Road’s in-the-works bike lanes dump cyclists into traffic near construction sites

Dead end: The city endangered cyclists by painting four-block bike lanes on Fourth Avenue that end abruptly, spitting cyclists out into construction sites and forcing them to merge into one lane of vehicle traffic, according to outraged two-wheelers.
Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

The city endangered cyclists by painting bike lanes on Fourth Avenue that abruptly end at construction sites where traffic is reduced to one lane, forcing bike riders to choose between their wheels and their lives, according to one outraged bicyclist.

“The construction makes it bad because you can’t see and there’s a ton of debris, so you can risk getting a flat and biking over the debris in the bike lane, or you can swerve into traffic,” said Sarah Ziglifa, who commutes on bike from her Fort Hamilton home to her job in Manhattan most days. “I signal and merge and hope for the best.”

Last fall, workers with the city’s Department of Transportation finished painting the first part of the forthcoming protected bike paths on Fourth Avenue — which when complete will allow cyclists to pedal from Bay Ridge to Atlantic Avenue in both directions via separate lanes along the Bay Ridge– and Downtown–bound sides of the road.

But work on the lanes, which now just span the avenue from 60th to 64th streets, halted last August to accommodate two construction projects led by the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

One of the projects required Transportation Authority workers to close one of Fourth Avenue’s two Bay Ridge–bound traffic lanes from 52nd to 59th street, in order to repair N- and R-line subway tunnels beneath the road, according to agency rep Amanda Kwan. That seven-block stretch of work was supposed to wrap at the end of last year, but is still in progress, according to Community Board 7’s district manager, Jeremy Laufer.

And amid that ongoing project, state transit leaders last month kicked off a second job to install elevators at the 59th Street subway station, which is expected to wrap this fall, and required shuttering one of Fourth Avenue’s two Downtown–bound traffic lanes between 58th and 60th streets to accommodate construction.

Both affected Fourth Avenue lanes are closed for most of each day, except for during a 2–8 pm window when they open to vehicle and bicycle traffic.

But cyclists must fight drivers for room on the road while riding through those areas due to the incomplete bike lanes, according to Ziglifa, who said motorists often erupt in bouts of road rage because they’re forced to share the street.

“You get beeped at and honked at and people flipping you off,” she said. “I’ve been clipped by a couple of side-view mirrors.”

On a recent weekday, and intrepid intern for this newspaper saw no less than seven cyclists hit the sudden end of the bike lanes at 60th Street in a 30-minute time span. About half of the riders frantically swerved around the work sites and parked cars to merge into the one open lane of traffic on either side of the Avenue and continue their rides, while the other half simply gave up, dismounting their two-wheelers to walk them on the sidewalk.

The construction nightmare more or less negates any convenience the partial bike lanes offer, according to another cyclist, who blasted the city and state agencies for not coordinating to complete the cyclists’ paths before the subway construction.

“You have these four blocks of pretty good protected bike infrastructure, and then on either end of it you’ve got kind of a traffic mess,” said John Tomac, who lives in Bay Ridge. “It would’ve been nice to see them put in the protected bike lane before the construction had started.”

Reps for the state Transportation Authority and city Transportation Department said officials at both agencies are working with each other to manage traffic, construction, and safety measures in the area.

And the city agency’s rep added that workers will paint another stretch of the bike lanes, from 38th to Second streets, later this year, with plans to install the 39th–59th street stretches of the paths after the state agency finishes its projects this fall.

But the current chaos on Fourth Avenue is reason to doubt those claims that city and state officials are keeping each other in the loop, according to Laufer, who predicted the traffic nightmare that the Transit Authority’s construction would cause at a community board meeting with agency reps last summer.

“I did not really understand DOT putting part of the bike lane that terminated at the construction site,” he said. “I think most city and state agencies are terrible at communicating with each other.”

— with Maya Harrison

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 4:57 pm, February 15, 2019
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Share the road or else! Ban personal vehicles in NYC and start congestion pricing. Driving is a privilege, not a right folks.
Feb. 16, 2019, 8:53 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Ban cars AND congestion pricing? You’re not the brightest bulb on the shelf.
Feb. 16, 2019, 11 am
Frank from Furter says:
Trump supporters in general are not the brightest bulbs bulbs on the shelf.
Feb. 16, 2019, 11:42 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Or Trump supporters are smart enough to provide for themselves and have no desire to see a bunch of parasites steal our money to give to those who choose to not work. Liberals are the ones stupid enough to piss away $27 billion in tax revenue that they could have given to the lazy and uneducated.
Feb. 16, 2019, 12:14 pm
Brooklyn commuter from Atlantic Ave says:
This is a city-wide problem that Transportation Alternatives is not addressing. Seems like a majority of their staff live in Brooklyn and they don't get that a majority of people commute to midtown for work. TA & DOT should address how the 6th Avenue Ave of the Americas bike plan just ends and how double parking in front of Fox News happens on a daily basis. In addition, my commute is not safe, especially during the holiday season near Radio City Music Hall & Rockerfeller Center.
Feb. 16, 2019, 12:58 pm
Frank from Further says:
Or dumb enough to pay for a wall that “Mexico is paying for”.
Feb. 16, 2019, 1:09 pm
Ronald Reagan from 1984 says:
Feb. 16, 2019, 3:10 pm
Everyone with a brain says:
Mr. Trump, GFYS!
Feb. 16, 2019, 3:39 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I don’t how you triggered trolls are going to survive the next six years. Good luck to ya!!
Feb. 16, 2019, 3:52 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Better a wall than spending it on those allergic to work.
Feb. 16, 2019, 3:53 pm
Frank from Furter says:
Wow, talk about dumb sheep. This trumpturd thinks he’s escaping indictments and getting re-elected. Bwahahahahaha! How’s that tax refund this year, stupid? You might want to look up who is using public assistance the most. Hint: poor white republicans.
Feb. 16, 2019, 8:27 pm
Kim from Sunset Park says:
These Trump supporters are mostly uneducated and poor. Trump told them everything they wanted to hear and gave them a group to blame for their miserable existence. He is their messiah and they will not be swayed no matter what the evidence shows. Truly a sad situation from any angle.
Feb. 17, 2019, 8:43 am
The Real Frank from Furter says:
although imitation is the highest form of flattery, none of these posts are actually me. although I agree with most of the sentiments.
Feb. 17, 2019, 9:38 am
Clementina from Park Slope says:
That’s what they get for biking - you take you’re life in you’re hands! You might lose it. Their getting they’re just desserts.
Feb. 17, 2019, 10:08 am
Kfed from PPW says:
This should be a nonissue but motorists are so self centered here that they can’t be bothered by yielding or using common courtesy. Cyclists should be able to conceal carry firearms, that will teach motorists how to share the road. I own a car and bike to work by the way.
Feb. 17, 2019, 10:30 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Kfed is correct. He should be able to conceal carry firearms.
Feb. 17, 2019, 11:19 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
After reading the above comments, I figured President Trump must be a real long shot to get re-elected and thought I could make some money betting on him with long odds. Somehow, he is a prohibitive favorite to win again. It must be comforting to live in a bubble, having no contact with reality.
Feb. 17, 2019, 11:22 am
Kim from Sunset Park says:
Told you so, uneducated and poor.
Feb. 17, 2019, Noon
Kfed from PPW says:
Thanks Henry, I currently have a conceal carry and the only times it felt necessary to use was due to scofflaw motorists.
Feb. 17, 2019, 12:45 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
If someone is trying to kill you with a deadly weapon, you should have every right to defend yourself.
Feb. 17, 2019, 3:21 pm
Ronald Reagan from 1986 says:
In that year I signed the Immigration Reform and Control act, giving amnesty to millions of undocumented workers. I also forced Gorbachev to tear down the walls keeping the downtrodden peoples of Eastern Europe from enjoying the blessings of Capitalism and the free marketplace. And I was the greatest Republican president. Ask any conservative.
Feb. 17, 2019, 3:54 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Perhaps, the real problem for the cyclists isn't the lack of bike lanes but on how they are riding their bicycles. If they comply with the traffic laws, they won't have the run the risk of placing themselves into harm's way. In reality, bike lanes don't provide safety for them, but rather give them a false sense. Maybe they should just stay away from major thoroughfares such as 4th Avenue to being with so that they won't have the fear of running into commercial vehicles to begin with. As long as they continue to believe that the traffic laws don't apply to them, they will always be placing themselves into harm's way.
Feb. 17, 2019, 7:41 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Yup, the comment above is exactly the level of discourse to expect from the leisure class bicyclists, here on a permenant vacation. Sadly, their parents had enough of their whining, and dumped them on us. We can send them home sooner by taking their bike lane toys away from them.
Feb. 17, 2019, 10:28 pm
Karl L. from Park Slope says:
Henry Ford is right, Tal’s comment is victim blaming and without merit.
Feb. 18, 2019, 8:12 am
Kathleen Toyota from DUMBO says:
Look people - the cars are being nice to allow bikes on the roads, and the bicyclists are acting like spoiled children and bad guests. How about they use they're brains for once! Your not going to die if you have to walk a little, or maybe slow down?!?! Your going to have to do better that that if you think your going to change any bodies minds!
Feb. 18, 2019, 10:11 am
Portia Porche from Brooklyn says:
The roads were originally built for horse and buggies. Look people - the horses are being nice to allow cars on the roads, and the motorists are acting like spoiled children and bad guests. How about they use they're brains for once! Your (you’re) not going to die if you have to walk a little, or maybe slow down?!?! Your (you’re) going to have to do better thaN that if you think your going to change anybody’s (christ your grammar sucks) minds!
Feb. 18, 2019, 11:29 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Karl, please explain to me how mentioning cyclists that are flouting traffic laws and placing themselves into harm's way victim blaming, because if you don't, then I'm right by default?
Feb. 18, 2019, 12:52 pm
God from Heaven says:
Portis,bad grammer is no excuse for blasphemy.
Feb. 18, 2019, 2:06 pm
God from Heaven says:
Feb. 18, 2019, 2:06 pm
HONEY Pooter from Williamsburg says:
Look, not all of us have mommy/daddy money to buy a bicycle! I have to drive because of financial necessity! These people have a lot of ATTITUDE riding their trust fund bicycles around, then shouting “Oh stop! Get out my way! I’m so important! Look at me!”
Feb. 18, 2019, 2:33 pm
Karl L from Park Slope says:
Tal, what cyclists (besides the imaginary ones in your head) are “flouting” the law? What the hell are you talking about? Did you actually read the article, or you saw the word “cyclist” and started frothing at the mouth? Please also purchase a thesaurus, you use “flouting” in every post. Brooklyn Paper, please stop deleting my comments because I don’t agree with your anti bike lane crap. Perhaps try actual journalism?
Feb. 18, 2019, 3:53 pm
Karl L from Park Slope says:
Yet you keep “Honey Pooter” comments, who is obviously a troll.
Feb. 18, 2019, 3:56 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Karl, where is your claim that such cyclists are following the traffic laws? There have been many witnesses that claim that majority of the cyclists they see hardly ever obey any traffic laws as stated on numerous message boards. For the record, I'm not against anyone who wants to ride a bicycle, I just don't like the fact that they always act as if riding one makes them holier than thou. As for bike lanes, a lot of them do go unused and some of them have been known for creating traffic in so many areas where it used to be a rarity. Then again, it's probably a good use for anti-car fanatics to promote congestion pricing especially by creating the very congestion itself hence the Bloomberg Way. One other thing, disagreeing isn't trolling, but I guess some only know how to dish criticism, but can't seem to take it.
Feb. 18, 2019, 5:48 pm
Karl L from Park Slope says:
You are not very smart and arguing with a dullard is not one of my hobbies. I’ll let you think you’re correct because I don’t have the bandwidth to correct you. Bai
Feb. 18, 2019, 5:54 pm
Henry Finkelstein from Homestead/Sheepshead Bay says:
No problem here. Pedalists just bike on the sidewalks. Even at night without headlights and rear reflectors to scare pedestrians . Now is the time for protected pedestrian paths and less paths for pedal pushers who ride where ever they want to anyway
Feb. 19, 2019, 1:39 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Karl, seeing your latest comment shows how much you are in denial on this issue. Then again, you probably miss the statement as much as so many cyclists tend to miss all the traffic lights and signs they are supposed to obey. If this is really about safety, then cyclists should start obeying the traffic laws rather than acting like victims to them. In reality, acting like the rules don't apply to them only gives them more opposition to their cause. On a side note, making a personal attack only shows that you pretty much lost this debate and have to resort to name calling when you know that you can't defend your statement.
Feb. 19, 2019, 2:41 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Tal, you are arguing with a troll that lives in a sewer and steals his neighbors WiFi. Don’t waste your time.
Feb. 19, 2019, 5:18 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
It’s disgraceful the way that this site allows pathetic trolls to run amok and post vile garbage. The censors are obviously afraid of the chud that starts whining when they delete his posts, then they back off and let him ruin their site. Great way to run a business. Stop letting Tal post comments here or else I'll cry some more.
Feb. 19, 2019, 5:58 pm
Naralia from Brighton Beach says:
Henry Ford perhaps you need soup of chicken for the soul! Learn about be nice from Book.
Feb. 20, 2019, 2:28 pm
julia from south slope park slope greenwood heights says:
delivery bikes are totally out of control riding up and down on sidewalks. also riding the wrong way in the new bike lanes on 9 street and no one is doing anything about it
Feb. 22, 2019, 10:38 pm
julia from south slope park slope greenwood heights says:
Just don't understand nobody complains to the Mayor I did already I submitted complain. So if more people complain about these illegal electric bike on sidewalks maybe something will done bike are taking advantage of people on sidewalks.
Feb. 22, 2019, 10:40 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Julia, if you complain about the e-bikes or any other scofflaw cyclists on constantly disobeying the traffic laws, the bike zealots over on places such as Streetsblog and Transportation Alternatives will be crying foul over this and will act like victims to the rules in response to that not to mention saying that they are being picked on.
Feb. 23, 2019, 2:29 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: