DOT Reply on Brooklyn’s Fifth Avenue Bike Lane

Earlier this week we asked why the Department of Transportation had not followed-through on its promise to fix up the Fifth Avenue bike lane in Brooklyn by end of summer. Ryan Russo, the agency’s new Director for Street Management and Safety got back to us with this response:

Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn, between Carroll and Dean Streets, is now designated as a Class III bike route. As anticipated in the May 19, 2005 letter, we completed installation of Class III bike route signage along this route in July. The signage consists of standard "Bike Route" signs complemented with a special "Share the Road" message sign. We still intend to install Class 3 lane markings consisting of bicycle logos and chevron arrows.

As you are aware, the Department recently announced a comprehensive, citywide bike safety initiative that includes a commitment to install 200 miles of new bike facilities during the next three years including up to 45 miles of Class III routes. As part of this effort, we anticipate making further upgrades to the signs and markings used to designate future Class III routes. We are currently looking closely at the appropriate designs for these upgrades. In order for the Fifth Avenue route to utilize new Class III markings we have postponed the anticipated installation of the markings for Fifth Avenue until the start of the next markings season in April.

We walk and ride down Fifth Avenue every day but hadn’t noticed the new street signs. We’ll look for them and try to snap a photograph. We are glad to hear that DOT is looking into improving the signs and markings for Class III bike lanes. But April seems like an awfully long time to wait. Why not install some interim measure between now and then? By April 2007 it will be nearly two years since Elizabeth Padilla was killed riding her bike on the northern end of Fifth Avenue, now identified as one of the more dangerous bike riding spots in the city.

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