New High-Visibility Bike Lanes in Brooklyn

The McBrooklyn Blog spots this freshly painted high-visibility bike lane on Henry Street in Brooklyn:

Could be that the NYC Department of Transportation actually listened to groups like Transportation Alternatives,
which advocates painting bike lanes a solid color in order to improve
visibility and curb blockage by motor vehicles. Bikers have reported
that the Tillary Street lane is painted green, and the lane along Henry
Street in Brooklyn Heights is also painted.

Looks like it might be working. While a car did drive into the bike lane, it quickly — "Oops!" — swerved back out again.

  • Christian

    Why did this take so long?? The same should be done for bus lanes. Even when the bus lane isn’t in effect people instinctively avoid these lanes…makes them look like “bus most of the time + car” lanes instead of the other way round. In London they’re red and no one drives in them, even when it’s allowed.

  • Great idea. I like the bus idea too.

  • Mitch

    That looks good. Does the paint continue through the intersection?

  • I love the looks and the apparent car-repulsing properties, but how does the paint shed water?

    Is it slicker than unpainted pavement?

  • SPer


  • chad

    thats a good idea, but does it need to be insane lime-neon green? how about white? i would not want to live on that street and have to look at that color every time i left my house. and i love to ride my bike.

  • I’ll have to walk over and look at it in person, but it looks fine to me. It’s a good idea to clearly mark a lane like that; most of the bike lanes I’ve seen are not visible enough to often distracted drivers.

  • Yiz

    Yuck, what an eyesore. And that’s a lot of paint that’s going to look like crap when it starts wearing out unevently. They could have had a similar and more tasteful effect with white striped lines.

  • dood

    “That looks good. Does the paint continue through the intersection?”

    I just passed by there. The lane stops before the intersection, and starts again on the other side of the intersection.
    But I didn’t see anything that identifies these green lanes as bike lines. No bikes painted on them and not street signs. (maybe they are there, but at first and short glance i didn’t see anything)

  • Niels

    Here in Holland, many bike lanes and paths are dark red. This is actually the color of the asphalt (or the tiles), which means that it won’t disappear through wear. When there are no free bike crossings (in Holland, on major roads, bicycle paths have their own crossings and traffic lights), the special asphalt continues on over the crossing, especially to alert turning drivers.

    By chance I notice a great example on this in Rotterdam. The bikers use the parallel road, but on the major crossing they share the main road. See how the lane is painted red to alert drivers that they have to give way to bikers going straight on.


  • Red

    I actually think it looks pretty good, perhaps because I spent some time in London where (as mentioned) bus lanes are red and bike lanes are green. Striped white lines seem too much like median stripes to me. But it’s hard to agree on aesthetics.

  • Mitch

    thats a good idea, but does it need to be insane lime-neon green?

    I’ve been told that in some parts of Europe, they use solid blue paint to mark bike lanes. That would be less garish than lime-neon green, though it might be too subtle for New York.

  • Steve

    Yeah, I would have picked a darker shade of green, this is going to be cited by some property owners in the more swell sections of town as a reason to oppose bike lanes. Speaking of which, Glenn may we have a report on the CB8 Transpo committee discussion of bike lanes last week? I had to miss it.

  • Green has been picked because it’s the newly-agreed-upon standard of the Federal DOT/FHWA. NYC DOT had tried a few options in the past, but now that there is a federal standard, they are using it.

    I wouldn’t mind this bright, cheerful green stripe on my street at all, and it’s there as a matter of safety. It looks better than a big, red blood stain. And maybe it’s a nod to a greener form of transportation.

    Other countries that have more dedication to this use other treatments, whether it be pigmented pavements (which don’t wear off) or surface applications. London’s TfL has tables and tables listing costs, durability, friction, and other considerations for methods of achieving a colored lane for bike, buses, and other purposes.

  • Sarah Goodyear

    They had done some kind of a test of a darker, perhaps more tasteful, green paint on Henry St. a couple of months ago, and it totally made the bike lane invisible. This color is actually OK by me, but I do think it still needs bike icons in white or else people have no idea what it means.

  • Clarence

    It is green alright, and bright. But it is great. I heard a few people are complaining about the color. I say grow up people, it’s just asphalt. We are talking about safety here.

    Besides, in about a few weeks, the color will not be as vibrant I am sure after the sun and weathering cuts down on the color.

  • Jmc

    Hooray! Finally! This is a great innovation. I can’t wait until they do this for bus lanes as well. People will instinctively avoid driving on a different color, it also will probably slow down cars and make them a little more aware as it makes the road seem “narrower.”

    This DOT moves quickly!

  • Flailey

    I live there.

    I have nothing against bikes. But the f–king paint job is a total aesthetic disaster. This is the prettiest neighborhood in the city, the first historic district, brownstone brooklyn. One thing it surely does not need is a giant neon green stripe.

    If someone painted a stoop this color the city would sue them. For good reason. That principle works in reverse. If they want to make the bike lane clearer then put a raised ridge between it and the other part of the road to catch a tire. This is just retarded.

  • Casual Observer

    Flailey, I live here too and I’ve got to point out that black asphalt streets with yellow and white stripes and gray concrete sidewalks are neither pretty nor “historic.”

    When I see this green lane I see a street that has become safer and more functional and a city that’s becoming greener, literally and figuratively. That’s aesthetically pleasing to me. I think it’s a great meeting of form and function and far more attractive than a big, empty swatch of black asphalt.

    The full historic effect, btw, would involve quite a bit horse manure in the street.

  • vito

    i personally like the way it looks. should have bike icons as well though.

  • epc

    Before painting the lane did have bike icons.

    I thought the paint job was poorly done, not so much the color but that it started perhaps 50-60 feet from Clark St and then ends at Love Lane (perhaps they’ll return and finish).

    There’s no signage or other communications from DOT indicating what this is. I think some of the resistance from BH residents is that it looks like someone just came in and dumped a load of off-green paint.

  • m

    Hmm. I’m wondering whether this street needs a bike lane at all? As a cyclist, I’d feel safer here if they got rid of the bike lane, maybe put big bike icons in the middle of the street. It also doesn’t look like a street that is congested with standing traffic very often, where a bike lane would be practical for cyclists to pass.

    On the plus side, looks like it’s reasonably wide and fortunately not next to parked cars (door zone).

    In London, where I currently live, the color of bike lanes is actually green tarmac. While they seem to have different types of this, the one most commonly used is awful in quality. It is very rough and has higher rolling resistance than the street asphalt. It is usually just put on at the very end manually, without a steamroller smoothing it, so the result is awful to ride on. The green tarmac is also usually not at all durable, and chips and cracks quickly, making the ride even worse.

  • gabriel

    bold, thoughtful, VISIBLE, and contemporary, everything that Brooklyn is, I love it!

  • raccoon

    So, what sort of traction does one get on the paint? I’m sure someone thought of this, but I’d be a bit skittish to ride it right after the rain…

  • James

    Why not either make the lanes the same dark green as the Bike Lane signage OR change the Bike Lane signs to neon green? If you want people to know what the lanes are, you need a consistent visual vocabulary.

  • Steve

    In my view the bike lane is a good thing on this street because the raod is so narrow and has parking on only one side, so that if a car double parks or parks at the on the curb opposite the parking lane, the resulting “pinch point” does not leave enough room for a car and a bicyclist to proceed abreast of each other. The bike lane requires a car approahing a pinch point to yield to the bicyclist, let him or her through first. Without the bike lane, I’d expect about 7 of 10 motorists to try to edge out the cyclist (with the bike lane the statistic is problably more like 5 of 10).

  • epc

    This stretch of Henry is pretty narrow, only about 2.5 lanes wide, and constantly has cars double-parked (either in the traffic lane or in the bike lane).

    Would be better if the parking were eliminated and the lane made dedicated.

  • Louis

    For me, the fact that there are no signs is a big plus. Especially for any “historic feel”. The green lane speaks for itself, and anyone would know it’s a bike lane. What the city doesn’t need is more streetside signs to direct drivers. That said, this street probably only needed sharrows. But if this will encourage more bikers, all the better.

  • Jackie

    I ride on that street often and I feel safer now that it’s green. The traction is fine.

  • Dustin

    Is data being collected on its effectiveness?

  • steve

    I saw a recent report or statement somewhere that this coloration is a trial, and that it may be introduced throughout the city. Does anyone know about that?

  • Carrie

    I don’t have a bike, but walk on Henry St. all the time and actually think the green looks really good. It’s a nicer shade than the picture shows and is a good reinforcement that biking is good for the rider and the environment. I’m hoping more lanes will be painted like this.

  • steve

    The chartreuse is growing on me. And now Adams St. has been painted. But that may not be enough:

  • lynn hannah

    I like the green streets it shows that we aren’t so plain and that we can be exciting.


The Case for a Two-Way Protected Bike Lane on Plaza Street

Cross-posted from Brooklyn Spoke. In April 2010, DOT proposed an overhaul of the chaotic and dangerous Grand Army Plaza to include two-way protected bike lanes on Plaza Street East and West. (Plaza Street is not the high-speed roadway around the arch and fountain, but rather the less trafficked outer roadways, which already have one-way buffered […]