The city is eyeing a bike lane on Lafayette Avenue from Flatbush Avenue to Broadway, setting the stage for an all too familiar showdown between cyclists and drivers.
An official from the city Department of Transportation revealed that the agency had determined that a bike lane would slow down traffic on the busy thoroughfare during a meeting of Community Board 2 last week.
But some in attendance were skeptical.
“There are traffic-calming needs on Lafayette Avenue,” said John Dew, the chairman of Community Board 2. “But we feel that [the city] should look at other alternatives besides just a bike lane.”
Board members pointed to the parallel bike lane starting on Willoughby Avenue east of as a suitable route for cyclists.
At most, some board members added, the lane should only stretch from Flatbush Avenue to Carlton Avenue, where it would then connect to Willoughby Avenue.
But an official with the Department of Transportation, Chris Hrones, pushed back against that idea.
“It doesn’t make sense for the bike lane to end at Carlton, cyclists will continue on Lafayette whether there is a lane or not,” Hrones said.
The cycling advocacy group Transportation Alternatives has pushed for a lane on the avenue since 2000.
"There is already a lane on Dekalb, this would be a great sister lane," said Aja Hazelhoff an advocate with the organization. "Lafayette is notorious for being a speedway — we need to have some traffic calming on this critical corridor."
Both parties at the community board meeting agreed that drivers on Lafayette Avenue needed to slow down, especially between Flatbush and Carlton avenues, where traffic is at its densest.
Where they disagreed was how best to get the message across to drivers.
“Bike lanes do not exactly equal traffic-calming,” said Nancy Wolf.
A spokeswoman with the Department of Transportation said that the city was not currently planning a bike lane on the street.
But Rob Perris, the district manager of Community Board 2, said the plans for the lane were merely on hold — for now.
"The DOT informed us that although they're not shelving the plans for forever, they have no plans for the [Lafayette Avenue] bike lane in calendar year 2011," he said.