Will makeshift bike lane inspire a Prospect Heights roadway redesign?

Cyclist’s makeshift bike lane barricade stops cops cars from blocking path
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

The daring bicycle vigilante who broke the rules to protect an often-obstructed Prospect Heights bike lane now has a legally legit plan to keep cars from blocking the path.

Cycling activist Ian Dutton isn’t hitting the brakes on his battle to bolster the double-parking-prone bike lane on Bergen Street near Flatbush Avenue after someone removed the guerrilla-style barrier he built out of orange pylons — instead he’s taking the issue to Community Board 6 and Community Board 8 to lobby for a city-sanctioned street median.

“It really is an important matter,” said Dutton, an airplane pilot and former member of a Manhattan community board. “A very simple change to the street resulted in a dramatically safer experience for a great volume of cyclists.”

Dutton says he cordoned off the existing bike lane in front of the 78th Precinct stationhouse with construction cylinders he found at a nearby construction site as a fun “suggestion” to keep motorists and police vehicles from parking in the path.

And the makeshift lane certainly exceeded his hopes.

Dutton claims that fewer vehicles double-parked in the bike lane while the pylons were up, and when the bike booster went out of town, other cyclists began maintaining the lane, rebuilding it when cylinders were knocked down or removed.

“It ended up being a giant team effort — it got a really positive response,” Dutton said.

The barrier lasted six weeks before construction workers retrieved the pylons , according to an officer at the 78th Precinct.

A spokesman for the Department of Transportation said the agency “will review any requests to determine feasibility.”

Dutton’s concept is getting plenty of support on transportation blogs, including a nod from a Brooklyn Spoke writer who recently set up red plastic cups along the Franklin Street bike lane after Dutton inspired him.

“Very basic forms of separation can make big differences,” writer Doug Gordon notes.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.