It’s Happening: Fourth Avenue Protected Bike Lane Slated for Implementation This Spring

Brooklyn Community Board 7 endorsed the project last night, and DOT says installation will begin in the next few months.

The plan calls for protected bike lanes, with the redesign of 27 blocks using low-cost materials slated for this spring, ahead of a full street reconstruction set to begin in the fall. Image: DOT
The plan calls for protected bike lanes, with the redesign of 27 blocks using low-cost materials slated for this spring, ahead of a full street reconstruction set to begin in the fall. Image: DOT

Brooklyn Community Board 7 voted 30 to 5 last night in favor of DOT’s plan for protected bike lanes on Fourth Avenue. The agency plans to install the first segment of the project, between 38th Street and 65th Street, in low-cost materials this spring.

Protected bike lanes on Fourth Avenue will provide the first safe, convenient north-south bike connection for the neighborhoods of western Brooklyn. The northern segment, between 38th Street and Atlantic Avenue, which CB 6 endorsed last week, will begin installation in 2019.

There wasn’t much dispute at last night’s meeting, according to attendees. Only a few board members spoke against the project.

“You had a couple of board members who actually went out of their way to self-identify themselves as people who drive,” Bay Ridge resident Brian Hedden, who runs the Bike South Brooklyn Twitter account, told Streetsblog. “Both of these people came out strongly in favor of bicycling and pedestrian safety.”

Just a few years ago, Fourth Avenue was a six-lane arterial roadway — the kind of high-speed street that inflicts a disproportionate share of traffic injuries and fatalities.

A DOT redesign in 2012 trimmed the number of motor vehicle lanes and expanded medians, greatly reducing the pedestrian injury rate. While it was safer for walking, there was no space for biking.

Before the city committed to a capital reconstruction of Fourth Avenue that would foreclose the possibility of a bike lane for decades, Council Member Carlos Menchaca intervened, pressing DOT to revise its plan. Last May DOT came back with a version that included parking-protected curbside bike lanes.

The four-mile reconstruction of Fourth Avenue is now shaping up as a watershed that lives up to its billing as a flagship Vision Zero project. What used to be a dangerous, traffic-choked street, hostile to kids walking to school and terrifying to bike on, is on track to become one of the most important bikeways in the city by the end of next year.

  • Jack Ding

    This is fantastic news that is long overdue. I have many friends that were wary of biking from Bay Ridge towards downtown Brooklyn or anything midway because of a lack of safe bike routes. Hopefully, this new lane will change their minds and encourage many others to take their bike out.

  • Alan

    This is a huge deal— routes south of Park Slope are constrained to 3rd, 4th, and 5th, none of which are particularly pleasant to bike on at the moment. This knits together South Brooklyn and Bay Ridge for cyclists— without even mentioning how much nicer it’ll make 4th Ave, a home and place of business for an ever-increasing number of people.

  • multimodal

    Couldn’t be more excited about this, and super glad that CB6 asked for acceleration of the northern end of the project as well.

  • JarekFA

    Now expand Citibike there too!

  • Altered Beast

    The only bad thing is that with the L closure we are going to have an Exodus of hipsters hitting sunset Park because of industry city. We just got a blink fitness and the gentrification will hit 30X more

  • J

    Sweet! But I’m remain baffled by the decision to build the lowest demand, least connected section first. Is DOT trying to drum up opposition to this?

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen


  • AnoNYC

    They did the same in the Bronx with the South Bronx Greenway. Been sitting unused for years because it just dumps you in the middle of the Bruckner Expressway.

    Needs the connection to the bridges in Mott Haven.

  • Heading north, there’s a firehouse between 51 and 52 St; on the southbound side, the 72nd Precinct is between 29th and 30th St. Is DOT planning to do anything above and beyond to keep these sections clear? Or are they hoping for the best?

    Also, why can’t they extend this a few hundred feet to the Leif Ericson Greenway instead of dumping people at a wide intersection under the highway?

  • Brian Howald

    And council members Menchaca – for pushing DOT to do more than paint some wider crosswalks – and Lander – who berated DOT into changing its 3.5 year project timeline.

  • kevd

    4th ave is already the best NS route around there. 3rd is a nightmare with the BQE overhead. 5th is all double parked to hell. And 2nd ends at 29th street….

    But on 4th, there’s that little yellow-hashed area by the median that’s a good high speed bike lane (be careful at left turn bays!)

    While the curb side lanes are a major improvement, I’ll be a bit sad to see my “bike lanes” go away. One can FLY in those things.

  • NYCBK123

    It’s important that several of the board members pointed out that they are drivers and still support this. It pushes back on the false narrative of cyclists vs. drivers. These improvements make the road safer for everyone.

  • kevin

    Ehhh, I think the hipsters will go for Astoria, LIC, and Sunnyside first.

  • Altered Beast

    yeah, like they will automatically make room for them when they are already there. Whoever gets rooted from those places will also go to sunset. It’s a 30 minute train to manhattan and a 15 minute ferry. Sunset is a no brainer

  • Batman of Brooklyn


  • Batman of Brooklyn

    I’m one of them. So yeah this is really exciting.

  • Why do you think they’re installing bike lanes and remodeling the metro stations? The developers who are building out Industry City have been planning this for a long time.

  • maxmaxed

    Yaaaay, I just thought it would be so nice to have dedicated bike lanes there instead of pure madness of 5th ave. Then I saw some construction undergoing and then I see this article. Beautiful, I will ride it all the time!!


To keep making progress on traffic safety, redesigns as substantial as this protected bike lane planned for Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn will have to be implemented citywide. Image: NYC DOT

DOT Shows Its Plan to Get the Reconstruction of 4th Avenue Right

Fourth Avenue is far and away the most viable potential bike route linking Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, and Park Slope, but it's still scary to ride on, with no designated space for cycling. At 4.5 miles long, a protected bike lane would make the reconstructed Fourth Avenue one of the most important two-way streets for bicycle travel in the city, connecting dense residential neighborhoods to jobs and schools.