this problem right away. Hopefully bigger problems won’t take root as a result.

    I think the green paint, once it’s in, will shine a light on placard abuse in a way that didn’t happen before. I may be naive, but blocking a class 1 bike lane registers as a problem to even non-cyclists in a way that blocking a class 2 lane doesn’t. (Usually the response to the latter is “What’s the big deal? Just go around?”) Double-parking will now become a problem that pits drivers against drivers as opposed to just something people on bikes had to deal with. A driver honking at another driver to get out of the way will hopefully move things along faster than a polite bell ring from someone on a bike.

    The other thing to consider is that for all the years it took to take this step, the next step in fixing Jay Street won’t take nearly as long. We’ll keep pushing.

  • djx

    I was about to say how this is an examples of Bill Bratton’s hypocrisy on broken windows, but then realize the analogy is wrong because Bratton and the NYPD don’t think this is wrong – they think it’s their right to park like that.

  • djx

    The ability to park where ever the Fxck they want is a professional courtesy they get. We should respect that.

  • I wonder if you can sue the city on ADA grounds. The city employees are making it impossible for the disabled to board the bus. All day, every day.

  • Kevin Love

    The correct analogy is to Zimbabwe or any other third word dictatorship where the police are corrupt and consider themselves to be above the law.

  • BrandonWC

    Cops in the photo were 73 Pct and CSU

  • AMH

    Discourtesy
    Unprofessionalism
    Disrespect

  • J

    Breaking: Unprotected Bikeway Full of Double-Parked NYPD Cars.

  • Kevin Love

    And this will continue to be breaking news…

  • That would require private single occupant vehicle drivers to wait behind buses that have many dozens of people on board. The madness!

  • Andrew

    I may be naive

    That, or an incurable optimist.

  • Andrew

    Boarding islands mean bus riders crossing the bike lane.

    When the bus pulls up, a surge of people get off the bus, most or all of them crossing the bus lane. Will cyclists yield to them, or will they have to wait on the island (or, more likely, some spilling back onto the bus itself if more than a few are getting off) for a gap?

    When the bus is about to pull out, there may be last-second runners trying to catch the bus. Will cyclists yield to them, or will they have to stop and wait for the cyclists to go by while they watch their bus pull out?

    You’re trading one conflict for another. I’m not certain that the conflict you want is the preferable of the two.

  • AnoNYC

    I would personally rather deal with pedestrians than a bus.

  • Andrew

    But will you deal with pedestrians by stopping for them and waiting to let them get on and off the bus, or will you deal with pedestrians by ignoring them and forcing them to wait for you?

    (I don’t mean you, personally, of course. I mean cyclists in general.)

  • Joe R.

    I’d personally rather deal with the bus. Waiting for a stream of pedestrians to cross will likely cause a delay of upwards of 30 seconds. This could mean missing the next light, which in turn could mean missing the one after that, and so forth. It’s an unfortunate fact delays on NYC streets often compound like that, especially for cyclists.

    On the other hand, it’s easy enough to anticipate a bus pulling into a stop, then swing left as the bus is swinging right, avoiding the need to stop at all. I’ve done this many, many times when buses cross my path pulling into stops.

  • Joe R.

    Even though lots of people here sing the praises of “floating” bus stops to the left of bike lanes, I think in NYC such a thing will be a clusterf*ck of epic proportions. The only exceptions might be on bus lines with relatively infrequent bus service and relatively few people boarding or leaving the bus. This being NYC, both pedestrians and cyclists are going to do what’s in their self-interest. I’m visualizing cyclists trying to zoom past a stopped bus before anyone starts leaving it, then perhaps getting broadsided by someone running to catch the bus who didn’t bother to look in the bike lane. Invariably, what will happen is the majority user will win out by default. A steady stream of people leaving or boarding a bus at major stops will cause long delays to cyclists. Or bus passengers at lightly used bus stops might wait a while to cross a very busy bike path. If there are large numbers of both users then heaven help us. You’ll probably get lots of screaming and cursing.

    Although I’m rarely one to say something can’t work here, this is one of those rare cases where I mostly don’t think it can. Jay Street is one place where I don’t think it would work at all.

  • AnoNYC

    I don’t know about that. People generally swarm the bus entrance/exit so the exiting passengers are the bigger concern.

    Even then, I wouldn’t expect a cyclists to catch a stopped bus at every bus stop.

  • gregwtmtno

    I got hit by a biker as I was exiting a bus in a bus lane, so no, they won’t yield.

  • AnoNYC

    I don’t ride Jay St so I don’t know the crowds, but I guess we’ll have to see how this implementation works. Having the bus pull out of the moving lane slows it down too.

  • Joe R.

    Of course it does but a bus slows things down a lot less than a bunch of people boarding or exiting that same bus.

  • JeryMaguireMan1

    Parkin a car wrong is to zibobwe dictorship as hyperballic internet comment is to genicide denile

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    TA apparently came to the same conclusion when they proposed a Sands Street style center bikeway on Jay.

    I still think bus islands could work but not without a very high quality design which would require removing parking.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

  • Eon John
  • ML

    Misspelling every three-syllable word throughout an internet comment is close to genocide.

  • neroden

    Yes, you can definitely sue. However, to have standing to go to court, you have to (a) be disabled, and (b) want to take the bus to or from this location.

  • neroden

    Tow the cop cars. There’s gotta be someone outside NYPD with authority to do it.

  • neroden

    If they aren’t escorting a prisoner or a protected witness, they should be taking the subway to get to court.

  • JeryMaguireMan1

    ha ok bitcj

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