Ydanis Rodriguez and CB 12 Call on DOT to Make Dyckman More Dangerous

Putting a two-way bike lane on the north side of Dyckman, as Rodriguez and CB 12 propose, will guarantee more crashes and injuries than the current design.

This suburban-style Duane Reade is one reason a bi-directional bikeway on Dyckman’s north side is a terrible idea. Image: Google Maps
This suburban-style Duane Reade is one reason a bi-directional bikeway on Dyckman’s north side is a terrible idea. Image: Google Maps

With support from Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, last night Manhattan Community Board 12 passed a resolution that calls on DOT to erase the current Dyckman Street bike lanes — which the board endorsed last year — and replace them with a more dangerous design.

Last December, DOT installed parking-protected bike lanes along Dyckman’s north and south curbs from Broadway to 10th Avenue. The project separated bike and motor vehicle traffic, shortened pedestrian crossing distances, and forced motorists to slow down while making turns.

The design was the product of a nine-year public process. But soon after its implementation, business owners began complaining because drivers couldn’t illegally double-park as easily as they used to. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Congressman Adriano Espaillat took up the cause, requesting in February — when the bikeway was just a few weeks old — that DOT remove it.

Under pressure from merchants and fellow electeds, Rodriguez came out in favor of a two-way bike lane on the north side of the street. That would create more conflicts between drivers and cyclists than the current design and expose people to greater risk of injury.

Drivers turning across a two-way bike lane have to look for cyclists approaching from both directions, which leads to more collisions. For this reason, street engineers try to avoid the design that Rodriguez and CB 12 are calling for.

When DOT does use two-way bike lanes, the agency opts for streets with few intersections where drivers cross the bikeway — think Prospect Park West or Kent Avenue. Rodriguez and CB 12 are asking the agency to abandon this principle of safe bikeway design. The north side of Dyckman is interrupted by more cross streets than the south side, as well as a suburban-style Duane Reade parking lot. Putting a two-way bike lane on the north side will guarantee more crashes and injuries than the current design.

A more dangerous bike lane configuration would also do nothing to address the actual causes of Dyckman dysfunction: cheap parking meter rates and poor curbside management.

But why let logic and facts get in the way of pandering to a handful of bike-hating complainers:

“Once again, the safety of people on bikes is being downgraded below someone’s desire to park a car,” said Transportation Alternatives spokesperson Joe Cutrufo. “The protected bike lanes on Dyckman Street are the product of years of community engagement and support. The proposal to replace them with a two-way bike lane is a rush-job response to a few weeks of complaints, and a thinly-veiled ploy to make it easier for drivers to double park.”

DOT has so far rebuffed demands to undo the Dyckman project, but agency staffers haven’t ruled out wholesale changes in the future. We asked DOT for comment on last night’s CB 12 vote, and will update this post if we hear back.

Update: DOT sent a statement: “We will evaluate the CB’s request for a two-way path and determine next steps as we continue to implement short term adjustments to the bike lane.”

A bikeway on Dyckman’s north side would more than double the number of motor vehicle conflicts for eastbound cyclists. Image: Google Maps
A bikeway on Dyckman’s north side would more than double the number of motor vehicle conflicts for eastbound cyclists. Image: Google Maps
  • JarekFA

    They don’t care. They just think you and TransAlt are the zealots. They’re just utterly incapable of realizing that double-parked cars and bending over backwards to accommodate cars is the actual problem. It’s like a drug addiction. Or my toddler with ice cream and popsicles. Man, he will throw the biggest tantrum if he can’t get ice cream. But he shouldn’t. It’s so depressing because this area is so freaking dense and such a tiny percentage of households actually own cars. This neighborhood would be perfect for piloting some really aggressive livable street infrastructure. But no, you make it difficult to actually double park and these drugs addicts go nuts. They need their fix. Most people are coming from just a few blocks away anyway https://twitter.com/JarekFA/status/999134630619045888

  • Jeff

    Can anyone explain why they’re calling for the two-way bike lane on the north side, despite the south side having less intersection conflicts?

  • Brad Aaron

    Because the business people at the table with Rodriguez didn’t scream when it came up.

    That’s the reason.

  • That is a giant middle finger to all of us. Not just cyclists. Vote the fools out. Inwood stands for double parked cars over everyone and everything else.

  • DoctorMemory

    The sad part is, Ydanis was being one of the “reasonable” ones by calling for a 2-way bike line rather than ripping them out entirely, which appeared to be the consensus position of the Dyckman street business owners. And they hated him even for that: we can probably expect that he will get voted out next time, and replaced by someone even further opposed.

  • DoctorMemory

    Even $500/year is an insane giveaway. The cheapest parking lot space in Inwood is $250 a month.

  • petercow

    Hey JarekFA -and Brad @inklake here.. Just a heads-up, that for mysterious reasons, Twitter declared my acct. ‘may be compromised by a user or a service not associated with Twitter.” No idea what it’s about.. but anyway, can’t tweet for almost 24 hours.

    Followed their instructions, and sent mail to support but we’ll see. If I have to create another Twitter account …grrr. I’ll let you know. You can find me on FaceBook.

  • petercow

    Brad – FYI – see my reply to JarekFA below about my Twitter. (amazing how not being able to post on Twitter makes one feel cut off!)

  • Rodriguez might have been trying to be reasonable, but to propose a two-way lane is ridiculous, given how rare they are. He and others in 10034 have this attitude that Inwood is special and shouldn’t conform to how the rest of Manhattan works. Whether it’s zoning, or double parking, or nightlife, Inwood politicians propose custom solutions to what out to be uniform standards. It’s a neighborhood of contradictions and conflict. We have wealthy white people like me west of Broadway. We have displaced hipsters from Brooklyn moving in, and accelerating gentrification. We have nouveau riche Dominicans and Dominican-Americans who have established a nightlife district that further accelerates gentrification, and we have some of the poorest residents of Manhattan being squeezed out of existence. And in all of this, we have leaders who can’t agree that the northernmost east to west throughfare can’t have standardized one-way bike lanes. People do ride their bicycles around Manhattan. Dyckman is on that route.

  • JarekFA

    They’re punishing you for calling out the 84th.

  • iSkyscraper

    This is why I have never liked Ydanis as chair of the Transportation committee. He is influenced by the nightlife, livery cab and small business groups that fund his campaigns, as his involvement here clearly shows.

    He will be gone soon due to term limits, but not before he upzones Dyckman to 40%+ more density while protecting double-parking the whole time. Bizarre. Wouldn’t a high-density rezoning go together with a proper complete streets plan?