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

The city is holding off on implementation until buildings under construction on Delancey are finished.

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 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

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

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.

  • Looks very sloppy and even removes multiple sidewalk extensions.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Obviously a great concept that should have been done years ago, but a lot of the details could be better.

    1. Not altering the concrete box at the end of the bridge is a mistake. A LOT of people are going to go straight past the “wrong way” signs coming off the bridge rather than the ridiculous routing this is indicating. A lot of people already do this. Can the opening at the end of the box be widened by a few feet?

    2. The expectation for people to go up a ped ramp and over the island at Suffolk is ridiculous as well. Very few people abide by the similar intention at Grand Army Plaza because few people actually want to ride on the sidewalk. Is there any way to squeeze the 2-way lane around the edge or realign the curb there by a few feet?

    3. It looks like it’s been cut short at Allen to leave 2 lanes of parking on the remaining blocks. This is not the beginning of a connected network if the connection to Chrystie isn’t made. I’m aware of the prescribed route via Rivington but more direct routes are needed. Promoting cycling means making it convenient, which means not having to pull up Google Maps to get around your own city safely. Probably a lot of people will just salmon the 1-way lane.

    4. Why is the path discontinuous at the median extensions rather than having them function as pedestrian islands like on 1st and 2nd Avenues? Please stop making me ride on sidewalks and painted pedestrian spaces. I try to abide by two simple rules: WALK ON TAN, BIKE ON GREEN.

  • Reader

    “DOT Project Manager Shawn Macias said he expects most westbound cyclists will head north onto Allen Street.”

    If you don’t provide people who want direct and safe access to Chrysite Street a way to get there, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Plus, you ignore the people who might need to get elsewhere along Delancey safely.

    Overall this is a great project, but there remains a fundamental problem with DOT’s philosophy of seeing bike lanes as routes between two fixed places and not as ways to connect tons of little nodes all over the place. We’re making baby steps when we should be really pushing the limits.

  • Reader

    Not opening the concrete box more is apparently due to security/terrorism concerns and guidelines, which really seems ridiculous when one considers that it’s still possible to drive a car or truck, you know, on the bridge itself.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    They could put a bollard in the center. This would incur some cost but would be a huge improvement.

    Edit: ugh its not the J tunnel preventing that is it?

  • J

    +1000. This this this. This whole project came about because DOT’s was unable to convince people to bike on the routes they wanted people to use to get to the Williamsburg Bridge (Grand, Stanton, and Rivington). Rather than simply connect routes to other routes in a simple direct manner, DOT tries to force people into taking circuitous routes that involve sit through extra signal cycles. Look at the WB approach to Allen St. DOT wants westbound cyclists to stop at Orchard, wait for a red light, go north to the north curb of Delancey, wait again, then go west to Allen. Maybe a few people will do this if they hit a red light at Orchard, but I guarantee that most people will simply keep going straight there and then have an awkward transition to Allen.

    Make it mostly convenient to follow the rules, and people will tend to follow them. Make it inconvenient to follow the rules and people will tend to break them. This design is better than what came before it, but still misses the basic premise of what good design looks like.

  • J

    Seriously, the lack of creativity and understanding of how people function is astounding.

  • J

    Haha, yeah. Ridiculous.

  • J

    “DOT Project Manager Shawn Macias said he expects most westbound cyclists will head north onto Allen Street.”

    and everyone else can go f*@k themselves.

  • All the ridiculous 90 degree turns seem to be the result of not wanting to spend a penny on concrete. “The ramp is 5 feet wide? Welp, one way only, the other folks can go around”.

  • Vulcan Logic

    In New Orleans, if you don’t provide 2-way capacity on a route that obviously should have it, you end up with a crapton of salmon cyclists. It’s as simple as that. If you can provide 2-way capacity in the same space normally allocated to a single traffic lane…why wouldn’t you?

  • Vooch

    Help me understand why a motor lane can’t be reallocated to cycling traffic which is 10x more efficient use of scarce roadway ?

    Cycling traffic is expected to soar in this area with L train shutdown. Time to get serious about traffic efficiencies.

    We need to support growth of most efficient modes if we are ever going to eliminate motor traffic congestion

  • Vooch

    It’s a good start. We should applaud DOT for reallocating a inefficient motor lane to a 10x more efficient bike lane.

    Bike traffic is so much more efficient than motor traffic.

    We just now need DOT to keep going along Delancy with reallocating roadway to efficient bike traffic.

  • Geck

    Or a second opening.

  • JudenChino

    Interesting how there’s a center median and also road side parking on a major arterial? I wonder if they could, remove the parking, widen the median, and through run the bike lane from the WillyB through Kenmare? Like, if you park on Delancey for any reason whatsoever (or believe you “need to”) then you’re probably an asshole. Also, this is, yes, a major arterial subject to, massive congestion . . . so why allow parking at all? If people can’t drive and park at the Bowery Ballroom for evening events then the terrorists win?

  • JudenChino

    Right, because if anyone were to head south then they obviously would take a 2 mile detour through Brooklyn to take the Manhattan Bridge.

  • Simon Phearson

    I’ve just not been impressed with any of the Trottenberg-era designs being laid out. I feel like I can sense a real difference, in the way a road works or doesn’t work for cyclists, as I go between JSK-era designs and Trots-era designs. This is just another example. Does anyone at the DOT actually ride a bike, these days?

  • After all I am starting to think that a Subway system mixed with such proposals will work much more efficient.
    It is known that the car traffic cannot be a good competition to most of the other solutions, why then most of the people are still using it?

  • Vooch

    subsidies – mass motoring is lavishly subsidized

  • Samuelitooooo

    Interesting that you should say that. This is in preparation for the shutting down of a subway line (for 15 months).


Safer Bowery, LES Bike Lanes Clear Manhattan CB3 Committee

New bike routes will provide safer connections on the Manhattan side of the Williamsburg Bridge, in an attempt to divert cyclists from Delancey Street. Image: NYCDOT NYCDOT unveiled a slate of pedestrian and bicycle improvements to the transportation committee of Manhattan Community Board 3 last night. Presenters asked for votes on two street safety projects: […]