DOT Says It Will Fill Jay Street Bike Lane Gaps This Year

On northbound Jay Street, cyclists are currently forced into a narrow traffic lane between Johnson and Tillary streets because the DOT has not fully built out the protected bike lane — and because the NYPD does not enforce "No Standing" rules against placarded cars. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
On northbound Jay Street, cyclists are currently forced into a narrow traffic lane between Johnson and Tillary streets because the DOT has not fully built out the protected bike lane — and because the NYPD does not enforce "No Standing" rules against placarded cars. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Manhattan Bridge-bound commuters: Your long unprotected nightmare is (almost) over.

After months of claiming it had “no plan” to fill in the gaps in the protected bike lane network on Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn, the Department of Transportation now says it will act “some time this year” to improve safety on a critical corridor that serves two heavily used bridges.

The agency said it had declined to act for years because of construction projects on Jay Street between Fulton and Tillary streets.

“Now that all three construction projects are complete and the implementation season just began in April, we will schedule the completion of this project for some time this year,” DOT Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Keith Bray wrote in a form letter to several cyclists who had objected to unsafe conditions on the roadway.

Bray did not note that the construction projects — including a renovation at the former MTA headquarters at 370 Jay, the construction of City Tech’s rec center at Tillary Street and a third project north of Tillary — have been done for a while now. Placarded cars line the curbs, despite “No standing” signs. Cyclists are forced into traffic at several crucial spots in both the northbound and southbound lanes.

This southbound Jay Street cyclist was forced into the roadway because the protected bike lane currently ends abruptly at the Myrtle Promenade. Photo Gersh Kuntzman
This southbound Jay Street cyclist was forced into the roadway because the protected bike lane currently ends abruptly at the Myrtle Promenade. Photo Gersh Kuntzman

It is unclear what fixes are in store. Despite Bray’s letter, the DOT press shop declined to brief Streetsblog on the details of the plan or the timeline.

Double- )and in this case, triple-) parked cars line Jay Street. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Double- )and in this case, triple-) parked cars line Jay Street.

Last week, the agency had said that there were “no plans” for Jay Street — a comment that the agency says was made before Bray’s letter was issued.

Until the plans are released, cyclists will likely continue to be cynical of the agency, which often leaves glaring gaps in its protected bike lane network.

“I’ll repeat my old refrain: If this many people are willing to mix it up with heavy traffic and bike the Jay Street gauntlet to the bridge, imagine what would happen with policies to reduce cars and bring our city’s bike infrastructure up to international standards,” tweeted Doug Gordon.

Jay Street between the Fulton Mall and the Manhattan Bridge bike path entrance is one of the busiest cycling sluices in Brooklyn — and, thanks to double-, triple- and placard-parking, it is one of the most dangerous.

Last year, there were 199 crashes, which injured 19 cyclists, 10 pedestrians and 23 motorists, according to city statistics.

  • Boris

    Those three projects should’ve included the bike lane as part of their design, to the extent there was any reconstruction of the sidewalk or street in front of them.

    There should be a requirement for any capital project that includes street reconstruction to rebuild any protected bike lane fronting it as a part of the sidewalk (but still as a distinct space) – raised to sidewalk level the way it is in the short segment of bike lane on Tillary leading to the Brooklyn Bridge.

    The city already requires to put in sidewalks and maintain mapped setbacks for new construction, even if older buildings on the same block don’t follow the standard. The same goes for widening streets to the mapped width. It’s a process that sometimes takes decades (e.g. the city is still widening roads in Staten Island and other places that for the first time had uniform planning applied with the 1961 Zoning Resolution or even more recently). It should be the same for physical infrastructure like protected bike lanes. This way, over time these bike lanes can become truly permanent and irreversible.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Yeah it’s crazy to see street reconstructions that just put back the road bed and paint a bike lane on it rather than constructing a bike path. NYC is never going to be a modern cycling city so long as this persists and every bike project has to beg for its own money.

  • r

    In DOT speak, “This year” can mean “next year.” Hope it gets fixed by the summer. Safety can’t wait, so let’s hold them to this.

  • gmoney

    The SE corner of Jay St and Tillary has had the No Parking/No Standing signs for over 9 months now in the right-turn land and there are still always several cars parked in the right-turn lane. Of course this includes placard-abusing vehicles. The cars that want to turn right onto Tillary from Jay St have to go into the straight-ahead lane and also into the bike lane where bikes are waiting to cross Tillary to go towards the Manhattan bridge. A cyclist was severly injured or killed there in 2016. Does this have to happen again before the police enforce the NO Parking/ No Standing signs in the right-turn lane? What precinct is in charge here? They are severely negligent as well as the DOT because they didn’t paint the right-turn lane well enough.

  • Reggie

    84th Precinct. The community council meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 7:00 pm in Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street.

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