DOT Aims to Beef Up North Brooklyn Bike Network Ahead of L Train Shutdown

The plan will improve bike connections between the Bushwick bike network and Grand Street, but comes up short on Metropolitan Avenue by the BQE.

A protected bike lane is slated for an extra-wide stretch of northbound Knickerbocker Avenue connection to Morgan Avenue and Grand Street. Graphic: DOT
A protected bike lane is slated for an extra-wide stretch of northbound Knickerbocker Avenue connection to Morgan Avenue and Grand Street. Graphic: DOT

A short segment of protected bike lane on Knickerbocker Avenue and curbside buffered bike lanes on Morgan Avenue highlight a slate of North Brooklyn bike connections that DOT presented to Brooklyn Community Board 1 on Wednesday [PDF].

The bikeways will improve connections between Bushwick and Williamsburg in advance of the L train shutdown and DOT reps said they will be striped before the end of the year, reports Philip Leff, chair of Transportation Alternatives North Brooklyn activist committee.

The package also includes unprotected bike lanes and sharrows on sections of Union Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue, and cross streets leading to the Williamsburg Bridge and ferries along the waterfront. Except for one segment that repurposes seven parking spaces, no traffic or parking lanes will be removed, which limits what the city is doing to make bicycling safer.

north_brooklyn_bikemap
Street names in bold type mark new bikeways and sharrows. Map: DOT

It’s the northbound protected bike lane on Knickerbocker that excites Leff. “That’s a really wide stretch that sees heavy truck traffic,” he said. “It’s a key route from Bushwick into Williamsburg and eventually to the Williamsburg Bridge. That protected route is really gonna help things.” Not coincidentally,

The buffered lanes on Morgan Avenue are “absolutely necessary” to fill in gaps in the bike network, Leff added, but the lack of protection is disappointing. “There are a lot of industrial businesses on that stretch,” he said. “It’s a busy route, I wish there were more physical protection.”

The plan for Morgan
The plan for Morgan Avenue is a big improvement but lacks physical protection. Graphic: DOT

The Knickerbocker/Morgan bike lanes will connect the Bushwick bike network to Grand Street, where DOT will be implementing curbside buffered bike lanes and diverting car traffic in order to prioritizes shuttle bus service and cycling.

The weak point in the plan is on Metropolitan Avenue, where DOT is adding a mix of sharrows and unprotected lanes for people biking under the BQE next to intense traffic to and from the highway.

“Metropolitan is a really busy truck route that’s going to get busier during the L shutdown,” said Leff. “Putting sharrows on this busy stretch of truck route — I’m really skeptical about that. DOT presenters said, ‘We can’t really do anything that would affect the number of car lanes and this is only for a couple of blocks.’ I don’t really see giant trucks racing to get to the BQE ‘sharing’ with cyclists.”

metropolitan
DOT’s plan for Metropolitan Avenue. Click to enlarge.

DOT told CB 1 the new bikeways will be striped toward the end of this year, Leff reports.

  • Daphna

    With all that extra street width on Knickerbocker there will only be a puny 6′ bike lane where the 1.5′ of it against the curb are not usable! 10′ feet for floating parking that could be 8′, 14′ feet for curbside parking to allow for convenient illegal double parking because NYC curb parking is free/underprice/unenforced – that could be 9′, an 11′ travel lane that could be 10′. Space for cars will be 45′ but could easily be only 27′. The bike lane could be a width that is more functional and comfortable for a high volume of cyclists!

    Why have 11′ travel lanes on Morgan? 10′ should be the new norm for travel lanes. The citywide speed limit is 25mph. Lanes need to be narrow so that driver perception is that it is not safe to drive above 25mph.

    I look forward to when designers stop counting the 1′ curbside as if it is a usable part of the bike lane when it is not. I look forward to when design standards call for wider bike lanes!

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Those lanes on Morgan are gonna be blocked a lot if they don’t have some kind of physical protection.

  • J

    More examples of the city failing to protect cyclists. At the exact same moment that the city is waking up to the fact that unprotected garbage bike lanes got Madison Lyden killed on the UWS, DOT is preparing to install more and even sharrows on street with heavy truck traffic in WIlliamsburg. People are going to be hurt, and all in the name of the city avoiding tough decisions.

  • ohhleary

    My thoughts exactly the second I saw this plan.

    Also, the sharrows on Morgan and Varick are further proof of DOT’s complete half-assing of this. Really? You can’t take parking away ON TRUCK ROUTES for one block each to protect cyclists? Come on.

  • jeremy

    Sharrows on Metropolitan Avenue….Wtf

  • Max

    Sharrows on Metro are criminal. Metro westbound used to only be one left turn lane, one straight lane. Return it back to that set up and add a two-way jersey barrier protected bike path on the north curb of Metro b/w Union & N5.

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