Parked Cars Already Blocking Grand Army Plaza's Two-Way Bike Lane

The DOT installed the controversial unprotected lanes over the past week, but some drivers are ignoring the green paint, leading to more potential for accidents.

The highly controversial, two-way bike lane has arrived on Plaza Street and Plaza Street East—but the bright green paint doesn't seem to be stopping drivers from parking on it.

A double-parked car was spotted smack in the middle of the lane on Monday (first photo in the gallery), just days after the lanes were installed.

"They added arrows and bike lane markers ... but cars still stop and/or park in the lane. I just missed the shot of the four bikers cursing out this guy while having to go around with other traffic coming," wrote Prospect Heighter Diane Ungar, who sent in the photos.

The bike lane was of the transportation committees of Community Board 6 (Park Slope) and CB8 (Prospect Heights). 

When the DOT announced their plans to install the two way bike lane, many biking advocates protested that an unprotected two-way bike lane is particularly dangerous because of exactly this issue: double parked cars would force bicyclists into traffic and drivers onto the bike lane to go around them. With bicyclists going both ways, the potential for accidents goes up even higher.

“What happens when a cyclist going contraflow is confronted by a car going around a double parked car?” asked one resident at the April 19 meeting.

“It’s a terrible disaster waiting to happen,” said another.

Several people said design is also too dangerous for pedestrians, who would need to watch for cars and bikes in both directions when trying to cross. A number of speakers preferred the Prospect Park West design, which allows pedestrians to stop between crossing the bike lane and crossing the street.

In repsonse to the concerns, DOT spokesman Chris Hrones said that 25 percent of bikers already rode against traffic.

“You already have that. What we’re trying to do is make it more predictable,” he said.

And after approving the design, members of both community boards said that while it wasn't perfect, it was a step in the right direction

“This is a good compromise,” said Robert Witherwax, coordinator of GAPCo, a Grand Army Plaza community organization that worked closely with the DOT in designing the plan. “It’s a good way to share the street.”

Chris August 07, 2012 at 10:42 PM
I ride this everyday. Drivers have been parked in the bike lane ever since the green paint went in. It's a joke. What are the community boards going to do to fix it?
zinka August 08, 2012 at 12:42 AM
This project was designed to encourage and allow double-parking. No one should be surprised that it results in double-parking. This is incredibly dangerous, and shows why we shouldn't design our streets to encourage lawbreaking by drivers (or anyone else).
frank August 08, 2012 at 12:46 AM
why do we take away lane.......... its all over the city make for a very bad day for drives
Elaine August 08, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Only a protected lane like on Prospect park west makes sense here. Back to the drawing board!!!!
poppy August 08, 2012 at 02:05 AM
you think people are going to stop double parking because of a bike line that will never happen what dopes that think that would happen
Andrea August 08, 2012 at 02:28 AM
That's why it needs to be a real bike lane like on the park. This doesn't work. Already had to ride in traffic because it was blocked today. Will not take my kids on it, that's for sure. The DOT needs to fix it soon.
Andrea August 08, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Chicken Underwear August 08, 2012 at 02:39 AM
I am shocked (not)
Clifford Fee August 08, 2012 at 02:52 AM
What traffic engineers know and most people don't understand is that traffic on a route only goes as fast as the traffic at the slowest point. For example, along Prospect Park West the slowest point is the circle at the end. Traffic cannot go any faster than it can get around the circle. If you had ten lanes on Prospect Park West traffic would not go any faster because it would all slow at the circle. More lanes do not make faster traffic.
Michael Padwee August 08, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Drivers who don't obey traffic rules should be ticketed. By the same token, bikers should be ticketed for disobeying the rules, also. But this is NEVER done--to the detriment of pedestrian safety!
jill August 08, 2012 at 02:27 PM
On the contrary, Padwee, I myself, along with many of my cyclist friends, have received hefty tickets for riding on the sidewalk(often when the road is unsafe) I have, however, yet to hear of a single ticket given to a car parked in a bike lane.
Hambone August 08, 2012 at 02:30 PM
I bet if you go to that corner, you will see that the sign post the bike is chained to says, "NO PARKING HERE TO CORNER"!
Hambone August 08, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Well, it seems like the city has stumbled upon another revenue stream. Tickets for parking/stopping in bike lanes.
Chicken Underwear August 08, 2012 at 02:38 PM
What planet are you on. Virtually , nobody got a speeding ticket in the 78th Precinct http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/35/30/all_brownstonespeedingjune_2012_07_27_bk.html and hundreds of bikers are getting ticketed. http://brooklynpaper.com/stories/34/14/all_bikecrackdown_2011_4_8_bk.html
Sara August 08, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Yeah this is poorly thought out and executed
Howard G. August 08, 2012 at 04:28 PM
I need to jump on the bandwagon here. On numerous occasions, I have witnessed bicycle riders being ticketed by the NYPD in our neighborhood. One incident involved a woman cyclist who made a right turn through a red light onto Vanderbilt Avenue, from Sterling Place. She even stopped and looked before she turned. Obviously she still qualified for the moving violation. If you wish to encourage double trouble, just try that maneuver while you're sipping a 32-ounce soda.
Elaine August 08, 2012 at 06:11 PM
What is Rob Witherwax and the community board going to do to correct this mistake? It must be made safer!!!!
NBBL watch August 08, 2012 at 08:04 PM
You can also thank NBBL's Louise Hainline for this. She took credit for DOT scrapping its original plan for a protected lane here. The community boards bowed to the pressure. Our families pay the price as a result. “If we had not done what we’ve been doing with the bike lanes, they probably would have moved ahead." Um, thanks?
Tim O August 09, 2012 at 04:28 AM
Drivers are above the law. They will never stop blocking bike lanes and the NYPD isn't about to stop them.
Rob Witherwax August 09, 2012 at 05:09 PM
I stand by my quote, that this is a “good compromise” and a “good way to share the street”. I have not been “proven wrong” in “all of a day”. What are “Rob Witherwax and the community board going to do to correct this mistake”, you ask? Nothing, since we do not believe there has been any mistake or anything that needs correction with this improvement. All the comments focus on DOT and on design flaws: first of all, It’s not radically different from the old lane, and therefore it is not realistic to expect a radically different pattern of use by any user groups - cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers – especially just a week after installation. But design isn't the problem. What could make this improved configuration work better, and bring about a radically different pattern of use? How about the periodic presence of an NYPD cruiser? The street will work fine if everyone plays by the rules; enforcement of those rules is entirely absent.
Ken August 09, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Before you bring the NYPD to task about enforcing traffic laws, try looking at the reduced number of police on the force. The NYPD has about 8,000 fewer police than it did 10 years ago! Precinct police have been ridiculed about giving out traffic tickets. If a policeman issues a ticket that is over-turned in court, they are penalized 3 vacation days. Why would any cop want to do this? Further, precinct police do not issue speeding tickets...only Highway does. Why?...because they don't have the equipment (radar, etc.) to verify a cars actual speed which is mandatory in court (the speedometers in a precinct car are not calibrated to accurately track the speed of a car). Now, why is all the above in force? Don't ask the Mayor or Police Commissioner...ask your elected officials...They make the laws, everyone must follow them!
poppy August 09, 2012 at 06:52 PM
drivers are getting fed up with these bike lanes taking away our parking taking away our lanes from 2 to one taking away 3 feet from each corner with signs that say no parking from this sign to corner this is a outrage what is going on here by a dot thats run by a bike advocate insted of a car advocate they should be making more parking and more lanes drivers are getting fed up
Hambone August 09, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Ken, do you know how the number of parking enforcement agents now vs ten years ago? It seems to me that city hall has changed the basic mission of the NYPD from policing and public safety to revenue generation.
Peter August 09, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Yea, because 80 years of car-centric policy got us what? Rampant pollution, hundreds of people killed every year, over 13,000 injured every year, millions of stressed out people, untold numbers of wasted hours that could have been used productively while people sit in traffic, underfunded mass-transit systems, and for what? The impact of the bike lanes on this city's traffic issues have been negligible. Traffic was horrendous before they were put in as it stands. But for the 90% of the NYC population who do not use cars every.single.day, we get some peace, some quiet, and some space.
Okay August 09, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Poppy, this bike lane took away ZERO parking spaces.
Okay August 09, 2012 at 11:49 PM
What compromise is there in a bike lane that is used by drivers to double park in and that forces riders into oncoming traffic now that the bike lane is two way? That's no compromise...drivers won. Wishing for the NYPD to do something about this is pie in the sky thinking. Have you been paying attention...they won't investigate when someone dies...you think they're going to patrol a bike lane? Google Clara Heyworth...she was killed just down the street. It may not be realistic to expect a different pattern of use...but the former use was essentially illegal...DOT sanctioned two-way riding with this design so they have a responsibility to make the design safer. The street will work fine if everyone plays by the rules...but they don't. And you're answer is that you're going to do nothing? Nothing...not even study how it goes? So the design is fixed in time for all eternity? That's crazy!! Yeah, sure...let's wait and see how it goes...give it time...fine...but it's crazy to say that the design isn't hte problem. Of course it is!!! If it was a protected bike lane, drivers wouldn't be able to park in it...the design would solve the problem! Knowing that, and the limit of NYPD resources, what are the community boards going to do about this? Oh, I know...nothing. It's disappointing that someone with the power to do something about it basically saying "Don't blame me, I just voted for it!"
Okay August 09, 2012 at 11:54 PM
I have to repeat... "But the design isn't the problem." Explain, please. If you can design a way for drivers to NOT park in a bike lane, how can the design not be an issue here? And please offer an explanation other than waiting for an NYPD cruiser to spin by. They don't even write speeding tickets!
Alex P. August 10, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Color me unimpressed. Drivers are not going to eventually learn not to park here. Anyone who says we should wait and see clearly doesn't ride a bike for transportation in Brooklyn. Bike lane fail.
Peter August 10, 2012 at 11:00 AM
"How about the periodic presence of an NYPD cruiser?" So let's imagine the 78th has a cruiser drive through 4 times a day, using its siren to clear out offenders. That lasts how long? a minute? two? So for 10-15 minutes a day, there will be enforcement of this lane. Yea, that's not useful. And frankly, a waste of NYPD resources. They can't be bothered to write speeding tickets (see 78th pct stats for that), why would they enforce this lane, especially given the NYPD's notorious behavior towards cyclists?
Carl August 10, 2012 at 02:00 PM
I think it should be the community board's job to reduce the need for the NYPD to act as parking enforcement agents. Good design can accomplish that. If there were a drivers blocking the street for other drivers, you can sure bet that the community boards would not say they "do not believe there has been any mistake or anything that needs correction." How many car owners serve on community boards? Probably too many!


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