A group of anonymous safe-streets advocates that installed sunflower-topped traffic cones along a dicey Chrystie Street bike lane earlier this month have taken their services to Brooklyn—this time, decorating Carlton Avenue between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue in Prospect Heights.
Speaking with us this afternoon, a member of the NYC Transformation Department explained that this particular stretch, though short, is frequented by truck drivers who tend to idle in the unprotected bike lane.
"Perhaps it's because it's not close to homes or businesses, drivers may feel that stopping here affects no one," said the spokesperson. "We wanted to point out just how simple these upgrades are, provided the political will is there."
According to the DOT's Vision Zero crash tracker, one cyclist has been injured at the intersection of Carlton and Atlantic this year to date. This August, the three-way intersection of Atlantic, Washington and Underhill Avenues—two blocks east of Carlton—received a bevy of safety upgrades, including restricted left turns, shorter crosswalks, and wider concrete medians. Bike lanes were not, however, part of the plan.
Atlantic Avenue was recently deemed one of the four most dangerous roadways in the five boroughs, and recently received millions for protected bike lanes. Construction began in August, a month after a cyclist was fatally struck by an SUV driver on Atlantic Avenue between Flatbush and Fourth Avenues.
— Transformation Dept. (@NYC_DOTr) October 19, 2015
Back on Chrystie Street, recently-tweeted photos and video of the group's targeted two-block stretch between Grand and Delancey shows Transformation Department cones still in place a week after the group's inaugural October 7th installation (with some exceptions). Neighbors replaced the original sunflowers with purple flowers on the 8th, and a video from October 14th shows cyclists taking advantage of the protected lane, sans blooms.
— Transformation Dept. (@NYC_DOTr) October 8, 2015
— Brooklyn Spoke (@BrooklynSpoke) October 14, 2015
Earlier this month, a spokesperson for Transformation Department suggested that, like flowery cones, plastic posts or Jersey barriers would go far to discourage "casual bike-lane encroachment" on the part of drivers.
"We do not want to impact automobile traffic, but simply want to keep drivers out of spaces where they don't belong," he said. "Lanes that run along a park or a curb are good candidates."