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Posts from the Bicycling Category


Manhattan CB 8 Committee Asks DOT for Crosstown UES Bike Lanes

Momentum continues to grow for creating crosstown bike lanes on the Upper East Side.

In an 11-1 vote with one abstention, the Manhattan Community Board 8 transportation committee passed a resolution last night requesting crosstown bike lane plans from NYC DOT. The full community board will vote on the resolution on November 18.

Currently, the Upper East Side has only one crosstown bike route, painted lanes along E. 90th and E. 91st streets. At a “street scan” earlier this month, volunteers with Transportation Alternatives and Bike New York scouted potential crosstown routes to add to the network. Many of them were in attendance last night.

The resolution calls on DOT to create two plans for the community board to review. The first plan would consist of painted crosstown lanes that can be added immediately. The second calls for a network of crosstown bike lanes along the safest appropriate routes, according to A. Scott Falk, the transportation committee co-chair.

Bike improvements usually meet some resistance at CB 8, but not this time. Falk remembers how contentious the arrival of Citi Bike was at the community board, with many arguing against the installation of bike-share stations. So he headed into Wednesday night’s meeting not expecting a resolution to pass in the committee.

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Upper West Siders Call on DOT to Make Amsterdam Avenue a Complete Street

Next week — November 10 to be precise — DOT is expected to present a proposal to redesign Amsterdam Avenue for greater safety. The redesign is a long time coming. This summer marked the third time in the past six years that Manhattan Community Board 7 has asked DOT for a protected bike lane on Amsterdam.

On Halloween, neighborhood residents rallied with Transportation Alternatives for a “complete street” design of the avenue, with pedestrian islands and a protected bike lane. Until something changes, Amsterdam remains one of the most dangerous streets on the Upper West Side, with high rates of speeding and injuries.

The two local City Council members, Helen Rosenthal and Mark Levine, have called on DOT to implement a protected bike lane on Amsterdam. You’ll see them in this footage of the rally captured by TA’s Luke Ohlson.

“This street you’re looking at right here represents cutting edge, state-of-the-art design principles from about a half century ago,” Levine said at the rally. “We know today that we can build streetscapes that balance the needs of motorists, of mass transit riders, of pedestrians, of bicyclists, of the disabled.”


Eyes on the Street: Flex Posts Keep Drivers Out of 158th Street Bike Lane

Photo: Alec Melman

Photo: Alec Melman

Reader Alec Melman sent these before-and-after pics of the bikeway on 158th Street in Manhattan, which is now protected with flex posts. The lane is part of a package of Upper Manhattan bike improvements intended to make biking and walking safer between the Hudson River Greenway and the High Bridge.

As you can see in the photo below, before DOT added the posts the lane was vulnerable to incursion by drivers, many with placards, who commandeered the space for parking. The lane runs beneath a Riverside Drive viaduct where NYPD has a fleet service station.

This is the type of low-cost, high-impact improvement that could also make it safer to ride on streets like Chrystie Street, where safety advocates who call themselves the Transformation Department put traffic cones to keep drivers out.

“Now this actually feels safe to bike on,” Melman wrote.

Photo: Alec Melman

Photo: Alec Melman

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Bronx River Greenway Gets a $10 Million Boost From TIGER

A critical link in the Bronx River Greenway is getting a funding boost from the feds that should help put an end to years of bureaucratic delays.

Phase two of Starlight Park (the red part) includes the missing link in the Bronx River Greenway that will be getting a $10 million TIGER grant. Map: Bronx River Alliance

Yesterday the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded New York City a $10 million TIGER grant to build out walking and biking paths and bridges connecting two parks along the Bronx River. The project will fill a gap in the greenway so people can avoid a dangerous highway ramp.

The project consists of three bridges and .75 miles of paths directly linking Concrete Plant Park to the south and Starlight Park to the north. Without this link, the only route along the river between the two parks involves crossing a Sheridan Expressway access ramp.

The state DOT had years ago committed funds to the project, estimated in 2008 to cost $35.7 million, but that funding expired in 2009 after the department could not reach an agreement about one of the greenway bridges with Amtrak, whose Acela Express runs along the river between the two parks. In 2013, the first segment of Starlight Park opened, and the Bronx River Alliance called on the state and city to get the greenway project done as part of the second segment.

With the $10 million from the feds announced Monday, a $7 to $10 million funding shortfall remains, according to Claudia Ibaven of the Bronx River Alliance. In addition to the TIGER grant, the project has a commitment of $12 million from the city and additional funding from various state, federal, and non-profit agencies.

The project does have the attention of major elected officials. In a statement announcing the TIGER award, Senators Charles Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Congressman Jose Serrano all lauded the grant as an important step in the pursuit of better pedestrian and bicycle routes in the Bronx.

“This link is essential to making the Bronx River Greenway a truly viable non-motorized transportation network that promotes sustainability and healthy transportation options for South Bronx neighborhoods, which have historically been deprived of open space, bicycle and pedestrian trails, and waterfront access,” Gillibrand said in the statement.

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A PSA About Biking to Work That Needs No Translation

Give it up for the Directorate General of Traffic, a.k.a. Spain’s DOT. The agency produced this PSA about biking to work, which gets the message across pretty clearly, no subtitles required.

The DGT doesn’t mess around with its messaging. Check out these two powerful spots from a safe driving campaign the agency released earlier this year.

Hat tip: Aaron Naparstek


Streetfilms Shorties: Fix the Dysfunctional Chrystie Street Bike Lane

Back in February, Manhattan Community Board 3 asked DOT to study a protected bike lane for Chrystie Street. Head over there during any rush hour and it’s easy to see why: There are tons of people biking to and from the Manhattan Bridge, but the painted bike lanes on Chrystie are constantly blocked by double-parked cars and buses. Even when you’re not weaving in and out of motor vehicle traffic, you have to keep your eyes peeled for illegal U-turns and drivers crossing the southbound bike lane as they exit garages.

The agency said it would study bike lane upgrades for Chrystie, but gave no timetable. That was in March. Apparently, someone got tired of waiting and set up orange cones on one long block in the beginning of October to keep the bike lane clear. That was all it took to provide a little more security for people biking northbound on Chrystie, and in this short Streetfilm, Clarence makes the case for some simple changes to permanently improve safety on one of the city’s most important bike routes.


Eyes on the Street: The First Avenue Bike Lane Gap Is Shrinking

DOT tweeted a status report this afternoon on the First Avenue protected bike lane gap. Green paint is down on the newly protected section between 49th Street and 56th Street:

This project will close most of the 10-block gap in the First Avenue protected bike lane in Midtown. The last few blocks up to 59th Street, where left-turning motor vehicle traffic heading to the Queensboro Bridge is most intense, will remain unprotected for now. DOT has said it will return to the local community board with a plan to protect those blocks after this phase has been completed.

In addition to the green paint, DOT will be adding pedestrian islands on these blocks this fall. That should prevent fatalities on a very dangerous stretch. Since 2009, the pedestrian death rate on First Avenue along the 10 blocks without a protected bike lane has been much higher than on the rest of First Avenue, according to DOT.


Cornell Tech to Study “Bike Helix” for Roosevelt Island Campus Access

Cornell Tech will study the feasibility of a helix-shaped bike ramp from the Roosevelt Island Bridge to street level. Photo: Roosevelt Islander

Cornell Tech will study the feasibility of a spiraling bike and pedestrian ramp from the Roosevelt Island Bridge to street level. Photo: Roosevelt Islander

There’s a new proposal for bike access on Roosevelt Island.

Over the summer the Roosevelt Island Residents Association called to ban bike riders from the helix ramp that motorists and cyclists use to get to and from the island, after a driver hit a cyclist on the ramp in July. That idea was rejected by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, the state authority that manages the island.

The RIOC decided to seek another solution for improving bike safety, including striping and signage on the helix. Cornell Tech, which is building a campus on the island, agreed to look into repairing an escalator in the island’s Motorgate parking garage, which would also allow for cyclist access.

Roosevelt Islander reports that at an October 13 meeting, RIOC president Charlene Indelicato said that engineers hired by Cornell Tech determined that repairing the escalator for cyclist use “was not an option.” However, according to the Islander, Indelicato said “there is a possibility of installing a bike/pedestrian only ramp from the Motorgate Helix to the street level at the East Promenade.”

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Eyes on the Street: Progress on Pulaski Bridge Bikeway

Photo: DOT

Photo: DOT

Last week DOT posted photos of construction work on the Pulaski Bridge bikeway on the project’s Facebook page. DOT is adding a protected lane that will create more room for people who bike and walk the bridge, which connects Greenpoint and Long Island City over Newtown Creek.

The project has been on New Yorkers’ wish list for years, and has been delayed a few times. In August DOT said drainage problems would push the start of construction to next spring, but those issues were resolved within a few weeks and things got started soon after.

It looks like work is moving apace. Doug Gordon tweeted a pic today, and thanked Assembly Member Joe Lentol, a vocal proponent since 2012, for his support of the project.

We’ve asked DOT about the timeline and will post the agency’s response if we get one.

Photo: DOT

Photo: DOT

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Salt Lake City’s Groundbreaking Protected Intersection Is Open

The second protected intersection in the country is open in Salt Lake City, another milestone for American bike infrastructure.

Using paint and concrete islands, the intersection of 200 West and 300 South lowers the stress level for cyclists, makes them more visible to drivers, and reduces turning conflicts:

Salt Lake City’s protected intersection comes two months after Davis, California, rolled out the first one in America in August.

Alta Planning led the design of the project, and you can see a few scenes of people biking, walking, and driving through it in their clip above.

Salt Lake City's new protected intersection. Photo: Alta Planning

Salt Lake City’s new protected intersection. Photo: Alta Planning