DOT Caves on Marine Park Bike Lane, Will Remove Protection

After resident complaints, DOT will switch the parking lane and bike lane on East 38th Street in Marine Park. Image: DOT
DOT will reverse this design and expose cyclists to moving traffic on East 38th Street in Marine Park. Image: DOT

A new protected bike lane segment on East 38th Street in Marine Park won’t be protected much longer. Even though the new layout provides a similar width for parking and driving as other residential streets in the area, DOT has caved to pressure from local residents who want to go back to having a short stretch of wide-open asphalt.

The two-way protected bike lane between Avenue U and Avenue V was approved by Brooklyn Community Board 18 earlier this year as part of a package of improvements to connect the neighborhood to the Jamaica Bay Greenway [PDF].

Image: DOT
Map: DOT

Local Council Member Alan Maisel pushed DOT to remove the parking protection. He said that because of the redesign, “people can’t get into their driveways,” sideview mirrors have been knocked off, and delivery trucks on the street are blocking traffic.

But the bike lane is next to a park and doesn’t affect access to driveways. The only difference for motorists is that the travel lane is now 12 feet wide, which is still on the wider side of standard city street dimensions.

A DOT spokesperson told the Brooklyn Daily that the parking protection will be removed by the end of the month, leaving cyclists exposed and the bike lane vulnerable to double-parking and other obstructions.

DOT did not respond to an inquiry from Streetsblog as to the exact design of the new bike lane. Since 38th Street is one-way for motor vehicles, the likely scenario is to swap the location of the two-way bike lane and the parking lane by the park, similar to the design of Plaza Street by Grand Army Plaza. Update: DOT has confirmed that the new configuration will be similar to Plaza Street, with parking along the curb, then a buffer, then a two-way bike lane running alongside car traffic.

e38th
Without the bike lane, the motor vehicle lane on this block of 38th Street is much wider than on typical one-way residential streets. Photo via Google Street View

The 38th Street bike lane is one of dozens of projects that the city hopes to implement as part of a recently-released plan to improve access to the Jamaica Bay Greenway [PDF]. In January, CB 18 rejected DOT’s initial proposal because it might one day have led to an on-street bike lane on Flatbush Avenue. (Currently, cyclists are allowed to bike on the sidewalk on this part of Flatbush.)

East 38th Street is a residential block, but at 40 feet wide, it’s much wider than typical 30-foot-wide residential streets in the area. Maisel noted that drivers use it to avoid busy Flatbush Avenue after exiting the Belt Parkway. By narrowing the roadway, the bike lane should get these motorists to drive more carefully on 38th.

If drivers are really knocking sideview mirrors, they should take the hint to slow down. Instead, DOT will cater to them and make the street more conducive to speeding.

  • walknseason

    Losers, every one of them.

  • Eric McClure

    If you can’t drive your car down a 12-foot-wide lane with eight-foot-wide parking lanes without knocking off somebody’s side mirror, you definitely shouldn’t be driving.

  • c2check

    Some of these folks need to take a drive in a city like Philly, Boston, or Pittsburgh (or even parts of NYC) where streets are much more narrow than this, some even 2-way.
    Lean to drive, people!
    End the scourge of double parking!

  • c2check

    The street I grew up on is 2-way, 26 feet wide, parking on one or both sides depending on the segment (no curb cuts). My parallel-parked car’s mirrors remained intact.

  • reasonableexplanation

    I sort of don’t understand either side of this particular debate… I bike down this street when I go out out to Far Rockaway… and it’s a relatively quiet residential street, so I feel much more safe on it, than say, any of the cross Brooklyn streets I have to take to get to it to begin with…

    When I drive to belt, I also sometimes take this street to avoid waiting at the red light at Flatbush. And it’s quiet and roomy, even with the new configuration. Never had a problem driving along it.

    So on the one hand, I don’t feel like this street really needs a protected bike lane, but on the other hand, I also don’t know why residents would oppose one, since it’s a pretty wide street without a lot of traffic, so narrowing it slightly still leaves more than enough room for cars to park and pass by.

  • Reader

    “A DOT spokesperson told the Brooklyn Daily that the parking protection will be removed by the end of the month.”

    Amazing how fast DOT can act to make things better for motorists. Meanwhile, it can take years to make a street safer even if it’s already racked up a large number of fatalities.

  • I thought changes require 3 years of public meetings?

  • Geck

    If you check out E 39th Street, one block over, someone has put up a dozen “Drive Like Your Kids Live Here” signs. Traffic needs to be calmed in this area to make it comfortable for riders of all abilities as a Greenway connector. Super-wide lanes need to be narrowed. DOT SHOULD NOT CAVE ON THIS. There is a period of adjustment and people get used to the changes.

  • AnoNYC

    Traffic may be light, but i’m sure people floor it down that stretch. The narrower lane slows drivers down.

  • Shemp

    It would be more helpful to put a decent asphalt surface on the “Flatbush Ave Greenway” which today is a bumpy concrete sidewalk that totally sucks to ride a bike on.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    The 2-way Greenway here makes sense because it was intended to be a completely off-street path all the way from the top of Marine Park to the beach.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    I can’t find the Streetsblog article right now but I believe that is in the works. They’re probably still going to make you switch sides and then back again to cross the bridge though.

  • Weirdopolis

    We can ram Queens Blvd plans thru, but not this little slice of bike safety? Weird. Just weird.

  • SSkate

    Sucks even more to skate on.

  • kevd

    I’m more concerned about Flatbush from V to the belt parkway bike path.
    This “Greenway” is pretty rideable as is. Not ideal, but WAY above average as NYC streets go.
    But Flatbush is crap, and could so easily be improved with a two-way shared use path and stop signs / 90 degree turns to get on and off of the belt so cyclists are crossing 4 fucking on/off ramps on a “greenway”

  • BrandonWC

    I know we have fun on twitter that DOT’s response to everything is to write the boro commissioner, but everyone here really should do that. Keith Bray is a political appointee, which ever side is loudest goes a long way in the decision making process. If a city of bikers can’t drown out one block of NIMBYs, progress will be slow indeed. Here’s the link (you can also call 646-892-1350). Here’s what I squeezed into the 512 characters the DOT contact form gives you:

    It is beyond disappointing to see DOT reverse course and tear out the 38th St 2-way protected bike lane before the thermoplastic is dry. If drivers can’t get down a 12′ lane between 8′ parking lanes without hitting parked cars, they’re clearly going too fast and recklessly. The solution is more traffic calming, not throwing bikers into the grinder. The bike network’s only as strong as the weakest link. Fewer families will use the Marine Park Connector when forced to ride against traffic in unprotected lane.

  • HamTech87

    If residents couldn’t back their cars out of their driveway without hitting a car across the street, then how will they avoid hitting that kid on her bicycle?

    As for DOT, couldn’t they have offered a compromise like reducing the cycle track lane widths to 4′ each direction, and maybe shortening the buffer by a foot? This way the residents could claim a smaller victory and safety would win out?

  • Rising Seas

    Sadly, this segment will be lost for a generation. DOT can take another shot at this after the next Sandy, which will force those residents incapable of backing out of their driveways to abandon their homes to the rising bay. It will truly be a “marine park” for the fish.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    To be fair, the sidewalk on that side probably isn’t heavily used, so if they had any money they could make a multi-use path that would only reduce the travel lane width by 5′ or so.

  • reasonableexplanation

    In my experience people don’t really floor it there, as there’s a 90 degree turn at the end of the block to get onto Ave V. It’s not a particularly heavily trafficked street… which is why putting the bike path there made sense in the first place.

  • Flakker

    Tried to call, was told that everything has to be put in writing

  • Flakker

    Made my comment. If everyone who bothered to comment here commented there, we’d have 20 comments today. That’s not nothing versus the local crankocracy.

  • A Kid In Africa

    Thank God they got rid of this stupid bullshit. I never seen anyone cycle on that road anyway. Good on DOT not caving into these cycling faggots.

  • A Kid In Africa

    I don’t see anyone cycle there in the morning. Thank God DOT got it right and removed that shit.

  • A Kid In Africa

    Traffic is perfect as it was. Good on DOT not caving into these cycling faggots and listening to people who actually used the road. Lanes were perfect.

  • A Kid In Africa

    5 year old shouldn’t be on the street anyway dumbass. Street was perfect as it was before. No reason to cave into a group of cycling faggots.

  • A Kid In Africa

    Traffic calming? Traffic was perfect as it was before. There were no cycling faggots using the road anyway. Good on DOT fixing this ridiculous mistake.

  • Andrew

    If residents couldn’t back their cars out of their driveway without hitting a car across the street, then how will they avoid hitting that kid on her bicycle?

    Wait, drivers are supposed to watch where they’re going, even in reverse? That’s crazy talk!

  • Andrew

    How does this even make things better for motorists?

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    ^^ Imagine what our city could be like if we didn’t have bitter psychopaths like this running it:

    https://departmentfortransport.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/schoolchildren-ride-bikes-on-safe-cyclepath-in-netherlands.jpg

  • c2check

    Perfect! Everything is perfect! Nothing to see here!
    (slur)

  • Daphna

    Plaza street was supposed to be curbside parking protected and instead was made unprotected while the lawsuit against the Prospect Park West bike lane was going on. It is time now to flip Plaza Street and put that bi-directional bike lane back where it was supposed to be in the first place – curbside parking protected instead of sandwiched between the parked cars and the moving cars.

    The DOT should keep this section of bike lane on 38th Street as curbside parking protected. If the bike lane is changed, it will be filled with double parked vehicles.

    This shows clearly that many members of Brooklyn Community Board 18 should NOT be re-appointed at the end of their 2 year term.

    Also for a bigger idea: citywide residential streets that border parks should only have parking on the residential side, not the park side. The park side of all streets should automatically be a bi-directional curbside jersey barrier protected bike lane.

  • A Kid In Africa

    Not a cycling advocate = psychopath. Sorry but not everyone want these faggots taking away our roads.

  • J

    Are you 12 years old? Wait that’s offensive to a lot of thoughtful 12-year olds who don’t spew hateful bile from their mouths.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Just a homophobic Archie Bunker who doesn’t care about anyone but people he perceives to be in his own “in group”. You should try cycling to Floyd Bennett or Riis Park sometime if you’re still physically capable. You might learn to take a little pleasure from life.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    The CB voted to approve the protected lane. This is not the CBs fault.

  • neroden

    Sue. This change did not go through the legally required review process. They act like they have to go through process to make things better, but disregard process when making things worse. So sue them.

  • neroden

    Yep, sue for failure to have meetings. Get a temporary injunction.

  • BFishY

    I… My friends… And their friends bike on this street very frequently to ride around Jamaica Bay. I pity you and your ignorant, close-minded thinking.

    I will continue to bike on this street bike path or not. I grew up in Marine Park and will continue to strive to make it better and safer.

  • BFishY

    Just because you don’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Life 101.

  • dave “paco” abraham

    @akidinafrica:disqus used the phrase “cycling faggot” in only 5 of 6 tweets. Wonder why he/she missed one during their ramble of idiocy.

  • native new yorker

    Outside of Manhattan and a few Brooklyn neighborhoods like Park Slope the bike lanes are rarely used.

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