NYPD’s Willy-B Bike Path Security Theater Turns Into NYPD’s Delancey Street Bike Ticket Trap

Where there's poor street design, NYPD will be there to hand out tickets for non-compliance.

DOT’s planned redesign of the Willy-B approach still has westbound cyclists swerving around a concrete barrier, rather than going straight through it. That’s a problem. Image: NYC DOT
DOT’s planned redesign of the Willy-B approach still has westbound cyclists swerving around a concrete barrier, rather than going straight through it. That’s a problem. Image: NYC DOT

Over the weekend Casey Neistat posted a video highlighting a problem with the way bike traffic is directed coming off the Williamsburg Bridge onto Delancey Street.

The lane for eastbound bike traffic goes through a hole in a security barrier — installed after NYPD insisted on a raft of “counterterror” obstructions at the foot of East River bicycle crossings — and on toward the bridge. But westbound cyclists aren’t supposed to go through that hole. Instead, markings and signage — which are more than a little confusing — direct cyclists to turn left or right onto Clinton Street.

Street design that is counterintuitive to the way people naturally want to ride or walk is poor design. And where there’s poor street design, NYPD will be there to hand out tickets for non-compliance, which was the impetus for Neistat’s video:

Last year DOT released a plan to upgrade the approach to the Willy-B bike path. But rather than cutting out a second opening for westbound cyclists, the new design still expects them to swerve unintuitively to the right before proceeding on Delancey. For cyclists descending from the bridge, this won’t fix the problem.

On a related note, the current openings in the security barrier are already a tight squeeze anytime more than one person wants to go through. With bike traffic over the bridge expected to increase dramatically during the L train shutdown, the bottlenecks will get worse.

We’ve asked DOT if the agency might rethink the way bike traffic is directed here. We’ll update this post if we get a response.

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