Word on the Jay Street: Cyclists weigh in on new bike lane

Car free zone: Cyclists say that the new bike lane is much-needed improvement, but also say that the city needs to enforce keeping it clear of cars.
Brooklyn Paper
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The new Jay Street bike lane is on the right path, but there are still some roadblocks, according to riders.

The Department of Transportation installed the long-awaited peddling paths on the treacherous Downtown thoroughfare last month, and cyclists say it is a definite improvement, with fewer motorists getting in their way than before. But some scofflaws are still brazenly cruising and parking in the new lanes with impunity, and riders say the city and police must do more to keep the two apart before they’ll truly feel safe there.

“It’s great for commuters right now who are already fearlessly going up Jay Street, but families, kids, people who are concerned by biking aren’t going to try it out because it’s still so lawless,” said Brandon Chamberlin, who rides the path to work every day from Prospect Heights.

The new dedicated bike lanes between Fulton and Tillary streets are painted a bright green and are separated from traffic by a row of parking. Previously, cyclists had to ride alongside vehicles on paths marked only in white paint that motorists — especially city employees, cops, and news crews with placards — routinely double-parked, u-turned, and drove on, sometimes with tragic results.

One cyclist died and 270 people were injured in crashes on the arterial roadway between 2010 and 2014, according to city data, and this paper’s readers voted the previous lane the scariest in the city in a 2012 poll.

Pedal pushers report more drivers staying in their own lane thanks to the new Jay Street layout, but say police still aren’t cracking down on the ones who continue to cross the line.

One bike activist said he was riding on the street with his 7-year-old daughter recently when the driver of a security truck veered into the bike lane and nearly hit his kid, then parked over the path. He said he alerted a nearby cop, but the patrolman claimed he couldn’t do anything because it wasn’t his jurisdiction.

The new lane is better, he says, but ultimately only as effective as those enforcing it.

“It often seems to be a pretty safe and unincumbered passage, but that experience really underscores the need for the NYPD to enforce the lane and keep cars from parking in it,” said Windsor Terrace resident Paul Steely White, the director of bike advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.

Riders also say they’d like actual barriers to keep drivers out of the path — something many had asked for when the transportation department was still planning the road makeover. The transportation department has put in a handful of short plastic posts called “bollards” near bus stops, but cyclists say way more are needed to keep drivers out.

“There needs to be something to physically demarcate the buffer when people park their cars,” said Prospect Heights resident Paul Vogel, who claims a police officer sideswiped him recently as he was riding in the lane on his way to work.

A Department of Transportation spokesman said the agency is planning to add more bollards, but wouldn’t say when or where.

The Police Department did not return a request for comment.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, N.Y. says:
I think this is a great idea! I just hope all of us self entitled motorists can keep from parking in these bike lanes.
Sept. 12, 2016, 9:31 am
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
So far these lanes seems to have accomplished little except providing more guaranteed parking to anyone with a law enforcement placard. Last Tuesday cars were doubled parked blocking the bike lane and forcing cyclist into the single remaining car lane. Often there is someone in the vehicle. I saw a couple of cyclists say something and they were rewarded with a flashed badge. These lanes are a great idea and a long time coming but NYPD must keep the lanes 100% clear , 100% of the time for this to work. Right now they just serve as more reserved parking
Sept. 12, 2016, 9:42 am
Brooklynite from Brooklyn says:
The cops are the worst offenders. Put an NYPD vest or a hat on your dash, or even a hand-scribbled note that says "This iz a parking purmitt" and you can park anywhere you want. The cops will never ticket you.
Sept. 12, 2016, 9:52 am
Darrell Griffiths from Concord Village/Jay Street says:
One of the hazards of the bike lanes is the very small divider between the parking area and the bike lane plus the narrowness of the bike lane itself. I don't ride a bike. But every day, as I walk on Jay St., I see passenger doors of legally parked cars opening, usually suddenly, in front of an oncoming cyclist. The cyclist has nowhere to go; the car door literally blocks the entire bike lane. It's a serious accident waiting to happen - and one in which no one would be at fault. Passengers need to exit parked cars; bicycles need to use the existing lane. But the lane is too narrow to accommodate a car door and a moving bicycle. It doesn't help that many car passengers don't think about the danger of exiting into a bike lane - or that some cyclists race along a very narrow lane and assume they will always have an open right of way.
The corollary to this problem of a narrow bike lane and an even narrower dividing space is that legally parked car drivers have no choice but to block the bike lane when assisting passengers/children/elderly people into a car. And all too often people place their shopping bags, strollers, etc., in the bike lane while opening doors and trunks.
Sept. 12, 2016, 10:15 am
Dave from Boerum Hill says:
Anyone in a car is supposed to look for cyclists, other cars, and/or pedestrians before opening their door.

"Dooring" is not an accident. It's negligence.

All-in-all the protected lane is good progress. However city employees (including cops) need to be educated to not park there.
Sept. 12, 2016, 11 am
NattyB from South Slope says:
The answer to this clusterf--k is quite simple. Eliminate all private car parking from Atlantic to the Manhattan Bridge. Replace curb side space with either loading zones or bus lanes. And if someone needs to go to court for a hearing, use the parking garage or set aside a small area for NYPD parking vehicles. There are quite a few parking garages on this stretch.

I take this route every day on my bike to work. And frankly, while I'm an experienced rider, I don't feel too unsafe (since it's always backed up, nobody can go too fast). I just feel awful for the bus riders. Having to sit still because someone is parked in the bus lane.
Sept. 12, 2016, 11:58 am
Lucy from Fort Greene says:
Cue in the whining and complaining.

Two wheels good, four wheels bad.
Sept. 12, 2016, 1:08 pm
BattyN from North Slope says:
The answer to this clusterf--k is quite simple. Eliminate all bike lanes, period. Then you'll never hear any complaints about parking in them!
Sept. 12, 2016, 1:50 pm
Joshua from Bay Ridge says:
The cyclist crossing through the road in 1:05, double lanes is just a great image and role model of the cycling community.
Sept. 12, 2016, 1:54 pm
samir kabir from cobble hill says:
Hint: Don't cycle with your daughter on the back of your bike. Parents are the ones taking the risk, and the risk is not worth it. And by the way, bicycle riders break traffic laws all the time - running red lights, going wrong direction on streets, riding on sidewalks, running pedestrians over. I prefer the Wild West days of little to no bicycles.
Sept. 12, 2016, 2:10 pm
Ken from Greenpoint says:
bikers never stop for school buses red flashers etc,
what a shame!!! no respect for children.....
Sept. 12, 2016, 3:03 pm
Ted from Greenpoint says:
Ken from Greenpoint,

Shut up you ——! Just last week I stopped [on my bike] and some stupid self entitled kunt tried to pass the bus from the opposite direction. I stopped her by standing in front of her car and told her she must stop for buses.
Sept. 12, 2016, 3:28 pm
Trollerskates from Moving Target says:
Cyclists do not need to stop for whiny rug rats getting off their pollution spewing school bus. They are saving the planet. School busses need to be banned along with private cars.
Sept. 12, 2016, 3:30 pm
License Bikes...and Require Insurance from New York City says:
Licenses for Cars...(licenses for dogs-no big deal!) No accountability for those on two wheels..nor insurance...nor the ability to hold biker scofflaws to the same criteria they wish to demand of motorists...

License bikes-ID the riders and lo and behold, bicyclists may think twice about the danger they also pose.

The condescending disdain for the many who use four wheels -including the elderly-only promulgates the harsh fractures when the goal should be one and the same-safe transportation.
Sept. 12, 2016, 4:23 pm
Brooklynite from Brooklyn says:
There is no such thing as "the cycling community."

Is there a "motoring community"?
Sept. 12, 2016, 4:25 pm
License Bikes...and Require Insurance from New York City says:
And license pedestrians and require insurance for them too. Just look at that top photo where the fat sheboon is in the bike lane and the cyclist has to navigate around her giant mass. Creating hazards for everyone.
Sept. 12, 2016, 4:43 pm
Emily from Park Slope says:
As a youth, I flipped over many a car door, prior to the lanes. Fortunately, I was always between the cars and curb when this would happen. The lanes are better than nothing.
Sept. 12, 2016, 5:21 pm
Nat from Clinton Hill says:
Ted from Greenpoint: you loosing your tamper...
i am a biker for many years it happens to be ken from Greenpoint is right he has a major point must of the bikers ignore red flashers of school buses, are kids are not being respect the right way,
all i can say use your brain (if you have) before you post....
Sept. 12, 2016, 5:37 pm
Jodi from Ridgewood says:
Sometimes cops park in the bike lanes.
Sept. 12, 2016, 5:48 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Unfortunately, this street is near the Brooklyn Civic Center is in this area is a major police precinct. BTW, cops have been parking there long before the idea of a bike lane, which may explain why they continue to park in those bike lanes. Perhaps, this isn't the best place for a bike lane, but the bike zealots refuse to acknowledge this and continue to push for whatever they want.
Sept. 12, 2016, 6:21 pm
frank from furter says:
Most of the illegal parking on Jay street is related to the Courts , the Jail and the 911 call center. While some is the Pd most is not. Correction officers, State Court officers make up the majority as well as illegal placards. There was a study done a few years ago and under then Mayor Bloomberg the number of permits were cut back and a special enforcement unit created that mostly stayed in Manhattan but occasionally came to Brooklyn. The bike lanes are an improvement but enforcement and education needs to be continued. My father tells me that years ago cars didn;t have to stop for red lights after 11pm that didn't work and it stopped. I don;t understand why bikes think its ok for them to go thru the lights as long as they look.
Sept. 12, 2016, 11:08 pm
frank from furter says:
In manhattan and queens the pd and the courts have a parking lot. its time that the city build one here too. Maybe the one being built under the new park should be one too...
Sept. 12, 2016, 11:20 pm
frank from furter says:
Sept. 12, 2016, 11:23 pm
Tony from Sunset Park says:
I work on Jay St. & even when the lane is completely clear bikes still prefer to ride in traffic with cars.
Sept. 13, 2016, 12:26 am
Misty from Park Slope says:
That picture makes me so angry! check out big butt walking in the biking lane just to j-walk across the street. Looking to buy some nachos to fill her fat behind even more. She may not care about her own health, but could she please not walk in front of moving bikes?!?!
Sept. 13, 2016, 9:40 am
Dave from Boerum Hill says:
@ Frank

Or rather than a parking lot maybe people should use any of the 11 subway lines, the LIRR or countless bus lines that serve Downtown Brooklyn.

It's a combo of laziness, placard abuse and bad city policy that has any material # of cars on Jay Street to begin with.
Sept. 13, 2016, 10:50 am
Ted from Greenpoint says:
Nat from Clinton Hill,

Don't ever let me see you in Greenpoint.
Sept. 13, 2016, 2:09 pm
Nat from Clinton Hill says:
i still like the bike lane and following rules..
Sept. 13, 2016, 2:32 pm
Ted from Greenpoint says:
Then shut that hole in your face.
Sept. 13, 2016, 2:48 pm
Berry from Brooklyn says:
Ted. keep this site clean and watch you language
will ya......
Sept. 13, 2016, 3:39 pm
Ursula from Downtown Brooklyn says:
I must laugh at the suggestion of a parking lot/garage for NYC/NYS staff at a distance from the Jay Street court building. In this building, one underground level was set aside as parking facility specifically for judges and possibly other high-placed court personnel. I regret that I no longer have the floor plans including those of the underground parking levels, otherwise I would provide them to this paper. At the time Columbus Park was redesigned, a short section of the original Fulton Street alignment was restored between Joralemon Street and the fountain, and it was hoped that the judges' parking lot at the Adams/Joralemon corner would be eliminated and the space added back into the park for public use. But no, the Supreme Court judges declared they would not walk across Adams Street to and from the Jay Street court house, and so to this day, park space serves as parking lot for the privileged few.
Sept. 13, 2016, 3:41 pm
Ted from Greenpoint says:
(Dingle) Berry from Brooklyn,

Sept. 13, 2016, 4:15 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Until you can convince those judges and other court employees not to drive there, they will be using the area as their personal parking.
Sept. 13, 2016, 4:52 pm
Ryan from Brooklyn says:
The past couple days I have braved this lane in rush hour in both directions - in to the city in the morning and coming home at night back to Brooklyn. It is a nightmare not because of cars but because of pedestrians. As a biker you are now funneled into a narrow lane between a curb and a line of parked cars where people walking just treat it as an extension of the sidewalk, especially at crosswalks, standing in the bike line waiting to jaywalk or for the light to change. It's much worse now than before because there is nowhere to go to avoid them. Really poor design.
Sept. 13, 2016, 5:03 pm
Rick from NYC says:
Hey Ryan from Brooklyn,

Just hit them and use them as an airbag to break your fall. You have to be careful when you do this. Always straight on and not at an angle. That way you land on them.
Sept. 14, 2016, 9:27 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:

You can hit me anytime you want.
Sept. 14, 2016, 1:24 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ryan, the bike zealots just don't care about anyone else but themselves when it comes to redesigning streets hence their anti-car bias.
Sept. 15, 2016, 4:57 pm

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