Proposed traffic changes on Franklin Ave.
  • Great changes that will make Franklin Avenue much safer for everyone (at least between Atlantic and the Eastern Parkway Autobahn).  Taking Franklin to one lane largely ends the quasi-drag races its two lanes heavily encourage at this point.

    These efforts to reduce traffic violence will eventually reach CB 9 as well.
  • Unless they protect the bike lane it will quickly become a hogwash of double parked cars and trucks. Otherwise this looks like a major improvement on Franklin.
  • This "listening mtg" cited by DOT as the foundation for the changes:

    http://www.brooklynian.com/discussion/43895/want-to-talk-with-nyc-dot-about-franklin-avenue-april-2nd#Item_24

    I like the changes.
  • My two cents: Reducing traffic to one lane is necessary on Franklin. It will not, as the comment on Streetsblog suggest, improve vehicle travel time. And I don't think having two lanes contributes to speeding on Franklin any more than it does on similar two-lane streets in CH such as Nostrand or Brooklyn. But the road's just not wide enough to safely accommodate two lanes of moving cars given the bicycle traffic Franklin now sees. 

    Parking limits on the commercial blocks are a great idea, though with the number of of bars and restaurants, two-hour limits make more sense than one-hour.
  • newguy88 said:

    Unless they protect the bike lane it will quickly become a hogwash of double parked cars and trucks.



    No doubt.  And obviously, unfortunately, the bike lane likely won't be protected.

    But still a big improvement over what exists now.
  • And I don't think having two lanes contributes to speeding on Franklin any more than it does on similar two-lane streets in CH such as Nostrand or Brooklyn. But the road's just not wide enough to safely accommodate two lanes of moving cars given the bicycle traffic Franklin now sees. 



    But this is why it contributes to the race.  Driving is a naturally competitive event... drivers naturally - at least at first instinct - want to beat the next driver to the parking spot, the faster moving lane, etc.  They naturally, understandably, don't want to have to sit behind the delivery truck waiting for 10 cars to pass until they can proceed in the adjacent lane... so they instinctively punch it a few miles per hour faster for a little bit.  When slowed for even a few moments (e.g. coming up behind a cyclist), drivers regularly punch it a little faster for a stretch once they're able to.  Instinctively feeling they have lost time that needs to be made up.

    The most aggressive and thoughtless go for longer stretches trying to beat the next guy... I watch this happen up Franklin constantly, often including cabbies, who have additional economic incentive to drive faster.

    We do the same thing with grocery store lines, etc.  Just human nature.

    Placing everyone into 1 lane ends the race.  

    Heavy snowfall does this unintentionally; traffic narrowed to one lane on these avenues and significantly slowed... and the area proceeds just fine.
  • image
    From above Streetsblog link.
  • So is this going to happen any time soon? I live on Franklin, in this proposed area, and while it will be annoying to not be able to park my van outside of my place for very long, it will be nice to have the traffic outside my door not be a shit show.
  • As per Streetsblog:

    "CB 8 is set to take up the proposal at its general board meeting on June 12, which will be attended by DOT staff. The agency says it could implement the project as soon as July, with concrete pedestrian islands installed on Atlantic Avenue next year."
  • The issue of parking limits was brought up and will be discussed in future meetings - any reconfiguration of Franklin this summer will be limited to lane markings & light timings, and *not* include parking limits.
  • @mike dunlap, as a driver in Brooklyn for the last 19 years, I've experienced all kinds of driver behavior on a wide variety of street types. Yes, there are aggressive drivers. And yes, those aggressive drivers will take advantage of any situation to get ahead and do use second lanes as you described. But they will also drive aggressively on one-lane streets, using a clear parking lane approaching an intersection to go around the driver(s) ahead of them. I've even seen drivers go into an oncoming lane in two-way traffic to pass other drivers. Because they are jerks. Such behavior isn't human nature, and the two-lane street is not at fault.

    Actually, if I have to co-exist with such jerks I prefer to do it on a two-lane street than in one lane where they are likely to aggressively tailgate me either out of their own frustration or in an effort to bully me into driving faster. 

    I think Brooklyn Ave. between Atlantic and Eastern Parkway works just fine, for example. And it has the same width and the same two lanes. What it is doesn't have that Franklin does are lots of commerce (meaning double-parked cars for short visits or quick pickups plus commercial vehicles loading and unloading), lots of foot traffic (meaning more livery cabs picking up and dropping off), and lots of bike traffic -- all of which have increased in recent years.  

    That's why I think one lane is now right for Franklin. But while we may agree on the solution, I disagree with you about both the problem and the cause.
  • Franklin runs south.

    If this successfully slows traffic on Franklin, I think more cars will head to nearby thru streets with southbound lanes:  Washington Avenue and Bedford.
  • @whynot_31 Washington and bedford have wider lanes and bike lanes so I think they can handle the additional traffic just fine. 
  • I suspect those roads will see their mean speed decreased as a result of the increased load.

    Win-Win?
  • newguy88 said:

    @whynot_31 Washington and bedford have wider lanes and bike lanes so I think they can handle the additional traffic just fine. 



    One thing that has been found in many cases with road reductions, highway tearouts, etc. is that some % of the traffic will go elsewhere... but a significant % of it will just go away permanently as people choose to take fewer trips, becoming more efficient with the trips they do take.

    Adding road capacity just induces more demand as trips become faster. But this of course leads to more of the damage cars cause: deaths, injuries, pollution, public dollars wasted, etc., etc.
  • DNAinfo just wrote about this - 

    Lane of Car Traffic to Be Removed for Bike Lane in Crown Heights

    http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140603/crown-heights/lane-of-car-traffic-be-removed-for-bike-lane-crown-heights
  • I regularly ride Franklin from Flushing Ave to Eastern Parkway.  It's amazing how much less comfortable the ride gets once the bike lane ends at Atlantic.  

    And the traffic from Flushing to Atlantic - with the bike lane - is not noticeably slower than it is from Atlantic to Eastern Parkway.  It's just forced to be in one line instead of two. 
  • Mike, I think you're wrong on this. The vehicle traffic on Franklin (Wythe) from Flushing to DeKalb is noticablly slower than say 10 years ago. Between the Hasidic schools and the reduced car lanes, that stretch can take anywhere from 10-12 minutes when it used to be a straight 5-7 minute ride.
  • It is difficult to know the cause of the slowdown. While we have been taking space from cars, we have also grown by something like 1 million people over the last 10 years.

    ....regardless of the cause, I think it is safe to say that traveling by POV will progressively suck over the next ten years as well.

    Suck is a professional term in this context. Perverts.
  • 10 years ago things were quite different.  I don't think you can compare or blame the current traffic on the bike lanes.  Traffic was lighter because, said simply, there was no reason to go to that area or pass through that area.  One would speed up Bedford if they needed to go in that direction to get to wherever they were going.  In my opinion, the schools (as you mentioned), new residents, and the retail/cafes/etc. that came as a result are the primary cause of the traffic.
  • homeowner said:

    Mike, I think you're wrong on this. The vehicle traffic on Franklin (Wythe) from Flushing to DeKalb is noticablly slower than say 10 years ago. Between the Hasidic schools and the reduced car lanes, that stretch can take anywhere from 10-12 minutes when it used to be a straight 5-7 minute ride.



    I can't speak to what it was 10 years ago... but Flushing to Atlantic and Atlantic to Eastern are not noticeably different today.  The point being that whatever slowed that stretch from then to now, it doesn't appear the bike lane was much of a factor (or else Atlantic to Eastern would be significantly faster). 
  • The bike lane is not the sole source of the slowdown, but it is a contributing factor along with the reasons that southeast noted in his/her post. While you may aruge that DeKalb to Atlantic is no different than Atlantic to EP, I think Flushing to DeKalb, and Atlantic to EP should move at different rates. The first is a significantly narrower street with primarily private houses, and limited amounts of commercial property.

    Personally I don't think that bike lanes should be on streets that have bus routes unless there is truly sufficent space to comfortably house both. I also think that there are certain streets bikes should be prohibited from riding on in traffic, starting with truck routes (Atlantic and Flatbush being the main through routes and local routes Rogers, Nostrand, Utica, Empire, DeKalb and Lafayette). On EP and Ocean Parkway, Linden, Kings Highway, etc. bikes should be limited to the designated bike lane or the service lanes only. These are just common sense things that would protect bikers while at the same time having minimal impacts on traffic flows of any type and providing maximum saftey to all. Reducing travel lanes may be great for bikers, but it does slow down all traffic and does cause traffic to move from what are supposed to be primary roads to secondary and tertiary roads, often times making them less safe as truck and commercial vehicles seek the fastest route from point A to B.
  • So, something akin to the rules on the highway, where you have to be able to maintain a minimum speed for safety? I-95: 55 mph

    Kings Highway: 35 mph

  • @homeowner

    I thought you were against all bus lanes? So I'm entirely unsurpassed you are against bike lanes too. Let's just call it what it is. You're against anything that causes you to slowdown in your car.

    As for prohibiting bike traffic you are dead wrong about this. Other than controlled access freeways cyclists have the legal right to be on any road. This is not "common sense" and in fact flies in the face of any logic at all. Unless of course you own a car and want to drive it with complete disregard for cyclists.

    Putting in bike lanes is not only great for cyclists. It's also great for pedestrians and it's great for car drivers like yourself. Bike lanes reduce pedestrian and car conflicts with bike lanes. There is no evidence that bike lanes or slow zones make surrounding streets less safe. But you know what makes streets much more dangerous and is extremely well documented? Cars speeding down streets.
  • On avenues like Frankin where the 2 lane arrangement is too cramped for comfort, they dont actually work as 2 lanes in practice but more like a chaotic single lane -- and so moving to an official single lane doesnt reduce your throughput.  The only consideration is at major intersections where you need the two lanes again for temporary storage as cars gather at the longer lights.  

    Note that the same change was applied to Classon some time back (and Lewis also) and the peak throughputs and travel times remain the same, yet is now more relaxing and safe.  Classon has dedicated dead-space margins either side of the travel lane, but could have received a bike lane at no cost to the single travel lane. 
  • @deano the failure to put in a bike lane on Classon continues to baffle me.
  • I periodically see bikers on Flatbush, and think to myself: There is someone expressing their freedumb.
  • homeowner said:

    I think Flushing to DeKalb, and Atlantic to EP should move at different rates. 



    What is gained by this increase in speed from Atlantic to EP?  

    Fatality rates and injury severity in car collisions with bikers and pedestrians are highly correlated with vehicle speed... and the curve is pretty steep:
    If the average speed (not counting stops) from Atlantic to EP is 30 mph (for example), up from 20 mph (for example) between Flushing and Atlantic, you are saving several seconds on your trip... while greatly increasing the damage done in a collision.  That's a pretty lousy trade-off.
  • While I am not a fan a pedestrians dying, it is not merely Homeowner who would be saving seconds. It is the thousands of drivers and passengers who use the road everyday.

    Prices are always put on lives, and always will be.
  • Newguy. I'm not against bus or bike lanes where they are done correctly and make sense. Nor am I taking away someone's "legal right" to use a roadway. I just think that common sense says if you designate a road as a primary route for 45 foot trucks with a wide turning radius and limited lines of sight, also making it a route where a single biker can come into contact with that truck spells disaster for the biker. If you read what I said, I cited exactly eight streets in our general area that this is the case.

    I think this is a great description of what these primary routes through the borough should be:

    "Travel Streets should be managed with the aim of optimizing their traffic
    performance, because acting as traffic conduits is their primary function. In many cases, traffic performance can be optimized through improvements to intersection operations; in some cases, improvements can also be achieved through rationalization of mid-block operations.

    Optimizing traffic performance does not necessarily mean maximizing traffic capacity and sacrificing the interests of all users other than those traveling through the area. Most of the Travel Streets have vibrant retail and other land uses that depend at the very least on comfortable pedestrian access and generally on users’ ability to park either in front of or close by those uses. Accordingly, successful management of the Travel Streets depends on achievement of a balance between the various legitimate users of these streets.

    Fortunately, analysis has shown that operational efficiencies can be achieved in a number of places. A typical tactic of traffic managers in such situations is to use the benefit achieved from improved traffic efficiency to increase local traffic capacity. However, the focus has been to spread the benefits of such improvements across a range of goals for management of the road network: improved safety, better parking provision, better transit provision and greater attention to pedestrian needs, as well as, where appropriate, greater traffic capacity. Where it is recommended that such benefits be used to achieve greater traffic capacity on a Travel Street, this forms part of a coordinated program directed at limiting intrusion of traffic into streets less suited to carrying traffic."

    As for EP,OP, KH, etc. those streets already either have bike lanes that are separated from traffic, or service roads which are narrower with slower traffic and provide greater safety for bikers. Why shouldn't bikers be required to use these safer option rather than riding in the main roadway where there are greater opportunities for injury?
  • Another note, a Turn Signal is needed at the intetsection of Franklin Ave. and Eastern Parkway. Every other block that has a truning lane has one. Brooklyn driving is the most competitive and jockeying for an opportunity to make that left, is like waiting for the right moment in double-dutch rope.
  • @homeowner

    Try this on for size. Cars should be forbidden from using any roadway designated as a bike route including Washington, Vanderbilt, Dean and Bergen. Kind of limits your options huh? I have never once heard you say a bus lane or bike lane makes sense. If I was to ignore every road with trucks on it I would be completely unable to get around. Your idea is completely illogical and has zero "common sense." There is nothing in your description of traffic routes that precludes bike or bus lanes. In fact they are more efficient by allowing a greater number of people to be moved.

    As for your whole safety thing it shows you have no experience as a cyclist. Just beacuse a bike lane exists doesn't mean it's safer. In fact given how poorly maintained they can be and how often drivers use them as parking it is occasionally safer for us to use non bike routes. Drivers expect cyclists to stay in bike lanes and don't expect is to take the lane when the bike lane is blocked. Service roads often suffer from these above issues. That being said I favor bike lanes if they exist, are safe and don't require a large deviation from my route. It's obvious you only know "common sense" from a drivers' perspective.
  • Just like when Barclays got built and everyone freaked out about traffic, people are going to complain about any changes and it usually works out fine.
  • I don't have empirical data to back that up sorry
  • Incremental changes in adaptable systems do not cause disaster.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tautology_(rhetoric)
  • I don't have any empirical data about Barclays either, but I can tell you from lots of first-person anecdotal evidence that some of that freaking out was warranted. Traffic on Flatbush and Atlantic are definitely affected on event days, as is parking in the area. And with Pacific being shut off, the traffic on Bergen between Carlton and Flatbush can get ridiculous. I've missed the light at Flatbush as many as four times sitting in traffic.

    Plus Barclays is about to shut down one lane of Atlantic for almost two years: http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2014/06/before-community-meeting-tuesday-esd.html. 
  • @newguy, stop and read what I've actually written. There are eight streets designated as truck routes. I'm not suggesting that you be barred from taking every street with a truck, but that truck routes (those that large trucks are specifically required to take BY LAW) be recognized as being different than any other streets. In my mind this is no different than the prohibition against commercial traffic on parkways. Its simply a recognition that while its possible to put every mode of traffic on the same roadway, its not always best. Its why we have elevated train tracks and underground subways and pedestrian flyovers for highways.

    My suggestion is that bikers be precluded from these eight streets only. If you want to put a bike lane on every other street, have at it. I also very clearly stated that on streets where there were options of either a protected bike lane and/or service roads, bikers should be required to use the lanes or those roads and not travel in the same roadway as cars. This is no different than what currently occurs on all of the bridges with bike lanes, on the FDR, and the West Side Highway, yet you seem to overlook all of those practices and demand some legal right to ride somewhere that is less safe. As to your assertion that bike lanes are poorly maintained, I'd suggest that the problem is that the streets generally are poorly maintained, and that the failure of DOT to actually undertake routine maintenance is not some plot against you personally, or something that affects only bikers.

    As for my cycling habits, I ride every week (weather permitting) and use primarily secondary or tertiary streets, some with bike lanes and some without. There are some streets I actively avoid, and others that I will go out of my way to take because they are better suited to my skill and comfort levels. I yield to drivers because I recognize that any encounter is probably going to end up not in my favor. Generally, I try to use that "common sense" which you have maligned.
  • whynot_31 said:

    While I am not a fan a pedestrians dying, it is not merely Homeowner who would be saving seconds. It is the thousands of drivers and passengers who use the road everyday.  



    Of course.

    A few seconds.

    Heavy, heavy meh.
  • I don't have any empirical data about Barclays either, but I can tell you from lots of first-person anecdotal evidence that some of that freaking out was warranted. Traffic on Flatbush and Atlantic are definitely affected on event days, as is parking in the area. And with Pacific being shut off, the traffic on Bergen between Carlton and Flatbush can get ridiculous. I've missed the light at Flatbush as many as four times sitting in traffic.


    Plus Barclays is about to shut down one lane of Atlantic for almost two years: http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2014/06/before-community-meeting-tuesday-esd.html. 


    Good for the Barclays Center then.

    Owning and driving a car in this city is not nearly as burdensome as it should be.

    Paris just announced it is going to speed limits of around 20 mph for the entire city but for a small few major avenues.  Good for them.
  • While I am not a fan a pedestrians dying, it is not merely Homeowner who would be saving seconds. It is the thousands of drivers and passengers who use the road everyday.  
    Of course.

    A few seconds.

    Heavy, heavy meh.

    You forget the rest of the post:
    Prices are always put on lives, and always will be.
  • Good news:   In NYC, the lives of pedestrians and bikers are slowly becoming less cheap.   If you are a politician and people believe that you are trying to save their lives, you now get paid in votes.    
  • whynot_31 said:

    You forget the rest of the post:
    Prices are always put on lives, and always will be.


    No, I got that.  And that is true.  I always use the example of subway station platform barriers; the city could put up platform screen doors and basically eliminate subway station deaths.  But given the costs (monetary, opportunity, etc.), it decides that the ~50 lives ended by subway trains each year are not worth that.  Lots of other examples of course; people commonly say you can't put a price on a human life... but we regularly, naturally do... as we should.

    My comment was a way of saying that a few seconds added to a commute (assuming that's even the case) is a very, very tiny cost relative to the reward.
  • Increasing density will increase some kinds of deaths and problems, and decrease others.

    In 10 years, we will get to use the stats to justify or condemn the current efforts.

    It will be great.
  • The DOT has now put up flyers around Franklin Avenue, stating that they will begin work this month (August).
  • @whynot_31 Yay! image


    Soon there will be no more dangerous passes and tailgating when I ride down Franklin. Who is willing to bet cold hard cash that the bike lane won't become a mess of illegal parking, delivery trucks and pedestrians walking down it?
  • newguy88 said:

    Soon there will be no more dangerous passes and tailgating when I ride down Franklin. Who is willing to bet cold hard cash that the bike lane won't become a mess of illegal parking, delivery trucks and pedestrians walking down it?


    Pretty much a given with every bike lane, some more so than others. Still, better that than the 2-lane drag race that exists now.
  • The initial markings for the bike lane were painted yesterday. They sit out from the cars on the right side by a couple feet, pushing cars into a pretty narrow slot up the left side of the street. Will be interesting to see how this changes traffic on Franklin. I suspect a lot of cyclists that use Washington and Beford will move onto Franklin and vice versa for some regular Franklin drivers.
  • Bike lane now officially striped.  Franklin noticeably calmer today: cars in single file up one lane, plenty of bikes moving single file, now with plenty of space, up the other lane.  The drag race is over.

    Anyone know why the lane stops at St. Johns?
  • "Anyone know why the lane stops at St. Johns?"

    II suspect it has to do with the bus stop further down
  • DOT reverts to 2 traffic lanes for the last two blocks for "storage" reasons - ie. to allow enough cars to build up for the key light at the Franklin/EP junction
  • deano said:

    DOT reverts to 2 traffic lanes for the last two blocks for "storage" reasons - ie. to allow enough cars to build up for the key light at the Franklin/EP junction


    Thanks. Makes sense. Not a big deal... by then the cars have been slowed to a point they won't be able to resume the drag race until over the parkway (which they certainly do today).
  • This article states bike lanes actually speed up motor vehicle traffic: http://www.vox.com/2014/9/8/6121129/bike-lanes-traffic-new-york

  • Love the bike lane from Atlantic to St. John's. Feel much safer riding this stretch.
  • Same. I always used to divert to Grand Ave. when coming home from the north— now I just cruise up Franklin.
  • Kind of related. What's up with the one lonely bike rack outside the subway on EP and Franklin? Very generous DOT.

  • ehgee said:

    Same. I always used to divert to Grand Ave. when coming home from the north— now I just cruise up Franklin.



    Taking a bow :-)... (not Washington/Bedford, but same idea...):

    "I suspect a lot of cyclists that use Washington and Bedford will move onto Franklin and vice versa for some regular Franklin drivers."

  • I'm hearing that the Franklin Ave bike lane might become protected under the latest NYC DOT bike projects. But I've been unable to find anything to substantiate the rumor! Oh please please let it be true! The lane has become a parking and turning lane.  

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