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Posts from the Bicycling Category

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3,000 People Join Sister of Lauren Davis to Call for Bike Lane on Classon Ave

A driver struck and killed a cyclist at Classon Avenue at Lexington Avenue. Image” Google Maps

A driver struck and killed Lauren Davis at Classon Avenue at Lexington Avenue in April. Image: Google Maps

Danielle Davis lost her sister in April. Lauren Davis was biking on Classon Avenue in Clinton Hill when a driver turned left across her path, killing her. Now Danielle is calling on the city to add a bike lane to the street where Lauren lost her life.

With the support of Transportation Alternatives, she launched an online petition yesterday addressed to local City Council members Laurie Cumbo and Robert Cornegy and Brooklyn Community Boards 2 and 3. (Classon Avenue also runs through the district of Council Member Stephen Levin, as well as community board districts 8 and 9.) In just one day, the petition has amassed more than 3,300 signatures.

Lauren, 34, was biking in the direction of traffic at around 8:35 a.m. on April 15 when the driver of a 2015 Fiat turned left off eastbound Lexington Avenue and killed her. Police initially reported that Davis was biking against traffic, an account that was later proven false by an eyewitness.

DOT converted Classon from two moving lanes to one in 2012 but maintained extra-wide parking lanes instead installing of a bike lane. The street remains prone to reckless driving by motorists seeking speedy passage to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Between 2009 and 2014, 119 pedestrians and 84 cyclist were injured on Classon Avenue between Washington Avenue and Flushing Avenue, and two pedestrians and two cyclists were killed, according to Vision Zero View.

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Cyclist Severely Injured After Swerving to Avoid Pedestrian in Central Park

A 67-year-old man was critically injured when he fell off his bike after dodging a jogger in Central Park last night.

The collision occurred yesterday at around 6:05 p.m. on East Drive near East 102nd Street, according to NYPD. Police said the cyclist was traveling northbound in the East Drive bike lane “when he swerved to avoid a jogger” and fell off his bike. He suffered body and head trauma and was rushed to Saint Luke’s Hospital, where he is currently in stable condition.

The cyclist flipped over his handlebars and flew 25 to 30 feet, according to the Daily News. NYPD says an investigation is ongoing.

Serious collisions between cyclists and pedestrians are rare, but they do happen, and the crowded loop roads of big parks seem to present unique risks. In the summer of 2014, 75-year-old Irving Schachter and 58-year-old Jill Tarlov were struck and killed by cyclists in Central Park. That period was an exception, however. In the last decade, most calendar years come and go without any fatal bike-pedestrian crashes citywide.

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If DOT Doesn’t Add a Bike Lane to 4th Avenue Now, How Long Will It Take?

DOT is set to cast Fourth Avenue pedestrian safety improvements in concrete, which may preclude the possibility of future protected lanes on the corridor. Image: DOT

DOT is set to cast Brooklyn’s Fourth Avenue pedestrian safety improvements in concrete, which will make it harder to add a protected lane on the corridor. Image: DOT

Sunset Park residents are calling on DOT to change its plans for Fourth Avenue to include a protected bike lane, the Brooklyn Paper reports. They make an excellent point: If DOT doesn’t change the design of an upcoming capital project on Fourth Avenue, it’s going to be very difficult to add a protected bike lane on what should be a major corridor in the city’s bike network.

DOT installed pedestrian safety improvements along Fourth Avenue between 65th Street and 15th Street in 2012 and between 15th Street and Atlantic Avenue in 2013. The projects used temporary materials like paint and plastic posts to expand pedestrian medians and narrow traffic lanes, reducing the bloodshed on a wide, dangerous street. Pedestrian injuries fell 30 percent in Sunset Park and 61 percent in Park Slope.

But bike lanes were not included, and Fourth Avenue remains a forbidding street to bicycle on, despite being the best continuous connection between Bay Ridge/Sunset Park and Downtown Brooklyn.

Soon, the city plans to cast the wider medians in concrete with a “Vision Zero Great Streets” capital project. The first phase of construction is set to begin in the spring, between 8th Street and 18th Street and between 33rd Street and 52nd Street. Once that concrete is poured, it’s going to be a lot tougher to return to Fourth Avenue again and add a good bike lane.

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DSNY Needs to Devise a Better Fix for NYC’s Abandoned Bike Problem

Unusable, forgotten bikes are mainstays of the NYC streetscape, hogging bike parking for months and even years before they meet the Department of Sanitation’s standards for removal. DSNY has proposed a rule change to loosen its criteria, but advocates say it doesn’t go far enough to solve the city’s abandoned bike problem.

Despite 311 calls requesting its removal, this dilapidated bike has never even been tagged by DSNY for removal. Photo: Recycle-A-Bicycle

Despite 311 calls alerting DSNY to this abandoned bike in Greenpoint, the agency never even tagged it for removal. Photo: Recycle-A-Bicycle

Reports of abandoned bikes have increased 43 percent this year compared to 2015, according to 311 data made available by the city. But DSNY will only remove a derelict bike after it’s reported via 311 — and only if it meets three of the following criteria:

  • It is “crushed or not usable”
  • It is missing parts
  • It has a flat or missing tires
  • It has damaged handlebars or pedals
  • At least 75 percent of the bike rusted

Under current rules, staff check on a bike once it has been reported via 311 and tag it for removal if it meets the criteria. If the tag is not removed by an owner within one week, the bike gets impounded.

DSNY’s proposed change would lower the threshold for removal from three criteria to two and lower the rust threshold to 50 percent [PDF]. Additionally, “flat or missing tires” would no longer be one of the criteria for removal.

DSNY held a hearing on the rule change August 9 and must now determine how to proceed. Advocates and elected officials who testified at the hearing don’t think the proposal will improve matters much.

Recycle-A-Bicycle Executive Director Karen Overton, who testified at the hearing, said even the new criteria will leave countless abandoned bikes rotting away on sidewalks.

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Citi Bike Expands South of Atlantic Avenue

A newly-installed Citi Bike station outside the Fifth Avenue Key Foods in Park Slope. Photo: @brooklynsja

A newly-installed Citi Bike station outside the Fifth Avenue Key Foods in Park Slope. Photo: @brooklynsja

Yesterday, Citi Bike began installing stations in the Brooklyn neighborhoods south of Atlantic Avenue and west of Prospect Park. A few stations are already operating, according to the Citi Bike station map, with a total of 73 set to go live in the area in the coming weeks.

All told there are 139 new bike-share stations coming online this year, with another batch in the pipeline for 2017.

The initial expansion map for this part of Brooklyn called for 20 stations per square mile, spreading them farther apart than the 23 per square mile in the initial Citi Bike service area. This was a problem, since longer walking distances between stations make the system less useful.

In May, DOT proposed 11 more station locations [PDF], bringing the station density in line with the rest of the system (but still short of the 28 per square mile recommended by the National Association of City Transportation Officials).

The eleven "infill" stations added by DOT after the initial station map was approved are marked in black. Image: DOT

The 11 black stations are “infill” added to the initial station map. Image: DOT

Here’s a look at a few more of the new stations that have gone in since yesterday:

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DOT Caves on Marine Park Bike Lane, Will Remove Protection

After resident complaints, DOT will switch the parking lane and bike lane on East 38th Street in Marine Park. Image: DOT

DOT will reverse this design and expose cyclists to moving traffic on East 38th Street in Marine Park. Image: DOT

A new protected bike lane segment on East 38th Street in Marine Park won’t be protected much longer. Even though the new layout provides a similar width for parking and driving as other residential streets in the area, DOT has caved to pressure from local residents who want to go back to having a short stretch of wide-open asphalt.

The two-way protected bike lane between Avenue U and Avenue V was approved by Brooklyn Community Board 18 earlier this year as part of a package of improvements to connect the neighborhood to the Jamaica Bay Greenway [PDF].

Image: DOT

Map: DOT

Local Council Member Alan Maisel pushed DOT to remove the parking protection. He said that because of the redesign, “people can’t get into their driveways,” sideview mirrors have been knocked off, and delivery trucks on the street are blocking traffic.

But the bike lane is next to a park and doesn’t affect access to driveways. The only difference for motorists is that the travel lane is now 12 feet wide, which is still on the wider side of standard city street dimensions.

A DOT spokesperson told the Brooklyn Daily that the parking protection will be removed by the end of the month, leaving cyclists exposed and the bike lane vulnerable to double-parking and other obstructions.

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Battery Park City Bans Bicycling on Esplanade By North Cove Marina

A cyclist gets back on her bike after dismounting at the North Marina Cove plaza. Photo: David Meyer

The Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), the state agency that manages the Lower Manhattan neighborhood, has posted “cyclist dismount” signs around the North Cove Marina plaza, a key connection along the waterfront.

BPCA Chief of Staff Kevin McCabe told Streetsblog that the new policy is a “proactive pedestrian safety measure” and not a response to any specific incident.

In a June 30 press release, the authority announced the dismount zone as well as a working group “to solicit feedback and develop recommendations for bicycle usage on the Battery Park City Esplanade” [PDF].

“We look forward to engaging the community to review bicycle usage on the Esplanade, and developing recommendations for the most balanced, effective use of this incredible public space,” BPCA president and CEO Shari C. Hyman said in the press release.

The bicycle working group will include members of Manhattan Community Board 1’s Battery Park City committee, but not much else is known about how it will be composed. Advocates at Transportation Alternatives and Bike New York said BPCA has yet to reach out to them.

Bike New York CEO Ken Podziba told Streetsblog that the dismount signs are “inappropriate” at the location. “I believe a more reasonable solution would be to have signage instructing cyclists to slow down by the marina,” Podziba said.

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Matt von Ohlen’s Friends and Family Call for Grand Street Protected Lane

The bike lane on Grand Street, where Matthew von Ohlen was killed last month, fails to keep cyclists safe from motor vehicles. Photo: Google Maps

The painted bike lane on Grand Street, where Matthew von Ohlen was killed last month, provides no physical protection from motor vehicles. Via Google Maps

The family and friends of Matthew von Ohlen pleaded with Brooklyn Community Board 1 to support a protected bike lane on Williamsburg’s Grand Street, where the 35-year-old was killed while biking by a hit-and-run driver on July 3.

Matthew’s father Bernt von Ohlen and other friends and supporters were joined by Council Member Antonio Reynoso, but the board did not take a position last night.

Matthew Von Ohlen. Photo via Gothamist

Matthew von Ohlen.

“I’m not a bike advocate. In fact, I’m afraid of riding a bike on the streets of New York,” said Christine McVay, who had known von Ohlen since he was a child. “Putting effective protected lanes on streets like Grand Street will making riding safer,” she said, holding back tears.

Von Ohlen was riding east on Grand Street between Manhattan Avenue and Graham Avenue at around 2:20 a.m. when the driver of a Chevy Camaro struck his back tire, then struck him again as he fell off his bike and dragged him 20 or 30 feet. Police believe the driver ran over von Ohlen intentionally. They located the vehicle on July 6 but have not apprehended a suspect.

At the outset of the meeting, Council Member Antonio Reynoso led the room in a moment of silence. He made his own call for safer bike infrastructure on Grand Street. “Matt’s death was a tragedy and it was a preventable one,” he said. “We’re gonna sit down and have a serious conversation about what we can do with infrastructure along Grand Street to really move forward and [take] the next step of bike lane protection and infrastructure.”

The bike lane on Grand Street/Borinquen Place runs between the Brooklyn Queens Expressway near the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge to the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge in East Williamsburg. It’s a key connector for people biking across North Brooklyn and is slated to expand eastward along Metropolitan Avenue later this year. In 2015, 29 cyclists were injured along the route between the BQE and Metropolitan Avenue, according to Vision Zero View.

In town from Minneapolis to take care of his son’s estate, Bernt von Ohlen implored the board to call for action. “I think that the best solutions are local solutions. You are a local group, and by keeping your eyes and ears on what goes on in the city by demanding that problems of this kind be addressed, you can make this community a better community for everybody,” he said.

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Checking in With People Cycling on the New Sixth Ave Protected Bike Lane

The Sixth Avenue protected bike lane was installed last month. Photo: David Meyer

The Sixth Avenue protected bike lane at 20th Street. All photos: David Meyer

The Sixth Avenue protected bike lane is just about finished between 8th Street and 33rd Street, except for the pedestrian islands. The redesign is still in that awkward transitional phase where people are figuring out how to use it, so today Streetsblog checked in with a few of the thousands of people who bike Sixth Avenue daily to see how the change is coming.

“I think it’s great! I think they should keep making more,” Jesus Andrade said as he waited for the light to cross 26th Street. “I think this [design] is the best way because the cars shield us from the traffic.”

The old painted bike lane on Sixth Avenue was frequently blocked by double-parked drivers, pushing cyclists into the street’s treacherous motor vehicle traffic. Wide crossing distances made the street exceedingly dangerous for pedestrians too. Between 2009 and 2013, 27 pedestrians and 10 cyclists were severely injured in the project area, according to DOT.

In addition to a parking-protected bike lane, the project includes 33 new concrete pedestrians islands that have yet to be installed.

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Brooklyn Bridge Promenade Expansion Could Start in 2019

DOT's hypothetical concept for expanding pedestrian and bike access on the Brooklyn Bridge would build new paths over the steel girders that run above the main roadways. Image: DOT

DOT’s concept for expanding the walking and biking path on the Brooklyn Bridge would build new paths over the steel girders that run above the main roadways. Image: DOT

An expansion of the Brooklyn Bridge walking and biking path could get underway by 2019 if it’s folded into a rehab project that’s already in the pipeline, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said this afternoon.

The path is as narrow as 10 feet at pinch points and cannot comfortably accommodate the thousands of people who use it each day.

For now, the next step is a $370,000 feasibility study slated to wrap up in seven months. DOT has already conducted a preliminary assessment of conditions on the bridge path and posted a working concept for the expansion [PDF].

The idea is to widen the pathway by building on top of the steel girders that run over the bridge’s main roadways. Most of the wooden deck for walking and biking is four feet below the girders, so the expansions would be at a higher grade than the current path. Trottenberg said DOT will also explore expanding the concrete approaches to the wooden deck on both the Brooklyn and Manhattan sides.

If the concept proves unfeasible for whatever reason, Trottenberg said DOT’s attention could turn to the main roadway. “I think if the study finds out that it’s not feasible, there is going to be interest in seeing what we would do next in terms of potential traffic,” she said. “Look, the Brooklyn Bridge carries a lot of traffic… But I think certainly we’re seeing a lot of enthusiasm about the idea of making more of the bridge available for cyclists and pedestrians.”

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