Skip to content

Streetsblog.net
View Comments

The Dutch Have a Strong Car Culture — and Stronger Bike Infrastructure


We wrote a couple of months back about how Amsterdam prioritized people over cars only after ceding city streets to motor vehicles. Today, David Hembrow at A View From the Cycle Path has more on that subject.

As in the U.S. and other European countries, people race cars in The Netherlands. “Dutch people like cars a lot,” writes Hembrow. “They also like bikes.” Hence the sight of Dutch people riding bikes to — and on — the racetrack in Hembrow’s video.

In other places, car culture grew at the expense of cycling. The difference between The Netherlands and those places is that the Dutch chose to develop infrastructure that preserved and enhanced the safety and convenience of riding a bike, Hembrow writes:

It is sometimes forgotten by campaigners elsewhere that the Dutch cover 3/4 of all their km traveled by private automobile. There are enough cars and there is enough driving in the Netherlands that cars could be utterly dominant to the extent that they make cycling unpleasant. Indeed, that situation had already arisen by the 1970s in the Netherlands, when people owned far fewer cars than they do today. Domination of cars led to an increase in cyclist injuries and a steep decline in cycling.

Dutch people now cycle for a higher proportion of journeys than people of any other country not because cycling is “in the culture” but because cycling to almost any destination is possible without having to deal with motorized traffic. Dutch cycling infrastructure has made it possible for cycling to survive alongside a rise in motoring, removing danger and noise and enabling journeys to anywhere by bike, even motor racing circuits.

Read more…

3 Comments

Today’s Headlines

  • Gelinas: Skepticism Over Boston’s Olympic Mega-Projects Holds Lessons for NY (Post)
  • Tri-State Has Photos of New Pedestrian Plaza Coming to 33rd Street (MTR)
  • Bed-Stuy Restoration Corp Talks About Its Work With Bike-Share (Our Time Press)
  • East River Storm Protection Plan Could Involve Less-Horrible FDR Drive Crossings (Lo-Down)
  • Park Slope Fifth Ave BID to Count Pedestrians With New Sensors (DNA)
  • Two NYPD Officers Injured in Belt Parkway Collision (WPIX)
  • Woman Injures Leg Injured After Her Car Rolls Away From Her, Into Home (Advance, DNA)
  • Unlicensed Driver Indicted in Crash That Killed Passenger (Advance)
  • Driver Who Smashed Nostrand Storefront Blames It On Mysterious Bicyclist (Sheepshead Bites)
  • Midtown Road Rage Driver Smashes Window of Vehicle After Dispute Over Merging (News)
  • BP Adams Devotes Cash to Park Along Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway (DNA)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

35 Comments

Andrew Cuomo Is Building a Legacy Fit for 1950

This is Cuomo's infrastructure legacy. Rendering: New NY Bridge/YouTube

Behold: Andrew Cuomo’s infrastructure legacy. Rendering: New NY Bridge/YouTube

The Times noted last week that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s infrastructure legacy will be defined by two mega-projects: the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge and the rebuilding of LaGuardia Airport. Cuomo clearly relishes building big things, but bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to infrastructure. These projects will shape the region for decades. New Yorkers should be prepared for some devastating consequences.

First, there are the effects of the projects themselves. Instead of building a high-quality transit connection across the Hudson River, the governor halted the transit planning process and forged ahead with an extra-wide highway bridge. While the Cuomo administration eventually promised a Bus Rapid Transit network, so far that’s only resulted in a modest plan to expand existing express bus service.

Instead of transitways, the new bridge will have four car lanes in each direction, plus room for more. That’s a recipe for more driving and more sprawl, particularly in Rockland and Orange counties, where population is expected to soar 34 percent over the next 35 years, more than double the rate of the rest of the region [PDF].

While Cuomo’s Tappan Zee replacement is a sprawl machine for the suburbs, his LaGuardia Airport revamp is poised to generate more car traffic in an already-congested urban area.

Details of the LGA plan are scarce, but Cuomo is calling for the construction of additional car parking to handle the increased capacity of the airport. Those garages will be more of an enticement than the lackluster transit options the governor is proposing. The LaGuardia AirTrain will require most air travelers to go out of their way to Willets Point, the second-to-last stop on the 7 train, before getting on a connection to the airport. Not only would that push more riders onto the crowded subway line (the LIRR is another option but offers scant service to Willets Point), it would actually be slower than the buses that already serve LGA.

Then there’s the opportunity cost. While Cuomo secures funds for his favored projects — $4 billion (or is it $8 billion?) for LaGuardia, plus another $4 billion for the Tappan Zee — others are left waiting.

The Port Authority Bus Terminal, for instance, is bursting at the seams. Delays in the trans-Hudson rail tubes are only going to get worse. The Port Authority and Amtrak are sounding the alarm about the need to get started on these projects. So far, Cuomo has paid them lip service — but they’re not getting the attention and resources the governor has lavished on the Tappan Zee and LaGuardia.

Read more…

Streetsblog.net
View Comments

How Parking Permits Can Improve the Politics of Walkable Development

Residents of mixed-use corridors (the red and purple areas) would be ineligible for parking permits under Portland’s proposed system, creating an incentive for residents of single-family homes to buy into the idea. Map via BikePortland

Residential parking permits are often referred to as “hunting licenses” because while they grant permit holders the privilege of parking on the street, there’s usually no limit to how many permits can be issued. If there are more permits in a neighborhood than available on-street parking spaces, there’s still going to be a parking crunch and permit holders will still circle streets hunting for a spot.

In Portland, however, the residential parking permit program is shaping up differently, and those differences could make parking permits a more effective tool to counteract NIMBY resistance to walkable development.

The key to Portland’s proposal is a limit on the number of permits in a given neighborhood. Many of the details have yet to be hashed out, but here’s where things stand now, reports Michael Andersen at BikePortland:

The proposal, which the city described Friday as “preliminary,” combines two main ideas:

1) Neighborhoods would get the option to vote to start charging themselves a yet-to-be-determined amount for overnight street parking, and

2) people who live in most of the buildings along commercial corridors wouldn’t get to park in permit-parking areas overnight unless people who live in nearby residences don’t want the space.

Read more…

5 Comments

Today’s Headlines

  • It’s Been Five Years Since Christie Killed the Most Important Transpo Project in the Nation (News)
  • De Blasio Considers a Cap on Uber Fares, Not Vehicles (Post)
  • City Hall Will Spend $25M to Move Waste Transfer Station Ramp Away From UES Park (Capital)
  • Bronx Teacher on Cross-Country Charity Ride Killed By Texting Driver in Oklahoma (News)
  • Speeding Driver Injures More Than a Dozen People in Jersey City (AP)
  • WNYC Maps the Subway Stations You Would Avoid in the Summer, If You Could
  • Cuomo’s LGA Plan Makes Cap’n Transit Feel Like He’s Living in a Banana Republic
  • Why Is Connecticut Making So Much More Transit Progress Than New York and New Jersey? (MTR)
  • Ben Kabak Isn’t Impressed By the Latest Round of Waterfront Streetcar Rumors (2nd Ave Sagas)
  • Local Pols Call for DOT to Fix Lindenwood Intersection After Hit-and-Run (QChron)
  • Photos From the First Saturday of the Eighth Year of Summer Streets (Gothamist)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

28 Comments

Eyes on the Street: The Case of the Missing Bike Lanes, Part II

Turns out many of the city’s marquee Vision Zero projects aren’t the only streets missing bike lanes.

DOT has also allowed its existing bike lanes to fade away. When it does repave streets, the agency often takes months to add back lane striping. Even when it puts paint back on the ground, DOT doesn’t finish the job in some cases, seemingly leaving the bike lane lost to history.

Last month, we showed you two examples where DOT didn’t refresh the bike lane after repaving and putting back all the other street markings. But the problem is much bigger than just those two streets. Earlier this week, we asked for your photos with the #MissingBikeNYC hashtag. The results are depressing. Read more…

2 Comments

James and Lancman Push for Driver Alert Tech on City Vehicles

A new City Council bill would require crash avoidance technology on at least 100 city-owned vehicles that alerts drivers before a collision occurs, and potentially applies brakes to prevent a crash.

The legislation, sponsored by Public Advocate Letitia James and Council Member Rory Lancman, would require a one-year pilot program on 100 vehicles in the city’s 28,000-car fleet, followed by a study on its cost and effectiveness at reducing crashes.

The technology includes cameras for improved driver visibility or warnings to drivers of pedestrians or cyclists in their blind spots. It can also alert drivers and apply emergency braking in advance of potential rear-end collisions, which comprise almost one in three crashes in the city fleet that result in injury.

There are 85,000 government employees with access to city-owned vehicles. Last year, non-NYPD drivers were involved in 5,805 collisions resulting in 584 injuries, including 49 crashes that injured pedestrians and 15 that injured bicyclists.

“Everyday New Yorkers are still at too high a risk of being killed or seriously injured by a motor vehicle,” James said in a press release. “Every year, there are thousands of collisions involving City drivers that end up costing lives and millions of dollars. We must examine every possible avenue to reduce crashes, which is why we must examine and test collision avoidance technology that could help save lives and taxpayer money.”

During fiscal years 2007 through 2014, there were 1,213 pedestrian personal injury claims filed against the city, according to Comptroller Scott Stringer. Taxpayers shelled out $88,134,915 during that period for pedestrian injury cases.

Read more…

2 Comments

From Heroes to Lapdogs, TA Grades the “Class of Vision Zero”

CLASS-OF-VISION-ZERO-final_press_pdf__page_2_of_24_

On Wednesday Transportation Alternatives released its “Class of Vision Zero” report, the first in a planned series of biannual “performance reviews” of officials and agencies who have the power to make New York City streets safer for walking, biking, and driving.

Traffic injuries and fatalities were down through June 2015 compared to the first six months of last year, an indication that measures like the 25 miles per hour speed limit and the Right of Way Law are having an effect. But unless NYC picks up the pace on street redesigns, TA says, the city is in danger of losing its Vision Zero momentum.

While traffic deaths have declined, they are not where they should be if NYC plans to reach zero by 2024. And at the current rate, says TA, it will take 100 years to fix every dangerous street.

You can find the report, complete with letter grades, accolades, and raspberries, right here. In the meantime, here are the highlights:

  • Mayor Bill de Blasio got high marks for defending the Right of Way Law and mandating side guards for the city’s fleet of large trucks. But TA called de Blasio a “streetscape cheapskate” for underfunding Vision Zero street redesigns. “As a result,” the report reads, “many changes will not be implemented, including bike lanes, traffic signals that prioritize pedestrians, and curb extensions that could have started saving lives this year.”
  • The City Council is divided on the Right of Way Law, with a near-majority of members putting their names to legislation that would allow MTA bus drivers to legally injure and kill people in crosswalks. Another bill, which so far has considerably less support, aims to undermine the law by kneecapping NYPD crash investigations. The TA report card slams I. Daneek Miller and Rory Lancman, authors of those bills, and lauds Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, transportation chair Ydanis Rodriguez, and Brooklyn rep Brad Lander for beating back attacks on Vision Zero laws and continuing to push for new measures to make streets safer.
  • TA gave Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and DOT credit for reducing car traffic in Central Park and Prospect Park, for the agency’s borough-specific pedestrian safety action plans, and the “Great Streets” program, which includes the redesign of Queens Boulevard. However, the report reads, “while these designs are ambitious, the actual scope is less so, with plans to complete only four Great Streets projects in the next ten years.” TA said DOT “did not advocate for adequate resources for more safety improvements.” DOT’s failure to add and maintain bike infrastructure is not specifically mentioned.

Read more…

Streetsblog.net
View Comments

Falling Behind on Protected Bike Lanes? Blame Canada

“Something big is definitely brewing in Canada.”

That’s the word from Michael Andersen at People for Bikes, which monitors Twitter for news on protected bike lanes around the English-speaking world.

When you make it safe for people to ride bikes, people will ride bikes. Just ask Vancouver, BC. Photo: People for Bikes

When you make it safe for people to ride bikes, people will ride bikes. Just ask Vancouver, BC. Photo: People for Bikes

Vancouver’s investment in bike infrastructure paid off with a 64 percent spike in bike traffic from 2013 to this year. And Andersen says Canada as a whole has recently “crossed a tipping point.”

[I]n the last six months we’ve watched in awe as a wave of protected bike lane chatter has been pouring out of every major English-speaking city in Canada: Victoria, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Halifax, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver.

(Note to self: add “piste cyclable” to Twitter search terms so we stop overlooking Quebec.)

Andersen says all the Twitter talk has been matched by activity on the ground:

Plans in some cities are more advanced than in others. Vancouver has arguably made the most significant investment in a connected protected bike lane network of any city on the continent over the last four years. Calgary is in the early months of an inspiring downtown trial. In Halifax, advocates deserve some sort of award for going street-by-street to measure existing lane widths and create their own detailed plan for a citywide protected bike lane network.

While Canada, like the U.S. and most other countries, is far from doing all that needs to be done to make cycling “comfortable and mainstream,” Andersen says “what’s happening right now is a deeply encouraging sign of how broadly a good idea can resonate once it really takes off.”

Elsewhere on the Network: Greater Greater Washington goes inside Denver’s grand new rail station, TheCityFix examines why bike share hasn’t taken hold in India, and Decatur Metro reposts a police press release begging drivers not to run over children as they head back to school.

34 Comments

Today’s Headlines

  • The Times Looks at Cuomo’s Legacy and Finds Big Infrastructure Projects, But Not Subways
  • MTA Train Operator Arrested for Hit-and-Run Death of Aron Aranbayev, 40 (DNA, News)
  • Wrong-Way Speeding Crown Hts Driver Charged With Manslaugher for Killing Passenger (Post, News)
  • Dreams for Brooklyn Waterfront Streetcar Live On, Now With High-Powered Consultant (Capital)
  • Intersection Where Allison Liao Was Killed Gets Honorary Renaming (TL)
  • State Sen. James Sanders and TWU’s John Samuelsen Back Woodhaven SBS (Q Chron)
  • Pols and Riders on the 7 Train Worry About Adding a Willets Point AirTrain (News)
  • Council Bill Would Toughen Fines for Unlicensed Dollar Vans (DNA)
  • Stringer: Potholes Cost City $138 Million in Claims Over Past Six Years (NYT)
  • Six-Hour Training for City Employees Includes “Drive Like Your Family Lives Here” Film (Post)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA