NYPD Sidewalk Hogs Make Way for Bike Parking and Benches (Updated)


Elizabeth Press sends these shots of the northeast corner of Hoyt and Schermerhorn in downtown Brooklyn. In what may be a first for New York City, this nifty little DOT reclamation includes bike racks installed on the roadbed, not the sidewalk. (Update: DOT confirms that yes, this is something new for the city.) More on that later. First, take a minute to appreciate all the ways this project, which cost a mere $5,000, according to Ben Muessig at the Brooklyn Paper, has improved life for New Yorkers. 


Up until about six weeks ago, as you can see in this angle from Google Street View, everyone using the subway entrance here had to squeeze past a row of police vehicles commandeering the sidewalk. Now there’s room to walk to the train with dignity. It’s also safer to cross Schermerhorn Street, thanks to the shorter crossing distance, narrower roadway, and improved sight lines. Daylighting in action:


More pics after the jump.


If you need to rest your legs, now there are two benches to help you take a load off.


So, about that bike parking. The racks are attached to the pavement with bolts. And for the first time in New York City, street space has been reclaimed from car parking to make way for bike parking while avoiding the expense of building a sidewalk extension. The result is reminiscent of Portland’s bike corrals, a low-cost way to expand bike parking options without infringing on heavily-used pedestrian space.

  • Looks fantastic. Im also glad to see that the crosswalk is angled to meet the new extension

  • Ed Ravin

    Now we need to improve the pedestrian flow underground in the station – pedestrians must walk extra mileage underground to reach the turnstiles because of much of the interior station space has been converted into Transit facilities (like the Transit Police, the same folks hogging the sidewalk in the pic above). Many other stations have had entrances re-opened by converting them to Metrocard turnstiles, that’s not possible here because of all the land grab of former pedestrian space in the station.

  • Does anyone know whether there is a plan to make intersections such as these more permanent (aka expanding the sidewalk to a bulbout rather than having the new pedestrian space at street level)?

  • Ian Turner

    Keith, the DOT budget is enough to do a complete street reconstruction (such as what you suggest) roughly only every 300 years. So, no, without improved government productivity or funding, these will not be rebuild as actual sidewalk extensions.

  • Emily Litella

    Actually I am told that DOT would like to make this permanent and may get an opportunity to do so in a later phase of the now in construction Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Project.

  • Mfs

    This is the first roadbed reclamation for bike racks but not the first reclamation– the sidewalk build out at Bedford Ave is the first and hopefully not the last of it’s kind.

  • J

    This is fantastic. Hopefully this type of design will become standard at all subway stations. Additionally, planters like this would be welcome around all police stations, fire stations, schools, etc to prevent cops and other public servants from parking on the sidewalk.

  • Kaja

    Blown away. This is awesome, all my fives, holy lord.

  • Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    I love this spot so much, the next time I have to meet someone coming in on a subway to downtown Brooklyn, I am gonna tell them to go here.

  • Fantastic. It’s stuff like this that keeps me hopeful for the future!

  • Erin

    This is great. This needs to happen everywhere that multiple police cars park on the sidewalk. I know that they sometimes leave enough room to walk (sometimes, although the remaining space is usually not wide enough for ADA compliance), but that’s beside the point. It’s stressful to have cars parked all around you, bumpers jutting upward over the sidewalk. At any time, the driver could put the car in reverse nearly hit a person walking by. This kind of stress should not be tolerated.

    Roadways are often 40′ wide (that would be two 11-ft driving lanes and two 9-ft parking lanes, quite standard), and people not in cars fight for two 5-ft wide concrete paths, and sometimes we don’t even get those.

  • Aaron Z

    So great! And the owners of the cars that were blocking the sidewalk before really can’t complain since they can easily take public transit to work. Or maybe they will even utilize those new bike lanes…

  • These bike racks were removed this week. (July 26, 2012) Does anyone know why?  It’ s a very convenient bike parking space for grocery shopping at Brooklyn Fare. Now there is no place to bike your bike!


First Look: A Walkable, Bikeable Gateway to the Brooklyn Bridge

The proposed boulevard-style entryway to the Brooklyn Bridge. Image: NYCDOT. Last week DOT unveiled this conceptual plan for a better gateway to the Brooklyn Bridge [PDF]. For the thousands of pedestrians and cyclists who access the bridge on the Brooklyn side every day, it’s a winner. Presented at a public meeting in downtown Brooklyn, the […]