DOT Planning Buffered Bike Lane on Lafayette Avenue in Fort Greene

DOT's proposal would replace left-lane sharrows with a buffer-protected bike lane. Image: DOT
DOT’s proposal would replace sharrows with a buffered bike lane. Image: DOT

DOT plans to install a buffered bike lane this summer on Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn between Fulton Street and Classon Avenue.

The project, which the Brooklyn Community Board 2 transportation committee voted for unanimously last night, calls for a five-foot bike lane protected by a three-foot buffer zone [PDF]. It will be an upgrade from the current shared lane design but won’t be physically protected.

The buffered lane will create a better connection for cyclists heading from downtown Brooklyn to Fort Greene and points east, a route with significant bike traffic. There were five severe traffic injuries on the corridor between 2010 and 2014, with drivers often meandering between the two travel lanes and driving well over the speed limit. Outside of rush hour, DOT observed 24 percent of drivers speeding.

A dedicated lane on Lafayette Avenue will help fill in gaps in the neighborhood's already extensive bike network. Image: DOT
A buffered lane on Lafayette Avenue will help fill a gap in the neighborhood bike network. Image: DOT

At the intersection with Cumberland Street, DOT plans to build out the sidewalk around an old tree that has grown so big as to render the existing sidewalk inaccessible for people with disabilities. When committee member Hilda Cohen asked why DOT isn’t planning sidewalk extensions around similar trees on the same block, both DOT and CB 2 chair John Dew expressed reluctance to cut curbside parking spaces on the corridor.

A number of attendees and committee members expressed interest in a parking-protected bike lane, but DOT said it doesn’t consider the street to be wide enough.

“If we did the curbside bike lane, the cross section would be very tight,” DOT’s Sean Quinn told the committee. “Where anyone wants to pull over, try to pull over and stop, or the bus didn’t pull to the curb, there’d be no room for cars to continue flowing down the street. There is space there, but the space wouldn’t be efficiently used for all users on the corridor.”