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Posts from the Bicycle Infrastructure Category

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Edmonton’s Quick-Build Protected Bike Lane Grid: “A New Model” for Change

pfb logo 100x22Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities connect high-comfort biking networks.

The most interesting thing about this week’s best bike infrastructure news isn’t what’s being built. It’s how it’s being built.

Two years ago, the sprawling Canadian prairie metropolis of Calgary decided to buck tradition and test an entire “minimum grid” of protected bike lanes through its downtown, all at once. Calgary’s proposal survived a nailbiting 8-7 council vote thanks to a first-rate campaign by local advocates and the swing vote of a suburban conservative who said he’d simply been persuaded that for just $7 million, a quick-build biking network was worth a try.

It worked. Bike counts doubled almost immediately; at last count they’re up 132 percent across downtown and biking is up citywide by every available measure, a win in Calgary’s war on congestion.

On Monday, Edmonton proved how contagious a good idea can be.

Edmonton’s council voted unanimously to do essentially the same thing, creating a connected system of comfortable bike routes in its downtown.

An overhead view of the post-protected bike lane planned for 102nd Avenue. Image: City of Edmonton.

“A new model of public consultation”

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A “Dutch Junction” With Glow-in-the-Dark Bike Lanes Now Exists — in Texas

Officials from the Texas Transportation Institute built this "Dutch-style" unsignalized intersection with solar power-generating bike lanes in College Station, Texas. Photo: TTI

The Texas Transportation Institute built this Dutch Junction on the Texas A&M campus in College Station. Photo: TTI

It’s America’s first unsignalized “Dutch Junction” — a type of intersection with protected space for cycling. It even has solar luminescent bike lanes. And here’s the kicker — it’s in the heart of Texas.

The Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M led the design and installation at a campus intersection in College Station. The Dutch Junction is designed to keep bicyclists out of the blind spots of turning motorists, preventing right-hook collisions.

The bike lanes use a special solar material that emits light at night. Photo: TTI

The bike lanes are marked with a special material that emits light at night. Photo: TTI

The concept is similar to the “protected intersections” that have been installed in Davis, California, and Salt Lake City. But this intersection is controlled by signs, not traffic signals, which makes it unique in the United States, according to TTI.

The bike lanes are also coated with a material that absorbs solar energy during the day and transmits it into light at night to keep the path visible.

The intersection gets a lot of bike and pedestrian traffic, writes TTI. Students in the college’s engineering and design programs will study the effects of the new design as part of their coursework.

Here's another view of the intersection. Photo: TTI

Here’s another view of the intersection. Photo: TTI


Eyes on the Street: The Emergent Sixth Avenue Bikeway

Work has started on the Sixth Avenue bikeway. The pic in the above tweet is at Sixth and 18th Street. The photo below, sent to us by a reader, was taken at 16th Street.

Sixth Avenue is one of the most biked streets in the city but until now cyclists have had to make do with a narrow painted bike lane next to heavy motor vehicle traffic. DOT revealed its plan for phase one of the Sixth Avenue bikeway in late 2015, after years of advocacy led by Transportation Alternatives.

In January DOT announced that phase one would extend between Eighth Street and 33rd Street, six blocks longer than the original plan to begin the redesign at 14th Street. The revised plan also included some concrete pedestrian islands, which were not a feature of the original proposal.

DOT has said it may extend the lane south to Canal Street next year, with a northward expansion to follow at an undetermined date.

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Driver Backing Up to Park Severely Injures Cyclist in Middle Village [Updated]

Lutheran Avenue, where a driver backing up to park injured a cyclist today. Image: Google Maps

Lutheran Avenue, where a driver backing up to park injured a cyclist today. Image: Google Maps

A driver in pursuit of a parking spot severely injured a cyclist in Queens this morning.

The victim, a 64-year-old man, was traveling northbound on Lutheran Avenue, near Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village, at about 8:35 a.m., NYPD told Streetsblog. Near the intersection of Juniper Boulevard North, a 71-year-old backing up to park hit him with a Honda sedan.

The victim was pinned under the car and sustained lower body trauma and injuries to his right leg, police said. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition.

The Daily News spoke with teachers at nearby Learning Tree Nursery School, who were on the scene. Teresa Kava said the victim’s feet were “‘mangled’ by the car tires.” Said Tracy Neuweiler, a second witness: “He was conscious. He thought he was going to die.”

NYPD had not released the identities of the victim or the driver as of this afternoon. No charges were filed, police said, and the investigation is ongoing.

DOT is planning bike lanes in western Queens neighborhoods, with bike lanes or sharrows proposed for the street where today's crash occurred, circled in pink. Image: DOT

DOT is planning bike lanes in western Queens neighborhoods, with bike lanes or sharrows proposed for part of the street where today’s crash occurred, circled in pink. Image: DOT

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Electeds Urge DOT to Make Safety Improvements PS 41 Parents Asked For

Elected officials, Community Board 2, and parents and staff at PS41 want a protected bike lane and shorter crossing distances on Seventh Avenue South. Is DOT listening?

Elected officials, Community Board 2, and parents and staff at PS41 want a protected bike lane and shorter crossing distances on Seventh Avenue South. Is DOT listening? Image: PDF

Local, state, and federal electeds are calling on DOT to make long-sought safety improvements in the West Village, including a protected bikeway on Seventh Avenue South.

In a June 30 letter to DOT, City Council Member Corey Johnson, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assembly Member Deborah Glick, State Senator Brad Hoylman, and U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler asked DOT to act on street safety resolutions passed by Community Board 2 in 2014.

One of those resolutions requested that DOT expand the West Village Slow Zone, installed in 2015, east from Seventh Avenue to Sixth Avenue, with north-south boundaries at W. 11th Street and W. Houston Street. The other called for a redesign of Seventh Avenue South from Canal Street to W. 14th Street, including a protected bike lane, shorter crosswalks, and more pedestrian space [PDF].

The campaign for Seventh Avenue improvements is spearheaded by parents and staff at PS 41, which is located on W. 11th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues.

“As children and their caregivers travel to and from the school, they are too often forced to navigate among speeding cars — conditions that have resulted in both actual hits and near misses,” the letter [PDF] reads. “The same school community would also benefit from a Complete Street redesign of Seventh Avenue, which has the potential to greatly improve pedestrian crossing times and reduce traffic collisions.”

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To Improve Walking and Biking Across the Harlem River, DOT’s Thinking Big

Some Harlem River Bridge -- including the Madison Avenue Bridge depicted in this image -- may be in line for two-way protected bike infrastructure. Image: DOT

The Madison Avenue Bridge is one of several Harlem River crossings where DOT is considering a protected bikeway. Image: DOT

There are 16 bridges linking Manhattan and the Bronx, but if you walk or bike between the boroughs, safe, convenient routes are still scarce. That could change if DOT follows through on ideas the agency released this spring to improve walking and biking access over the Harlem River bridges [PDF].

Currently, 13 of the 16 bridges along the river have pedestrian access and just five (including the Randall’s Island Connector) have bike paths. The streets and ramps feeding into the bridges are mainly designed for motor vehicle movement and poorly equipped to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe.

Most nearby residents don’t own cars, and the conditions make it especially difficult for them to make short trips between the boroughs. “I know it could be more efficient for people to get to and from the Bronx, as opposed to waiting for the bus,” said Transportation Alternatives’ Sandra Hawkins. “Some of [the bridges] are not easily navigable for walking or cycling.”

After Bronx and Uptown residents called for safer access between the boroughs, DOT launched a series of workshops last summer to gather ideas for its “Harlem River Bridges Access Plan,” which will guide walking and biking improvements on the bridges and the neighborhood streets they connect.

DOT’s final plan is set to be released in the fall, but in March, the agency shared some of the improvements it is considering based on what people have said so far. The projects cover both short-term fixes that can be implemented quickly at low cost, and more time- and resource-intensive capital projects.

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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.


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.


Seaman Ave. Has a Bike Lane and Sharrows, But It’s Still a Speedway

… and looking north, where the northbound bike lane turns to sharrows. Driver 1 is backing down the street for parking. Driver 2 is about to make a U turn. Photos: Brad Aaron

Seaman Avenue and W. 215th St., looking north, where the northbound bike lane turns to sharrows. Driver 1 is backing down the street for parking. Driver 2 is about to make a U turn.

The thermoplast is down on the new northbound Seaman Avenue bike lane — but it’s really a bike lane and sharrows. Unless DOT makes a bolder move and puts a protected bike lane next to Inwood Hill Park, not much is going to change on this important Upper Manhattan bike route

I’ve written about this project, which took almost two years to complete, many times now, so here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: DOT replaced two narrow bike lanes on Seaman, Inwood’s only north-south through-street west of Broadway, with a northbound bike lane and southbound sharrows. DOT’s rationale for one bike lane was the street isn’t wide enough for two standard-width lanes — though the new design retained two lanes for parked vehicles. The reason for putting the lane on the northbound side of the street, DOT said, was to provide more room for slower cyclists going uphill from Dyckman Street, at Seaman’s southern end.

But as it turns out, the northbound lane converts to sharrows at W. 215th Street, one block before Seaman terminates at W. 218th, probably because the street narrows there. I looked back through my correspondence with DOT and there was no mention of the northbound bike lane ending before the street does.

As noted in prior posts, the current design does not address the major obstacles to biking on Seaman. As shown in these photos, taken yesterday, drivers are already double-parking on the barely-dry thermoplast. Cyclists will be forced to weave around them, just as before. As far as speed is concerned, motorists aren’t taking cues from the fresh markings. On her walk to the train just after dawn today, my wife texted to let me know that “Seaman [was] a speedway this morning.”

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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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