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Nice rack! City to cut two parking spaces on Smith Street for bike parking lot

The Brooklyn Paper
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Could bikes save lives?

A corral of bike racks will soon block cars from parking on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens — a revolutionary move that neighbors say will fix the treacherous intersection with Sackett Street.

City officials said that installing eight U-shaped bike racks will fix the “bad visibility” at the intersection for cars turning onto northbound Smith Street from westbound Sackett Street.

The first-of-its-kind Brooklyn project will replace a two-space no-standing zone — which is marked with a red sign that drivers perpetually ignore — as an alternative way of making folks follow the rules.

“It’s creative,” said Craig Hammerman, district manager of Community Board 6, which backed the decision earlier this month. “There have been numerous close calls the intersection” because drivers often have trouble seeing past the parked cars on Smith Street.

As a result, drivers inch their way into the crosswalk and the bike lane.

No collisions have been recorded in the past year, according to city data, and some neighbors are not convinced it’s the best use of city money or much-coveted street space.

“What happens in the winter?” said Fowad Assad, whose family owns the Zaytoon’s restaurant on the corner of Smith and Sackett streets. “Those racks are going to sit there empty; If you really want to make it safer, put in a stoplight.”

But others think it’s a two-birds-one-stone solution that will encourage more cycling and make the street less nerve-racking.

“It’s a tough intersection to cross,” agreed mom Jenny Krumpus, who was pushing a stroller at the corner. “I’m all for it, if it makes this neighborhood more bike and pedestrian-friendly.”

The change comes at a time when drivers across the borough — particularly Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods — are adjusting to sharing the road (and now maybe some parking) with cyclists.

The taxpayer-financed racks are expected to be installed by the end of the summer, although the city did not respond by press time to questions about how much it would cost. Similar projects — in which bike parking is installed on the street, as opposed to the sidewalk, to improve safety — have been successful in bike-positive cities such as Portland, Oregon.

“We suspect that if it works here, it could work a lot of places,” Hammerman said.

Updated 5:25 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

mike from GP says:
Fowad Assad's heart might be in the right place, but he's misinformed. Plenty of people ride bikes in the winter, and there are more all the time.

More importantly, stoplights are traffic control devices, not traffic SAFETY devices. Removing parking spots at intersections in order to improve the poor visibility associated with motor vehicles is called daylighting, and is a proven method. Why not provide bike parking at the same time? It's a win-win-win. More intersection safety for all, more bike parking, and fewer obstructions on the sidewalk.
July 20, 2011, 1:09 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Why refer to bike racks as "taxpayer-financed" if you don't refer to the elimination of 2 taxpayer-financed parking spots too? The best part of the taxpayer-financed racks is a taxpayer doesn't have to shell out for 2 tons of metal to take advantage of the tax-financed amenity.
July 20, 2011, 1:26 am
hicksanddegraw from cobble hill says:
Why do you say the city is cutting parking spaces in the headline when they are NOT parking spaces? It's a NO STANDING ZONE.

Just because people illegally idle there doesn't mean they are parking spaces at all. Looks to me like, again, the Brooklyn Paper is trying to bait readers into getting upset.

Why do you do this????
July 20, 2011, 8:04 am
M to the I from Park Slope says:
Actually, the city is increasing the number of parking spaces. Where before there were 0 legal parking spaces (2 illegal ones), now there will 16 parking spaces!
July 20, 2011, 8:11 am
boof from brooklyn says:
Good point Mike from GP. Plenty of cyclists do ride in the winter. I'll bet some of them are even Zaytoon's ex-customers.
July 20, 2011, 8:37 am
Jacob from Clinton Hill says:
Mr. Assad needs to stick his neck out of his restaurant from time to time and check out what is going on in the street. VERY few people drive to his restaurant. Most take the subway and walk, and a rapidly growing number bike there. It is in his best interest to make it more convenient for his customers to bike to his restaurant, even in the winter.

Also, the title is DELIBERATELY MISLEADING. The city is not removing 2 parking spaces. You can't legally park there now, so there are 0 parking spaces being replaced by 16 bike parking spaces.
July 20, 2011, 8:38 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
Natalie O'Neill continues to invent controversy where there is none and prove herself to be Brooklyn's biggest enemy to livable, safe streets outside of Borough Hall. The Brooklyn Paper ought to do a better job of serving its readers by offering honest reporting.
July 20, 2011, 8:59 am
mike from GP says:
Thanks for the catch.

The headline could have been "City to stop scofflaw drivers and make parking more efficient on Smith Street" but I guess that doesn't sell ads.
July 20, 2011, 10:16 am
ty from pps says:
Natalie o' Natalie....

Was your brain always broken or did the folks at the Brooklyn Paper / NY Post teach you these "skills"?

How do you make "will replace a two-space no-standing zone — which is marked with a red sign that drivers perpetually ignore" into "Cut Two Parking Spaces"?!?!?!
July 20, 2011, 11:29 am
boof from brooklyn says:
In Natalie's defense, she probably doesn't write the headlines. That's usually done by an editor.

She also doesn't seem to read the comments, judging by past typos and errors that have been pointed out by readers and not fixed.
July 20, 2011, 12:58 pm
FYI says:
Natalie always reads comments and considers them. Brooklyn Paper policy doesn't allow reporters to contribute to the online discussion — a policy she whole-heartedly disagrees with and has debated with her editor many times.

Also, it's true that reporters don't write headlines.

And it's true that she has a phone number where she can be reached to discuss stories and offer news tips:

718-260-4505
July 20, 2011, 2:33 pm
Mike says:
If she reads the comments, why doesn't she ask her editor to correct the factual error in the headline that makes her look dumb?
July 20, 2011, 3:38 pm
boof from bk says:
Okay, fair enough. It's too bad that there doesn't seem to be any procedure for factual errors or typos spotted by readers to be corrected, then.
July 20, 2011, 3:39 pm
Mustache Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Where's Tal Barzalai to bring some Westchester-born ignorance from his parent's basement?
July 20, 2011, 3:57 pm
maryann from cobble hill says:
why dont they make spaces for the disabled that is more important then healthy people who ride bikes,
July 20, 2011, 7:17 pm
mike from GP says:
maryann,

I think you're missing the point here -- parking cars, even if they're being driven by disabled people, in this location is dangerous. Sure, allocate more parking for disabled people, but not at the expense of safety, as it would be in this case.
July 20, 2011, 8:17 pm
Rich from Carroll Gardens says:
I was involved in a accident there on 6.26.11. Riding my bike northbound in the bike lane when a cab ran into me. Seems like the right move to do something to make riding a little safer there! I guess "city data" has not been entered yet as the article stated no accidents in the past year?
July 22, 2011, 1:29 pm

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