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Eight Years Later, CB 12 Still Dragging Its Feet on Dyckman Street Bike Lanes

CB 12 endorsed a protected bikeway for Dyckman Street between 10th Avenue and Nagle Avenue (below), and tabled a vote on the DOT plan for a road diet and painted bike lanes between Nagle and Broadway (above). Image: DOT

CB 12 endorsed a protected bikeway for Dyckman Street between 10th Avenue and Nagle Avenue (below), and tabled a vote on the DOT plan for a road diet and painted bike lanes between Nagle and Broadway (above). Image: DOT

Eight years of talking about design upgrades for Dyckman Street was not enough for Manhattan Community Board 12, which voted to table part of a DOT plan to add bike lanes to the major Inwood cross street at a transportation committee meeting last night.

To recap, last spring DOT proposed a road diet for the commercial segment of Dyckman between Broadway and Nagle Avenue: a general traffic lane and five-foot painted bike lane in each direction, with a painted median and a center turn lane. Between Nagle and 10th Avenue, where painted bike lanes were striped around 10 years ago, DOT plans to install a nine-foot-wide, two-way protected bikeway on the south side of the street, which borders Highbridge Park.

The plan also includes a much-needed curb extension and new crosswalk at Dyckman and 10th Avenue, where there is an elementary school. Concrete median islands at Vermilyea and Post avenues, however, were in the plan at one point but are no longer part of the proposal.

DOT developed the plan eight years after local residents called for an continuous protected bikeway along the full length of Dyckman, connecting the east side and west side greenways. CB 12 has asked DOT for Dyckman bike lanes — twice — but in June the board declined to vote on the plan, saying more meetings should be held. After two hours of discussion, much of it off-topic, last night the committee split its vote in two, endorsing the protected bike lane section, including the new crosswalk at 10th Avenue, and tabling the rest of the project.

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Monday: Tell CB 12 to Get on Board With Dyckman Street Upgrades Already

The DOT plan includes painted bike lanes on Dyckman Street between Broadway and Nagle Avenue and a protected bikeway between Nagle and 10th Avenue. Image: DOT

The DOT plan includes painted bike lanes on Dyckman Street between Broadway and Nagle Avenue and a protected bikeway between Nagle and 10th Avenue. Image: DOT

DOT will bring its plan for new bike lanes on Dyckman Street in Inwood back to Community Board 12 next Monday.

Local residents have been asking DOT for a protected bike lane on Dyckman, a major neighborhood thoroughfare that connects the east side and west side greenways, since 2008. CB 12 requested that DOT come up with a proposal for better bike infrastructure on the corridor — Dyckman currently has painted lanes on the east and west ends, but they don’t connect — in 2011 and 2012.

But when DOT put forth a plan last spring, CB 12 declined to support it. Instead, after years of talking around Dyckman improvements, the board’s transportation committee asked DOT for more meetings. Since then DOT has conducted site visits with CB 12 members to discuss the plan further, the agency told Streetsblog.

DOT has proposed a road diet for Dyckman between Broadway and Nagle Avenue, with a painted median and center turn lane flanked by one general traffic lane and a five-foot painted bike lane in each direction. Between Nagle and 10th Avenue, in place of existing painted bike lanes, DOT would install a nine-foot two-way protected bikeway on the south side of the street.

In addition to the bike lanes, the plan includes new median islands for pedestrians at Vermilyea and Post avenues and a painted curb extension and new crosswalk where Dyckman intersects with 10th Avenue, which right now is a vast expanse of asphalt.

The DOT plan for Dyckman is not the end-to-end bikeway that locals first proposed when George W. Bush was in the White House, but it would impose some order on a chaotic, heavily-trafficked street, acknowledging the presence of people on bikes and making intersections safer for walking.

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The 111th Street Safety Project Has Changed, But Queens CB 4 Has Not

DOT's updated 111th Street plan (top) maintains two-way southbound traffic flow and omit the new crosswalks included in the original plan (below). Images: DOT

DOT’s updated 111th Street plan (top) maintains two southbound traffic lanes and omits marked crosswalks included in the original plan (bottom). Images: DOT

If DOT is going to implement a safer design of 111th Street in Corona, it won’t be thanks to the local community board. Despite a watered-down safety plan intended to appease opponents of DOT’s original proposal, the CB 4 transportation committee declined to vote on the plan, citing “remaining questions” about traffic on the corridor.

The city’s first plan for 111th Street, which local residents, community organizations, and Council Member Julissa Ferreras had pushed for, would have reduced the number of motor vehicle lanes, narrowed crossing distances for pedestrians, added marked crosswalks, and put a two-way protected bike lane along Flushing Meadows Corona Park. That version was opposed by Assembly Member Francisco Moya, who said 111th Street carried too much traffic during large sports events at Citi Field and the U.S Open to eliminate moving lanes.

DOT studies and video evidence suggested Moya didn’t have a leg to stand on, but in an announcement last month, the city revealed a weaker version of the redesign, saying it had won over Moya while retaining support from the original coalition. The new design retains a two-way protected bike lane and wider medians, but only eliminates one moving lane in each direction, maintaining two southbound lanes instead of one. It also does not include some marked crosswalks that were in the original plan.

Last night, DOT reps came equipped with piles of research about the traffic conditions on 111th Street, including time-lapse photos from two locations on the corridor and traffic studies of more than 30 large events in the area. Residents were also surveyed about how they get to the park and their concerns about park access.

The traffic studies concluded that there just isn’t much congestion on 111th Street, and the survey revealed that Corona residents are much more worried about speeding on 111th Street than about traffic back-ups.

But CB 4 members refused to believe the evidence.

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CB 7 Endorses Year-Round Parks Department Greenway Detour

79th_rotunda

The detour will compel cyclists to climb an incline at the 79th Street Rotunda. The Parks Department could not say how steep these slopes are. Image: NYC Parks Department

Based on scant justification from the Parks Department, yesterday Manhattan Community Board 7 voted in favor of a permanent detour for cyclists along the Hudson River Greenway between 72nd Street and 83rd Street. Amendments to keep the main path accessible to cyclists during off-peak times either failed or were not considered, in part because board chairs Roberta Semer and Klari Neuwelt were in a hurry to finish the meeting.

The detour would take cyclists off the flat path by the river and route them onto a hilly trail that ascends a steep incline by the 79th Street Rotunda. It would also put bike traffic within a few feet of motorists exiting the Henry Hudson Parkway near the 79th Street boat basin.

The Parks Department, which controls this part of the greenway, says the detour is necessary to reduce conflicts between people walking and people on bikes. But while crowding is undoubtedly a problem at some times, Parks provided no data to assess when it is most severe or how it affects people. Nor did the agency provide quantitative information about how its detour plan, which would be in effect 24 hours a day year-round, would affect cyclists.

The Parks Department wants to start the detour, which is supported by City Council Member Helen Rosenthal, next year.

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Tonight: Testify Before CB 7 Votes on Riverside Park Greenway Detour

79th_rotunda

This elevation map gives a sense of the inclines cyclists would contend with on the detour by the 79th Street Rotunda, instead of the flat waterfront path. Image: NYC Parks Department

A late addition to the calendar: Manhattan Community Board 7 will vote on the Parks Department’s proposal to route cyclists away from the waterfront greenway between 72nd Street and 83rd Street. If you want to preserve access to the flatter, straighter, better-lit waterfront path during the majority of the year when crowding is not an issue, tonight is the time to testify.

The Parks Department wants to direct cyclists inland onto a hilly, wooded path that passes through the 79th Street Rotunda, which has a particularly steep incline and is frequently occupied by cars and trucks attempting to access the nearby boat basin. Last month, CB 7’s Parks and Environment Committee voted 4 to 1 in favor of the plan, but a strong turnout tonight could influence the final vote by the whole community board.

At last month’s meeting, some attendees asked for the detour to be limited to crowded warm-weather months when pedestrians and cyclists can’t fit comfortably on the waterfront path. They were especially concerned about icy pavement on steep inclines along the detour in cold weather. But the Parks Department was adamant about a year-round re-route.

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5 Highlights From Last Night’s Bike-Share vs. Parking Meeting

A dense network of stations is what makes bike-share work so well in these Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Last night’s Brooklyn Community Board 6 bike-share forum lacked the fireworks of previous meetings — no physical threats this time. While the tone was civil, the demands from the anti-bike-share crowd weren’t exactly reasonable.

So far, Citi Bike has proven incredibly popular in CB 6, with some stations getting as much as seven rides per dock each day. That’s a lot more activity than the average free car parking spot ever sees.

Opponents said they would be fine with the bike-share stations if they didn’t occupy curb space that previously served as free car storage. They suggested the docks be moved onto sidewalks and that the station density be cut in half. But sidewalks in Park Slope and Carroll Gardens don’t have room for bike-share stations, and reducing station density would ruin the usefulness of the bike-share system. Bike-share only works well when you don’t have to walk more than a couple of minutes to reach a station.

With the room at capacity, Council Member Brad Lander live streamed the meeting for people stuck outside. The entire one-hour, 45-minute video (which amazingly does not capture the entire meeting) is available on Lander’s Facebook page. Here are the highlights:

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CB 1 Endorses Metropolitan Bridge Bike Lane After Two Years of Delays

CB 1 members cited this "extremely dangerous" left turn (red arrow) as justification for tabling DOT's proposal for bike lanes on the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge last month. Image: DOT

CB 1 members cited this “extremely dangerous” left turn as justification for tabling DOT’s proposal for bike lanes on the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge last month. Image: DOT

Brooklyn Community Board 1 unanimously endorsed DOT’s bike lane plan for the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge. It took a while to reach this point — the board repeatedly delayed an endorsement for more than two years.

The project will add painted bike lanes in both directions over the bridge, which connects Bushwick and Ridgewood [PDF].

DOT has revised the design multiple times since first presenting to the board in June 2014. Most recently, CB 1 voted 18 to 8 last month to table the project, demanding that DOT do something about a supposed “left turn of death” from westbound Metropolitan Avenue onto Varick Avenue. The intersection doesn’t have a record of high injury rates, however. In the past three years, two cyclists have been injured at the location (it’s not clear if left turns were involved), and no one has been killed there according to Vision Zero View, which contains crash data going back to 2009.

Transportation committee chair Vincent Gangone said last night that he was recommending the plan because DOT had committed to exploring banning the left turn. Gangone explained that he, CB 1 Chair Dealice Fuller, and District Manager Gerald Esposito had met with DOT officials. He then read the text of a letter from the agency promising to return to the transportation committee in November or December once it has fully studied the potential impacts of the proposed left turn ban.

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CB 1 Stalls Bike Lane Because of “Left Turn of Death” Where No One Has Died

Since at least 2009, no one has died at the intersection of Varick and Metropolitan, according to city data. Image: Brooklyn CB 1

Brooklyn CB1 leadership sent a packet to all its members opposing a bike lane, and this was the cover page.

The leadership at Brooklyn Community Board 1 is pulling out all the stops to delay or block DOT’s plan for safer bike infrastructure on the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge.

After a meeting last month, CB 1 leadership sent a packet to all board members arguing that the project should not move forward until DOT makes changes at the intersection of Metropolitan Avenue and Varick Avenue [PDF].

DOT first presented the Metropolitan Avenue bike lane project to the CB 1 transportation committee more than two years ago — in June 2014 — and since then the plan has undergone multiple revisions [PDF].

Last month, the board voted to table the project. In an unsigned email statement to Streetsblog after the meeting, CB 1 said DOT’s project “failed to address” the “extremely dangerous” left turn from westbound Metropolitan Avenue onto Varick Avenue, just east of the bridge. The cover page of the packet that CB 1 sent around calls it the “left turn of death.”

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Brooklyn CB 1 Wants to Delay Metropolitan Ave Bridge Bike Lane Some More

CB 1 members cited this "extremely dangerous" left turn (red arrow) as justification for tabling DOT's proposal for bike lanes on the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge. Image: DOT

CB 1 members cited this “extremely dangerous” left turn (red arrow) as justification for tabling DOT’s plan for bike lanes on the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge. Image: DOT

On Wednesday night, Brooklyn Community Board 1 voted 18 to 8 against a DOT plan to add a bike lane connecting Bushwick and Ridgewood via the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge. Technically, the board voted against making a recommendation on the project, but after two years of deliberation already, the decision to withhold an endorsement is tantamount to opposition.

The Metropolitan Avenue Bridge is an important connection between the Williamsburg Bridge and points east, used by hundreds of cyclists each day. It’s also treacherous: Two cyclists were killed on the bridge between 2009 and 2013, according to DOT. More than half of peak-hour drivers on the bridge travel above the speed limit.

DOT’s plan would remove one westbound car lane to make room for painted bike lanes. It has been in the works since 2012. Under the plan, the buffered eastbound bike lane would extend all the way to Onderdonk Avenue, while the westbound lane would give way to sharrows on the bridge [PDF].

Despite the years of back-and-forth on the minute details of the project, the board continues to withhold its support. In an unsigned email statement to Streetsblog, CB 1 said DOT’s project “failed to address” the “extremely dangerous” left turn from westbound Metropolitan Avenue onto Varick Avenue, just east of the bridge.

The motion to table the project was made by transportation chair Vincent Gangone during his committee report, according to board member Ryan Kuonen, who said board members in favor the project were “very upset” by the move.

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Bronx CB 8 Delays Vote on Play Street Where Driver Killed 8-Year-Old

Bronx Community Board 8 delayed a decision on whether to approve a play street application from the school where a motorist killed 8-year-old Rylee Ramos, when people complained that a play street at a different school would interfere with their driving.

Responding to complaints from motorists, Bronx CB 8 postponed a decision on a play street application from the school where Rylee Ramos was killed by a curb-jumping driver.

When motorists complained, Bronx CB 8 postponed a decision on a play street application from the school where Rylee Ramos was killed by a curb-jumping driver.

The Riverdale Press reports that the 50th Precinct has joined P.S. 307, Horace Mann School, and St. Margaret’s of Cortona in requesting that CB 8 sign off on opening street space to kids during school days. The schools already cordon streets for children, but they want to make it official, which NYPD says is important in the event of a crash.

“By formalizing this process and enforcing it, responsibility for an accident would land squarely on the shoulders of the driver,” Deputy Inspector Terence O’Toole, commanding officer of the 50th Precinct, told the Press.

In 2014 a motorist backed onto the sidewalk on Eames Place outside P.S. 307 in Kingsbridge Heights, striking 10 people and killing Ramos. Since then, according to the Press, the 50th Precinct has positioned barricades to keep motorists off the street at drop-off and dismissal times.

While Horace Mann and St. Margaret’s are applying for drop-off and dismissal play street hours, P.S. 307, which doesn’t have a playground, wants to keep one block of Eames Place open to children for the entire school day.

“We are desperate to find a place for our students to go out and to be able to run around and just have some exercise,” P.S. 307 assistant principal Debra Springsteen told the CB 8 land use committee at a meeting last month. “There’s 150 kids in the lunchroom. They’re screaming at each other in the lunchroom because they just don’t get a chance to be outside. So, that’s why we’re imploring.”

DOT requires that school play street applications be endorsed by the local precinct and community board, and the committee chose to postpone a vote on all three requests until September. “The panel said the delay would allow more time for the community to discuss the issue,” the Press reported.

Despite entreaties from NYPD and school officials, disgruntled motorists carried the day.

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