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Posts from the Downtown Brooklyn Category

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The Jay Street Bike Lane Won’t Work If NYPD Parks All Over It

Double-whammy: these caps are blocking a bus stop and the bike lane. Photo: Brandon Chamberlin

Police officers block the bike lane and a bus stop on Jay Street this morning. Photo: Brandon Chamberlin

As crews restripe Jay Street to implement a curbside protected bike lane, some sort of learning curve is to be expected. Drivers need a little time to adjust to the new parking lane, which floats to the left of the bike lane buffer. But NYPD should know better from the start.

Streetsblog reader Brandon Chamberlin snapped the above photo of two police vehicles parked in the bus stop in front of City Tech on Jay Street this morning, blocking the way for both buses and cyclists. The bus stop has always been there — it’s not new.

In DOT’s redesign, the bike lane and curbside bus stops are “shared space” — as opposed to a floating bus stop design where bus drivers would pull up to a boarding island to the left of the bike lane. It’s a situation that requires some extra effort, with cyclists and bus drivers having to look out for each other — even without factoring in illegal parking.

If police ignore the rules and park at the curb, things will break down quickly. Cyclists will have to weave out of the bike lane into traffic, and bus riders will have to walk off the curb to board. The stress and chaotic traffic conditions that the Jay Street redesign was supposed to fix will just resurface in slightly different form.

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Eyes on the Street: The Jay Street Bike Lane Gets Protected

The city has flipped parked cars with bike lanes on Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn. Photo: NYC DOT

Part of the southbound side of Jay Street now has a parking-protected bike lane. Photo: NYC DOT

That’s right: There’s now a stretch of parking-protected bike lane on Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn. The project’s not done yet, but this afternoon DOT tweeted this photo showing a rideable section on southbound Jay near Myrtle Avenue.

Implementation of the Jay Street redesign began last Thursday, when crews started to remove the old un-protected bike lane markings overnight. When finished, it should make one of the most important links in the bike lane network much less chaotic — if the parking placard abusers who currently block the bike lane change their law-breaking ways.

Image: NYC DOT

Image: NYC DOT

The finished project will extend from Fulton Street to Sands Street at the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge [PDF], and it includes a new signal to control traffic coming off the bridge north of Nassau Street.

Keep us posted as this important bike network upgrade takes shape — send your photos to tips@streetsblog.org.

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Jay Street Protected Bike Lane Construction Begins Next Week

Good-bye to all that: with a protected bike lane, Jay Street will (hopefully) be rid of its notorious double-parking.

On Jay Street’s painted bike lanes, double-parking and placard abuse are rampant. A protected bike lane aims give cyclists a clearer path.

Work on the protected bike lane on Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn — including a new signalized crossing at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge — begins next Thursday, July 28.

With around 2,400 cyclists a day, Jay Street is one of the busiest bike routes in the city — cyclists account for 34 percent of vehicle traffic during rush hour. But people on bikes have to deal with chaotic street conditions and rampant parking placard abuse.

The painted lanes on each side of Jay Street will be replaced with parking-protected bike lanes between Fulton Mall and the Manhattan Bridge [PDF]. That should make conditions much less stressful for cyclists, though at five feet wide with a two-foot buffer, the bike lanes will be narrower than design standards recommend.

At the Manhattan Bridge off-ramp north of Nassau Street, a new signalized crossing will enable pedestrians and cyclists to proceed without having to worry about traffic coming off the bridge. A section of fence around the plaza at the foot of the bridge will open up access for pedestrians at the crossing.

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DOT Bike Planning Starts From Scratch in Clinton Hill

So long, Clinton Avenue Greenway. Image: DOT

The Clinton Avenue Greenway is not going to happen. Image: DOT

After withdrawing its plan for a two-way protected bike lane on Clinton Avenue last month, DOT will start over with a series of public workshops to develop a new plan for walking and biking safety in Clinton Hill and Fort Greene.

DOT Bicycle and Greenway Program Director Ted Wright shared the news at last night’s Community Board 2 transportation committee meeting.

At the same meeting, the committee declined to endorse a new signalized crosswalk at the Jay Street exit ramp from the Manhattan Bridge, one of the final elements in the agency’s plan for a protected bike lane on Jay Street.

Wright said the purpose of the upcoming meetings will be to develop a new plan for bike and pedestrian safety in the neighborhood. “Everything is on the table. This is not just going to be us talking about Clinton Avenue again,” he said. “It’s a full scale re-look at the entire process.”

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Streetfilms Shortie: Double-Parking Insanity in the Jay Street Bike Lane

While out collecting footage yesterday, one of my missions was to document a whole bunch of street conditions that NYC DOT is actively working to improve. One was the chronic double-parking that has overrun the Jay Street bike lane in Downtown Brooklyn forever.

The level of disregard for the bike lane is just about unmatched anywhere else in New York City. Even with all that bike lane obstruction, 2,400 cyclists a day use Jay Street, since it’s a critical link to the Manhattan Bridge. NYC DOT is working on a plan to replace the current design with parking-protected bike lanes on each side of the street.

I intended to sit on all my “before” footage to use in future pieces, but I just couldn’t believe how bad it was, so I posted this. I had budgeted about an hour to film Jay Street, but I only needed about ten minutes to sufficiently document the dysfunction on camera. As you can see, the immediate yield was very high.

On top of it all, NYPD loves to hand out tickets to cyclists up and down Jay Street. But how many tickets do they write for these drivers? I’m not sure, but since parking placards are everywhere on Jay Street and the illegal parking situation never seems to improve, I’m guessing it’s close to none.

Barring any real enforcement, we sure could use Peatónito, or a battalion of Peatónitos, on Jay Street to set these illegal parkers straight.

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Jay Street Redesign Clears CB 2, With Some Design Details Left for Later

Image: DOT

Brooklyn Community Board 2 endorsed most of DOT’s plan for curbside protected bike lanes on Jay Street between Fulton Mall and Tillary Street at its monthly meeting last night. Two key design decisions at each end of the project have yet to be finalized, however, and will be presented to the transportation committee in May.

Chaotic Jay Street is a key link to the Manhattan Bridge, and cyclists account for 34 percent of vehicles on the street during peak hours. The DOT plan calls for curbside, parking protected bike lanes, though at seven feet wide, the lanes will be narrower than bikeway design guidelines recommend.

When DOT presented the plan to CB 2’s transportation committee last month, the committee declined to endorse a new crosswalk at the off-ramp from the Manhattan Bridge just north of Nassau Street, where a fence currently blocks pedestrians from crossing. Before taking a position, committee members wanted to know how DOT intends to control traffic coming off the bridge.

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Who Rules the Roost on Jay Street? Placard Abusers, That’s Who

jay_street

Most of Jay Street is a “no standing zone” where placard holders both real and fake park without consequence. Photo: David Meyer

Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn is one of the most important segments in the city’s bike network, the key passage to and from the Manhattan Bridge. It’s also a huge impediment to biking in the city — the street is rife with double-parking, illegal U-turns, and the unnerving threat of a car door suddenly opening and throwing you into the path of a passing bus. An upcoming redesign of Jay Street should improve the situation, but it too will be hampered by the culture of parking placard abuse that pervades downtown Brooklyn streets.

The chaos on Jay Street emanates from placard holders and fake placard holders who park all over the place. Even legit placards aren’t a valid license to park in bus stops or crosswalks, but NYPD doesn’t enforce the rules. Soon after the 84th Precinct cracked down on Jay Street placard abuse in 2014, the commanding officer was reassigned.

Advocates campaigned long and hard to get the city to redesign Jay Street, and this summer, DOT plans to flip the bike lane with the parking lane to provide some physical protection. It should be a less stressful experience, but there’s a catch: The proposed bike lane is a sub-standard width on a street that typically already sees 2,400 cyclists in the peak 12-hour period. The National Association of City Transportation Officials advises that protected lanes should be at least five feet wide with a three-foot buffer from parked cars to keep cyclists clear of the door zone, but the Jay Street design calls for five-foot lanes with two-foot buffers.

The bike lane could be wider if it weren’t for all the placard parking on Jay Street. Take out the parking, and there’s a lot more room to work with. If the city was willing to make placard holders park a little further from their destinations — like in one of the many nearby garages with a glut of parking, thanks to downtown Brooklyn’s parking requirements — the options for good street design open up.

So who is parking on Jay Street? Whose entitlement to convenient personal parking trumps street safety and good bus service for everyone? I made a few trips in the past week to document the placard abuse up close.

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Jay Street Protected Bike Lane Plan Clears Brooklyn CB 2 Committee

Image: DOT

Image: DOT

Last night, DOT presented its proposal for a protected bike lane on Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn to the Community Board 2 transportation committee [PDF].

Jay Street is the main approach for the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge bike path. During a 12-hour weekday period, DOT counted 2,400 cyclists on Jay Street, with bikes accounting for 34 percent of vehicles during rush hour.

The project will replace painted lanes between Sands Street and Fulton Street with curbside parking-protected bike lanes. The new design will save cyclists from having to dodge between double-parked cars and moving traffic. It’s going to be a tight squeeze, though: The proposed five-foot bike lanes and two-foot painted buffer are narrower than typical protected bike lanes in the city. Buffers are usually three feet wide so cyclists don’t ride where they might get doored. Bus drivers will merge across the bike lane to access bus stops.

Many design details are still in development, including the Smith Street segment between Fulton Mall and Schermerhorn Street, the intersection with Tillary Street, and the area around the Manhattan Bridge. DOT Bicycle Program Director Hayes Lord said the department will come back to CB 2 at a later date, likely in May, to review the final details of the proposal.

Just past Nassau Street, where northbound cyclists must cross the path of drivers exiting the Manhattan Bridge, DOT wants to create a marked pedestrian/bike crossing that could be signalized, but the traffic control plan has not been finalized. Where Jay Street approaches Sands Street, DOT will create a new access point for cyclists through the fence that separates the bike lane from the bridge, so people on bikes can steer clear of right-turning motorists.

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Sneak Preview: The Jay Street Protected Bike Lane

DOT will present its proposal for protected bike lanes on Jay and Smith Streets in downtown Brooklyn to tonight's CB 2 transportation committee meeting. Image: DOT

Image: DOT

Tonight, DOT will present plans for a protected bike lane on Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn to the Brooklyn Community Board 2 transportation committee. DOT shared this rendering of the redesign with Streetsblog this afternoon.

Jay Street is an essential connection for bike commuters traveling over the Manhattan Bridge, but it’s chaos during rush hour, when cyclists must weave around a slalom course of double-parked vehicles and car and bus traffic.

Sean Quinn, DOT’s senior director for bicycle and pedestrian programs, told Streetsblog that the redesign has taken on greater urgency as the number of people biking on Jay Street has increased. DOT counts show 2,400 cyclists on the corridor in a 12-hour period. During rush hour, bikes make up 34 percent of the vehicles on Jay Street.

Once this project and its Manhattan counterpart on Chrystie Street are implemented, there will be four miles of continuous protected bike infrastructure from Midtown Manhattan to Downtown Brooklyn.

The DOT plan calls for parking-protected bike lanes on both sides of Jay Street between Sands Street and Fulton Street. For the most part, there will be five-foot bike lanes by the curb protected from motor vehicle traffic by parked cars with a two-foot painted buffer. The bikeways are narrower than typical protected bike lanes in NYC, which usually have at least a three-foot buffer and six-foot bike lane. South of Fulton, where Jay Street becomes Smith Street, there will be less protection, though we don’t have the specifics on that section yet.

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Eric Adams Proposes Downtown Brooklyn Car-Share Fleet for City Agencies

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is open to clearing Borough Hall Plaza of parked cars, and he also wants City Hall to study a car-share system for government agencies in Downtown Brooklyn.

We reported last November that Adams and his staff resumed using the plaza as a parking lot after an $11 million rehab, following the lead of his predecessor, shameless space hog Marty Markowitz.

In a recent letter to Mayor de Blasio, Adams said he is considering an internal survey to determine how Borough Hall employees get to work and looking at using off-site garages instead of the plaza.

He also suggested that city agencies with offices in Downtown Brooklyn may be able to consolidate their fleets. Adams wants to the city to investigate a “municipal car share system” to consolidate the vehicles of the half-dozen or so agencies located downtown. The Department of Buildings, the Department of Education, and DOT are among the agencies with offices in the area.

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