Behold: The DOT Plan for Protected Bike Lanes on Dyckman Street

The project would bring parking-protected lanes to Dyckman from Broadway to 10th Avenue, which Inwood residents have asked for since 2008.

DOT's new proposal for protected lanes anticipates -- and enables -- double parking on Dyckman Street. Image: DOT
DOT's new proposal for protected lanes anticipates -- and enables -- double parking on Dyckman Street. Image: DOT

It took nearly a decade, but DOT has a plan for protected bike lanes on Dyckman Street in Inwood.

Rather than a painted median with a through-lane for motorized traffic and painted bike lane in either direction, as previously proposed, the updated plan [PDF] would put parking-protected bike lanes along both sides of the street between Nagle Avenue and Broadway.

A two-way protected lane between Nagle and 10th Avenue is already in the works. If the updated DOT plan comes to fruition, Dyckman will have a bikeway from Broadway to its eastern terminus, where it connects to the greenway.

Because it’s Inwood, the latest plan includes extra-wide parking lanes to maintain space for people to illegally double-park.

DOT has been back and forth with Community Board 12 since 2008 regarding Dyckman bike lane upgrades. When DOT finally put forward a plan last June, CB 12 continued to delay implementation by requesting more meetings.

The board endorsed a protected bike lane segment between 10th and Nagle avenues in March, but rejected the DOT plan for painted lanes between Nagle and Broadway. DOT held yet another community workshop in April at CB 12’s request.

The updated plan, presented to the CB 12 transportation committee this month, addresses unenforced double-parking as inevitable. The wide outside lanes are meant to keep double-parked drivers out of the way of car and bike through-traffic, but it abandons the traffic-calming goals of the previous redesign plan.

“Bicycle safety in New York City at present pretty much depends on the goodwill and careful driving of motor vehicle operators,” Upper Manhattan bike advocate Jonathan Rabinowitz told Streetsblog. “This plan, with the ‘extra wide’ parking lanes, does nothing to tame the aggressiveness of that population.”

Neither CB 12 nor DOT could tell us whether or not the transportation committee endorsed the plan. We’ll update this post when we find out.

Update: A CB 12 member, who is not on the transportation committee, told Streetsblog the committee endorsed the DOT plan.

  • J

    They better put out some serious physical barriers, or this will be parked in like crazy. I wonder if DOT realizes that when you encourage/accommodate illegal parking behavior, you are, in fact, encouraging people to park illegally. For this plan to work, people need to not illegally park in the bike lane.

  • J

    Also, didn’t DOT say earlier that bus stops were a key reason why they weren’t able to do protected bike lanes here? A bunch of people quickly showed why that was bogus (you can just use bus islands). This presentation seems notably absent any discussion of bus stops, so I’m curious what the solution is. Hopefully, it’s not the crappy weave solution used on Jay Street.

  • redbike

    This design is guaranteed to fail. These “bike lanes” will be either used as sidewalk extensions or, as other comments have suggested, for parking.

    This configuration works on quiet low-traffic streets with few or no pedestrians. It’s a demonstrated failure where sidewalks *should* be widened, e.g.: Manhattan’s 8th & 9th Avs between 33rd St and the West 50’s. Don’t cynically build “bike lanes” that are actually sidewalk extensions.

  • Benjamin Davidson MacKrell

    Okay, so this design is by far not the best of all possible worlds. But it is far better than nothing. Once this is in place, let’s fight to improve it.

  • HamTech87

    What is the parking price on Dyckman? Should it be raised to encourage more open spaces and less double parking?

  • Samuelitooooo

    Except they haven’t failed. It’s made cycling safer, much so that more people are cycling now, especially on high-volume arterials which are more dangerous. As to whether sidewalks should be widened, the root issue is different; there are too many cars.

    Separated bike lanes on the curb keep cyclists safe, and also gives them access to the curb and buildings, as it should.

  • redbike

    Tell us about the last time you biked in Manhattan’s 8th Av bike lane north from 33rd St to the mid 50’s; or the last time you biked south in Manhattan’s 9th Av bike lane from the mid 50’s to 34th St. If it was at 5am on a Sunday morning, I’m sure you had clear sailing. At more conventional hours, these bike lanes are unusable as bike lanes because the adjacent sidewalks should be wider. Reasonably and appropriately, pedestrians walk in these bike lanes, but they’re unusable by people on bicycles. Try it sometime; get back to us.

    As I said in my initial comment, this configuration works fine in neighborhoods and corridors with sparse pedestrian activity. Where sidewalks should be wider (e.g.: Manhattan’s 8th and 9th Avs in midtown), experience has proven this design fails. Dyckman Street has similarly intense pedestrian activity, and, by the way, I think that’s good. Learn from the midtown failures. Rolling out the same design for the bicycle lanes on Dyckman Street will fail there too.

  • If a pedestrian cannot get around another pedestrian, the reasonable and appropriate thing to do for a civilised adult human being is to just walk behind that other pedestrian, not to take to the bike lane in order to pass.

    The point is that there is never a legitimate reason to walk in a bike lane. That behaviour is simply another manifestation of the depravity and the dysfunction that characterise social interaction in New York City. Do not make excuses for the debased ugliness of New Yorkers.

  • Samuelitooooo

    Last time I rode 9th Ave was in the early 2010s, and I haven’t ridden 8th Ave except last year from 50 St to Columbus Circle. 🙂 Last year I did ride 1st Avenue though.

    What do you propose to keep bicycle riders safe? Ride on the sidewalk? That’s what people will do if they feel too unsafe. Ride with the traffic? You gotta be kidding me.

    I’m afraid your priorities are in the wrong place. “Keep the best, safest design of bike lanes away from high pedestrian activity” — but say nothing of the high automobile traffic that take up so much space and also injures and kills people.

    Sidewalk extensions should be at the expense of cars — not bikes! And as hard data proves, compared to anecdotes, this bike lane design has reduced injuries and deaths, AND has drawn more people to cycle there.

  • J

    I think you guys are on the same page. The protected bike lanes have generally worked, but in some places the sidewalks are woefully inadequate, so when you build a bike lane next to a packed sidewalk, people often walk in the bike lane. The avenues, though, plenty wide enough to have both wider sidewalks AND protected bike lanes. Ydanis Rodriguez and the city council realize this and are moving forward to address it.
    http://nyc.streetsblog.org/2017/05/10/city-council-wants-dot-to-relieve-crowding-on-nycs-most-congested-sidewalks/

  • redbike

    Thanks for trying to mediate. What a quaint concept!

    I missed the 10 May 2017 story to which you link; thanks. HamTech87’s pix toward the end of the comments graphically illustrate the real-world failure of installing bike lanes next to NYC’s sidewalks when the sidewalks are overburdened. Doing it once should have been a learning experience. Repeating the failure is a cynical rebuke to folks trying to ride bicycles.

    For the most part, I’m encouraged by Ydanis Rodriguez’s initiatives, not just the one discussed in the link. Unfortunately, the district he represents, encompassing Inwood, is craptacularly bicycle-hostile. (Try using the bike lanes on Seaman Av.) Dyckman St is squarely within Councilmember Rodriguez’s district, but I don’t know where he stands on redesigning it. Though the district is superbly-served by public transportation, car culture reigns, and despite his inclinations, Rodriguez is sensitive to his constituents.

  • JamesR

    Thank you for acknowledging that this is a cultural problem. Try as we might, we can’t always design our way out of a culture of interaction in the public realm that is centered on selfish “me first” hyperindividualism. This goes for all modes.