Fourth Avenue Protected Bike Lane is Very Delayed

The city has adjusted its project timeline in light of MTA underground repair work.

The Sunset Park segment of the 4th Avenue protected bike lane, pictured mid-installation in October. Twitter/NYC DOT
The Sunset Park segment of the 4th Avenue protected bike lane, pictured mid-installation in October. Twitter/NYC DOT

Something is certainly better than nothing.

DOT has significantly scaled back the number of blocks of protected bike lanes it plans to install on Fourth Avenue this year.

Borough Commissioner Keith Bray told Park Slope cycling advocate David Herman in a letter that the agency will protect 13 blocks — on both sides of the street between Second and 15th streets — to add to the four protected blocks installed this fall between 60th and 64th streets.

The work is part of what is supposed to be an uninterrupted, four-mile protected path from 65th Street in Sunset Park to Atlantic Avenue at the northern edge of Park Slope. It will be western Brooklyn’s first safe north-south cycling connection.

But implementation is delayed due to MTA work on the R train beneath Fourth Avenue, DOT said in July. At the current rate, the project probably won’t be complete until 2020, resulting in a disconnected route that will do little to encourage Sunset Park and Park Slope residents to bike.

“The true benefit of this project will come when the small sections now under way are actually connected to the larger bike network,” Herman said. “I’m hoping that DOT can keep moving ahead and make those connections soon.”

Image: DOT
Image: DOT

When local community boards approved the project last winter, DOT said it would install the Sunset Park phase between 38th Street and 65th Street this year, and that northern segment to Atlantic Avenue would follow in 2019.

At the time, agency reps told Streetsblog that they would install the bike lanes between 54th Street and 60th Street. That segment was not mentioned in Bray’s letter to Herman, and DOT declined to provide more detail.

“We will complete as much of the project as possible this fall given weather conditions, and plan to resume work as weather permits in spring 2019,” said spokesperson Brian Zumhagen.

  • JarekFA

    It’s delayed because of the N train, not the R train. The N train express tracks from 36th street and southward are being repaired, which is why the N is running local from 59th through 36th street currently.

    I come up 5th ave and then take 9th st to 4th ave (riding without bike lane protection) and then turn at 6th and go on to 3rd ave (again, going 3 blocks without bike lane protection).

    I don’t like to cross 3rd ave at 3rd street (preferring to turn onto 3rd street from 3rd ave, instead of coming from 4th ave) since that light is ridiculously long.

    But what I don’t fucking understand — why the fuck can’t they work on the section from 36th street to Union now. Ok, fine — MTA delays the N train section, but that’s just 36th through 59th streets. Why can’t they do the other parts and then close the gap when the MTA construction stops.

  • FlappyArms

    I do something similar, but prefer to take 5th ave all the way to 6th street, then turn down 6th to 3rd ave and onward to 3rd street. The lights time pretty well for the turns if you’re going a reasonable speed.

  • Daphna

    Please mention Brooklyn in the headline or sub-headline. Not all readers have a good grasp of the city roads to immediately know what area was being referred to.

  • maxmaxed

    I take 5th to 9th and Smiths. But 4th would make things so much better. Well with MTA involved it might literally take years now.

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To keep making progress on traffic safety, redesigns as substantial as this protected bike lane planned for Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn will have to be implemented citywide. Image: NYC DOT

DOT Shows Its Plan to Get the Reconstruction of 4th Avenue Right

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Fourth Avenue is far and away the most viable potential bike route linking Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, and Park Slope, but it's still scary to ride on, with no designated space for cycling. At 4.5 miles long, a protected bike lane would make the reconstructed Fourth Avenue one of the most important two-way streets for bicycle travel in the city, connecting dense residential neighborhoods to jobs and schools.