Eyes on the Street: The Case of the Missing Bike Lanes

The Driggs Avenue bike lane. Photo: Stephen Miller
The missing Driggs Avenue bike lane. Photo: Stephen Miller

The streets have been repaved. Lane striping, crosswalks, and stop bars have been added back. But there’s something missing from two streets in DOT’s bike network: bike lanes.

In Williamsburg, Driggs Avenue has been repaved — but you would never know it’s a key bike connection from the Williamsburg Bridge. The street has all its stripes back except the bike lane markings.

In Lower Manhattan, Lafayette Street between Canal and Chambers was also recently repaved. Markings were added back, but so far not the buffered bike lane. Instead, many motorists are now using what should be the bike lane space as a driving lane.

DOT did not respond to a query about why the bike lanes are taking longer to paint than the rest of the street markings.

The Lafayette Street bike lane. Photo: Steve Vaccaro/Twitter

Lafayette Street, which feeds directly to the Brooklyn Bridge path and is lined with Citi Bike stations, is wide enough for a protected bike lane. North of Prince Street, Lafayette already has a protected lane: When DOT repaved that section last year, it upgraded the bike lane. DOT said it didn’t take advantage of this year’s repaving to upgrade the other section of Lafayette because it would have had to go before the community board for a significant street redesign.

It seems DOT has limited how much it uses road resurfacing to improve street design and safety. Converting a striped bike lane into a buffered bike lane? Easy. Converting a buffered bike lane into a protected bike lane? Apparently that’s too tough.

  • Brad Aaron

    And it’s apparently not yet warm enough to return bike lanes to Seaman Avenue.

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2014/11/24/dot-seaman-avenue-bike-lanes-wont-return-this-year/

  • BrandonWC

    I was really hoping DOT would be out today on Lafayette. It’s been raining (or threatening rain) most days since they put down the first set of markings, but the sun’s out today any they’re nowhere to be found. Centre was repaved at the same time from Chambers past where the bike lane ends at Worth and no markings have been applied yet.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    Flash Mob to Add some Citizen’s Bike Lane Striping of our own ?

    Might be good Publicity

  • Or Chrystie Street. Been over a year and that one is still gone.

    Dean Street in Boerum HIll has also been gone for over a year.

    DOT says call 311, but many people have. The only logical conclusion is that DOT doesn’t care or is actively holding back. Action speaks louder than the words “Vision Zero.”

  • BBnet3000

    What about when they remove bike lanes and replace them with sharrows (or nothing) without public consultation, in violation of local law?

    Someone please correct me if there were public meetings for removing the bike lanes on 12th Ave in Windsor Terrace and Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel (and these are just ones I’ve seen personally, this is probably the tip of the iceberg).

  • Brad Aaron

    “We know DOT did not ask Community Board 12 before repossessing Inwood’s lone bike shelter. We asked DOT, twice, if CB 12 was consulted on the decision to remove the bike lanes from West 218th Street. We’re still waiting for an answer.”

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2013/01/08/why-does-dot-keep-taking-away-inwood-bike-infrastructure/

    Still no answer btw.

  • Geck

    Creating a protected lane on the southbound portion of Lafayette should be a no brainer. And with a little brain power, the whole of the Lafayette bike lane should be made a two-way protected lane.

  • Matt

    Or when bike lanes haven’t been repainted in so long that the lane markings are erased, essentially making them just sharrows or worse, nothing. Unbelievably annoying/dangerous.

  • Maggie

    Broadway is being resurfaced in Times Square and it’s an absolute cluster today too. This is the southbound ‘protected bike lane’ on Broadway between 48th and 49th just now.

  • Jesse

    Sounds like there may be a decent lawsuit in here somewhere. Someone call Gibson Dunn.

  • Also, why not continental crosswalks? Is there a paint shortage?

  • red_greenlight1

    It took them 2 months to repave the bulk of Bergen Street. I filed a 311 report which they cleared without repaving. When I took to Twitter they told me it was for “efficiency reasons.” They refused to respond to my questions to how this is more efficent. So many bike lanes need to be repaved but I know they simply don’t care. Also their trucks routinely use the Kent Ave lane under the Manhattan Bridge for parking.

  • There are essentially no bike lane markings any more on most of my morning commute, which runs all the way along Smith St from 9th St in Carroll Gardens to the Manhattan Bridge.

    They’ve gone, of course, because of the number of motorists driving on them. Which in itself testifies to the power of painted lanes to protect cyclists. Still, it’s stupid that these are being allowed to disappear like this.

  • vnm

    In one piece of good news, the bike lanes that had disappeared from Walton Avenue in the Bronx were just repainted within the last two weeks. So maybe that’s a harbinger that things are starting to turn around?

  • com63

    Stealth bike lane removal. DeBlasio’s next campaign will tout that he secretly removed X miles of bike lanes.

  • BrandonWC

    Or just extend the centre street lane from Worth up to where Centre runs into Lafayette. It’s clearly wide enough. Right now there’s no good northbound route from the Brooklyn bridge.

  • LN

    Fort Washington Avenue from start to end at 158- 190th – repaved, restriped. Bike lanes completely gone on some blocks, replaced with sharrows on some blocks and replaced with sharrows/nothing on some sides of some blocks. Double/triple parking galore all the way down. I guess they get a smaller ticket if they ever get one if there’s no bike lane.

    I guess we are supposed to head over to ‘bike lane’ on Amsterdam ave to be run over by huge trucks. Thanks DOT, and Ydanis Rodriguez, this is your district.

  • Geck

    That would help, except for all the double-parked police vehicles in front of 100 Center.

  • The hashtag #paintmybikelane has been in use for a while on Twitter. On the good news side, the needed-to-be-repainted-for-3-years bike lane on 34th Avenue in Queens was re-finished a few weeks ago. It looks good, they made it wider too. It’s just too bad the street has potholes and craters all over the place.

  • Here’s 34th Avenue. As you can see they milled the old line on the left side (although there honestly wasn’t much left to mill) and re-painted it a little wider for most of the length. With the numbers of cyclists just growing on 34th Avenue, it’s good they’ll now have a visible path, before it was largely invisible.

  • Jonathan R

    The patchwork is historical. Credit CB 12 for not wanting to have bidirectional bicycle lanes on Fort Washington Avenue. Or Presbyterian hospital. I suspect you are absolutely correct about the tickets.

  • J

    But NYC is the #1 bike city in the US, right?

  • BrandonWC

    Yeah, the double parking/placard abuse is really bad on Lafayette/Centre around the court houses and government buildings. NYPD is never going to do anything about it. Protected lanes with jersey barriers are the only thing that will really work in the area. Still at least repainting the lines will help at the margins, like the guy last week who yelled at me to get in the bike lane on a block that had clearly just been repaved and had no markings of any kind.

  • Geck

    That is encouraging.When I rode on it recently, It looked like DOT had downgrading a perfectly accepted bike lane to sharrows.

  • Valmont

    Lafayette “bike lane” seems like it has been this way for years. Because it has.

  • You got that right. He will defend that in in the name of “balance”, in order to counter some of the work of Sadik-Khan, whom de Blasio once denounced as a “radical”.

    (Of course she was a radical, as she single-handedly transformed a City agency that had ignored the majority of New Yorkers into one that served us all. But he didn’t mean it as a compliment.)

  • red_greenlight1

    Yeah although I suspect its a different NYC.

  • Cold Shoaler

    For what it’s worth, I finally found a way to report faded markings without having to get on the phone, which is a huge time suck.

    https://www1.nyc.gov/apps/311universalintake/form.htm?serviceName=DOT+Street+Line+Marking+Faded

  • Liz Patek

    CPW below the W 65th St transverse needs restriping too. It’s not only people on bikes who benefit from bike infrastructure- people with mobility issues need this too. https://www.flickr.com/photos/lizpatek/15361058171/

  • BrandonWC

    You can report lanes that need repainting here: http://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/2550/street-or-highway-line-marking-request-or-complaint
    I’m not holding my breath, but it probably factors into some statistic somewhere.

  • LN

    Before it was repaved and restriped, there were bike lanes on both sides most of the way up/down, except between the hospital, where of course they are needed the most.

  • stairbob

    I went down Lafayette this evening. There did seem to be some markings below Canal that could turn back into a bike lane soon. Hope so.

  • BrandonWC

    Still no progress on the Lafayette and Centre St. bike lanes.

  • Mbunnell

    Wow, nearly a month now and no progress on Lafayette/Centre St. Has DOT realized this would be an excellent opportunity for a protected bike lane, and gone back to the drawing board? But geez…at this point any striping would be welcome!

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