Major overhaul coming to Schermerhorn Street bike lane

Schermerhorn Street’s notorious bike lane is lastly getting an improve from the town’s Department of Transportation, with main modifications coming to the thoroughfare as quickly as this summer season. 

The heavily-trafficked Schermerhorn Street, which stretches a couple of mile from Clinton Street to Third Avenue, the place it connects to Flatbush Avenue, is a significant part of Downtown Brooklyn’s bike community, with about 1,200 bikers traversing the lane every weekday, in accordance to DOT knowledge.

It’s additionally, regardless of clearly marked painted bike lanes, a sluggish and harmful route for cyclists, who’re routinely hit by automobiles or pressured to swerve into site visitors to keep away from automobiles and vehicles parked illegally within the lane, which doesn’t have a bodily barrier to separate it from the highway.

schermerhorn plan
The metropolis’s Department of Transportation is planning to set up a brand new two-way, parking protected bike lane on Schermerhorn Street between Smith Street and Third Avenue, with extra security measures like curb extensions and loading zones additionally deliberate. NYC DOT

The metropolis’s new plan, set to be applied within the subsequent few months, will flip Schermerhorn Street between Smith Street and Third Avenue into an eastbound one-way road for automobiles, who could have one driving lane down the middle of the road, DOT introduced at a Community Board 2 meeting final week.

This will permit the company to rearrange the remainder of the roughly 50-foot-wide stretch, putting in a two-way bike lane protected by a parking lane on the facet of the road and widening the parking lane on the north facet of the road. 

Between Boerum Place and Clinton Street, the place Schermerhorn Street is already a one-way, the present “standard” painted bike lane might be moved to the south facet of the road.

Cyclists aren’t the one focus of the redesign, which may also add painted curb extensions to the intersections at Boerum Place, Third Avenue, and Hoyt, Bond, and Nevins streets, shortening the crossing distance for pedestrians traversing the broad roadway.

“We’re excited to see strong local support for this holistic approach to address traffic safety on Schermerhorn Street,” mentioned Vin Barone, a DOT spokesperson. “This project will improve bike and pedestrian safety on an absolutely vital east-west bicycle route in downtown Brooklyn.”

schermerhorn street bike lane
A ghost bike on Schermerhorn Street honors a pedestrian who was hit and killed on the road. The DOT’s redesign seeks to make the road safer for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. Kirstyn Brendlen

Leading pedestrian intervals and plastic “Quick Kurb” bollards, which stop automobiles from parking illegally shut to road corners and hold cyclists seen to drivers may also hopefully scale back the variety of crashes on Schermerhorn Street — most cyclists and pedestrians who’ve been struck by automobiles have been hit whereas the automobile was turning.

The plan, which was developed after DOT surveyed business house owners, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians final year, seeks to knock out the road’s greatest security issues.

The company expects the brand new one-way Schermerhorn will make driver habits extra predictable for cyclists and pedestrians, who mentioned erratic drivers have been one in every of their high security issues, whereas eliminating all left-hand turns onto facet streets between Smith Street and Third Avenue. Left hand turns are significantly harmful for pedestrians and cyclists citywide, however particularly on Schermerhorn Street, the place 75 % of pedestrians who have been injured whereas crossing within the crosswalk with the stroll sign have been hit by automobiles turning left, in accordance to DOT knowledge. About 40 % of cyclists hit have been struck by turning drivers.

More than 150 drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians have been injured in crashes on Schermerhorn between 2015 and 2019, in accordance to DOT, with accidents rising throughout the board. Most drivers and automobile passengers have been damage in sideswipe and rear-end collisions as automobiles navigate an typically backed-up, busy roadway blocked by double-parked automobiles and supply vans.

car on schermerhorn
A automobile parked on Schermerhorn Street with an MTA vest on the dashboard. All metropolis businesses will retain their allotted parking spots on Schermerhorn Street after the redesign. Kirstyn Brendlen

City businesses with designated parking areas will retain their allotted space, a DOT spox mentioned. Placard abuse, the place metropolis workers go away expired placards, notes, or metropolis paraphernalia on their dashboards, is rampant alongside Schermerhorn Street.

Designated loading zones for resort pick-up and drop-off are deliberate to scale back that congestion on the ACE Hotel close to Bond Street and the Hilton Hotel close to Smith Street, and DOT informed Brooklyn Paper that they may contemplate including extra “targeted” loading zones alongside the commerce-heavy road. 

“Schermerhorn Street is the only way to bike through Downtown BK & it’s a disaster,” tweeted native Councilmember Lincoln Restler, who tried to bike the notorious “Schermerhorn Challenge” earlier this year. “We need streets that are safe for cyclists & pedestrians. Getting Schermerhorn fixed by the end of our first year in office has been one of my top priorities.”

Installation will begin after Schermerhorn Street’s battered roadway is resurfaced, and might be accomplished utilizing in-house money and current contractors, in accordance to a DOT spox.

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