Eyes on the Street: Flushing Avenue Bike Lane Takes Shape

The first segment of the two-way protected bike lane on Flushing Avenue is open. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
The first segment of the two-way protected bike lane on Flushing Avenue is open. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Here a first look at just how great Flushing Avenue might be.

The first segment of the two-way protected bike lane — between the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Washington Avenue — has opened on the north side of the roadway, giving cyclists some safety along a stretch that has been a construction danger zone.

Eventually, the bike lane will extend all the way to Navy Street, a key route for thousands of daily cyclists heading to and from the Manhattan Bridge [PDF].

For months, cyclists have been dealing with construction that has eliminated the westbound bike lane entirely, squeezing riders onto the main car lane (see below), but the heaviest construction appears to have ended.

A dangerous mix.
File photo: A dangerous mix.

The better news? When the Department of Design and Construction is done with the project by April, Flushing Avenue promises to be a tremendous improvement for cyclists — at the expense of drivers.

In addition to the raised, two-way bike lane on the north side of Flushing, buses, which currently cut off cyclists as they veer back into traffic from the shared bike lane, will make their westbound pickups directly in the roadway, inconveniencing only motorists. An agency spokesman said that buses stopping in the roadway “will not cause traffic to be significantly impacted.”

That remains to be seen, given that 15 westbound buses on the B57 and B69 routes pass through Flushing Avenue during the morning rush hour, according to MTA schedules. That number, multiplied by the number of the on-road bus stops, translates to 51 times that a bus will potentially stop in front of cars every morning during the so-called rush hour.

But with their own space, cyclists won’t have to worry about that.

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Cyclists and Pedestrians Now Make Up a Huge Share of Flushing Ave Traffic

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Biking has skyrocketed on Flushing Avenue by the Brooklyn Navy Yard since the installation of bike infrastructure in 2010, according to new counts released by the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative. The route is slated for more biking and walking upgrades as the city builds out the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. Cyclists and pedestrians comprised 25 percent of traffic […]