Did city ignore bike lane in Gowanus exit fix?

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The city’s latest “exit strategy” for a controversial Dyker Heights intersection has some members of a local panel scratching their heads because the plan doesn’t take into account new bike lanes — which the same agency is proposing.

Some residents at Monday’s Community Board 10 meeting say the newest plan for the heavily congested intersection of 78th Street, Fort Hamilton Parkway, and the Seventh Avenue exit of the Gowanus Expressway, will cause even more traffic — thanks to the Department of Transporta­tion’s failure to consider the new bike lanes on nearby Bay Ridge Parkway.

“There is no reason on earth why they shouldn’t have known that they were going to put five-foot bike lanes on each side of Bay Ridge Parkway,” said CB10 member Allen Bortnick, who blamed the agency’s compartmen­talization for the flaw. “They don’t know what each other is doing.”

Transportation officials who worked on the re-configuration of the exit admitted they were not aware of the bicycle lane proposal, according to Doris Cruz, the chairwoman of the board’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, which met with the city last month.

As a result, board members complained that the plan, which would add a lane of moving traffic on Seventh Avenue north of 78th Street, did not fully address the problems at the intersection.

“Many questions were addressed to the Department of Transportation, and we got almost no answers,” said Cruz.

But Transportation spokesman Monty Dean disputed Cruz’s statement about the bike lanes, saying that the planners for the exit re-configuration did know about the bike lane proposal, and that it wouldn’t cause a problem.

“The two projects are compatible,” said Dean. “The bike lanes will not affect the number of travel lanes on Bay Ridge Parkway and will actually improve traffic flow with the new left turn lanes that are included.”

Still, the board doesn’t want to endorse the proposal in its entirety, instead voting overwhelmingly to support only portions of it.

For instance, it wants the city to quickly implement three aspects of the plan — a diagonal crosswalk in front of PS 127, new signs, and the addition of countdown signals for pedestrians.

But it wants the city to hold off on the installation of a pedestrian island, a reduction in the number of traffic light cycles from four to three, and the installation of barriers to prevent cars from changing lanes in certain parts of the intersection.

Board members also felt that the plan gave short shrift to residents, who object that it is too limiting on local traffic — cars or trucks traveling on Seventh Avenue must continue on Fort Hamilton Parkway — while allowing considerable leeway to motorists getting off the highway, who can go straight or turn at Bay Ridge Parkway.

Residents have been complaining about the intersection since the city re-configured it in 2009 by adding a merge between vehicles exiting the expressway and northbound Seventh Avenue traffic.

Dean said that transportation officials will review CB10’s latest input.

“We look forward to communicating with them further as we work to improve safety and traffic conditions at this location,” she said.

But residents like Bortnick, who thinks the city isn’t interested in moving traffic along, aren’t holding out much hope.

“They use the word calming to substitute for delay,” said Bortnick.

The board’s Transportation Committee will meet again next month to continue the plan for the intersection in its entirety, with the board poised to vote on the full plan at its December meeting. Community Board 10 Traffic and Transportation Committee [8119 Fifth Ave. in Bay Ridge, (718) 745-6827], Dec. 7 at 7 pm.

Updated 12:23 am, November 17, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from GP says:
But residents like Bortnick, who thinks the city isn’t interested in moving traffic along, aren’t holding out much hope.

“They use the word calming to substitute for delay,” said Bortnick.
What Bortnick is really saying is "I want to make sure drivers can drive as fast and recklessly as possible. Pedestrians and bicyclists are just in my way."
Nov. 17, 2010, 8:35 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Did city ignore bike lane in Gowanus exit fix?

We can only hope!
Nov. 17, 2010, 11:41 am
common sense from bay ridge says:
The bike lanes on 75th Street will be a couple of blocks away from this exit. It really is a non factor.

BTW, there is no good answer for that exit, making the traffic lights longer (for pedestrians too) is the only thing that will help a bit. They had to put that barrier there, because every idiot getting off the BQE would try to get onto 78th, or even worse, 79th Street.
Nov. 17, 2010, 6:17 pm
Mike from GP says:
Or from Yellow Hook: why do hate on street safety measures so much? Are you against crosswalks and sidewalks too? Yeesh
Nov. 17, 2010, 10:21 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Janette Sadik-Khan is the head of the Department of NON transportation.

She is determined to make traffic jams and bottlenecks where there are none, and convince the gullible that it is for 'safety'.

When she and the mayor have tied the city in knots, they will pull the "conjestion tax" out of their hats and charge money for creating their mess, and have more revenue for the trough, without solving the problem.

Play along if you like - it's for the sake of the children.
Nov. 18, 2010, Midnight
Mike from GP says:
Or from Yellow Hook,

I've heard this canard over and over again, yet when asked for evidence, bike and pedestrian haters like yourself always come up short. The truth is that essential safety measure like traffic calming do not create traffic jams. You know what does? Transportation policies that encourage car dependence.

And as for congestion charging, the reasons it keeps coming up is because it's the best answer to the mess that car drivers keep making of this city. It's time to pay up, finally.
Nov. 18, 2010, 10:35 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Turning 4 lanes into 2 lanes on Ft Hamilton Pkwy by putting an island with a planter in the middle of the street will make a bottle neck.

Visit any construction site where a lane dissapears and narrows, and you will see the "calming" effect.

When that planter becomes a litter pile, somebody will get work cleaning it out.
Nov. 20, 2010, 8:36 am
Mike says:
Get your facts straight. It wasn't 4 lanes. It was 2 lanes all along.
Nov. 20, 2010, 8:19 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
My facts are fine; at Ft. Hamilton and New Utrecht Ave 4 lanes will become 2 with a little island and planter to calm us.
Nov. 20, 2010, 9:01 pm
Mike says:
I just double-checked Google Maps. I suggest you try it. Fort Hamilton at New Utrecht was one wide lane in each direction, plus parking.
Nov. 22, 2010, 8:53 am

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