Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

New Greenpoint Bike Lanes Make Excellent Parking Spots

July 28th, 2008 · 25 Comments

Those new bike lanes on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint are proving popular for many purposes and uses, including–you guessed it–parking. A GL reader who was using the bike lanes for bicycling, sent us a big series of photos featuring people who are using the bike lane for parking. He writes: “All of these pics were taken as I attempted to ride my bike up the new Manhattan avenue bike lane today [Saturday] at around 1pm. There was a vehicle parked in the bike lane on every block – in some cases more than one car.”

Tags: Greenpoint · Transportation

25 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jimbo // Jul 28, 2008 at 10:11 am

    What do you expect? Cars pay taxes and fees. Bikes don’t. Why should they get preferential treatment?

  • 2 Error // Jul 28, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Cars don’t pay taxes or fees. Drivers do. But not enough in fees to nearly pay for the infrastructure that they use– if you check the numbers, it turns out we’re all actually subsidizing drivers– and, last time i checked, bicyclists paid taxes too.

    And, it’s very difficult to kill people with a bicycle.

  • 3 Tony // Jul 28, 2008 at 10:34 am

    I live and bike in Greenpoint and this weekend was definitely frustratrating, from cars parked illegally on Manhattan Avenue to drivers thinking that Greenpoint Ave is still a four-way highway.

    My first thought is yelling at the driver, my second thought is having some kind of miniature rocket-propelled grenade on my bike and my final thought, fearing retaliation, is to find a legal course of action to enforce these new rules.

    I would love to hear from anybody to tell what I can do to help have these things enforced. Anyone?

  • 4 woodendesigner // Jul 28, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Two words…..ZERO TOLERANCE. Tow them on site and ticket them without mercy. I often find that people block traffic (bike and car alike) with their double parking and there is a spot to pull into nearby. It’s just a total lack of consideration for other people.

  • 5 dave // Jul 28, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Did the GL reader call 311 or pay a visit to the local station house?

  • 6 Brenda from Flatbush // Jul 28, 2008 at 11:10 am

    This is why I laugh bitterly–hahahahahaha–when I hear talk of “making New York a more bike-friendly city.” Painting lines on the street, yeah, that’ll do it.

  • 7 spnder // Jul 28, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Yeah Jimbo, let’em break the law! That’s a great attitude.

  • 8 mike hawk // Jul 28, 2008 at 11:12 am

    We should all invest in those semi-permanent hard to remove stickers to apply to violators vehicles.

    The kind they put on your window when you don’t move your car for street cleaning.

    “Thank you for blocking a bike lane!”

  • 9 D // Jul 28, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Parking in the bike lane should be ticketed. That’ll put an end to it. But where should cars wait for parking — in the bike lane or in traffic? Both create dangerous situations. Take a look at Ninth Street in Park Slope.

  • 10 Eavesdropping Is What Guests Do Best… // Jul 28, 2008 at 11:14 am

    […] [Image via Gowanus Lounge] […]

  • 11 mike hunt // Jul 28, 2008 at 11:28 am

    I agree with Mike Hawk
    there are inexpensive permanent (need to be scrapped off) stickers that I used to use to keep cars from parking in my driveway in San Francisco. They work like a charm when placed on the driver side window, they are pretty big (8×5) and fluorescent in color (easy to see)
    A pack of 50 costs under $20

  • 12 raynyc // Jul 28, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    this is going to be a pissing match for the rest of time.. i own a car and a bike and see both sides of the argument.. sorry its just going to suck for both for the rest of time..
    if they ticket and tow cars i say we arrest any biker with a cell phone and a ipod swerving into traffic with out looking.
    i say every biker gets a ticket for no helmet , running lights, running stop signs, cutting off cars and acting like its the cars fault, riding on sidewalks, etc..
    the list goes on and on….

  • 13 gowanus neighbor // Jul 28, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    If cars which double-park in bike lanes are zero-tolerance ticketed, which I suport 100%, then we also need to a zero-tolerance ticketing blitz for bicyclists who don’t stop at red lights, imnsho.
    I dont think the righteousness of all cyclists is so well-placed, because, honestly, I am a very careful and considerate driver and I have to be so hyper-vigilent around Brooklyn cyclists, especially on Union St and Bergen St, both of which have bike lanes, because they just don’t follow the traffic laws.
    They zoom right through red lights, they make turns without signalling. It’s really harrowing. I am very nervous every morning on Bergen, especially since so many of the bikes have kids on the back, and yet, at intersections, regardless of the light, the cyclist typically slows a bit, throws a glance one way MAYBE, and then, ZOOM, through s/he goes. Yeesh!
    I know these are generalities and there are heedless bike riders and heedless car drivers and their opposing numbers in both camps.
    But I get a little teed off at the implied part of the meme : cardriver=bad bicyclist=good.
    Nothing in life, esp on the Brooklyn sts, is that black and white.
    careful neighborhood car driver

  • 14 joe // Jul 28, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    I have gotten several tickets for riding my bike the wrong way AND for riding on the sidewalks.

    6th avenue manhattan/btwn 15 and 16th streets

  • 15 ff // Jul 28, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    The cars have to double-park because there’s no parking space to pull into. Maybe if metered parking cost a bit more than say $.25/half-hour then it would encourage turnover and there would be more free spots available.

  • 16 Tony // Jul 28, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    San Francisco is fine for protest stickers but in NYC someone’s going to kill you for pulling that shit.

    Parking in the bike lane should definitely be ticketed, but cops aren’t going to do it.

    I have called 311 but I’m really not sure how effective of a process this is. If you report someone who is not respecting bicyclists on the road, can that pass for a someone driving recklessly? What happens if you report of reckless driver to 311? Chances are they transfer yo to 911 and then you are wasting resources.

    There was a guy blocking the bike lane on sunday on Greenpoint Avenue, even though there was 5 open parking spots to choose from and as I went passed him, I yelled, “You’re in the fucking bicycle lane!” and he responded by skidding out his tires and brushing my side. I called the police, but I seriously doubt anything will come of it.

    Reacting to drivers will not make things better, even though I couldn’t help myself yesterday.

    I see no good solution in sight if there is no one to enforce these laws.

    And to the people that whine about bicyclists not abiding every single motorized vehicle traffic law, until I see cars painted white and left as memorials around the city for all the bikes that killed those inside, I think you need to use some common sense yourself.

  • 17 Janet // Jul 28, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Metered parking should be more AND there should be enforcement of limitation in parking time (“one hour”, “two hour”). On every commercial street, most metered spots are taken up by the business owners and employees who feed the meters all day long.

    However, if there are no spaces to pull into, you may need to find space a block or two away on a side street. Or leave the car home. Double-parking is dangerous and illegal.

    Nobody here is condemning every driver for what some do, so it’s inappropriate to do that to cyclists. (NB: as I understand it, the helmet law only applies to those fourteen and under.) As a pedestrian and cyclist, I find some cyclist behavior just as harrowing as you do, as a driver.

  • 18 Subir // Jul 28, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    This an many more issues with NYC bike lanes would be sorted if we went to the kind of configuration for pedestrians, cars and bikes that Montreal has. http://www.streetsblog.org/2006/06/27/this-is-what-bike-safety-looks-like/

  • 19 Jay // Jul 28, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    “The cars have to double-park because there’s no parking space to pull into.”

    Right in front of where you want to go? Likely not; I live in the neighborhood and often have to park two or three blocks from home!

    Sorry, but that’s what you have to do when you’re out shopping or picking up some food, too. Yeah, when you drive a car in the city you might have to search a while for a parking space and then walk a couple of blocks. Or just leave the car at home.

  • 20 Jay // Jul 28, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    “Parking in the bike lane should definitely be ticketed, but cops aren’t going to do it.”

    Cops write only a small number of parking tickets in NYC. It’s the traffic enforcement agents who write most of them, and there’s almost always one within a block of you if you’re on Manhattan Avenue during the day. If you see a car in a bike lane, point it out to one of them (identifiable by an NYPD-style with a white hat, and the word “Traffic” above the shoulder logo).

    Parking tickets are their job, and their performance/production is monitored. A regular cop might not want to bother with a parking ticket, but to a TEO these cars are a gift… as is a new parking regulation to enforce.

  • 21 Justine // Jul 28, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    This is *specifically* why I thought that bike lanes on Manhattan Ave were a bad idea. Franklin Street is a MUCH better alternative for bicyclists going from Greenpoint Ave towards Ash. Manhattan Ave is just too congested already.

  • 22 seriously? // Jul 28, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    @ tony “And to the people that whine about bicyclists not abiding every single motorized vehicle traffic law, until I see cars painted white and left as memorials around the city for all the bikes that killed those inside, I think you need to use some common sense yourself.”

    ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS? you’re riding a bike, you’re most likely not wearing a helmet like 85% of the bikers I see, and you’re not following traffic laws as you weave in & out of traffic or ride in the middle of the street like the guy I saw on Broadway (bk) today – and let me reiterate, you’re riding a bike. something that doesn’t offer any protection in the event that you get hit or ride over a rough patch or get doored or something. but you think that drivers should use common sense and that bikers should not follow any sort of laws/rules?

    you seriously need to rethink this.

    I’m not saying that people who died on their bikes weren’t following the law, but I bet if you were riding safely (stopping at red lights, wearing helmets, etc) you would have a much smaller chance of being injured.

    and also, people who ride their bikes on sidewalks are rude and inconsiderate.

  • 23 Janet // Jul 29, 2008 at 7:23 am

    “seriously?” has apparently never ridden a bike in traffic, because running a red light is often more prudent than being in a lane with vehicles as the light turns green, and weaving is often done to avoid being doored.

    A couple years back there was a report that cyclists without helmets have fewer “car v. bike” accidents than those with, with speculation that drivers give cyclists without helmets a wider berth. That said, the head injury is the one which will kill you, and I think anyone who rides in traffic without a helmet is foolish.

  • 24 2 wheels // Jul 29, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Seems like every driver always defends parking in the bike lane by saying cyclists run red lights. Never a legitimate reason, just finger pointing. City puts in a lane to establish a safe, private space just for cyclists (like a crosswalk for pedestrians). Cars immediately park in it, then complain that cyclists are disobedient.

    Class 2 bike lanes are really a bullsh*t piece of infrastructure. Either the lanes go between the sidewalk and the parked cars, or all you get is conflicts. A poor design that should be scrapped.

  • 25 dogmeat // Jul 29, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    two wrongs never make a rightie

    stop cars from parking in bike lanes,
    and stop biking as if the motor vehicle laws don’t apply to you.