Flat tire: City unveils plans for protected Flatbush Avenue bike lane near Prospect Park

Prospect-ive delays: Park fixes could be stalled due to problematic contractor
Photo by Natallie Rocha

City transit reps presented designs for a protected bike lane along the Flatbush Avenue border of Prospect Park at a closed-doors meeting in Borough Hall on Wednesday.

The two-way bike lane will be painted onto the western, southbound side of Flatbush Avenue between Grand Army Plaza and Empire Boulevard where it borders Brooklyn’s Backyard — opposite the Brooklyn Botanic Garden — with both north and southbound lanes stretching to four feet wide, according to members of multiple stakeholder groups invited to attend the meeting, which was not open to press.

The bike lanes will be situated between two three-foot-wide buffers separating cyclists from the sidewalk on one side and a row of parked cars on the other, which will offer protection from traffic on the busy thoroughfare.

The new bicycling infrastructure will require axing a northbound driving lane, but city transit honchos plan on suspending parking on the east-side of Flatbush Avenue from 7–10 am on weekdays to revive the lost travel lane during the morning rush.

Community members in attendance at the sneak-peek preview meeting praised the new bike lane, although some local transit honchos argued the cycling paths should be widened to accommodate future bike traffic, which can only be expected to grow as Brooklyn becomes a friendlier place to cyclists.

“I would like it to be a couple feet wider,” said Eric McClure, chairman of Community Board 6’s Transportation Committee. “We should be planning for the New York City of 10 years from now, when we’ll have many more people riding bikes.”

And there’s a concern about illegal, overnight truck parking that plagues the thoroughfare through the park, a perennial issue that city law enforcement has yet to solve, according to a member of bike advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.

“You get a lot of 18 wheeler trucks that park there, and the city hasn’t offered any solution for that,” said Dulcie Canton

“My big issue is the big trucks that park overnight,” said Stanley Greenberg.

The city’s plans for the Flatbush Avenue bike lane will be officially unveiled within the coming months at meetings of both community boards 6 and 9, according to Alana Morales, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation.

The Flatbush Avenue bike lane will feature as a key aspect of the city’s master plan to ring Prospect Park with protected bike lanes.

Prospect Park West is currently the only roadway bordering the park with a protected bike lane, but the city discussed plans for another protected bike lane on the Ocean Avenue border at a meeting of the Prospect Park Community Committee in March, which will be constructed as part of perimeter enhance project expected to finish in fall 2021, and will be installed atop a 30-foot-wide sidewalk there.

Flatbush Avenue is currently undergoing a similar perimeter improvement project, featuring repaved sidewalks, along with new benches, lighting, and fences, which was substantially delayed after the city’s chosen contractor suffered serious setbacks, and at times failing to show up for work, although the Parks Department now contends that construction is back on track and expected to be completed sometime this summer.

The bike lane project will follow this fall and is expected to be completed fairly quickly, with the work mainly consisting of applying paint to asphalt, according to Stanley Greenberg, a member of the Prospect Park Community Committee.

Locals are still waiting to hear the city’s plans for Prospect Park Southwest and Parkside Avenue, which remain the only roadways bordering the park where bike lane designs haven’t been discussed.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
A rendering of a protected bike lane planned for the Flatbush Avenue border of Prospect Park.
Photo by Dulcie Canton