The 2-Way Protected Bike Lane on Delancey Street Won’t Happen Until Spring 2018

Posted on: April 6th, 2017 at 5:00 am by

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The highly-anticipated bike lane along Delancey Street is coming, but you’ll just need to wait another year.

The Transportation subcommittee of Community Board 3 last night heard, and resoundingly supported, the city’s proposal for a two-way protected bikeway along Delancey Street. Timing of the discussion was morbidly appropriate; twelve hours earlier, a box-truck driver hit, and critically injured (severe head trauma), a cyclist on First Avenue.

Which dovetails into the conditions warranting said bike lane. There are roughly one thousand bikers that utilize the Williamsburg Bridge and Delancey Street each day. It does nothing to calm traffic, though. The DOT notes that, from 2010 to 2014, there were 3 pedestrian fatalities, 1 cyclist fatality, 14 severely injured pedestrians, and 11 severely injured cyclists in the blocks between Allen and Clinton Streets.

The proposed bike lane is supposed to alleviate these dangerous statistics. Launched with the simultaneous mission of handling overflow from the impending L train shutdown, the new markings will, more importantly, help connect both the Allen and Chrystie lanes to the Williamsburg Bridge (and vice-versa).

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Plan highlights:

  • The two-way protected bike lane hugs the southern perimeter of the Delancey Street median.
  • One eastbound lane between Allen and Norfolk Streets will be removed, leaving three for traffic.
  • Jersey barriers will delineate the bike lane.
  • Convert current bike lane bisecting the striped median space between Suffolk Street and the bridge into two-way flow.
  • The strange bottleneck by the bridge approach will remain. (National security concerns preclude both lanes from passing through the chokepoint.) Inbound cyclists will go through the northside barrier and link back with the two-way lane inside the striped median.
  • Protected bike box in the intersection of Allen and Delancey to facilitate safe bike movement.
  • Connection between Chrystie and Allen is eastbound only. Studies found that majority westbound cyclists head up Allen, and that the high car volume just off the Bowery didn’t justify losing another lane.
  • New painted median extensions will create shorter crossing times for pedestrians in crosswalks.

CB3, for its part, was wowed by the presentation. As was the public. There was some constructive feedback fielded, including the pitch to resurface and rebuild much of the pock-marked Delancey Street, all in one fell swoop. How this plan shouldn’t be just another paint project. Also, to introduce signage that better educates pedestrians to look both ways before crossing a two-way bike lane.

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District Manager Susan Stetzer also voiced concern about additional disruption and quality-of-life concerns, since Essex Crossing is already the bane of so many. DOT assured the community that any work would likely be conducted in the morning hours when the Brooklyn-bound traffic is lighter.

In the end, the panel voted to support the DOT proposal. Implementation is scheduled for spring of 2018, timed in concert with Essex Crossing.

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