Push to Make DeKalb Avenue More Bicycle-Friendly

dekalb-sidewalk-plan-03-2008.jpg
Per Streetsblog, the DOT is cooking up some changes for DeKalb Avenue that are meant to calm traffic on the thoroughfare and make it more friendly to bicyclists. The department wants to install a dedicated bike lane on DeKalb that stretches from Bed-Stuy to Fort Greene. The DOT, which is currently seeking community input for its plan, is also looking to undertake other initiatives such as improving intersection safety via more lane markings and enforcing time-limited parking during certain hours. Work on the 2.6-mile stretch could begin as early as May of this year. City stats say that seven out of ten households in Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Bed-Stuy are car-free and many lack convenient subway access, making them ideal neighborhoods to target in terms of introducing more bicycle-friendly features. The plan will be presented to Community Board 2 tonight.
DeKalb Avenue Could Become a More Complete Street [Streetsblog]
PDF: DeKalb Avenue Project [DOT]

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  • I hate to be cynical, but will this plan accomplish anything? In my experience, drivers always violate the rules and routinely block bike lanes, especially in more congested areas. Enforcement seems to be non-existent, giving little hope for progress.

    Believe me, I would love to have more bike lanes and for drivers to be more respectful, but experience gives me pause.

    Hoping for the best, though…

  • terrible idea. Zap all the parking spots in front of local businesses, reduce traffic (which is already high) to a crawl, slow the b38 massively, just to produce a bike lane that will be used by 1/10th of the people inconvenienced by the slower b38

  • Won’t this just bottleneck the flow of traffic? Both lanes seem to be necessary, but people definitely fly along this stretch.

    I think that Flushing Ave needs to be fully operational (2-way and paved) before Dekalb can be tampered with.

    Or just send the bikers own to Flushing and keep Dekalba mini-highway

  • One more idiotic traffic calming idea. DeKalb is a BUS ROUTE. When they change from two lanes of traffic to one lane of traffic, buses will stop in the street impeding ALL traffic behind them. In addition, reducing parking on all of DeKalb from Bed-Stuy to Ft. Green will have a negative impact on the businesses that are on that strip. And yes, this is a proposal to turn it into a one lane strip as the peak hours will probably be three to four hours only per day.

    Bus lanes are a great idea, but why oh why won’t DOT put them on less busy streets? A bike lane on Waverly would be great. Even on Lafayette, which has almost no businesses from Fulton to Nostrand Avenue would seem to be a better idea. But sticking bike lanes on high traffic commercial streets, reducing metered parking (at the same time proposing permit parking for neighborhood residents only) and placing bike lanes for the convenience of a few seems like its designed only to polarize the city more.

    Ft Green, Clinton Hill and Bed Stuy may have many non-car owning residents, but I’d bet if you looked deeper, a significant portion of that population are families and elderly residents. Neither population are likely to hop on bikes to get around simply because bike lanes are in place. Rather, the bus service they rely on to get to school, work, doctors appointments, etc will be further slowed by these proposals.

  • Just one factual reply to 10:05–the DeKalb Avenue bike lane is intended to be the westbound match to the eastbound lane on Willoughby. Another eastbound lane (e.g.: Lafayette) doesn’t add anything.

  • Dekalb needs something like this if it expects to compete with the rezoning of Myrtle. The commuter traffic should be pushed onto Flushing, Park and Atlantic.

  • ban all cars from brooklyn. they were never intended for our brownstone nabes.

  • As a bicyclist, this seems like a bad idea. Flushing would make a better bike lane. That’s the way I get West. Lighter traffic over there. The bottleneck in that area of Dekalb is the intersection of DeKalb and Classon, where the police have parked sideways and turned DeKalb into a one-lane road, across the street from a bus-stop. This requires everyone to merge into one lane for about 100 feet, simply to allow the police to park an extra ten cars.

    The bike lane on Bedford, however, is working pretty well, though I agree with previous posters. Double parking on bike lanes is not ticketed at all, but neither are any other moving violations in NYC.

  • I love the idea – people drive way way too fast on DeKalb because they can. Let’s make it a two way street while we’re at it. Would probably slow down the dangerous drivers.
    I live in Clinton Hill. I ride my bike on Dekalb and it is scary.
    I think the buffer would prevent most double parkers.
    Bring it on.

  • Fewer moving lanes means more congestion, more cars idling, more tailpipe emissions, more horns honking, slower bus service.

    As a very longtime bicyclist, the last place I would want to be is in a bike lane alongside a parking lane. You’re much better off in the midst of traffic, in or between moving lanes. Along the parking lane is where all the erratic behavior happens – doors opening, pedestrians darting out, cars stopping suddenly, pulling out suddenly.

  • Contrary to a comment above, this plan still accommodates parking on both sides of the street.

    Also, NYC traffic engineering studies show that any increase in traffic after closing lanes or entire streets is temporary. When traffic gets too bad, drivers take other routes, other modes of transportation, or travel at different times. (Similarly, adding streets or lanes only alleviates congestion in the short term….)
    See http://blog.stayfreemagazine.org/2007/02/new_york_transp.html

    And with safer streets, more people will bike. Look at European cities – we are WAY behind in smart planning.

  • I live on DeKalb on the side of the street which will have no parking. Needless to say I am not a fan of this. As little as I like the congestion on my street now, this will force the bus to exhaust directly into my ground floor (on the bus side of DeKalb Ave. the yards and sidewalks were already shortened in the sixties. The opposite side of the street has the original layout of deeper front yards and wider sidewalk.). I will never be able to unload groceries in front of my house or load up the car again.

    Additionally,between all the construction on Flatbush, Dekalb, Myrtle and Flushing as well as the area over by 3rd Ave. & Schermerhorn, there is LITERALLY NO FREAKING WAY TO GET IN OR OUT OF THIS NEIGHBORHOOD EXCEPT TO GO TOWARDS WILLIAMSBURGH. Another roadway construction project would be a nightmare to the region in general.

  • As a resident of Dekalb Ave, and as a cyclist, rather than spending tons of money to re-do the streets, why doesn’t the city actually start ticketing cars double parked in bike lanes (there are ALWAYS cars double parked in the bike lane on Dekalb near the hospital), develop lots of PSAs about drivers having more respect for cyclists, and require all licensed NYC drivers take a car/bike safety test so drivers are more aware of cyclists rights. You can build and build bike lanes, but if drivers don’t respect them, they are a waste of space.

  • Can anyone of DOT air heads go and see how it is being done in Europe.
    Paris for example, and I’m not French.
    The bike line is first where the parked cars used to be.
    Then there is safety zone followed by parked car line, moving cars line or lines and parked car line again at the other side.
    It is without questions the safest way to go about it.

  • As a cyclist, having been hit by a car in the bike lane on 2nd ave in manhattan – which has a “buffer” zone just last week, i agree with the last comment that the DOT needs to RE-EVALUATE the bike lanes they are putting every where.

    There is no legal enforcement for drivers to respect bike lanes, therefore, the infrastructure needs to acknowledge human habits. I feel as if the DOT are in fact drowning, while swimming upstream – with the current design of bike lanes.

  • Last summer the Brooklyn based public art project Groundswell went around painting bike lanes an eye pleasing green, making it clearer to motorists that the bike lanes were in fact there and for bikes only. The simple visual barrier seems to be highly effective in making biking a safer, cheap and eco-friendly alternative to sitting in traffic. Hopefully they will continue this summer with the project, hitting the Dekalb bike lane along the way.

  • Carrie M, you are blind to the realities of living here. Perhaps we could take the 38 bus off of DeKalb and change Lafayette to a two way street again, the way it once was and run the 38 there. That could make this plan a little more palatable. There is no reason why ALL of these changes have to occur on DeKalb.

    My suggestions: 1) get the cops to stop with the “commando style” parking at the 88th. 2) get the cops to stop with the “commando” style parking on Flatbush and Bergen St. and reverse the direction of the traffic on 6th/Carlton towards Atlantic recreating it’s original orientation. 3) Force the re-opening of traffic on blocked off areas of Metro Tech and Myrtle. (make the cops give back Park Row in Manhattan while we’re at it)

    THEN 1) ticket cars for double parking in existing bike lanes, 2) ticket bicyclists for biking OUTSIDE of bike lanes on streets which have clearly marked lanes 3) ticket bicyclists for running lights or riding on the sidewalk and 4) issue neighborhood parking permits.

    Doing it MY way will of course make ME happy : ) But seriously, somebody has to do something about the piggish parking ways of the … er… pigs. And as the 1:19 suggested, existing laws should be enforced before making more traffic changes.

  • No, No, No. Switch the bike lane and parking lane. The biggest hurdle to an effective bike lane is having it so cars can cross, idle in it.

  • bmfsq

    Why can’t city move bike lanes adjacent to the sidewalk. Then bikers would be safer, no moving traffic to deal with.

  • bmfsq

    Why can’t city move bike lanes adjacent to the sidewalk. Then bikers would be safer, no moving traffic to deal with.

  • Atlantic Avenue has driving lanes replace parking lanes during “peak hours” and has HATED this for 20 years! It is terrible for business so … let’s implement this on DeKalb and hurts some new small neighborhood stores.

    Stupidity in government strikes again!

    sincerely,
    - passionate 30-yr NYC cylcist, who has been hit by cars but loves small business