The Department of Transportation will install a bike lane on 15th Street from Bartel-Pritchard Square to Third Avenue in 2013.
During a joint community board meeting with CB6 and CB7, the Department of Transportation unveiled their proposed plan for the 15th Street bike lane, a shared bike lane on 14th Street from Third Avenue to Prospect Park West and another shared bike lane from Prospect Park West between Bartel-Pritchard Square and 15th Street.
Right now, 14th Street is 30 feet wide and is shared by cars and bicycles. In the proposed plan, there will be an 8-foot parking lane on the south side and then a 22-foot shared lane for cars and bikes, with a painted section (on the south side of the street) alerting cars to share the road with bikers. An example of the shared bike lane on 14th Street can be found on Hoyt Street.
The plan for 15th Street is a little different. Right now, 15th Street is a 35-foot road shared with cars and bikers. Under the proposed plan there will be a 9-foot parking lane on the north side, an 11-foot moving car lane next to it, a 5-foot painted bike lane and then a 10-foot parking space on the south side for cars. An example of the plan can be found on Berry Street.
The bike lane on 15th Street will be installed on the left-hand side, the south side, to avoid any conflicts between bikers and buses while making a right-hand turn onto 15th Street.
Josh Benson, the director of bicycle and pedestrian programming for DOT, said that the safety improvement and the 15th Street bike lane will be two separate projects.
“We had to break them up in order to complete them in a timely manner, but these two projects work together and we recommend that they are both implemented,” Benson said. “They will both help calm traffic and make the area safer for all users.”
Preston Johnson, also from the DOT, explained the need for the 15th Street and 14th Street bike lanes.
“The Prospect Park West bike lane has brought a lot more bikes to the area and now there is a bigger demand for bike lane connectors that can deal with some of the problems,” Johnson said.
Most community members liked the idea, but they did have some questions.
Eric McClure, the co-founder of Park Slope Neighbors, asked DOT if the new bike lanes could be protected bike lanes like the one on Prospect Park West, but they said that isn’t a possibility.
“It’s different than Prospect Park West because 15th Street does not have long stretches without intersections,” Johnson said.
Mary Cooley, who has been biking on 15th Street for 7 years, said that she wants to see changes on Bartel-Pritchard Square and the new bike lanes happen at the same time.
“I think these projects are not separate. I want you to bear in mind that the traffic calming on Bartel-Pritchard will be useless without the reconfiguration on 15th Street,” Cooley said.
One woman said she really liked the fact that the bike lane was on the south side of the street (left-hand side while riding on it) because it makes crossing safer for pedestrians.
“It avoids the prospect of crossing the street and a bike lane while cars are making a right hand corner hugging that corner,” the woman said.
The plan also includes mid-block sidewalk extension for bike parking on 15th Street outside of the entrance of the YMCA at the Park Slope Armory. This plan is going to be similar to the street racks for bike parking on Fifth Avenue in front of Gorilla Coffee.
There will also be painted sidewalk extensions on Fourth Avenue and 15th Street and on Eighth Avenue and 15th Street. There will be high visibility crosswalks on Eighth Avenue and 15th Street.
Community Board 7 did not vote because they have more questions they feel the DOT need to be answered.
Community Board 6 voted to approve the plan.
Doug Gordon, the founder of the website Brooklyn Spoke, said that the changes to 15th Street are right on.
"It's a super wide street and many bikers use it. The bike lanes will bring order to the stretches," Gordon said. "It's one-and-a-half car lanes as it is now, so this helps to designate lanes. Even if there was no such thing as a bike, that street would still be too wide for cars."
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