Should DOT Install Separated Bike Lanes on 9th Street?

I will not be able to attend tonight’s big meeting in Brooklyn so I really hope that someone will ask DOT about this and report back on what they say:

At the big Houston Street bike lane meeting a couple of weeks ago, DOT’s Ryan Russo and Josh Benson told Manhattan’s Community Board 2 that physically-separated bike lanes should only be installed on streets with a maximum of 8 intersections per mile. Houston Street has 18 intersections per mile which, they believe, makes it not a good spot for a Class I bike lane.

Ninth Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn has exactly 8 intersections per mile. It therefore meets DOT’s own standards for when a physically-separated, on-street bike lane is warranted! On top of that, neighborhood people are upset about the idea of a bike lane preventing them from occassionally double-parking to load and unload their cars. A physically-separated bike lane might be an answer to those concerns and a real win-win.

The lanes could be put between the sidewalk and parked cars as is done in so many great biking cities around the world. Here is an example from Copenhagen, Denmark:


Another possibility would be to run both lanes between the sidewalk and parked cars along the southern side of 9th Street, away from the double-parking commotion in front of the grocery store, post office and car service station. Here is a two-way bike lane I saw in Paris, France recently (no one is riding because it is in the middle of a hail storm):


It’s just Thermoplast. Can’t we experiment in New York City?

  • Charlie D.

    I wouldn’t want to ride against traffic on that Paris lane at night. The oncoming headlights would be directly in my eyes!

  • Gizler

    Wow, that looks beautiful. Thanks again to Europe for pointing the way to sensible planning.

  • In general I like facilities, but we have 2-way bike lanes in Santa Cruz, CA similar to that pictured in your Paris photo and they are a disaster! Trust me, you do not want these things.

  • moocow

    Fritz, care to expand?

  • Aaron, just for you, I asked about the possibility of a Class I (protected, off-street) lane and used our Houston St. experience as a reference.

    They didn’t feel that 9th St. was a good venue for a Class I facility for two basic reasons: turning traffic volume and heavy pedestrian usage.

    They thought that though there are exactly 8 intersections/mi., that number represents the MAXIMUM number, and is still far more than what would make a pleasant cycling experience, with Ocean Parkway and its 7-1/2 intersections/mi. feeling too chopped up (in their opinion). The high percentage of vehicles making turns off of 9th St. exacerbates this.

    Plus, along 9th St., they pointed out that there is intense foot traffic that could lead to conflicts, especially the number of people exiting cars and busses.

    I get the sense that we’re not going to see any Class I facilities proposed along any streets that have crossing traffic from this staff at DOT. They do make the case that there are actually more chances for conflict at intersections when you have a Class I lane than with a Class II lane, and that is tough to refute.

    Still, asking the question served to shift the discussion from “this is all about the bikers” to “DOT is proposing a less-radical plan.”

  • oiseau

    Don’t waste taxpayer money for something that will be used by the very few. Why do all this for a whopping five blocks and on a hill to boot!

    I don’t see separated bike lanes being installed throughout the city so having it for five blocks is a waste. Plus bicyclists ride wherever they choose irregardless of bike lanes.

  • tom murphy

    It’s daytime, no rain, no snow but no bikers on the Paris bike lanes. What’s the point?

  • Aaron Naparstek

    As I wrote above, the Paris bike lane photo was taken in the middle of a hail storm.

  • The reason you won’t see this type of bicycle lane in the United States is simple: We’re too stupid. Our leaders are too stupid. Our people are too stupid. If you begin to see this type of bicycle lane in the United States, it means we’re becoming less stupid and that we have begun to understand the fundamental concepts of civilization.

  • Jasper

    Believe me: here in Brussels, not that far away from Paris , the leaders and people are stupid too :)…

  • Kevin Love

    It is quite amazing the difference crossing the border from The Netherlands into the adjoining Dutch-speaking part of Belgium. The people are the same, but the roads instantly become insanely crappy and dangerous.

  • Jasper

    Indeed, and the French-Speaking part is even worse! In some Dutch-speaking cities the infrastructure is quite well these days, but in Brussels and the French-Speaking part they still think a bike is only for sports and the cities are only for cars :(…


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