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Here’s the DOT Plan for a Delancey Street Bike Lane — Coming in 2018

The two-way bike lane will run on the south side of the Delancey Street median. This image shows the transition to the foot of the bridge. Image: DOT

The Delancey Street approach to the Williamsburg Bridge bike path is slated for a two-way bike lane linking to Allen Street, as well as an eastbound connection from Chrystie Street, which NYC DOT presented to Manhattan Community Board 3 last night [PDF]. The project will not be built until next spring, however, after construction of the Essex Crossing development on the south side of Delancey wraps up.

Last year, the Williamsburg Bridge carried an average of 7,580 daily bike trips [PDF], and DOT expects that number to surge when the L train is shut down for repairs for 15 months beginning in 2019. Currently the bike network is set up to funnel all those cyclists onto side streets, away from the wide lanes of fast-moving traffic on Delancey, but Delancey is the most convenient and direct connection to the major bikeways on Allen and Chrystie. Even so, there are more than a thousand bike trips on Delancey on a typical weekday, according to DOT.

The DOT redesign calls for a two-way bike lane between the bridge path and Orchard Street, which would replace an eastbound motor vehicle lane on the south side of Delancey's concrete median. (Peak car traffic is lighter in the eastbound direction.) This section would be protected by a concrete barrier, but at nine feet wide, it would be narrow for a two-way bike lane with high usage.

Image: DOT
Image: DOT
Image: DOT

At Orchard Street, westbound cyclists would be routed over to a short unprotected bike lane on the north curb, linking to the Allen Street bike lane. Meanwhile, an eastbound bike connection would extend from Chrystie to Orchard along the median, though only the final block of that segment would be protected.

The intersection with Allen poses challenges because cyclists will be making turns where two wide, busy streets meet. DOT wants to install a "tuff curb"-protected bike box in the center of the intersection to give southbound cyclists a space to queue up while waiting for a green to proceed east on Delancey:

DOT's proposal routes westbound cyclists north onto Allen Street. Image: DOT
DOT's proposal routes westbound cyclists north onto Allen Street. Image: DOT
DOT's proposal routes westbound cyclists north onto Allen Street. Image: DOT

Liam Jeffries, a volunteer with Transportation Alternatives, asked why the full two-way bike lane won't extend to Chrystie.

DOT Project Manager Shawn Macias said he expects most westbound cyclists will head north onto Allen Street. Traffic on Delancey, which is swamped by drivers who get a free ride over the bridge, was also a factor in DOT's decision.

"It’s tough," Macias said. "We’re taking a lot of space and the volumes on that last segment as you come up [on] Bowery are really high."

Of course, the city will need to take more space from motor vehicles to provide adequate transit service when the L train goes dark -- bus lanes on Delancey are a must to keep moving people.

CB 3 committee members gave the project positive marks, as did members of the public. The committee is expected to vote on the plan next month.

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