88th Precinct Won’t Stop Blocking the DeKalb Ave Bike Lane, So DOT Is Removing the Buffer

Instead of changing how police park so their vehicles don't obstruct the bike lane and the sidewalk, a segment of the bike lane will lose its buffer from car traffic.

The cars (and dumpster) that intrude into the bike lane by the 88th Precinct aren't going anywhere -- it's the bike markings that are shifting over. Photo: David Meyer
The cars (and dumpster) that intrude into the bike lane by the 88th Precinct aren't going anywhere -- it's the bike markings that are shifting over. Photo: David Meyer

Earlier this year, after the Brooklyn Paper called attention to NYPD’s longstanding practice of parking in the DeKalb Avenue bike lane by the 88th Precinct, DOT officials did a site visit, and both agencies pledged to come up with a solution.

Now we know what the solution is, and it doesn’t involve changing the police practice of “combat parking,” with vehicles positioned perpendicularly to the curb, obstructing both the sidewalk and the bike lane.

In the last few weeks, the bike lane markings have been scratched off the pavement directly in front of the precinct house. Markings will be painted back but not with a buffer. Here’s the update from DOT:

Working with the NYPD, DOT developed a new design shifting the bike lane to where the current buffer is located; the bike lane width will remain at 5 feet. As part of the process all the markings had to be scarified. The contractor is expected to complete the work before the end of the week.

Needless to say, this won’t change what cyclists are upset about — having to jog closer to car traffic to get around NYPD vehicles.

In December, Captain John Buttacavoli, the 88th Precinct’s commanding officer, told the Brooklyn Paper that, while he’s “sensitive to the complaints,” his officers don’t have the time to drive around the neighborhood looking for parking, and the precinct doesn’t have its own parking lot. He said the 88th has 27 squad cars, plus 50 autos that belong to personnel who car commute (and apparently cannot get to a location one block from the subway by any other means).

So the precinct will continue to store its cars by bunching them onto sidewalks and taking a chunk out of a bike lane buffer. It’s NYPD’s city, the rest of us just walk and bike in it.

Just outside the precinct house. Photo: David Meyer
Just outside the precinct house. Photo: David Meyer
  • Danny

    They should give city employees the option to cash out their parking benefit.

  • c2check

    This is disrespectful behavior by NYPD, also blocking sidewalks for folks with strollers, wheelchairs, or mobility issues, and setting a bad example for the kids at the school next door. INYPD vehicles and a ton of private vehicles sit on sidewalks on multiple block faces.

    In many precincts, I see loads of squad cars sitting idly all day. Obviously they have more vehicles than needed.

    If NYPD needs that much parking, they need to go get reserved parallel police parking spots like police in other cities have. And ideally, fewer officers and staff would drive to work and while working.

  • ddartley

    Unless you’re talking about the tax credit that everyone gets, city employees don’t even formally have a “parking benefit.” It’s all just non-enforcement bullshit.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    This is unbelievable, though I knew in my heart that we were going to see a bad outcome when I saw that “productive meeting” tweet. Hell, I’m surprised it isn’t becoming sharrows and forcing people cycling fully into traffic like so many bike lanes do at police precincts. These precincts are danger zones for cycling and hamper walking, and the last thing anyone should be doing is giving into this in the street design.

    It’s one thing to see Vision Zero be torpedoed by the NYPD, its quite another to see other city agencies complicit with their cannibalization of our public space.

  • Reader

    “Markings will be painted back but not with a buffer.”

    Was this new design subject to community board review? Why is it that to add a bike lane or make a street safer for people who aren’t in cars, it can take years and years, but to make streets more dangerous it can take minutes? Citizens who have been asking for safety upgrades on their streets only to be met with excuse after excuse from DOT ought to revolt over this. Clearly the agency has the capacity to act quickly when it’s motivated to do so.

  • Reader

    Also, if the officers ” don’t have the time to drive around the neighborhood looking for parking” they can do what a lot of other people do when they know parking might be hard to come by at their destination: leave early.

  • Danny

    Then formalize it when the next contract negotiation comes up. All the city employees who don’t drive to work would be glad to take a cash-out and see a bump in their paycheck. Whether you’re above the law or not, money talks.

  • Vooch

    and withhold tax from
    those that sign up for placards. IRS rules

  • Mister Sterling

    Complete surrender to the NYPD. Well, it is their town.

  • J

    This is not a solution, it’s a slap in the face.

  • Guest

    This seems like malpractice the DOT.

    If they sat down with the NYPD and really did determine that this amount of parking is necessary, they should have developed a plan to dedicate the necessary amount of parking in a safe manner.

    But apparently the notion of the City dedicating more of its own on-street parking for official use instead of giving it away for free is so unthinkable, DOT immediately opted instead to sacrifice safety.

  • Mr. Muffin

    That’s a really good idea! How does one get that started?

  • You gotta admit, the Police have the job of maintaining Law and Order in this town. They park headed-out so the car doesn’t need to back out, in an emergency.
    I think every cyclist should use a red Blinky in the daytime. You could do more to protect yourself, whether a Bike Lane is there or not. Look into a Rear-View Mirror…
    Many Experienced Cyclists (including Roadies) follow the White Line on the edge of the road, as if it were a Tightrope . Maybe that’s the source of much controversy , we hear complaints from motorists that they see bicycles riding on the *edge* of the Bike Lane , rather than the center. The Buffer Zone? As Long as Cars are Prohibited , it’s a great place to ride a Bike!
    I see an evolving scene, where drivers and cyclists alike are getting to know and understand Bike Lane markings. Maybe a Color Change is in order, paint the DeKalb Ave. Bike Lane GREEN, with white chevrons ?
    I am suggesting this because many Cyclists prefer to ride in the Buffer Zone, or on the White Line as if it were a Tightrope. Please consider my suggestion.

    Note: I’m trying to photograph as many Bike Lanes as possible


  • qrt145

    In the case of unprotected bike lanes, the edge of the bike lane is usually safer than the middle because the middle of the bike lane is usually within the “door zone”.

    In the case of protected bike lanes, people usually find themselves having to ride in the buffer because of pedestrians in the bike lane or other obstacles such as trash, potholes, gratings, manhole covers, etc.

  • Jesse

    I can’t see that working. Even if the law were changed you’d be relying on the NYPD to police themselves. Why wouldn’t I just take the cash-out and continue to park illegally? What are the odds that my brothers are going to give me a ticket? For that matter, what are the odds they’re not doing the same thing?

  • vomitor

    fuck all pigs

  • marcc100

    Get rid of the bike lane totally Paint the words no stopping or parking from the old bike lane to the curb emergency vehicles only. Paint sharrows in the general travel lane. Then everyone will be happy. The cyclists will be happy the police will be happy and the motorists will be happy.

  • Syd Chan

    I wonder how the response would be different if it was the Nine-Nine precinct and not the Eight-Eight precinct.


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