Let’s get physical! Cyclists call for solid buffers along both ‘protected’ bike lanes coming to Grand Street

Brooklyn Paper
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This street redesign isn’t as Grand as it seems.

The city must install barriers stronger than paint to protect all of the bike riders expected to pedal along Grand Street on their way to and from Manhattan during the shutdown of the L train’s East River tunnel, cyclists demanded at a Wednesday public meeting about the closure, which is less than a year away.

“Paint is not a magic seal that keeps cars away. To encourage as much as cycling as possible, we want to have a physical separation that makes it safer,” said Williamsburg pedal pusher Philip Leff, a member of the pro-cycling group Transportation Alternatives, which is staging weekly bike commutes over the river up to and throughout the looming L-pocolypse.

City transit leaders in January revealed a major redesign of Grand Street — where three cyclists died in crashes since 2016 — that included nixing one of two current parking lanes to make room for two new so-called protected bike lanes in each direction between Morgan Avenue and Rodney Street.

But only riders heading towards the Williamsburg Bridge will reap the benefits of a lane buffered by a row of parked cars, because the current plan calls for just a strip of white paint to protect those cyclists cruising deeper into Brooklyn.

And the painted buffers are incapable of saving lives, according to Leff, who pushed officials to come up with a safer scheme, referencing a fatal 2016 hit-and-run when a now-convicted motorist killed cyclist Matthew von Ohlen on Grand Street after the driver swerved over paint into the road’s current bike lane.

“What can we do to make both sides protected?” he said to the Department of Transportation and Metropolitan Transportation Authority leaders hosting the meeting.

The problem with physically protecting both of the new Grand Street bike lanes boils down to geography, according to a Transportation Department bigwig, who said the stretch is simply too narrow to accommodate solid barriers buffering each pedaler’s path.

“The width of Grand Street is such that there’s not enough room for a parking-protected bike lane on both sides of the street,” said Eric Beaton, the agency’s deputy commissioner for transportation planning and management. “What we want to do is create parking-protected on one side of the street, and a large buffer where we can use delineators and other things to try to keep traffic separate from the cyclists on the other side.”

But officials are still brainstorming, according to Beaton’s boss, who said she and her colleagues will continue seek cyclists’ input on ways to make Grand Street even safer.

“We’ve talked to a lot of folks about getting those protected bike lanes,” said Transportation Department head Polly Trottenberg.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:44 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Daquan from Harlem says:
P**ssy a** williamsburg supreme hipster bikers. We dont need road blocks. The reason y'all getting hit is cuz they is aiming for hipsters. No one in brooklyn needs to see you biking around. BE a man
May 18, 2018, 8:20 am
Kesuke Miyagi from ?? says:
May 18, 2018, 8:35 am
ty from pps says:
this will be important with driverless bikes.
May 18, 2018, 9 am
Death from Above says:
Physically protected bike lanes are the only way to keep self entitled motorists from driving or parking in them. I have even seen them used as a passing lane. This is a huge problem with Grand street.
May 18, 2018, 9:11 am
Frank from Furter says:
If you make the bike lane two ways and put both behind the parked cars you have a two way protected bike lane. And you can put back the removed parking lane.
May 18, 2018, 10:19 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I think Frank has a good point.
May 18, 2018, 10:39 am
BrooklynGersh from The WT says:
Let us not lose sight of the fact that Julianne Cuba did a very good job with this story!
May 18, 2018, 10:57 am
Tom from PPS says:
Any chance of getting cyclists to follow the rules of the road?
May 18, 2018, 11:07 am
Tyler from pps says:
Frank has a good point?

Umm... the parking lane was not removed because of the bike lanes. The parking lane was removed to make account for the bus/turning lane.

(Also, you don't want a two-way bike lane on one side of a two-way street... cyclists riding the wrong way against traffic at intersections ain't good. Or, all of a sudden, are the delivery guys riding every which direction AOK now?)
May 18, 2018, 11:15 am
Dick from Bay Ridge says:
Any chance of getting Tom from PPS to stick to the subject? I doubt it.
May 18, 2018, 11:34 am
Ben from Greenpoint says:
how about carriage lanes ?
May 18, 2018, 12:02 pm
Adrian from Ridgewood says:
Ben, 0% of New Yorkers commute by carriage.

Frank does have a good point. Check out Clinton St in Manhattan. 2-way bike lane on one side of a 2-way street works well there. I'm worried people might slalom on the protected bike lane since the other side won't be as safe.
May 18, 2018, 12:58 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Frank, their idea is to never let a good crisis go to waste. They can not put back parking spots that are removed, it goes against their prime directive of making driving as miserable as possible. These people are anti car fanatics, they can’t be reasoned with.
May 18, 2018, 2:18 pm
AMH says:
If there's no room for parking on both sides, then remove parking and add concrete, or come up with a better idea. There's more than one way to make a protected bikeway.
May 18, 2018, 3:09 pm
Ken from Greenpoint says:
OMG, this poor snowflake:
"They can not put back parking spots that are removed, it goes against their prime directive of making driving as miserable as possible"
May 18, 2018, 4:39 pm
Frank from Furter says:
Irrespective of why the parking lane was removed the way to get a two way protected bike lane is to put them behind the Parking lane...and doing so has the added benefit of putting back the parking lane..and all it requires is paint. If the bike lanes are separated from the traffic by the parking lane now is that driving against traffic and btw there are many\some two way bike lanes are on one way streets. Solutions sometimes takes doing other things..
May 18, 2018, 5:57 pm
Jason from LES says:
Henry Ford, you're darn tooting we want to make life as miserable as possible for drivers. You cretins kill hundreds every year in collisions, maim thousands more, cause the premature death of still thousands because of the pollution you cause, make it harder for asthmatic kids to breathe and god knows how many people die every year due to ambulances being held up in traffic. The vast majority of car journeys in this city are completely unnecessary and undertaken by selfish idiots who could easily bike or take public transport. The tide is turning. Things are only going to get worse for motorists in New York, never better. Get used to it. You're on the wrong side of history.
May 18, 2018, 9:47 pm
Patch from The Stable says:
Neigh!!!!!!! Where's my lane?
May 18, 2018, 9:58 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I’m sorry Jason, I’ll be sure to ask next time ensure that my car trip is essential.
May 19, 2018, 12:05 pm
Ken from Greenpoint says:
Probably morbidly obese and can't walk to the subway or bus stop.
May 19, 2018, 1:06 pm
Dmitri from Coney Island says:
Jason, your parents are on two wrong side of the history for reproducing and giving birth to a useless trustfund cretin like you.
May 19, 2018, 3 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Adrian - The two-way bike lane on Clinton does work well, but Clinton is a One-Way street
May 19, 2018, 3:48 pm
Tyler from pps says:
(except for that one bit between grand and broadway... but there are no intersections to speak of on the west side of the street)
May 19, 2018, 3:51 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I still think the cyclists would be more safer if they just follow the traffic rather than have entire streets redesigned for their convenience while hurting it for all others that are using on a regular basis much more than they do.
May 19, 2018, 4:07 pm
Ben from RNC says:
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY,
See, that right there is your main problem. You tried thinking, it's just not your thing.
May 19, 2018, 4:41 pm
Henry from Prospect Heights says:
Cars should be parked in garages. No need to have them clogging our city's transportation arteries.
May 19, 2018, 6:51 pm
Wilbur D. Horse from Funkytown says:
Henry, let's get rid of the filthy autos altogether. When you get drunk at a Transportation Alternatives party, and fall in front of a sanitation truck (someone else's fault), I'll gallop you a few miles to the hospital.
May 20, 2018, 6:03 am
Patch from The Stable says:
Yeigh!!!!!!! Great idea, I need a job!
May 20, 2018, 6:51 am
Patch from The Stable says:
Yeigh!!!!!!! I need a job!
May 20, 2018, 8:03 am
Tyson White says:
Also agree with Frank from Furter!
May 20, 2018, 10:03 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
You see the thing is Jason and Henry, caw owners vote, and financially support candidates that will ensure our freedoms are not taken away. You can’t even get your progressive mayor and governor to support congestion pricing when you control every aspect of government in this state. Things will surely not get worse for drivers, in fact, it won’t be long now until rouge bikers ensure that legislation is passed to force bikers to carry insurance, and register their bikes if they want to use public streets.
May 20, 2018, 10:53 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Obviously that is car owners*
May 20, 2018, 10:53 am
Bob from Bay Ridge says:
???Who is this assclown?!???
May 20, 2018, 11:22 am
Old tome Brooklyn from Slope says:
I must be super entitled as I have two cars ;)
May 20, 2018, 12:29 pm
Ken from Greenpoint says:
???Who are these assclowns?!???
May 20, 2018, 12:38 pm
Teresa Toro from Greenpoint says:
I was the CB1 Transportation Chairman until I was fired.

I say no cars. Only bikes and Emergency Vehicles.
May 20, 2018, 2:08 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Perhaps, Grand Street just isn't the place for protected bike lanes. I have seen what this streets looks like coming off the Williamsburg Bridge, and it's not that big of a street. Taking away some lanes due to travel and parking feels like a bad idea. Let's not forget that the city already has a lot of other bike lanes that were created and go unused for the most part except for times when Transportation Alternatives does their flash mobs. For the most part, they do go unused making them feel like a waste of space. Sometimes, I feel that you bike zealots feel that the only right decisions are the ones that you make while ignoring everyone else, which is why you are met with so much opposition, plus the only reason you get your way is mainly due to have friends in high places. Then again, you feel that putting a lot of bike lanes can help you in your push to promote congestion pricing just be creating the very congestion hence the Bloomberg Way.
May 20, 2018, 4:03 pm
Hank from Greenpoint says:
Yeah, we should listen to the fat guy from Pleasantville, NY who drove on Grands street that one time, cause he gets it!
May 20, 2018, 4:56 pm
Rebecca from Greenpoint says:
Streets are for movement.
May 20, 2018, 11:29 pm
daquan from Harlem says:
Damn i hope these bikers get ran over by trucks
May 21, 2018, 8:30 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, knock it off with the personal attacks and that goes for you Hank. You don't hear me saying these things, so cut it out. Then again, I guess bike zealots don't know how to behave like mature adults. Honestly, I don't see a reason to redesign streets just for a small group that barely uses them to begin with when there is a group that does use them all year around. When traffic becomes more common due to those bike lanes, who should be given the blame? I would take it on those who advocated for them. Of course, causing congestion to promote congestion pricing is usually the goal of such fanatics.
May 21, 2018, 5:41 pm
Who is this idiot from Pleasantville, NY? says:
???Yeah, we should listen to the fat guy from Pleasantville, NY who drove on Grand street that one time, cause he gets it!???
May 22, 2018, 8:05 am

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