After Mathew von Ohlen was killed by a hit and run driver while biking on Grand Street, his family and the Brooklyn Community Board 1 called for a protected bike lane. A total of four people have been fatally struck by cars on Grand Street since 2010.
A new design including two protected bike lanes and a bus lane was proposed by the DOT as an L Train shutdown mitigation measure. In reality, the DOT hastily installed a bike lane that wasn’t fully implemented and that stayed in limbo after it was decided that the L train would not be fully shut-down. The actual bike lane is only protected by plastic delineators. Cars and delivery trucks are constantly passing the delineators and parking on the bike lane forcing cyclists to make dangerous maneuvers to ride around them. Residents and businesses have both been asking their community board to improve the actual situation which according to them is chaotic.
Bike lane plans kept and extended
After the announcement that the L train would not shut down, the future of the Grand Street bike lane wasn’t clear. On Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio finally announced that the DOT was keeping the westbound parking-protected bike lane and eastbound buffered bike lane between the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Waterbury Street. The news was welcomed by Council Member Antonio Reynoso and North Brooklyn safe streets activists who have been actively advocating for the bike lane over the last 3 years. Polly Trottenberg, the DOT Commissioner, announced in a press conference that not only the buffer lane and the protected bike lane would stay but also that they would be extended to Vandervoort Avenue. Additional meter parking spaces and loading zones will be added around the corners of Grand Street to satisfy business needs. The bus lane that was planned for shuttle bus during the L shut down is not part of the new plan.