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.