CB3 Signals Approval of 2-Way Bike Lane on Chrystie Street, With a Twist

Posted on: March 9th, 2016 at 4:54 am by

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Photo: DOT

Finally some movement on the implementation of a long-sought traffic measure. That of a two-way protected bike lane on Chrystie Street. A year after Community Board 3 backed the conceptual plan by the Department of Transportation, the city agency returned to the advisory board last night with its modified proposal. Thirteen months of “studying” the traffic dynamic – not to mention the subsequent rogue cone placements proving the need – yielded another approval. Albeit, with a caveat: DOT must return (again) with final plans in two months’ time.

DOT project spokesperson Patrick Kennedy outlined the basics of the plan, touching all the media-friendly points, such as the high volume of cyclists to/from the Manhattan Bridge (6,243 cyclists per day from April through October), traffic patterns, and the limitations of the current bike lane. Basically, this overhaul is a biker’s recurring wet dream. And implementation should transpire sometime “next fall” in concert with alleged conclusion of East Houston infrastructural work in the intersection of Chrystie.

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Chrystie Street, January 2016

Let’s dive into the details. Some pertinents:

  • The establishment of the two-way bike lane on the east side of Chrystie Street is the overarching headline here. It will be protected by some variation of jersey barriers, flexible delineators, and parked cars. It eliminates the need for southbound cyclists to cross the street to link up with the path (current situation).
  • Pedestrians benefit from the plan with the addition of four medians at Rivington, Stanton, and East Second Streets. This will increase safety for those crossing Chrystie to access/exit Sara D. Roosevelt Park.
  • The two-way bike lane allows for a seamless transition from Second Avenue to Chrystie Street. As it stands, southbound cyclists must cross over at Houston Street while heading southbound, only to cross back for Manhattan Bridge access. The DOT plan consolidates the lane on the east side of the street. Moreover, there will be two dedicated thru lanes and two for left turns (protected signal).
  • At Delancey Street, the addition of a second southbound left turn lane, but at the expense of ten parking spots on the west side. This was a controversial pill to swallow, and there was some concern about the impacts on business, even though it’s alternate-side parking. The plan also includes the elimination of left-turn traffic from northbound motorists onto Delancey from Chrystie.
  • At Canal Street, relocating the pedestrian island ten feet to the west to accommodate the new bike lane. Also, extending the skater-friendly concrete island on Canal.
  • DOT confirmed that there will be traffic signals for bikes at each intersection on Chrystie, and that the potential exists for extending the two-way bike lane to East Second Street (to allow 1st Avenue access).
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The presentation gave way to thunderous applause from those in attendance, most of whom are regular commuters (Brooklyn) on the Chrystie Street thoroughfare. However, the energetic “love fest” (as board member Chad Marlow put it) came crashing down in a cavalcade of protocol. There was some resistance from CB3, mainly regarding the community outreach component. Kathleen Webster, Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition, felt slighted about the lack of contact regarding this proposal. That there were stakeholders in the vicinity – including small businesses – who weren’t effectively notified of the plans.

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Photo: DOT

After more than a dozen speakers of support and some back-and-forth bickering by the panel, a resolution was passed to approval the proposal, but that DOT needed to conduct outreach and return to CB3 in May with final plans.

See you then…

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