Friday, July 23, 2010

Flushing Ave Bike Lane Arrives 

As promised, the DOT is going ahead with the last piece of the bike lane puzzle connecting downtown Brooklyn to Greenpoint. This morning workers began buffing out the median divider on busy Flushing Avenue, and painting in the bike lanes. To recap, this first phase will create bike lanes on Flushing Avenue between Kent and Navy as an interim solution to the hazardous conditions. (The DOT had originally proposed changing Flushing to one-way and installing a dedicated two-way bike path, but the community board shot it down.)

Phase 2 will widen the sidewalk on the north side of Flushing by six feet, creating a two-way bike path and shared pedestrian space, similar to what's currently in effect on part of Kent. But expanding the sidewalk requires coordination with multiple city agencies, and the DOT estimates that it will take two to four years to build. (Measure in human time, we're probably looking at 2020.)

Meanwhile, over in Manhattan, the Community Board 4 has unanimously voted to approve an 11 block extension [pdf] to the excellent Eighth Avenue bike lane. The extension will preserve the bike lane's separation from traffic by a "floating" parking lane, with the added improvement of separate left-turn signals for bikes and cars. Once completed, the bike lane will extend up to 34th Street. And after that, the world!

Making an interesting comparison, Streetsblog points out that "the new bike lanes on First and Second Avenues, as well as the lane coming to Columbus Avenue later this year, don't include separate turn phases or concrete pedestrian refuges at many intersections. The lack of these features may water down the safety benefits of the new lanes." Indeed, the East Village people are already griping.


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