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Ride the New Pulaski Bridge Bikeway With Streetfilms

Today was a milestone for traveling between Brooklyn and Queens: NYC DOT opened the Pulaski Bridge bike path to lots of cheers with a celebratory ride.

Before today, the Pulaski Bridge walking and biking path was dangerously congested, with more pedestrians and cyclists crammed on to its narrow right-of-way every year. The solution? Convert one lane of the roadway to a two-way bike lane, making the original path exclusively for walking. Read up on the project in Streetsblog’s coverage of the grand opening.

If a lane of the Pulaski can be taken from cars and given to active transportation, the same can be done on other bridges. One place I’d love to see NYC DOT tackle next? The insanely crowded bike-pedestrian path on the Brooklyn Bridge is begging for a solution like this.

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Streetfilms Flashback: The Bad Old Days of the Pulaski Bridge

Later this morning, officials will cut the ribbon on the long-awaited Pulaski Bridge bikeway. Pretty soon, it will be tough to remember the claustrophobic anxiety of navigating the narrow path — just 8.5 feet wide, and even less at pinch points — that pedestrians and cyclists made do with before today.

So here’s some footage for posterity that Clarence shot in October, 2013. You’ll never have to deal with this again, New York.

We’ll have a full report from the grand opening and a new video from Clarence later today.

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Cyclists Press DOT for Night-Time Access to Queensboro Bridge

The Queensboro Bridge biking and walking path could be closed for construction on weeknights for months, cutting off access at times when many people still use it. Members of Transportation Alternatives’ Queens Committee have a solution: Allow cyclists and pedestrians to use the bridge’s south outer roadway, which is closed to car traffic after 9 p.m.

Ongoing infrastructure work by ConEd has shuttered the Queensboro Bridge bike-pedestrian path every weeknight from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. since March 28. The construction is expected to continue “for several months,” according to public notices posted by DOT. ConEd has accommodated cyclists and pedestrians by providing a shuttle bus to transport people and bikes across the East River every 15 minutes.

Image: DOT

ConEd is providing a shuttle bus service for people crossing the Queensboro Bridge after 10 p.m., but the wait times and circuitous route are frustrating bike commuters who depend on the bridge to get to and from work. Image: DOT

TA volunteers were out on the bridge last night speaking to cyclists taking the shuttle service, the vast majority of whom were heading to or from late-night jobs. They were tired and frustrated. “It’s of course overwhelmingly working cyclists crossing the bridge at night,” said TA Queens member Angela Stach.

The shuttle service takes a circuitous route on both sides of the bridge. Add that extra travel time to the wait time, and it adds up to significantly longer night-time commutes.

Opening up the unused south outer roadway for biking would not only save cyclists time but also save ConEdison the expense of operating the shuttle, says TA member Steve Scofield. “They’re really making an effort, but it’s costing them a fortune,” he said. Scofield has been in touch with the ConEd project manager, who is currently negotiating with DOT about opening the roadway.

DOT has not replied to Streetsblog’s inquiry on the subject, but Scofield said that a resolution could be possible in the next few weeks.

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Eyes on the Street: Pulaski Bridge Bikeway Looks Ready for a Ribbon-Cutting

Update: A DOT spokesperson tells Streetsblog that while finishing touches are being made, cyclists should follow the posted signage, which directs them to the shared pedestrian-bike path on the west side of the bridge. The new protected lane will be “unveiled” later this week.

It hasn’t officially opened, but you can ride on DOT’s long-awaited Pulaski Bridge bike lane linking northern Brooklyn and western Queens. Word is that a ribbon-cutting is set for the end of this week.

Over the weekend, Twitter and the Streetsblog inbox lit up with alerts that the path is rideable, though there are still cones and signs at both ends marking the bike lane as closed.

The Pulaski project has been in the works since 2012, when Assembly Member Joe Lentol requested that DOT explore the possibility of converting a car lane to a protected bike path so pedestrians and cyclists could have some breathing room instead of sharing a narrow, cramped pathway. The bikeway advanced in fits and starts since then, and after some delays it’s finally here, separated from car traffic by concrete barriers and a metal fence.

It’s not every day that part of a six-lane bridge gets repurposed from motor vehicle traffic to make room for biking and walking. The Pulaski bikeway points the way forward for bigger crossings like the Queensboro Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge where cyclists and pedestrians are an afterthought, jammed together on paths without enough space to move comfortably. We’ll have a full report when the new path officially opens.

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Eyes on the Street: Lafayette Street Gets Its Bike Lane Back

Not quite Kermit, but the Lafayette Street bike lane is looking quite fresh. Photo: David Meyer

The Lafayette Street bike lane is looking quite fresh. Photo: David Meyer

One of New York City’s most faded bike lanes has gotten its shine back. There’s a fresh coat of thermoplast on the Lafayette Street bike lane between Spring Street and Canal Street, which for a while had almost completely disappeared.

The erosion of bike markings and the long lag times between resurfacing streets and restriping bike lanes became such a noticeable problem that it spawned the #PaintMyBikeLane hashtag last year.

At a City Council hearing in March, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said the city is aiming to do better, with $10 million in the 2017 budget set aside for DOT’s restriping program.

Of course, the Lafayette Street bike lane could use an upgrade too. Above Spring Street, the northbound Lafayette Street bike lane was converted to a parking-protected lane in 2014, but the southbound segment remains unprotected and is frequently blocked by double-parked cars. Refreshing the paint will make a difference, but swapping the parking lane and the bike lane would be the best move to keep cars out of this important southbound connection to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Until this week, the Lafayette Street bike lane was starting to look a lot like sharrows. Image: Google Maps

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After Fatal Hit-and-Run, Queens CB 1 Calls on DOT to Redesign 21st Street

A hit-and-run driver killed a 45-year-old man earlier this month at this on 21st Street in Astoria, where advocates have been calling for traffic-calming for over two years. Image: Google Maps

A hit-and-run driver killed 45-year-old Sean Crume earlier this month on 21st Street in Astoria, where advocates have been calling for traffic-calming for over two years. Image: Google Maps

Queens Community Board 1 endorsed a resolution late last night asking DOT for a “comprehensive redesign of the entire length of 21st Street along Complete Street principles.”

The vote comes after a hit-and-run driver killed 45-year-old Sean Crume walking across 21st Street at 30th Road, where there is no signalized crossing, earlier this month. It was the fourth fatality on 21st Street since 2009, according to Vision Zero View.

The resolution was nearly delayed to next month, according to advocates who attended last night, but the board ultimately passed it at around 10:30 p.m.

With wide lanes and lots of car traffic traveling between the BQE and the free Queensboro Bridge, 21st Street ranks in the bottom third of Queens’ streets in terms of safety, according to DOT [PDF].

Volunteers with Transportation Alternatives’ Queens Committee have been pushing for traffic calming on 21st Street for two and a half years. The campaign has collected 1,600 signatures and 37 letters of support from local organizations and businesses.

DOT responded last year with meager safety improvements: some painted curb extensions and a few tweaks to signals and lane striping, but no major changes to the basic geometry of the street. Agency officials maintained that high rush hour traffic volumes precluded narrowing the roadway and adding bike lanes or pedestrian islands.

Local advocates weren’t satisfied. “We haven’t stopped campaigning,” said TA Queens member Angela Stach. “We have been trying to push our council members to go back to the city and ask for more.”

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It’s April. Where Are DOT’s 2015 Bike Numbers?

bikecount2015

DOT released its 2014 screenline bike count exactly a year ago. The 2015 count has yet to be posted.

More than three months into 2016, DOT has yet to release last year’s screenline bike count, which shows how cycling in the city center has changed over time.

It’s called the screenline count because it measures the number of cyclists who cross key points around the central business district: the East River bridges, on the Hudson River Greenway at 50th Street, and the Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Terminal.

Up until a few years ago, DOT released the bike count in the same year the data was collected, sometimes as early as October. The 2012 count was the first to include winter cycling numbers, and was not released until the following March. Then the 2013 numbers weren’t released until Streetsblog posted an unauthorized copy in July 2014. Last year, DOT released the 2014 count around exactly this time (after a nudge from Streetsblog).

We asked DOT for the 2015 count in January, and the agency said it expected to post the numbers “before Spring 2016.” In response to a follow-up query earlier this month, DOT said the numbers would be released “later this spring.”

With stats going back a few decades, the screenline count provides an excellent trendline of bicycling in the city center. It would be great to see DOT add more metrics to track changes in cycling farther from the Manhattan core. But failing that, just releasing this key indicator on a timely schedule again would be a welcome change.

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Jay Street Redesign Clears CB 2, With Some Design Details Left for Later

Image: DOT

Brooklyn Community Board 2 endorsed most of DOT’s plan for curbside protected bike lanes on Jay Street between Fulton Mall and Tillary Street at its monthly meeting last night. Two key design decisions at each end of the project have yet to be finalized, however, and will be presented to the transportation committee in May.

Chaotic Jay Street is a key link to the Manhattan Bridge, and cyclists account for 34 percent of vehicles on the street during peak hours. The DOT plan calls for curbside, parking protected bike lanes, though at seven feet wide, the lanes will be narrower than bikeway design guidelines recommend.

When DOT presented the plan to CB 2’s transportation committee last month, the committee declined to endorse a new crosswalk at the off-ramp from the Manhattan Bridge just north of Nassau Street, where a fence currently blocks pedestrians from crossing. Before taking a position, committee members wanted to know how DOT intends to control traffic coming off the bridge.

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Sunday: Parents + Kids + Bikes = Brooklyn 2016 KiDS Bike Forum

Photo: Kidical Mass NYC

Photo: Kidical Mass NYC

If you have kids and you’re holding out for the right time to get them on bikes, the Brooklyn 2016 KiDS Bike Forum, happening in Bed Stuy this weekend, might be for you.

Hosted by Brooklyn Transition Center and sponsored by Kidical Mass NYC, Bike New York, and other orgs and businesses, Sunday’s event is aimed at helping families with children get comfortable riding on city streets. Meet parents and kids who are already riding, try out kid-friendly cargo bikes, or learn how to get your kid’s bike ready to roll.

The forum is free. Helmets are required, and preregistration requested, for the Bike New York kids’ bike skills class, for children age 9 and up.

The fun starts at 10 a.m. at 185 Ellery Street.

Streetsblog USA
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The Calgary Model: Connect Protected Bike Lanes Fast, Watch Riders Pour In

calgary fast facts

Graphic: City of Calgary. Click to enlarge.

pfb logo 100x22Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets.

Last week, we shared a new report about the best practices for cities that want to make faster, cheaper changes to their streets.

Today, let’s take a moment to recognize the North American city that has used these tools better than any other to rapidly improve its bike infrastructure.

The city is Calgary, Alberta. The secret is that it piloted a connected downtown network of low-stress bike routes all at once.

calgary map 570

Downtown Calgary. Images: City of Calgary.

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