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Lane change! White stripe erasure leads to commuter chaos

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White lines go away.

The result is chaos in Brooklyn streets, where summer repaving has left bicyclists and cars battling for space on the fresh-but-laneless asphalt. The city has repaved several formerly bike-lane-lined thoroughfares, but has left the new blacktop paint-free for most of August, making getting from point A to B a hair-raising proposition, according to some commuters.

“It’s annoying,” said Fort Greene cyclist Stefan Christopher, adding that the lane change showed poor planning on the city’s part.

“It is stupid that they have the crosswalks painted, but not the bike lanes.”

The bicyclist’s concerns were shared by another kind of biker who said the line erasure is a recipe for road rage.

“I do get worried, because cars do not know how to stay in their lanes,” Master Stewart said, mounting his motorcycle at the corner of Myrtle and Flatbush avenues.

Car and bike lanes have been missing for several weeks on streets including along most of Dekalb Avenue, Jay Street, and parts of Willoughby Avenue.

The city’s Department of Transportation said the lines should return in the next two weeks, but that time-table is not fast enough for the bike boosters at Transportation Alternatives.

“Bike lanes are a backbone of many people’s commute and the paint needs to get down faster,” said Caroline Samponaro, senior director of campaigns and organizing.

Car drivers, on the other hand, seem to care less about the lacking lanes, which could explain why two-wheeled commuters are so antsy.

“I don’t pay it any mind,” said Shawn Wills of Bedford-Stuyvesant, stopped at a light on Jay Street. “I just get to where I need to go.”

Last year, Jay Street was voted worst bicycle route in the borough, in part because of its faded lanes. It remains to be seen whether new stripes will make it any less lawless.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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Reader Feedback

SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
Well they didn't remove the light in front of 1 Metrotech yet cyclists still blow right through it by the dozens every hour. Right through the crossing pedestrians. Why waste money on paint when cyclist can't even obey the simplest traffic measure? STOP at the red light, wait until it turns GREEN, proceed. Repeat. Be a good citizen first. Obey the law and then maybe people will take you seriously.
Aug. 26, 2013, 4:56 am
Rob from Greenpoint says:
I suppose that now without the bike lane, the hundreds of law-breaking motorists are finally obeying the law on Jay Street. It never ceased to amaze me how many times the law was broken by cops, DAs, clerks, court security folks, etc. Why waste money on paint when drivers can't even obey the simplest rules?

And this is saying nothing of all the times drivers there run red lights, park on sidewalks, in crosswalks, etc. I don't take these people seriously.
Aug. 26, 2013, 7:29 am
swampyankee from ruined brooklyn says:
Ah, let the defelction begin. Wah! Cars do this! Wah! Pedestrians do this! Wah! Cops park illeagally (actually, offical plates can park there if they are business, a cort house might be business)! Wah! Let me say that cars go through lights at tha intersection all the time (they don't). Wah! Wah! Wah! I just want the law to aplly to everybody but me! Please prove to us that you are lie and tell me that cyclist don't rouitinly run that light. They run that light becase there are no cross streets. The light is simply for the thousands of pedistrains that cross each hour. No danger from cars so the brave cyclist got right through the pedistrians. Go ahed, please tell us how every cyclist stops at that light.
Aug. 26, 2013, 8:12 am
BrianVan from Gramercy says:
@swampyankee: Last I checked, upkeep of the roads and their markings was not conditional on whether or not entire classes of street users were obedient or not. I say we take away the crosswalks until all pedestrians stop jaywalking, that'll teach them!

Of course it is a problem if cyclists don't obey traffic signals (or at least observe them in order to yield the right of way, if not to sit there at a complete stop for longer than necessary) and it's a huge problem if cyclists are encroaching upon or menacing pedestrians crossing the street. I know it happens and I don't condone it. But failing to restripe the roads in a timely manner is not the solution for properly enforcing the street laws. It's insane that you would even make that connection.
Aug. 26, 2013, 9:25 am
Peter from Park Slope says:
Hey SwampYankee,

Wah! Cyclists are killing people all over town with their reckless riding!

Oh wait, they're not. Every media outlet in the city has been dying for a story of reckless people on bicycles, running over people. And it hasn't happened.

Yet hundreds of people are killed and thousands of people are injured every year by drivers. Sadly, NYPD does nothing about this, but ticketing cyclists for rolling through red lights is apparently "doing something."

So how about we focus on where the danger really is?
Aug. 26, 2013, 9:28 am
ty from pps says:
Hey Swampdouche,
Do I need to just cut-and-paste my comment from the other day? Ya know, since you said drivers don't break laws... unfortunately the data of deaths and injuries doesn't seem to back up your notion of safe and glorious automobiles.

148 pedestrians were killed by drivers of automobiles in 2012. Drivers of automobiles also caused the deaths of 73 drivers/passengers, 18 cyclists, and some of the 35 motorcyclists. This was the third year in a row that ZERO pedestrians were killed by cyclists... You have to go back four years to find a pedestrian death by a cyclist... ONE in 2009.

In a major study recently published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, "In 2010, 11,000 pedestrians and 3,500 bicyclists were injured by motor vehicles in New York City."

You can be all sanctimonious in your ignorance if you want, but those are the brutal facts. You see what you want to see. Don't let facts get in your way.
Aug. 26, 2013, 9:41 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
SwampYankee

By you logic, we should not let people drive cars because some drivers talk on their cell phones while driving.
Aug. 26, 2013, 10:19 am
Swampyankee from Ruined Brooklyn says:
Wow, the whole peanut gallery doing misdirection. Cut the excuses and the distractions. Two sole questions yes or no. Do cyclist routinely blow through the red light at the pedestrian crossing in front of 1 Metrotech? Is this behavior lawfull or acceptable? Stop the excuses and answer the question
Aug. 26, 2013, 10:25 am
ty from pps says:
Seriously? Who gives two sh*ts about 1 Metrotech... How many injuries and deaths have these insanely dangerous cyclists caused?

Talk about "misdirection."

Which of the Zero pedestrian deaths caused by cyclists were at 1 Metrotech?
Aug. 26, 2013, 10:36 am
Swampyankee from Ruined Brooklyn says:
There are about 1,000 pedestrians a year hit by cyclists that require a trip to the hospital. Look it up. There was a study that Gothamist recently cited , and they are pro-bike. Pedestrians are injured by cyclist every day. Now answer the questions
Aug. 26, 2013, 10:47 am
Swampyankee from Ruined Brooklyn says:
Oh and Ty, the particular intersection is important because that is on the street this story is about
Aug. 26, 2013, 10:49 am
ty from pps says:
Very demanding, Swampy. I don't want to play your little game of ignorance.
Aug. 26, 2013, 11:44 am
Paz from My word and my balls says:
Swampskank, learn how to spell and maybe we would take you seriously, ok?
Aug. 26, 2013, 11:46 am
BunnynSunny from Clinton Hill says:
If everybody weren't so busy texting, chatting on their iPhone or adjusting their iPods, maybe there would be less accidents. Also, if you're going to be out riding or walking in the middle of the night, you should be extra careful. More accidents occur in the evening and at night when there is actually less traffic but humans aren't nocturnal and see very badly in the dark!
Aug. 26, 2013, 12:33 pm
bkmanhatposeur from brokelyn says:
Swamp Yankee equates a cyclist blowing through lights as dangerous as a reckless cab driver.
I stand a better chance of surviving a bicycle collision than some driver who thinks the roads are littered with IED's & driving as though he were on the highway of death in Kanhndahar.
Aug. 26, 2013, 12:55 pm
Swampyankee from Ruined Brooklyn says:
So not a single cyclist will claim they stop for all red lights? Not a single one of you obeys the law? Don't want to obey the law don't complain when you get hit. As I have always said, almost all cyclist break the law every single day. No wonder no one takes cycling seriously. Tick-tock the DOT commissioner is gone in a few months. She will not be retained. Lack of paint will not be your biggest problem when the next mayor lets NYPD take the gloves off
Aug. 26, 2013, 1:08 pm
Jude Moonshade from Roslyn says:
Hi, I'm out on Long Island, and I drive, and I ride a Bicycle too. When I'm in New York, Queens or Broklyn, it's always on my Bicycle.
When I drive the Car, I always give Cyclists the Right-of-Way. The Bike is always faster in city traffic, you might as well admit it.
In regards to Red Lights, a stopped bicycle is hard to get moving again. I have to out my foot down on the curb if I want to stop, but what if there are pedestrians, hot dog carts, or trucks being loaded or unloaded? If I move over to the curb, I disappear behind a parked SUV, and the driver behind me thinks I made a right turn, when I'm actually going straight.
I think you should all quit complaining , and get yourself a Bicycle. "If you can't beat them , join them", the saying goes. So get a Bicycle. A person on a Bicycle can go Five Times the Distance he or she could otherwise walk.
Aug. 26, 2013, 1:22 pm
The Chooch from the hipster cycle says:
Swampy is obsessing. He hates cyclists because he hates hipsters. Answer to his question. No, we should definitely not waste police time ticketing bikers, because bikers don't kill people. Cars kill people, so that's where the cops need to ticket.

It's a common sense matter of where to prioritize police time. It is not the "ah ha! Now we can finally bust a beardo!" opportunity that swampy with his latent redneck hippy-baiting animus would like it to be.

Look, you've also got hipster-haters saying why don't the cops bust hipsters for drugs when we know hipsters buy and use drugs. Why do they only stop and frisk homeys? Because, Einstein, hipsters are not causing trouble in the course of their drug taking.
Aug. 26, 2013, 1:49 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
As usual, the bike zealots whine about losing a bike lane that they most likely barely use to begin with. More importantly, they gang up on whoever doesn't agree with them like some fanatical group. Seriously, behaving like this isn't going to help you get what you want, it will just be more of a call for another ticket blitz. In all honesty, I don't see why cyclists need special lanes to get around when they can just follow the traffic laws to begin with. I know that some of them might seem absurd, but acting like victims to them is only going to add more fuel to those that are against the infrastructure for bicycles, so you better start getting on their good sides rather than bad sides here. Keep in mind that Bloomberg isn't going to be mayor forever and the next mayor might want to show that they are more in touch with the people, and getting more bike lanes or even bike share locations might be a lot harder. Overall, I don't hate anyone who rides a bicycle, just the attitude they tend to give to others as having the rules not applying to them.
Aug. 26, 2013, 4:24 pm
jay from nyc says:
coch, wow, what a racist comment. Beyond that, yes, its true, bike riders break the law everyday, all day, but what does that have to do with paint?
There is NO relationship between the two. Bicycles break the law with lane paint and without it. This is like arguing that a person ran a stop sign because they don't have car insurance. They ran the stop sign because they did not stop, and the insurance issue has nothing to do with whether they stopped or not. These posts are F-ing stupid.
Come on, I can't believe you dolts are arguing about this, the lanes need to get repainted, its simple.
Aug. 26, 2013, 5:57 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I do find it an irony that bike zealots complain about others feeling so much entitled to everything they want when in fact they act that way themselves.
Aug. 26, 2013, 6:03 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brroklyn says:
Ethan,
cyclists don't kill people? two words, Chris Bucchere
Aug. 26, 2013, 7:04 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
Here is a recent study of cyclist behaviour in NYC:

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/nyregion/city_room/spring_2009_bikestudy_2.pdf
conclusions:
"This study has also demonstrated that a large number of cyclists
routinely disobey many traffic laws. Among the cyclists observed,
the proportions who ignored certain traffic laws were as follows:
(1) 37 percent did not stop at a red light at all, (2) 13.2 percent rode
against traffic, and (3) 29.3 percent did not use a designated bike
lane."
Aug. 26, 2013, 7:49 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
another study detailing over 1,000 pedestrian injuries requiring medical attention at a Hospital:

http://gothamist.com/2011/09/19/pedestrians_are_hit_by_more_bicycli.php

cyclist can and do injure pedestrians every day.
Aug. 26, 2013, 7:52 pm
Bronx Guy from Bronx says:
SwampYankee,

Has it ever occurred to you that certain automobile laws are not followed by bicycles because they're not cars?

I strongly feel bicycles should be authorized by law to yield at red lights and stop signs. Anything to encourage bicycling to relieve congestion on roads and mass transit. The dangers of yielding a red on a bike are comparable to crossing against the red on foot, minimal and not worth the wait.

Bicycle enforcement should focus more so on wrong way riders, which is a greater danger due to them being unexpected. Also lighting at night.

As for automobiles, NYPD should start harrasing double parkers more often as they create a dangerous situation for bicyclist and other drivers, especially those blocking bicycle lanes.
Aug. 26, 2013, 8:48 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I would respect Swamp Yankee more if he could figure out how bikes and cars are different.
Aug. 26, 2013, 10:09 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
"I would respect Swamp Yankee more if he could figure out how bikes and cars are different."

It's not Swamp Yankee that has that problem - it's the bike riders who have that problem because the rules of the road for VEHICLES are just a suggestion to bikers.
Aug. 27, 2013, 9:27 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
And Bronx guy, stop "feeling" and the rules.
Aug. 27, 2013, 9:28 am
AH from Brooklyn says:
As a biking commuter, this conversation reveals what is wrong with trying to get around in a city of self-interested zealots: bikers and drivers alike. Sorry Swamp, cars are just more dangerous, take up more room, and inflict more damage on the bodies of peds and bikers.

Sorry fellow bikers, your bad behavior frightens pedestrians, and other bikers.

I don't 'blow through lights'--ever. I always yield to pedestrians. That said, after I stop or slow down to a crawl, if nothing is coming, I do cautiously ride through red lights. I also spend about 1/2 my time on the bike navigating around double-parked cars sitting in something called a BIKE LANE not a DROP OFF LANE.

But nothing is worse than riding cautiously in the city, only to have fellow bikers pretending they are alone on the road in some speed trial. Look in the eyes of pedestrians. They FEAR us. As little courtesy would go a long way.
Aug. 27, 2013, 10:07 am
The Chooch from the gentrification cycle says:
Point is, you'll always have boneheads in cars and on bikes. But the priority will be on policing cars because statistically they dwarf the danger posed by bikes. That's as it should be.
Aug. 27, 2013, 1:47 pm
Sigh from Brooklyn says:
What a waste of pixels.
Aug. 27, 2013, 6:06 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
I always try and bee a good citizen and respectful of other on and around me when I am driving. For hte most parts cyclists behave well when they are around cars and we get along just fine. A couple of little notes. When I am at a light and it turns green I do look around but I also accelerate into the intersection. If you ran the opposing light to try and squeeze through you are on you own. Please don't do that. Also, if you are riding in on my right had side if the bike lane or on the other side of the white line I probably see you, but you might be in your blind spot. I'm also watching the traffic ahead, behind me and to my right. I'm not watching you all the time. Stay out of my blind spot for your own safety. If you can see me in your mirror I can probably see you. If you can stay a bit ahead or behind and watch my turn. signal, I do use it. I will try give you as much space as I can, even if you ahead of me in case you have to avoid an obstacle. Sometimes if you are right next to me I can't give you as much space as I like because I would drift into the next lane. I'll try to give you space, try not to push me into the next lane. I really do try and work with everybody. This is why when I am a pedestrian I am infuriated when cyclist blow through lights. The idea that you can disobey a law because you don't like it is not fair to pedestrians. I don't pick and choose what driving laws to obey when I am operating a moving vehicle. You wouldn't like that so imagine how I feel when cyclist don't offer the same consideration to pedestrians? Cars are not going away, here will be more bikes, there will always be pedestrians. It's not OK to break the law because you think you are being safe. PEdestrians can, and do get hit by cyclists. I see it a few times a year. You don't get to pick what level of injury is fair and appropriate. Stop at red lights. You don't think you will hit someone until you do
Aug. 27, 2013, 6:27 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
To quote Confucius, "Respect is something one must, not demand." In other words, you bike zealots just didn't win my respect especially with the attitude so many of you tend to display. If you really want the rules to change then start complying to them no matter how pointless or absurd they happen to be. Then and only then can they be changed. Right now, you guys are in no position to act that way, or your support won't be good among those that could be on the fence. I do tend to see websites such as Streetsblog like the Electronic Intifada especially when they don't listen to reason have numerous members there making personal attacks at anyone who doesn't side with them. For the record, I have tried to give cyclists the benefit of the doubt, but their actions tend to make me feel otherwise. The only reason why there may not be a lot of pedestrians hit by bicycles is because many of them either go unreported or the cyclist got away before anyone came to the scene. Nobody hates cyclists as a whole, just the way some tend to act.
Aug. 27, 2013, 6:38 pm
ty from pps says:
Oh... f*cking hell, Tal. Swampy actually just posted a reasonable comment (I don't agree with it all, but I actually fully endorse the vast majority everything he said). Then you come along with a whole lot of friggin' nonsense. You are such a dimwitted dumb piece of sh*t. Aaack!
Aug. 27, 2013, 6:53 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal, have you even read Streetsblog?

Nobody hates cyclists as a whole, but I hat you, Tal. All of you.
Aug. 27, 2013, 6:54 pm
ty from pps says:
By the way, Tal. NO ONE desires your respect.
Aug. 27, 2013, 7:06 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
BTW, I do use my turning signal and my kids do too. most drivers don't and that is dangerous. Don't count on anyone using their signals I'd love to see that get ticketed more
Aug. 27, 2013, 7:09 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, you really do need to stop drinking that Haterade and start taking chill pills seeing how offensive you tend to be.
Aug. 28, 2013, 4:34 pm
Chicken Underwear from Park Slope says:
Sorry if you can't handle the hate, Tal. But you bring out the worst in people. You uninformed opinions can lead do people getting hurt.

Please shut up and go away,
Aug. 30, 2013, 8:12 am

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