Eyes on the Street: Drivers Destroyed a Protected Bike Lane … in 24 Hours!

Going, going, gone: The protected portion of the 13th Street bike lane was destroyed in 24 hours.
Going, going, gone: The protected portion of the 13th Street bike lane was destroyed in 24 hours.

Why can’t have nice things? Drivers.

A short stretch of post-protected bike lane on 13th Street near Third Avenue in Manhattan was completely destroyed within 24 hours by drivers who can’t stomach the idea of abiding by a new traffic configuration installed to protect vulnerable road users who are not encased in 2,000 pounds of steel.

It all started on Feb. 26, when Streetsblog posted an image of heroic DOT workers installing the much-needed protections across from the Brazen Fox pub. The stiffer bollards can save the lives of bicyclists, but also deter drivers from entering the bike lane.

Well, we thought!. One day later, a Friend of Streetsblog who posts as Choresh2, revealed trouble in paradise:

 

By Friday morning or afternoon (a smarter person could figure it out from the shadows), there was more pain. As Bob Manix-Cramer’s tweet shows (below Shmuli Evers’s earlier post from a neighboring block), two flexiposts had already been destroyed, with two more ailing:

By Friday at 6:50 p.m., another photo from Choresh2 revealed that the protection was now almost entirely gone.

It’s difficult not to be discouraged, given how drivers are allowed to destroy public infrastructure with no punishment or even public stigma. Indeed, the entitlement of the driving class and the second-class status of cyclists and pedestrians is omnipresent: reckless drivers are encouraged by their neighbors in Staten Island; parking is free on virtually every side street in the city, causing double-parking and unsafe conditions for everyone else; garbage piles up on sidewalks every afternoon because the city will not reallocate curbside space for communal containers; the world-renowned Brooklyn Bridge is crowded and dangerous because drivers, who are the minority of bridge users, need six lanes so they can speed between Brooklyn and Manhattan; drivers kill pedestrians and cyclists with carelessness and recklessness yet are rarely charged; the city is now contemplating spending $11 billion to fix an aging highway rather than eliminating it or reducing its capacity to inhibit driving; the NYPD continues to crack down on cyclists more than on truck drivers; Mayor de Blasio is considering a less-safe design for cyclists on Queens Boulevard because he doesn’t want to inconvenience car owners; the list goes on and on.

Is the above an editorial? No. It is objective fact.

Meanwhile, drivers can’t so much as respect a short stretch of protection for cyclists. No, they have to destroy it in 24 hours.

Streetsblog reached out to DOT on Saturday, but does not expect a response on a weekend.

 

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

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.