Thursday, January 19, 2012

About-Face in Battle Over Lafayette Avenue Bike Lane

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2012 at 3:03 PM

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Almost a year ago plans for a superb protected bike lane all the way along Lafayette Avenue from Fulton Street in Fort Greene to Broadway in Bushwick were presented and quickly shelved when opposition from the community caused the Prospect Park West battle-scarred Department of Transportation to back down. But last week a local petition brought the item back onto Community Board 2's agenda, and on Tuesday night CB2's transportation committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of the first portion of the street reconfiguration.

The committee, which voted 9-to-1 vote in favor of the plan, called upon the DOT to have another look at the possible effects on traffic patterns of installing a short portion of the Lafayette Avenue bike lane, the Times' Local Fort Greene blog reports. The section in question, a tiny five-block fraction of the much, much longer original lane proposal, would remove one lane of car traffic (leaving one) and replace it with a protected bike lane between Fulton Street and Carlton Avenue.

A DOT official said that the city agency will revisit its study of Lafayette from 2011, but Sandy Balboza, a member of CB2's transportation committee, says that's not enough: "What we really need is a comprehensive study for Downtown." At the very least a new study of the western end of Lafayette Avenue, and how its loss of a lane of cars will affect traffic on parallel and narrower thoroughfares like Greene and Myrtle avenues, is in order. So, while the community is finally, largely behind this bike lane project, it could be another year before paint meets pavement on Lafayette.

Follow Benjamin Sutton on Twitter @LMagArt

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