We are one step closer to getting a buffered bike lane along Lafayette Avenue between Fulton Street and Classon Avenue. The proposed five-foot wide lane received a unanimous recommendation of support from our local Community Board 2’s (CB2) Transportation Committee at their Tuesday night (January 19) meeting.
The biggest change will be a change from a two-lane to a one-lane corridor. One 10-foot-wide travel lane — which currently operates as a sharrow, for both cars and bikes — will be transformed into a dedicated five-foot bike lane with a three-foot criss-cross painted buffer between it and the remaining travel lane, which will be widened to 11 feet wide and serve both buses and cars.
Lafayette Avenue will retain its parking lanes on both sides, although one will be 12 feet wide and the other will be 9 feet wide (instead of the existing 10 feet for both).
Other changes include signal time adjustments “to avoid traffic congestion. The intersection at Cumberland Street will also receive extra attention, with the southwest corner sidewalk being extended six feet into the parking lane and street crossings being shortened from 40 feet to 34 feet.
As a bonus, the DOT also plans to take advantage of the street redesign to fix/remove a dangerous tree root that has upended the sidewalk at Lafayette Avenue and Cumberland Street. The DOT describes the decision to address this safety issue as one of public safety and “accessibility improvement,” as well as improving wheelchair accessibility.
According to Department of Transportation (DOT) presenter Ted Wright, the DOT looked to previous changes on DeKalb Avenue to see how street calming and safety fared after a bike lane was installed several years ago.
Although Lafayette is much less commercial than DeKalb, apparently, bike ridership increased and vehicle speeds lowered so much on DeKalb that they are hoping ridership levels will even out between the two corridors while also reducing speeding and erratic driving.
Wright acknowledged that the street redesign plan has been a long-time coming and aims to install the buffered bike lane as a street calming measure — a way to address overall street safety concerns.
The next step towards this plan becoming a reality is getting the support of the full CB2 board, which will meet and review the committee’s recommendation in February.
What do you think of the proposed bike lane and other street redesigns along Lafayette Avenue?