.

DOT to Install Bike Lane on 15th Street from Prospect Park West to Third Avenue

During a joint CB6 and CB7 meeting on Thursday night, the Department of Transportation presented a plan to install a bike lane on 15th Street in order to make the strip more predictable and safer for all users.

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."

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section!

Charlie June 24, 2012 at 11:55 AM
More bike lanes please!!!! Why isn't the one on 15th going to be separated from cars? There's enough space to make it really safe.
Ken June 24, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Doug Gordon...15th Street is a "super-wide" street? What kind of a tape measure are you using? From B.P.S. to 8th Avenue looks just like any other street. And below 8th Avenue certainly isn't "super-wide"!
Doug Gordon June 25, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Hi, Ken. If you look at the Google Streetview for 15th street below 8th Avenue you'll see that what is supposed to be a one-lane road currently has enough space for almost two lanes of vehicular traffic. I've uploaded two screenshot to this story, one of which shows vehicles double parked on both sides of the street while still allowing for vehicles to pass in the middle. The other shot shows an empty street which looks very wide to me. You are correct. 15th Street is not exceptionally wide between Bartel Pritchard and 8th Ave, but it does widen below 8th. Either way, drivers do have a habit of speeding around the corner off of BPS and down 15th, so hopefully this plan will help change that, at least a little.
Slope Rez June 25, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Sounds like a great plan. Drivers race on 15th. a bike lane is necessary.
Sara June 25, 2012 at 04:25 PM
I'm a fan. seems like it is a welcome change..
mhorine1 June 25, 2012 at 05:09 PM
I hope this will help stop people from screeching onto 15th St from the circle from the middle lane going about 30 mph. May I suggest the same thing for PPSW, as I have almost gotten hit oodles of times from people turning from the center lane.
Will Yakowicz June 25, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Doug, thanks for uploading those photos! They definitely help give readers more context.
Jacques Gautier June 27, 2012 at 02:29 PM
All for it!!!

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