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Fourth Avenue May Get 8 Miles of Protected Bike Lanes, City Says

 The proposed redesign of Fourth Avenue would add protected bike lanes.
The proposed redesign of Fourth Avenue would add protected bike lanes.
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PARK SLOPE — Two protected bike lanes could be installed along Fourth Avenue as part of a redesign of the bustling thoroughfare, the Department of Transportation announced Thursday.

The proposed cycling path would run between Dean Street and 65th Street on both the east side and west side of Fourth Avenue between Bay Ridge and Boerum Hill, DOT said. The lanes would run four miles each way, adding a total of eight new miles of protected bikeway to Brooklyn, DOT officials said.

The lanes would be similar to the once-controversial bike path on Prospect Park West, with a line of parked cars providing a buffer between bicyclists and moving traffic, DOT said.

"The chance to redesign one of New York City’s 'Great Streets' may only come about every fifty years, and so it’s critical we get it right," said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. "The dramatic surge in cycling, combined with safety changes that have dramatically improved Fourth Avenue's safety and livability, have simply transformed the way Brooklynites see this street."

The new bike lanes won't require the approval of community boards or the City Council, but the DOT wants to make sure locals are on board with the plan before embarking on the project, an agency spokesman said.

Starting this month, DOT officials will collect feedback from elected officials, community boards and neighborhood residents at public workshops, Trottenberg said.

DOT has been making safety upgrades to Fourth Avenue since 2011, when a series of left turns were banned and some pedestrian crossings were shortened. The tweaks have helped cut serious crashes involving pedestrians on the northern end of Fourth Avenue by 68 percent, DOT said.

Construction was set to start this year on another round of upgrades, including widening medians. The new bike lanes would replace that project, though some elements of the original plan would still happen, such as adding greenery and public art to medians.

"We think this would be a great addition to the proposed green medians and public art," said S.J. Avery, co-chair of the Park Slope Civic Council’s Forth on Fourth committee. "We're very interested in anything that would promote the safety of Fourth Avenue for pedestrians, drivers and cyclists and we really look forward to hearing more about this from DOT."

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