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Finally! Fourth Avenue to get protected bike lanes

Get rolling: The four-mile-long protected bike lane would stretch from Boerum Hill to Bay Ridge.
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The city aims to install two protected bike lanes along four miles of Fourth Avenue from Boerum Hill to Bay Ridge.

The proposed path would run between Dean and 65th streets and separate cyclists from traffic with a buffer of parked cars. Activists have pressed the city for such a lane for years, claiming it would curb accidents on the bustling thoroughfare, but the Department of Transportation shot down the idea in favor of expanding medians along stretches of the roadway. Now locals are ecstatic that the city has reconsidered, said one community activist.

“It’ll make the ride so much safer. I’m absolutely jubilant,” said Sunset Parker Tony Giordano, who has pushed for the lane since 2014. “This has really been a David and Goliath battle. We’ve been advocating for this for years.”

Fourth Avenue would feature a cycling path on each side of the thoroughfare from Boerum Hill, through Gowanus, Park Slope, and Sunset Park, up to Bay Ridge. It would be a vital connector between the Downtown area and Southern Brooklyn, said one Park Slope bike enthusiast.

“There’s not a protected north-and-south route from the southern part of Sunset Park up to Atlantic Avenue, so I think this will be something that will be of great benefit to people who bike,” said Eric McClure, co-chairman of the Community Board 6 transportation committee. “I think it’s great news.”

The path proposal is an amendment to the city’s 2016 plans to raise medians to two feet above the roadway and widen them by four feet on either side with added greenery and benches at some intersections.

But Brooklyn has seen a spike in commuter cycling, and the city decided a bike lane was a better use of the space, said the commissioner of the Department of Transportation.

“The dramatic surge in cycling, combined with safety changes that have dramatically improved Fourth Avenue’s safety and livability, have simply transformed the way Brooklynites see this street,” said Polly Trottenberg. “Before we undertake construction that will transform the corridor for decades, we look forward to engaging with elected officials, neighborhoods, and community boards to consider changes to our original plans.”

In the next two weeks, the city will begin spelling out its plans at Community Boards 2, 6, and 7. But the bike lane does not require approval from community boards or City Council to proceed.

Installation of the bike lane will likely begin this year.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.

Updated 3:57 pm, March 17, 2017
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Reasonable discourse

tony from sunset park says:
Two huge benefits to Sunset Park from the City's decision to put a protected bike lane on 4th Ave.

1. It is the first time in the history of NYC that a "social media" group acted as a Civic Group and made a major change in their community. We established the future of civic involvement.

2. It is the beginning of reclaiming our neighborhood from the destructive Gowanus Expressway and lessen the City using us as a "commuter traffic corridor" - 4th Avenue will now return to a "human" scale and we will have cleaner air and less traffic.

But the "fight" is not over - our work is not done - 4th Avenue has a number of sidewalks that "belong" to cars and not pedestrians - our children walking to and from school must play "chicken" with 3,000 pound cars for the sidewalk that belongs to us. We will insist that DOT paint "pedestrian safety zones" on the sidewalk - where cars cannot park and cannot proceed without a full stop and it must be treated like a crosswalk - pedestrians have priority over vehicles.

The gas station next to PS 172 does a version of this - we want this done at the two car washes, the other gas stations and all driveways that cross our 4th Ave sidewalks - this is out next battle.

Anyone who would like to help us win this next battle, please contact us on Sunset Parker FB
March 16, 10:08 pm
Tim from Cobble Hill says:
The protected bike lane is great news not only for bike commuters but also drivers and pedestrians, as it organizes the bike traffic in a single set of lanes, rather than uncontrolled, as it is now.
March 17, 1:10 am
John O'Hara from Sunset Park says:
Tony & Renee,
Thanks so much for pushing through such a well structered project. For over 30 years you've done so much for the neighborhood. - John
March 17, 1:22 am
Anthony from Bay Ridge says:
I've been driving on 4th Avenue over 30 years now and I know of a few issues that should be of concern. 1) All the double parked delivery trucks along 4th Avenue causing cars to have to move over into other lanes and slowing things down. 2) Cars in the turn lanes, either towards 3rd or 5th Avenues, that spill out into the traffic lanes causing cars to have to go around them and, again, slowing things down., and 3) Double parked cars outside of the train stations, in particular the 36th Street station. What would be the plan to alleviate these existing problems once you dedicate a lane for bikes just off the sidewalk and move the parking spots into what is now a driving lane?
March 17, 8:12 am
Dave from Brooklyn says:
@ Anthony,

It doesn't move or remove any driving lanes. It reduces the width of the parking lane. Check out the diagram in the photo at the top.

Double parking is an enforcement issue, not design.
March 17, 9:05 am
John Q. Citizen from the County of Kings says:
Let's get real here:

The DOT mock-up with trees over the 8' Parking Lane & Pedestrian Island AND on top of the center median is impossible...there's a subway (D/N/R lines) underneath. Extra weight - and roots - will never be permitted to compromise the structure.

Anthony from Bay Ridge is absolutely right about double-parked trucks, which, with a segregated bike lane added, will make deliveries to 4th Avenue businesses all but impossible AND create unsafe, constant chicanery on a heavily-depended upon through-traffic route (recently reduced from three lanes to two!). What becomes of the B103 bus stops? Can you see the future? Single-file in rush-hours and every hour, for miles. How does this crawl, with its resultant stopping and idling, affect air quality? I wonder.

The cost: It only makes sense that if a "bulb-out" or curb-extension at a single Park Slope school corner is a proposed $500,000 capital project, then the full-length and depth of this four-mile long "improvement" could easily top a half-BILLION.

Attention NYC DOT and City Council: Isn't it high time for a "Bicycle Community Re-Investment Contribution" to help offset this massive prior and future investment in infrastructure? Bicycle Registration (fee), Bike Rider Licensing (fee), Safety School (fee), Eye Test and Road Testing (Bridge and Tunnel passage (toll)...might just be a good and responsible thing in a "shared roadways" environment. Rule-tightening and fines (helmets, lights, motor-driven bikes, etc.), Liability Insurance and enforcement will serve everyone well.

Bottom line:
Motorists, having paid their dues (tolls, fees, fines, fuel taxes, insurance) to improve and maintain NYC's roads and safety, soon to navigate a street-furniture-filled, 4th Avenue miasma with arterial stenosis.
Bicyclists given another free ride.
March 17, 9:57 am
John from Prospect Heights says:
Congratulations to the community for making this happen. I love the 4th Ave corridor and this will make it even better.
March 17, 10:03 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Guess what, just because you bought a multi-million dollar condo on 4th Ave, it doesn't mean 4th Ave is no longer a commuter traffic corridor. Enjoy your asthma for the next year, until the next mayor undoes this foolishness.
March 17, 10:19 am
idiota from 4th Ave says:
Only in NYC do they take what's functional and make it disfunctional just to satisfy some loud mouth idiots.

The question is, where will the already overtaxed roadway traffic go.

Enjoy rush hour! And don't blame the angry motorists that will become frustrated as humans naturally do when stuck in traffic and speed to get round stopped vehicles and thru changing traffic lights.

And if it wasn't for the BQE, just imagine what it would be like!!!

Can't wait to wrap my business and get out of this overcrowding borough.

Brooklyn's gone to the idiots.
March 17, 11:31 am
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
let there be more sidewalk cafes on 4 Avenue with the arrival of new bike lanes.
March 17, 11:41 am
Andrew from NY says:
This is also great for pedestrians, especially those who have a tough time getting across like older folks and kids, as it will shorten the crossing distance by 3 feet. Nice!
March 17, 12:11 pm
Suzanne from Bay Ridge says:
This should go all the way to 69th St. aka Bay Ridge Ave to connect with the turn right to Shore Rd. Those last few blocks are dangerous for bikers under the BQE, the on-ramp to the Belt. Just a few more blocks would make this perfect!

Bikes don't pollute or clog the streets the way cars with single occupant do. More green efforts benefit everyone, included in the plan are more trees, less emissions, exercise for those who choose biking and that should all be without tolls! Keeps our other taxpayer expenses low with less asthma, less obesity. Think big picture!
March 17, 12:26 pm
ty from pps says:
maybe we can get a lane for picnic tables like in herald square.
March 17, 12:35 pm
Tyler from pps says:
That wasn't me, but I'm not opposed to making streets more livable for humans (if that's what your little 'joke' was meant to poke fun at).

The long-winded comments above seem to be a lot of "I hate change!" types. You know how we take care of delivery double-parking? You add loading zones. Done. But what will the "I hate change" folks immediate response to that be? Hmmm? (I can guess, can you?)
March 17, 2:58 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Yeah, because trucks never double park in Manhattan, which is one giant loading zone all day.
March 17, 3:29 pm
NN from Boerum Hill says:
This looks like a really good plan.
March 17, 3:49 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I still find placing bike lanes of any kind on major thoroughfares such as 4th Avenue a bad idea. In all honesty, I feel that it's the last place they should be. Let's not forget that commercial vehicles are using this road a lot as they are numerous streets they aren't permitted on. It's already bad enough that there has been a lot of new development with new condos going up that is slowing down traffic, and the protected bike lanes can just make that feel even worse. As for the BQE, that's not going to disappear anytime soon, plus getting rid of it will just lead to more commercial vehicles and other alternating volume on the local streets making the asthma rates in certain neighborhoods go from bad to worse.
March 17, 5:25 pm
Jim from Bay Ridge says:
solid.
March 17, 10:26 pm
Lucy Noodles says:
Why don't they move all car traffic underground and make the whole street level for bicycles?
March 18, 8:18 am
bkmanhatposuer from Nubrucklyn says:
I love my bike lanes! All you old-school Brooklynites who don't like cyclist can kiss my ass!
March 18, 9:31 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
The real beneficiaries of this will be the delis that sell flowers and those candles in a jar - a white bike coming to your neighborhood!
March 18, 12:42 pm
Petunia Wiggelsfort Gonzalez from Bk says:
You said it Rufus! Bike lanes?? More like bark planes!
I don't believe a word of it! Never gonna happen!
March 18, 3 pm
tony from sunset park says:
Maybe I can shed some light on additional issues. The double parking actually increased since DOT installed the "pilot" program - using painted lines and plastic poles. DOT created a five foot wide "designated" zone between the traffic zone and the parking lane. Drivers thought this was for double parking - but it was not wide enough. But as the commenter above noted - double parking continued. We thought it made 4th more dangerous but rather than use our opinion - we reviewed all NYPD traffic accident reports for 4th Avenue in 2014. We found it was higher than before. DOT responded saying "but deaths & physical injury decreased" - we cannot verify that because they used algorithms to make their numbers up. What we do know is there was a reportable accident every other day - and you know most drivers when faced with a fender bender prefer not to file with NYPD and not go thru insurance....so these were serious accidents. The removal of this mystery "lane" will cut double parking (accidents would have become much more severe if DOT went ahead with their plan to add 4 foot concrete "wings" on either side of the median- cars swerving would have hit them instead of merely running over painted warning lines. I hope this helps explain the double parking issue a little.
March 18, 3:53 pm
tony from sunset park says:
A little more - take a one liter soda bottle and cut the bottom off. Turn it upside down and dump a hand full of marble it...the first few will get through but then the flow stops - this is a classic bottleneck. Now put the marbles in your hand and trickle them in - they will flow smoothly. This is the trick we are hoping will pay dividends on 4th - what seems like slower traffic will actually be faster, smoother traffic because we will avoid the start & stop bottlenecks.

But we have not stopped here - we have sent a letter to each of our elected officials asking for support for several more changes along 4th - first a simple thing - "rat" netting a few inches under the proposed surface of soil in the median - to keep the subway rats from nesting in the new planted area. Second, a "don't block the grid" at 38th & 4th where traffic rushing to commute to Manhattan exits the Gowanus to use 4th as an alternative - they routinely ignore the red light - two schools & McDonalds are adjacent to this problem zone (as well as 39th Street bus transfer point to the 36th st subway). Third, pedestrian crosswalks on the sidewalks (yes the sidewalks) in front of the two car washes, gas stations (next to PS 172 has a variation on this already), and all driveways that access 4th Avenue. These will be safety zones where cars from the businesses will not be allowed to sit (and they will be asked to make a full stop before crossing it) and pedestrians- especially school kids will be given priority over the cars - just like normal crosswalks. No longer will our kids have to play chicken with cars coming out of McDonalds or a car wash. Another change is to prohibit and enforce the prohibition from tire repair shops using 4th ave as part of their business. How many times have you swerved to miss a squatting tire changer whose back it to you (and all oncoming traffic)? Our commitment to 4th Ave is for drivers, pedestrians, school kids in general and bikers...if you think we forgot something or got something wrong (most likely we did - we're far from perfect or expert) please contact us at sprcmail@gmail.com or join us at Sunset Parker on FB.
March 18, 4:04 pm
tony from sunset park says:
As a kid, I went out with a friend in the middle of the night in 1970 to paint over the engineering marks along 4th Ave that were made to mark where a new 3rd lane of traffic would go - eating up our broad sidewalk. I failed then, so it will be nice to succeed this time...lol. In 1940/41 Robert Moses dramatically changed the nature of Sunset when he replaced our elevated train on 3rd with a four lane elevated Gowanus Highway (now called the "Don't Go-On-Us Expressway"). He committed to help commuters from NJ & Long Island get to Manhattan using Sunset as nothing more than a commuter traffic corridor. With reclaiming 4th Avenue (at least one lane) for biking we are beginning to return Sunset to a human scale. I do apologize for something that has not been mentioned - we will be losing some parking spots. It is up to us, working together to make this minimal.
March 18, 4:12 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
How can a storefront tire repair shop work without using the street in front of the store?
March 18, 4:27 pm
idiota from 4th Ave says:
I love Lucy Noodles who wants to move all the cars under ground. So silly. How about we move all the bikes underground?

And Tony from sunset park - zzzzzz....

We need efficient streets and removing travel lanes isn't the way to get there, literally & figuratively.

NYC is slowly coming to a transportation halt by accommodating overpopulation without increasing infrastructure. It's reckless & irresponsible and a perfect example of why our system of government is no longer effective.

Rome fell and soon will we as we've lost our sense of functionality and only seem to focus on the frivolous.
March 18, 5:12 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Tony, there are some areas that you have wrong here. First of all, I don't have anything against the use of bicycles, I just don't think that they deserve a special infrastructure that comes at the expense of inconveniencing others that use the road. Another thing is that most cyclists seem to use the roads when it's weather permitting as numerous studies have found making the bike lanes created for them to be seen as a waste of space. As for your mention of the Gowanus Expressway, that didn't replace a number of former elevated trains, that was done when the 4th Avenue Line for the subway was built making the els on both 3rd and 5th Avenues obsolete in that it can go much faster than either of them, which was long before that highway came around. On a side note, Lucy Noodle's idea of placing all motor vehicles underground is pretty expensive and probably an environmental disaster, which is why the Westway was never done to replace the original Miller Highway over in Manhattan, plus the Big Dig in Boston sprung leaks not long after being completed making it a major risk if it ever comes here along with that fear as well.
March 18, 5:45 pm
Jimmy from Sunset Park says:
Can't believe what I'm hearing. We're about to loose a lane of traffic on probably the most functional road of our area to accommodate some bikes.

It's true, we've lost our sense of purpose.

What a traffic nightmare this will create.

If you want to appease the cyclists, put a bike lane on the oversized and underutilized sidewalks or on the center median with ramps at the intersections. The center medians being the best as the snow falls though the grating making a self sustains safe environment in winter.

I hope someone wakes up to what a bad idea this is let alone to consider doing.
March 19, 9:18 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Jimmy: Google Agenda 21 - They want to turn your world into the 3rd world to save the polar ice caps. They get to keep their limos, you get to ride the bus with your comrades. They consider your private vehicle that you are using to get to work to pay their taxes in the form of fuel tax, parking taxes, registration taxes, tolls, and real estate taxes, and income taxes and sales taxes, immoral because they know best.
March 19, 10:49 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Jimmy, the traffic nightmare is the whole point for these people. Punishing drivers is what they get out of bed for.
March 19, 10:52 am
Reading is Fundamental from Brooklyn says:
Jimmy/Henry Ford/Rufus Leaking

READ the proposal! There is no traffic lane being removed, there is a new one being added.
March 19, 11:01 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
The proposal vs. reality.

When you propose from the Ivory Tower instead of the trenches, it delivers Utopia to the masses only because you said so. Reality - it's what happens when you order water to flow up hill, as Pol Pot did.

Get on the bus comrades! The Apparatchicks need your parking space.
March 19, 1:04 pm
Susan from Sunset park says:
This is horrible news!!!!! Most bicyclist do not follow the law in the street. Just shaking my head, more headaches. Put the bike lanes on second Avenue or third Avenue.
March 19, 3:45 pm
Boeingsandbikes from Park Slope says:
Today we avoid Fourth Ave. and its businesses because it's a life-or-death, car-choked hellhole. It's almost unbelievable that perhaps before long it will be somewhere that we'd be interested in stopping along, where it's not just a game of chicken deathmatch with the speeding traffic. Reclaiming a corridor of Brooklyn for the people who live here, rather than just pollute it trying to get to a free bridge crossing into Manhattan, is a major victory for us.
March 19, 5:01 pm
Reading is Fundamental from Brooklyn says:
@ Rufus Leaking from BH

Dude, seek mental help.
March 19, 6:27 pm
Holly Willoughby from Park Slope says:
If they want more people to bicycle, how about planting more trees on this street? There is no shade, and bicyclists will get sunburnt riding on it. The trees could serve as a barrier against the cars. Also, why not crack down on all the insane car service "drivers" on fourth avenue? I put quotes around drivers because there is no way most of these people are licensed to drive livery cabs. If the police could get up off their precious butts for just a minute they could make this street so much better for normal cars and bikes.
March 20, 9:51 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
Nothing is going to stop double-parking and delivery trucks along Fourth. They'll still block a lane of traffic, plus the parking lane, and most likely the bike lane, if they want their usual ease of access to the sidewalks. We've got Loading/Unloading Zones in my neighborhood, and the trucks still have to double park for deliveries because the store owners next to the Zones use them as private parking. Yes, enforcement is non-existent, but this bike lane won't change drivers' habits. You'll just have cyclists having to avoid the rear doors of delivery trucks that hang open, and the piles of boxes that will be stacked in the street in the bike lane before being moved into the shops.

We already have laws about how to safely and properly enter and exit driveways, and they are mostly ignored. I find it humorous that the bike lobby, who complain constantly that drivers can't/won't/don't respect crosswalks and pedestrian right of way are suddenly going to do so on sidewalks.

And trees along Fourth are entirely unsustainable due to the subway infrastructure beneath. The grand old trees along the R line in the 70s are a major source of leaks in the stations.
March 20, 1:52 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
Yes! I finally get my own doppelganger troll! I've finally made the big time!

I never said anything about change being a problem. (Very hard for a moderate liberal like myself to be anti-change.) I just don't think this change is going to be an improvement. It'll just be a lot of money and work, and the results will be the same-old, traffic flow, with the same problems.
March 20, 3:43 pm
Joe from Greenpoint says:
Much less bikers in the Winter time.
If the don't park trees in the parking lane, they could plow the snow off into the bike lane. Snow from the sidewalk could also be pushed there.
March 20, 4:22 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
And in the summer, the bike lanes will be great for strolling down the avenue. I love how bikers fight to take space from cars, only to lose them to pedestrians. Walkers uber alles.
March 20, 4:29 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Sorry folks. I didn't read the proposal because they do not teach reading skills down here in Bay Ridge.
March 20, 4:41 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Just get cyclists to follow the rules when being on the road and everything will be fine. Unfortunately, the bike zealots will never agree to this. The reason is not only will it make them part of the system they don't want to be part of, plus it will make the need for special lanes obsolete for their needs. In reality, a lot of the bike lanes be it protected or not do go unused most of the time, which makes them feel like a wasted space just like HOV lanes on a major highway that makes everyone else using the roads feel very inconvenienced by this.
March 20, 5:04 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
And I know this to be true because I live in the Pleasantville, NY section of Brooklyn
March 20, 5:16 pm
Virginia Pootersly from Downtown Brooklyn says:
Many women don't own bicycles because they earn less money than men, and because of the risk of sexual assault. These bike lanes seem to be misogynist therefore. Why don't they build something for the WOMEN like sheltered maternity lanes?
March 21, 6:06 am
Jim from Park Slope says:
When they are done installing the bike lane on 4th Avenue they should proceed to instituting congestion pricing on all the free East River bridges. Its beyond time that car and truck drivers start to pay for the full cost of infrastructure and damage to the environment their vehicles cause.

BOOM!
March 21, 1:35 pm
Finally sanity on this board from Brooklyn says:
Jim from Park Slope is correct.
March 21, 4:17 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Sorry guys, but that won't happen especially not in the near future. Many who live in the outer boroughs and suburbs oppose this idea greatly. They don't just see this as a regressive tax, but also a punishment to not having any viable alternatives to getting around without driving. Keep in mind that transit deserts do exist within NYC no matter how much you don't think it exist. BTW, we motorists that are registered in this state already do pay a lot for infrastructure. Perhaps, we should start considering bicycles actual vehicles so that they can pay into it through licensing, registration, and insurance just like the rest of us so that they can now say that they pay into the roads as well. Currently, they are the ones getting the free rides not to mention their own special infrastructure that they hardly pay into themselves. Of course bike zealot groups such as Transportation Alternatives will never support this, because they don't just want to try to get away from the system, but they know it will mean that they can be tracked and caught for flouting the laws if they were to ever have any of those three that motorists have.
March 21, 5:21 pm
Actual Brooklyn Resident from Brooklyn says:
Tal,

I'd suggest possibly moving out of your parent's suburban basement before lecturing the people of Brooklyn on paying their own way.
March 21, 6 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I have a feeling that a lot of you bike zealots just resort to using different names just to increase your numbers or that you have been put in your place and can't find anything else to defend your claim with, not to mention impersonations to make those that disagree with you look bad.
March 22, 4:03 pm
Josh Levy from Park Slope says:
This 4th Ave Bike Lane is a great idea. I fully support it. Thank you DOT and any other City Officials who are orchestrating this long-overdue effort.
March 24, 6:15 pm

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