Sections

Lafayette Avenue bike lane

Cyclists want their own Lafayette Ave. lane — not a shared route with cars

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

The city hopes a new road configuration will help cyclists and motorists share Lafayette Avenue — but the Fort Greene group that petitioned for the street redesign fears it won’t do enough to protect bicycle-riders.

Bike advocates working under the name Make Lafayette Avenue Safer wish the city would stripe a cycling-only path on the thoroughfare in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill rather than turning one of street’s two moving lanes into a “shared” route that’s open to both bikes and cars.

“We wanted paint down,” said the group’s co-founder Ali Loxton. “Right now Lafayette Avenue is a free for all, but we’re looking at this as a step in the right direction.”

The city backed away from a previous plan to convert one automotive lane into a full-time bike lane last year after outcry from neighbors — but Community Board 2 prompted the city to reintroduce a traffic-taming plan for Lafayette Avenue after Loxton and group co-founder Hilda Cohen collected 1,600 signatures in support of a cycling path.

Representatives from the Department of Transportation told Fort Greene residents last week that they expect motorists will respect cyclists traveling ahead of them in the shared route by not passing inside the lane — and argued the communal path is the sole solution for Lafayette Avenue.

“The only way to create a bike lane would have been to remove a lane from the street,” said project manager Preston Johnson. “We looked at the impact of the lane removal and it would have severely degraded the intersection and we decided it was not an option for this project.”

Along with the communal lane for cars and bikes between Fulton Street and Classon Avenue, the city will alter the timing on the traffic lights to sync with motorists traveling at around 20 miles-per-hour — potentially slowing speeding that neighbors say is endemic on the roadway.

Community Board 2’s transportation committee signed off the on the plan in a 7–2 vote, but bikers say they will press on for a cycling-only lane.

“I hope this isn’t the end,” said Loxton. “I hope there will be a new bike lane.”

But some Fort Greene and Clinton Hill residents say cyclists should uphold their end of the bargain by adhering to traffic laws on Lafayette Avenue before the city makes any more pro-bike changes to the roadway.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

Resident from PPW says:
Now sharing the road is not enough for the the biking community. Starting to sound like that the inmates want to run the asylum.
June 26, 2012, 8:11 am
ty from pps says:
Resident --
Once "they expect motorists will respect cyclists traveling ahead of them in the shared route by not passing inside the lane" begins to be a reasonable explanation, perhaps less restrictive infrastructure would be preferable.

You know this should be an expectation on ALL streets, but it's not.

Remember your beloved 3-lane superhighway in front of your apartment, Resident? How much yielding to others was going on at 50 mph?
June 26, 2012, 8:37 am
ty from pps says:
By the way -- the real inmates have had control of the asylum for the last 50 years. They've come to put you back in your cell.
June 26, 2012, 8:41 am
Trans Alt from My bike says:
We want cars off all roads in NYC. This is just a starting point.
June 26, 2012, 8:58 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
How about we use eminent domain to condemn a row of buildings and make a separate bike road only?

More More More!!
June 26, 2012, 9:07 am
Peter_L from Bedford-Stuyvesant says:
Lafayette Ave has too many cars going to fast, slowing down the pace is in everyone's interests, except the fast drivers who should be going slower in the first place. It never ceases to amaze me that drivers do not understand more bikes means fewer cars means less congestion.
June 26, 2012, 9:07 am
Mike says:
Have you ever tried to "share" the road with Brooklyn drivers going uphill? They'll honk, pass too close, double-park, and try to bully cyclists off the road. Sharing the road is fine with cyclists, if drivers would share fairly. Unfortunately, Brooklyn drivers have shown over and over again that they will put cyclists' lives in danger just to save a minute or two.
June 26, 2012, 9:29 am
whatevs from BW says:
This Car Vs. Bike crap is so silly.
Bike person should try driving a car for a day and an Auto Driver should try biking for a day. Then we could get somewhere on these issues. But to sit here and throw blame around...ridic.
June 26, 2012, 9:34 am
Chris from Yours says:
Lafayette is too narrow and too much of a car artery. Unless they need to, bike lanes should go on less-used side streets (ie Bergen, Dean etc) and not on major routes. How about Greene, which is only two blocks to the south?

There's enough room on the streets for both of us.
June 26, 2012, 9:36 am
S from PPW says:
"Department of Transportation told Fort Greene residents last week that they expect motorists will respect cyclists traveling ahead of them..."

This is a joke right? Nobody from DOT really believes this, do they?
June 26, 2012, 9:41 am
Peter_L from B-S says:
@whatevs: The thing about your argument is that most cyclists are already drivers.
June 26, 2012, 9:55 am
Stu from Slope says:
"There are vigilant cyclists, but the vast majority aren’t. There has to be a way to enforce it!”

Huebner should realize that the majority of people in Fort Greene and the surrounding area aren't drivers or car owners either. Sadly, the vigilant motoring minority has run roughshod over Brooklyn for too long. Her logic fails fails fails. We don't stop building roads just because a huge number of drivers speed, ignore traffic laws, and kill pedestrians.

Doesn't she get that homes on quiet, traffic calmed streets sell for more money than apartments on high-speed raceways?
June 26, 2012, 10 am
Ben Kintisch from Bed-Stuy says:
I congratulate the work of Make Lafayette Safer to gather over 1600 signatures in favor of a full bike lane. The "shared lane" compromise is certainly not ideal, but it is a good start. My prediction is that with a better organized street, with slower traffic signals, and the sharrows establishing cyclists are permitted and encouraged to "take the lane," this corridor will go from speedway to a safer way. As soon as the new configuration is painted, bike usage along this route will go up, and I believe DOT will need to revisit this corridor and consider an upgrade to a full bike lane within a few years.
June 26, 2012, 10:04 am
ty from pps says:
Chris -- If Greene, Bergen and Dean are so convenient and appropriate, why are they "less used"?? Plenty of room for both everyone, eh? As long as the cars get to dominate the prime streets. That's what you mean. The BQE is just a short drive away, why are you using Lafayette when you can use a much bigger road?
June 26, 2012, 10:40 am
ty from pps says:
whatevs -- Why do you think bicycling advocates don't drive? I drive quite a bit. From a driver's perspective, I actually don't see it as a car vs. bike problem. I see it almost entirely as a self-entitled, douchebag driver problem. The amount of reckless driving I see from the safe enclosure of my 2 ton box of steel and glass is disgusting. 50 mph on small streets, running stale red lights at full speed, aggressive passing, clipping pedestrians and bicycles... this is the norm more than the exception. Really sad.

So, yeah. You're right. It's not an us vs. them. The problem is almost entirely *them*
June 26, 2012, 10:47 am
Chris from Yours says:
@ty they're less used because they are narrower and not as connected to the network of streets. That doesn't make them unsuitable to bikes. Greene is a through street just like Lafayette.

Using added bike lanes as a political tool to ease traffic within a neighborhood is a dangerous mistake. If the neighborhood really cared about cyclists' safety rather than just slowing down the cars that drive through the neighborhood, they would put bike lanes in sensible places and pursue ways to meet their goals that don't put cyclists on the front line.
June 26, 2012, 1:30 pm
Peter from Park Slope says:
It'd help if the 88th precinct did their job when it came to traffic enforcement.

In the month of May, the *entire* 88th precinct wrote ONE speeding ticket:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloads/pdf/traffic_data/088sum.pdf

Which begs the question: how fast was that guy going to get a ticket?
June 26, 2012, 3:37 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
" running stale red lights at full speed, aggressive passing, clipping pedestrians and bicycles"

Ty, you are simply lying. I've never seen a car clip a cyclist and I am probably older than you. Cars running red lights at full speed? Really, who long would someone have to do that before they got killed? A day? You are absolutely full of ——. Proof please
June 26, 2012, 6:17 pm
ty from pps says:
Hey SwampDouchey! Nice to see you.

Well, let's see... (a) I've been smacked in the elbow by two mirrors myself, (b) I've seen several instances of crosswalk aggressiveness, (c) yes, running red lights at full speed... no, you're right... cars get T-boned magically. Nothing to do with running red lights at speed.

You want proof? How about go outside.... or are you hanging out with Tal in his mom's basement again.

Better yet.... how about the NYPD crash data. The month of May was just published. 15 dead pedestrians. 900 pedestrians and 371 cyclists injured in collisions with motor vehicles. 17,736 automobile accidents. IN ONE MONTH. Yeah, drivers are really being safe out there!

Brooklyn alone? 5 pedestrians killed, 293 more injured along with 153 cyclists. Remember, these are collisions with motor vehicles. 4,878 motor vehicle crashes... remember in ONE MONTH.
June 26, 2012, 6:41 pm
ty from pps says:
And average of 157 motor vehicle crashes PER DAY in Brooklyn. 572 per day, city-wide.

No, Swampy, but you're right. How would I have ever seen the examples of dangerous driving I mention above?? Not in this town. Nosirreee!
June 26, 2012, 6:45 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Personally, I think placing bike lanes on major thoroughfares is a bad idea. They can result in making traffic increase when it wasn't an issue there originally. Also, I never saw why cyclists need special lanes for themselves when they would be more safer just following the traffic laws. Those residents have every right to be concerned especially on the fact that so many cyclists act as if the rules don't apply to them. Keep in mind that streets that are regarded as major thoroughfares are called them because they are used a lot by vehicular traffic, not less.
June 26, 2012, 9:18 pm
ty from pps says:
OMG, Tal. You are so right. Thank you for that. Your ability to simplify a complex issue to the level that a 4-year old can understand.

By the way, do you have a favorite store or restaurant on Lafayette, Tal? You sound like you've been there a lot. I'd love some recommendations. I visit that area of Brooklyn sometimes, but I love hearing from other people that enjoy experiencing Brooklyn... like you.
June 26, 2012, 9:39 pm
Oldtime Brooklyn from Slope says:
keep your eyes and ears open and you will be fine - been riding brooklyn streets over 50 years - get over yourselves or go back to fly over country
June 26, 2012, 11:17 pm
ty from pps says:
Yes, Old Time... the 15 dead pedestrians, 900 pedestrians and 371 cyclists injured in collisions with motor vehicles during the month of May were all the result of not keeping their eyes and ears open.

Thank you for your contribution.
June 26, 2012, 11:26 pm
Old time Booklyn from Slope says:
ty - shoot happens - bfd
June 27, 2012, 12:09 am
Whatever from Greenpoint says:
"Also, I never saw why cyclists need special lanes for themselves when they would be more safer just following the traffic laws."

Again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again with this stupid logic.

Please just read this: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/201109_8th_9th_cb4_slides.pdf
June 27, 2012, 2:01 am
Daniel from Clinton Hill says:
I have no dog in this fight, I am just a straight up walker and jogger. But, as a pedestrian, my life is made a lot less safe by people on bicycles. A car, well, they have to be on the road and they stop at stop signs and traffic lights.

People on Bikes in my neighborhood, they are on the sidewalk, they run lights, they don't stop at stop signs, they are in the cross walks.

Not to mention, how does a bicyclist pass all the cars on the right side and then line up in front of them at a light when they do stop. These people on bicycles want to be treated like protected cars and then also be treated like protected pedestrians.

I ——ing hate people on bicycles. Bunch of smug ——s. You are not in the Tour De France and I don't care about you saving gas. Walk and take the subway. If you want a work out, take it to Prospect Park.
June 27, 2012, 10:22 am
ty from pps says:
Daniel -- Can't help but notice the first phrase of your comment is quickly betrayed by a whole lot of anger. Did your mom sell your tricycle to buy crack when you were a little boy?
June 27, 2012, 10:29 am
Capt cycle from Crown heights says:
When I'm in car, I behave like a motorist. When I'm on my bike I behave better. The means of moving make the man or woman. Which would you rather be: a speeding danger to your community or a slower, calmer cyclist?
June 27, 2012, 11:49 am
Capt cycle from Crown heights says:
When I'm in car, I behave like a motorist. When I'm on my bike I behave better. The means of moving make the man or woman. Which would you rather be: a speeding danger to your community or a slower, calmer cyclist?
June 27, 2012, 11:49 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Whoa, there goes Ty again, changing the subject!
June 27, 2012, 1:13 pm
S from PPW says:
"Not to mention, how does a bicyclist pass all the cars on the right side and then line up in front of them at a light when they do stop."

Cyclists are allowed to do this. There are "bike boxes" at most intersections so that cyclists have a visible place to wait for a light and avoid getting right hooked by turning drivers. Look for the big bike symbols at intersections on streets with bike lanes and you'll see what I mean. This is common practice across NYC and the world.
June 27, 2012, 1:33 pm
Malembi from BK says:
you people suck
June 27, 2012, 1:35 pm
ty from pps says:
Hi Or, sweety. How did I change the subject? By pointing out how disingenuous Daniel's comment is?

His use of "I have no dog in this fight..." is the same as "No offense, but [insert highly offensive comment]"

What subject was I supposed to stick to? I want to please you.
June 27, 2012, 1:54 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Ritalin might help with the reading comprehension Ty.
June 27, 2012, 3:05 pm
ty from pps says:
Hmm... the "reading comprehension" shtick is getting a little old, no?
June 27, 2012, 4:27 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I think that ty really needs to take a chill pill especially due to the way he is acting here on this.
June 27, 2012, 4:52 pm
ty from pps says:
Hi Tal -- Great to see you here. But you didn't answer my question above. I'm disappointed. I was hoping to get your opinion.
June 27, 2012, 5:50 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, I have still yet to hear from you why bike lanes should be placed on major thoroughfares when it feels like going into harm's way here.
June 27, 2012, 6:36 pm
ty from pps says:
Well, Tal, since you are the only one using the word thoroughfare and I don't think you've ever been on Lafayette and the last time your mom brought you to Brooklyn was probably years ago... why should I entertain your imagination?
June 27, 2012, 6:59 pm
FGreener from Fort Greene says:
As a driver, cyclist and dad who lives in Fort Greene, I agree with everything that ty said.
June 27, 2012, 8:08 pm
ty from pps says:
I'm flattered.
June 27, 2012, 10:06 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
Bike lanes are uniformly good, no matter if it's for cyclists, pedestrians, or drivers. The best people to judge are those who do all three. Tal, Or, Old Time, and SwampYankee distinctly do not belong in that category; they're knee-jerk atavists.

Fortunately they're wildly out-numbered by people with good sense--people who choose the mode of transportation that makes the best sense, given the situation.
June 28, 2012, 5:19 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Nice try Scott, but you are wrong.

I'm all three.
June 28, 2012, 6:21 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Scott, I am just as real as you are, or at least that unlike you. How do we know that you are not the fake or probably Mark Gorton in disguise? Calling me a knee-jerk activist just for my view is very uncalled for. Part of the reason I have been against bike lanes is because so many cyclists don't even follow the rules even with. Also, there are a number of public schools and hospitals that can barley stay open due to the lack of funding yet there is so much money for bike lanes. As for ty, I was just on Lafayette Avenue just last week going to a protest plan on the AY, so I have actually been there recently, which debunks another of your statements.
June 28, 2012, 7:16 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
Tal, then you must be a staunch opponent of cars, too, since they don't follow the rules either. Almost every single one exceeds the speed limits. Many run red lights. Others fail to signal. By your "logic" can we rip up the roads now?

How many drivers are killed by cyclists? I've never heard of any. I do read about cyclists killed by cars frequently. Others have given you links to studies proving that, but you don't read them.

Protected bike lanes segregate two modes of travel widely separated by speed and mass. The safety they provide cyclists boosts ridership:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/bike-blog/2012/jun/28/sydney-noncyclists-bikes

The more people bike, the better traffic and gas prices get for drivers. Mass transit riders might also be more likely to get seats on the subway and buses. Protected bike lanes benefit everyone, no matter how they choose to travel.
June 29, 2012, 10:11 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
So Scott, you would then support mandatory driver safety courses for bikers, as well as insurance.

Right?
June 29, 2012, 10:46 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Scott, much of that is wishfull thinking here. If only cyclists would follow the traffic laws more, all of what you said would be true, but that's not the case here. I betcha, even in major European cities, there are no bike lanes on major thoroughfares, just side roads and alleys. I won't argue that cyclists can't kill motorists, but sometimes when they are hit by motorists, it has been because they flouted the laws otherwise placing themselves into harm's way. Doing such a thing gives very little time for the motorist to notice the cyclist, which is what leads to such an event. I'm not saying that the said cyclists deserved, but he did have what was comming when he chose to do it.
June 29, 2012, 6:10 pm
ty from pps says:
"I betcha, even in major European cities, there are no bike lanes on major thoroughfares, just side roads and alleys."

I betcha you're WRONG, Tal. But nice try. Just because you're stupid and uninformed, why do you feel obliged to keep proving it over and over again?
June 29, 2012, 6:25 pm
old time brookln slope says:
I am comment 50 - break ot the booz, strike up the band, lock up your daughters,m do the hully gully and the macaraina (pr chicken dance)dn, biatch slap away - living is easy with eyes close, missunderstanding all you see -Asa Yolso) OOPS = no lane to tell us where to go go - criminy crickets - we are all going to die because we cant ride a bike in nyc without a guide dog
July 2, 2012, 11:23 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
stop the personal attacks and stick to the issues. I may not travel regularly in the area but I know people who have family that do so it is practically like being there everyday. you people have many perspectivese on Israel despite never having gone there, so what is the difference here, except hamasing my viewpoint? back to the issue. Another reason I am opossed to this is that bikers are never satisfied. You give them one bike lane and pretty soon they demand it on all streets, even though they generally pay less taxes and/or work less than motorists. This is a well-known fact, as hardworking people have no time to get to work in a leisurely rate, and have to show up looking professional and not in a bike helmet. Irreguaurdless, the bike lane on LaughIyet is a bad idea.
July 12, 2012, 11:34 am

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

This week’s featured advertisers