Brooklyn CB 6 Overwhelmingly Endorses Fourth Avenue Protected Bike Lanes

For a community board that balked at the initial redesign of Fourth Avenue a few years ago, it was a remarkably strong statement of support.

DOT plans to install the 4th Avenue protected bike lane in temporary materials ahead of a full street reconstruction. Image: DOT
DOT plans to install the 4th Avenue protected bike lane in temporary materials ahead of a full street reconstruction. Image: DOT

Brooklyn Community Board 6 endorsed the DOT plan for protected bike lanes on Fourth Avenue last night, with a nearly unanimous vote. For a community board that balked at the initial redesign of Fourth Avenue a few years ago, it was a remarkably strong statement of support.

Stretching four miles from 65th Street to Atlantic Avenue, the Fourth Avenue redesign [PDF] would fill the need for a safe, direct north-south bike route linking the neighborhoods of western Brooklyn. The project calls for curbside protected bike lanes and concrete pedestrian islands at most intersections, though there are some gaps in parking protection for the bike lane where car traffic volumes are highest. Along with the overhauls of Queens Boulevard and the Grand Concourse, it’s one of the de Blasio administration’s flagship Vision Zero projects.

The northern section, above 15th Street, is CB 6 turf. Community Board 7, which represents the bulk of the project area extending down to 65th Street, is expected to vote on the project at its full board meeting next Wednesday.

Council members Carlos Menchaca, who represents Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park, and Brad Lander, who represents Park Slope, have both strongly supported the redesign.

DOT plans to install the project in temporary materials this spring between 65th Street and 38th Street. Between 38th Street and Atlantic Avenue, implementation with low-cost materials is slated for spring 2019. The short-term version will be followed by full capital reconstruction scheduled for the 2020’s.

The CB 6 transportation committee endorsed the redesign unanimously last month. After that meeting, DOT said it would extend bike infrastructure all the way to Atlantic Avenue. The current presentation calls for a southbound protected bike starting at Atlantic, but says DOT will conduct a traffic study to determine whether to pursue a northbound bike lane above Carroll Street.

CB 6 transportation co-chair Eric McClure presented the plan to the full board last night to positive reviews. No one voted against the project, and there were two abstentions.

Since Fourth Avenue already received wider median islands and a reduction in travel lanes in 2013, adding protected bike lanes won’t affect the number of motor vehicle lanes. Putting down pedestrian islands and other measures to improve visibility at intersections will reduce the number of parking spaces, but that wasn’t a big sticking point for the board.

“I love the idea of protected bike lanes,” board member Mark Shames told his colleagues. “As much as I dislike losing the parking, I think this will work.”

It’s worth remembering that a few years ago, CB 6 voted against a bike corral on Columbia Street because it would replace a single car parking space.

Speaking at the start of the meeting, Brad Lander said he hoped DOT would expedite the northern segment of the project and install it concurrently with the Sunset Park segment.

“Everybody benefits from a whole bike lane more than half a bike lane,” Lander said.

Next week’s CB 7 meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at 4201 4th Avenue (entrance on 43rd Street).

  • Jeff

    While the most useful thing would be the full corridor, wouldn’t the northern segment without the southern segment be more useful than the southern segment without the northern segment? Why start with the southern segment if it must be done in phases?

  • Robert Perris

    The third paragraph should read, “Most of the northern section, between 15th and Warren streets, is CB 6 turf. Community Board 7, which represents the bulk of the project area extending down to 65th Street, is expected to vote on the project at its full board meeting next Wednesday. There are currently no plans to present the project to CB2, which represents the five most northern blocks.”

  • JarekFA

    Right. I live right in the middle and I head north to go to manhattan for work. I want to be able to easily connect to any of the 9th street bike lanes (kinda hate it since it’s a truck route and trucks DGAF) or at 3rd street (which is what I usually take). Union is fucking useless because you can’t access the counterflow bike lane as it just ends at Nevins when easily have enough space to connect it to 3rd avenue which would allow people to get on it from 4th avenue.

    To legally access the Union bike lane now, you have to go 3 blocks out of your way, at that point, I’m just gonna keep going ahead to Bergen St.

    To have the Northern section last, means, you’re ok but then you hit the cluster fuck at around Prospect and then you’re just dumped into a shit show where your safest bet is riding in the wide parking lane or even on the sidewalk [and don’t give me shit about sidewalk riding when I have to slowly navigate parked on the sidewalk taxis by the depot].

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/927db37f826def61508c59f5c1d84f193b007d443db58cc56c2f3cfd177de005.png

  • HamTech87

    Does this plan have no bullying zones (aka Mixing zones)?

  • Jeff

    I think they plan on using DOT’s watered-down version of protected intersections.

  • William Farrell

    This proposal really highlights the importance of coming to the CBs with bold plans, not tinkering around the edges. For about the same amount of community work, you build a lot more support and enthusiasm than you could muster with a single bike corral.

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