Call it zero vision.
The city is putting police department parking ahead of cyclists’ safety by removing a buffer that protects the DeKalb Avenue bike lane and pushing the pedalers’ path next to traffic so precinct staff can leave their cars on the sidewalk outside Clinton Hill’s 88th Precinct station house, the leader of a safe street advocacy group said this week.
“DeKalb Avenue should become a protected bike lane, if anything,” said Caroline Samponaro of Transportation Alternatives. “The NYPD needs to be setting a tone on the street for Vision Zero and safety, so it’s disappointing that they’d be looking to make this particular bike lane less safe.”
The Department of Transportation will erase the striped buffer and shift the 5-foot-wide bike lane between Classon Avenue and Steuben Street closer to moving vehicles by the end of the week, according to a spokeswoman.
The change follows locals’ repeated complaints about police vehicles parked perpendicular to the lane and jutting out into it, which they said compromised riders safety by forcing them to swerve into traffic as they tried to avoid the parked cars.
The 88th Precinct’s commanding officer acknowledged the problem with Clinton Hill’s Finest parking their vehicles in the bike lane in a December interview with this paper, but said there’s not much he can do about it because he doesn’t want cops driving around the neighborhood for hours looking for spots.
There are 27 squad cars and approximately 50 vehicles that belong to commuting officers.
The precinct met with transportation department honchos last December to find a solution, and the buffer markings were scratched off over the last few weeks, as reported by Streetsblog.
But the city should be adding more markings, not taking them away, said Samponaro, who said officers who do not have a parking lot at the 100-year-old station house should just deal with stowing their cars elsewhere.
“If the problem is officers parking private vehicles, that’s something they’ll have to work out. There are any number of ways it can be addressed,” she said.