By Dispatch Editors on Thursday, September 22nd, 2022 at 3:04 pm
Concrete barriers have started going in along Grand Street’s bike lane.
Grand Street has one-way bike lanes on each side of the street in East Williamsburg from Bushwick Avenue to the BQE. West bound traffic is separated by parked vehicles, while east bound lanes are adjacent to moving traffic.
The lanes were first installed as part of a broader plan to deal with the commuting apocalypse created by the L train shutdown. Although the complete shutdown was averted and much of the construction on the L train tunnels occurred during the pandemic, the bike lanes remain.
Not everyone was thrilled. A locksmith at Empire Lock wanted the parking restored. Locksmiths of course are notoriously famous for all the customers who physically come to their shops, and not for ripping off people who have accidentally been locked out of their apartments. The owners of the Bahia restaurant were also against the bike lane.
Back in 2020, the DOT installed some plastic sticks. Drivers treat these like the joke that they are and regularly park in the lane and drive over the delineators.
Even the MTA uses the bike lane for parking as seen in this file photo. The plastic barriers simply didn’t prevent drivers from using the bike lane as free parking.
Local police did little to enforce the the no parking zones. In one instance, we observed the police show up, chat with a driver who was blocking the bike lane with a large truck, and move on without writing a ticket or making the vehicle move.
In March of 2022, Transportation Alternatives began lobbying the DOT to install the concrete barriers.
The barriers continue to be installed along the route. In this section, the roadway narrows as construction on the former Key Foods lot has blocked a portion of the sidewalk and bike lane.
The barriers will come too late for Matthew von Ohlen who was murdered by a driver who crossed into the unprotected bike lane back in 2016. Surprisingly, in a rare instance, the driver actually faced criminal chargers.
Plastic barriers and green paint are not an obstacle for the local taco truck.
The La Taqueria restaurant routinely parks their taco truck in the bike lane at the corner creating a dangerous conflict for bicycles approaching the traffic light.
A Weedmaps NYC vehicle parks in the portion of unprotected bike lane even as a concrete barrier is being installed on part of the street.
Whether the concrete barriers provide bicyclists with the protection they need will still depend on enforcement of the lanes. Most vehicles will still likely have enough room to enter the lanes. Without choke points or enforcement, cars may still cause incursions.