NYPD Sidewalk Parking Will Disrupt Fourth Avenue Protected Bike Lane

Southbound Fourth Avenue between 29th Street and 30th Street will go without physical protection so police can continue "combat parking" outside the 72nd Precinct.

The Fourth Avenue bike lane won't have physical protection outside the 72nd Precinct. Image: Google Maps
The Fourth Avenue bike lane won't have physical protection outside the 72nd Precinct. Image: Google Maps

NYC streets belong to police squad cars and placard holders, and one of the biggest traffic safety projects in the city isn’t going to change that.

In Brooklyn, the upcoming Fourth Avenue protected bike lane will have a one-block gap to accommodate NYPD “combat parking” outside the 72nd Precinct, according to an email NYC DOT sent to Bay Ridge resident John Tomac earlier this week [PDF].

The gap will affect the southbound side of Fourth Avenue between 29th and 30th streets, where squad cars and personal vehicles parked perpendicularly to the curb hog the sidewalk and jut out into what should be the right-of-way for bicycles once the redesign is implemented.

“Due to the need to maintain parking access for NYPD vehicles, it is not feasible for the planned bike lane on 4th Avenue to be protected from travel lanes by a physical, vertical barrier at this location,” DOT Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Keith Bray told Tomac.

The problem extends beyond the precinct house block. The southbound sidewalk between 28th Street and 29th Street is also filled with officers’ cars, and the northbound sidewalk between 51st Street and 52nd Street, outside an FDNY engine house, is overrun by illegally-parked personal vehicles.

Realizing this, Tomac contacted DOT and Council Member Carlos Menchaca to find out whether the city plans to work with police and firefighters to maintain a safe, continuous protected bike route.

The agency’s answer: sorry, but nope. Instead of a protected bike lane, Bray said, southbound Fourth Avenue between 29th Street and 30th Street will get “markings like those along other protected bike lanes in the City at locations where they intersect driveways.” The response did not address the block between 28th Street and 29th Street or the block outside the fire engine house.

Typical bike markings along a driveway look like this:

DOT's design for standard protected bike lanes that run along driveways, depicted here on East Hampton Boulevard in Queens. Image: DOT
How DOT marked a protected bike lane on East Hampton Boulevard in Queens where it intersects driveways. Image: DOT

The city’s inability to impose order on NYPD car storage will disrupt what is supposed to be a continuous, low-stress bikeway. People biking by the precinct will not only have to get uncomfortably close to car and truck traffic, they’ll also have to keep an eye out for NYPD vehicles coming and going from what’s essentially a block-long driveway.

  • Guest

    If 9th Street is any guide, someone will die on this stretch and then DOT will suddenly find the room to make a protected bike lane.

  • EcoAdvocate

    it would be nice if someone would bring an ADA accessibility lawsuit against the City for the selfish sidewalk parking.

  • eastphilliamsburg

    It’s clear that the NYPD is an active force in making our streets unsafe and should not be trusted with any part of Vision Zero.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    People cycling won’t just be close to traffic in front of this NYPD precinct, they’ll likely have to ‘take the lane’ as the cops often perpendicular park on the curb and parallel park in the existing “wide parking lane” as well. This doesn’t deserve to be counted as any kind of bike lane, protected or otherwise.

    Bike paths need to be higher visibility and get stronger protection where there is additional risk (eg driveways) or known problems, but instead in New York they become low-visibility chevrons or give out completely.

    Also add the gas station between 29th and 30th on the east side to the list of places this bike lane will become invisible or not exist at all, even after the capital project which will still leave the bike lane in temporary materials.

    Meanwhile, this is a driveway on a protected bike lane in Seattle. AFAIK it’s possible to do concrete work like this without a capital project:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4a6e6db11f207d4b2f8f89d3650dc74f8dc5877f8b512213a0d02f514bb01cb6.jpg

  • “Due to the need to maintain parking access for NYPD vehicles”

    Citation needed

  • Tooscrapps

    I love that driveway. Too many times have I almost hit/been hit by a motorist coming around a parking PBL to enter a drive.

  • Jeff

    It’d only be a violation if they left less than three feet of clearance, which they generally seem to do around precinct houses.

    If you want to see a real shitshow, check out NYPD’s equipment shop on one of my favorite running routes:

    https://goo.gl/maps/ptAdwjKGxzA2

  • JarekFA
  • JarekFA

    I love the drive thru for the Baskin Robbins/Dunkin Donuts at 24th street. You’re a block from the R train but let’s cater to people driving. They also have a sizable parking lot. Wonder what the zoning is? Would make more sense as mid-rise condos with ground floor retail.

  • 1ifbyrain2ifbytrain

    this could be in the Onion…

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Drive-thru TD Bank and Burger King, car washes, so many parking lots and car-oriented things on this Avenue, which is why doing a high quality driveway design and keeping parked cars out of this lane is so important. Unfortunately nobody seems to follow through.

    We’ll see complaints on Twitter and Streetsblog articles about the problems with this lane after the fact, and then maybe, years down the road, it will be brought up to the standard other US cities are doing today.

  • BortLicensePlatez

    Seriously. Combat parking for… having more cops rape teenagers?

  • twilly

    Most dangerous job in the city.

    They put their lives on the line for you and me everyday.

    Have a little respect.

    Give them a little professional courtesy.

    Who do you side with, the scum and lowlifes, or the men in blue?

  • Linda

    That aint nothing, see the 70th precinct in brooklyn, blocking a cerebral palsy center on both side of the sidewalk with about 100 cars. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5e2f3ec757d503913f78f8b751591600d865e3db1cc4967a61e870be734636dc.jpg

  • J

    DOT does realize that this is ILLEGAL parking, yes?

  • J

    Seriously? I see NYPD officers in uniform regularly abusing their power and having the gall to protest any effort to have them follow the same rules as everyone else. As such, I see very little distinction between them and the scum and lowlifes who just happen to break different laws and don’t have a badge and gun and a complacent mayor to help them get away with it.

  • walks bikes drives

    I would easily agree with you if you were talking about FDNY. Didnt sociogists find that most police officers were bullies in HS or were bullied, and they went for the job because of the feeling of power?

  • qrt145

    Nice satire!

  • JarekFA

    It’s really scary to think that there are people who really believe what you wrote and are just so . . . incredibly stupid to think that demanding cops not park on sidewalks and such illegal parking not be an excuse to water down life saving infrastructure design –> is siding with scum and lowlifes.

    I want to feel safe to ride the short distances in my neighborhood with my son on my bike without fearing for my life. Does that make me scum and/or a low life? I’ll gladly ask this question of the 72nd precinct when I attend their Build the Block meeting later this month.

  • Jeff

    Yeah, can’t they just get all passive-aggressive and post signs that say, “Caution, illegal parking ahead”?

  • qrt145

    That’s a brilliant idea for tactical urbanists wishing to make a point.

  • AlexWithAK

    Who are these people who think that because being a cop can be dangerous (no argument there) it entitles them to do whatever they want? This is anarchy and corruption and law enforcement in many other countries find it appalling.

  • Andrew

    What you euphemistically call “professional courtesy” is corruption, plain and simple.

    Blocking sidewalks, bike lanes, bus lanes and stops, fire hydrants, and crosswalks is neither professional nor courteous. (Nor is this.)

    In exchange for their work, police officers receive a generous compensation package. That compensation package does not include unlimited free parking on sidewalks and in bike lanes.

    Stop coming up with excuses to endanger people’s lives. Cars have no business being parked on sidewalks or in bike lanes. Ever. Either find somewhere legal to park your car or pick a different way to get to work. (Hint: A four-track subway line runs directly below 4th Avenue. There’s a local stop four blocks away and an express stop seven blocks away. There will also soon be a bike lane right here on 4th Avenue; you may want to consider trying it out.)

  • Will Dawson

    Well as a mechanic, my job is statistically more dangerous than being a cop so you better respect the next guy who changes your oil more than you respect the police. Idiot.

  • AMH

    “Due to the need for the planned bike lane on 4th Avenue to be protected from travel lanes by a physical, vertical barrier, it is not feasible to maintain parking access for NYPD vehicles at this location.”

    There, I fixed it. Also, I love how they need a guardrail to keep themselves from parking right against the building.

  • Bernard Finucane

    Haha, complete logical disconnect.

  • neroden

    Shut down the NYPD. Shut it down. It has no function. It’s a crime gang.

  • neroden

    Get a private tow truck and some armed security guards, and tow them all. If the NYPD gang members complain, arrest them.

  • neroden

    The scum and lowlifes are wearing blue. It’s quite clear from their contempt for the law.

    NYPD is the easiest, most cushy job in the city — if you’re a lowlife scum who has no morals. Show total contempt for the law, harass people to meet your (illegal) quota of arrests, and retire young.

    It’s not even a job any more. It’s a crime syndicate. Serpico told us that, and so did Schoolcraft.

  • neroden

    NYPD are criminals. It’s essential to organize some sort of, let’s call it a “police force”, to keep an eye on this criminal gang and arrest them when they commit crimes. The mayor has the legal authority to do so, but he’s a coward.

  • neroden

    NYPD needs to be shut down with extreme prejudice. It’s a crime gang.

  • Loniann carusso

    Yes get rid of it. They do whatever they please mostly breaking the law instead of going with the law. Send them all to classes on how to respect the civilians too! THEY WANT RESPECT THEY MUST GIVE RESPECT!!!!!!

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