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.”