DOT Called ‘Granola Gestapo’ at Meeting on Bike Lanes

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    Last night the Community Board 6 transportation meeting featured a bike-heavy agenda, including the discussion of the proposed bike lane on Plaza Street, continuing the bike lane on 3rd Street, and adding a bike rack to the corner of 5th Avenue and Park Place. The hot topic of the night was the Plaza Street bike lane, a proposal the DOT pulled last year after community concerns. Last night, the DOT presented a plan to both CB6 and CB8 that rep Chris Hrones felt was “an unorthodox approach” but “the best way to balance the street.” You can see the presentation here. DOT’s bike expert Josh Benson presented a plan (above) for an unprotected, contraflow bike lane that would shorten bike trips around Plaza by two to three stops. Instead of the protected bike lanes in the first proposal, two side-by-side, four-foot bike lanes would be installed next to an 11-foot wide traffic lane, each lane separated by 3 feet of buffer space. DOT also proposed to install two speed bumps between Lincoln and Berkeley and between Berkeley and Union. Painted sidewalk extension would go in on the southwest corner at Berkeley, southeast corner of Flatbush, and northeast corner of Vanderbilt. No parking spots would be lost.

    Not surprisingly, the proposal was met with some resistance. A man in the audience, who addressed the DOT as “the granola gestapo”, asked “Where are all the cars going to go?” He proposed widening the street to allow more room for both bikers and cars. Actually, requests to narrow the sidewalk were supported by bikers and drivers alike. While it is a possibility, DOT said it would take several years and are currently looking for an immediate solution for bike safety. Some bikers who spoke preferred the protected lane of the first proposal, especially as Plaza Street is such an essential connector to Prospect Park West.

    Click through for details on extended bike lanes on 3rd Street and a bike rack street extension on 5th Avenue and Park!
    DOT’s next proposal was to install a bike rack on the corner of 5th Avenue and Park Place, outside Gorilla Coffee. The space will be a lot like the bike racks at Smith and Sackett Street, only larger. DOT will remove one parking space on the east side of 5th Avenue for the racks and add one parking spot on the west side. Two large potted plants will be installed on either side. The 20 foot space will hold eight bikes and will be maintained by Gorilla Coffee, who is fully on board with the project.

    Lastly, DOT proposed to continue the bike lane on 3rd Street through Boerum Hill, as there is only a westbound bike lane from 3rd Avenue to Smith Street. DOT proposed these three types of lanes:

    • Eastbound from Smith Street to Bond Street: an 11′ shared lane with a 9′ parking lane (pictured below, bottom column)
    • Eastbound from Bond to 3rd Avenue: a 5′ protected bike lane with a 9′ parking lane (the current parking lane would be expanded to prevent “dooring.”)
    • 3rd Avenue to 4th Avenue, both directions: A 5′ bike lane curbside.

    Community Board Six supported proposals for both the bike racks on 5th Avenue and bike lane on 3rd Street.

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