Safety enhancements coming to East 20th Street, but parking spots have been removed

Oct4 20th Street work

Markings made east of First Avenue and 20th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Friday morning, residents of East 20th Street noticed some work being done on the street between Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village on the north side of the street, specifically painting the bike lanes black and adding a double line to the middle of the street. Not to mention, a dozen parking spots were removed.

Asked about this, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation confirmed the DOT was behind the project, which involves installing protected bike lanes and enhancing safety along the route to the ferry.

The details, which apparently were announced via a tweet from the department on September 13, are as follows:

  • Bike lanes will be turned into a two-way parking protected bike lane along the north curb.
  • Two bus boarding islands for M23 and M9 stops will be installed and the M23 stop on First Avenue will be moved 145 feet to the east.
  • A curb extension and a pedestrian island will be constructed at Avenue C and 20th Street to shorten crossing distances.
  • Pedestrian ramps at Avenue C and 18th Street will be upgraded.
  • Signal timing at First Avenue and 20th Street will be updated.

Meanwhile, with the tweet having been the only heads up, City Council Member Keith Powers, said he’s since heard from a number of neighbors on the loss of parking spots, and in some cases about the parking tickets residents got.

“It’s hard for constituents to find out after the fact,” Powers said on Saturday, adding that he brought this up to the DOT at City Hall. “We believe this is about planning for the L train (shutdown), but we’re not happy they didn’t give us any warning.”

In an updated illustrative plan, the DOT confirmed the goal is to connect cyclists to the ferry landing and bus terminal at East 20th Street and Avenue C while also reduced turning conflicts between buses, cyclists, and pedestrians.

An agency spokesperson added that at First Avenue, the project slightly enlarges the bus stop and implements an additional westbound right turn lane. The pedestrian crossing will improved by separating the east-west pedestrian and bicycle crossing phase from the westbound vehicular right turn phase. This also improves bus service by reducing right turn delays. Of the 12 parking spaces to disappear, nine are due to the bus stop relocation, with the other three to the east for standard crosswalk daylighting and space for bus stop transitions.

13 thoughts on “Safety enhancements coming to East 20th Street, but parking spots have been removed

  1. This is ridiculous. And I say that as an everyday bicyclist who lives there. I can’t remember anyone on a bike ever getting hit by a car there, so why is this necessary? It was fine the way it was.

    Isn’t the DOT required to have Community Board hearings and approvals to do this? Interesting that the tried to announce this on the sly via a tweet. Were they afraid of community pushback?

  2. Also, turning conflicts? Seriously?

    Going east, there only one turn legally possible between First and C – onto the 20 St loop at the far east end. Going west, none.

    • “Legally” is a key word. I see plenty of illegal turns onto and off the service road. My “favorite” is people driving east on the service road and turning out of the 20th Street Loop entrance to get back onto 20th St. proper.
      Going west on 20th St. you can legally turn into the 20th St. Loop (left turn from 20th).

  3. I’d say that the little sense of community that still remains (thanks to our inept politicians, TA, and property manager) will be gone once the L train officially shuts.

    We are already seeing a major deterioration of life for tenants on 14th Street, now the total reconfiguration of 20th Street, and this is months before the shutdown.

    Just wait until we have all the extra people, and buses, and bikes, and traffic. The exclusivity and quietness will be long gone, and the one time oasis will be nothing more than passing thought for the 10’s of 1000’s of people who overtake our sidewalks as they rush to their ferries, and head home to their Brooklyn apartments.

  4. We should get a rent reduction for the duration of the L Train shutdown. We are living with toxic air, noise, filth, crowds and the total destruction of what quality of life we had left in this once-beautiful place. They should stop advertising it as an “Oasis” because that is now nothing more than a downright lie and false advertising.

  5. I would like to see a safer 20th Street but the loss of parking spaces is always frustrating. My solution would be to open up more parallel parking on the loops that is now no-standing or no-parking. And leave some space for deliveries/ dropping off/picking up people.

  6. Nobody is even considering that Avenue C and East 20th St is a gateway into the community from the FDR. These changes are going to back up traffic on Avenue C and make 20th slow and congested.

    Hope nobody needs an Ambulance.

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