12th and 13th St. bike lanes still unfinished

Cars parked in one of the new crosstown bike lanes on 12th and 13th Sts. The lanes are not clearly marked off, lacking both green paint and plastic delineators.

BY SYDNEY PEREIRA | The installation of the 12th and 13th St. bike lanes — one part of the city’s L train shutdown plan — may not be completed by this winter. Meanwhile, neighbors and, of course, cyclists have noticed that cars and other vehicles are blocking the lanes.

Dale Goodson, a member of the North Avenue A Neighborhood Association, has seen delivery trucks, cabs and other vehicles using the new bike lanes as a place to park and stop — a common complaint of cyclists citywide.

Goodson said that, unless the city takes action, he fears, “It won’t be a bike lane — it’ll just be an additional parking place.”

The Department of Transportation began rolling out one-way bike lanes on 12th and 13th Sts. last month. As first reported by The Villager, over the summer the agency scrapped its original plan for a two-way bike lane on 13th St. in the face of fierce community opposition from the 14th St. Coalition, which has sued D.O.T. and Metropolitan Transportation Authority over the L train shutdown plan. Some neighbors weren’t happy once the new bike lanes took over former parking spots in October.

Though the “skeleton” of the lanes is in, flexible plastic delineators and the green bike lane paint are still lacking, the latter particularly on 12th St.

“Right now they are substantially in, except for the fact that we have to put the green paint down on 12th St.,” said Ted Wright, D.O.T. bicycle and greenway programs director. Wright added he rode the new crosstown lanes last week, and they had cars parked in them.

During the winter, Wright said, D.O.T. can still install the flexible delineators — vertical poles that discourage vehicles from parking in bike lanes. The green paint, however, may have to wait until spring. For the paint to stick, D.O.T. must paint the bike lanes in at least 50-degree temperatures, according to D.O.T.

“It’s getting cold,” Wright said. “That’s why I’m hesitating right now. We are hoping it gets in this year.”

A D.O.T. spokesperson later elaborated on Wright’s comments, stating, “We hope to complete the painting and the installation of the delineators soon. Crews are continuing to work on this project, weather permitting. There is some flexibility on the temperature range for installing green paint. It is expected to be completed this season.”

Ed Pincar, Manhattan borough D.O.T. commissioner, said, “The skeleton of the lanes [is] in, which is the most important.”

Pincar added there is usually a period of several weeks where people adjust to the new street designs.

“Part of this is that the lanes are still being implemented,” he said. “There is always an adjustment period, not only for cyclists, but for motorists and pedestrians, as well. And over time, usually three weeks or so, we see increased compliance. But where enforcement is needed, we’ll work with N.Y.P.D. to request it.”

Chelsea Yamada, a Transportation Alternatives Manhattan organizer, echoed, “I think as permissions have changed on the street, drivers aren’t familiar with the new parking regulations. But as more cyclists continue to use 12th and 13th Sts. [and] notice that it actually exists as a bike route, we won’t see as many conflicts where the bike lanes are blocked.”

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