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Posts from the Bicycle Infrastructure Category


Eyes on the Street: Outlines Appear for Seaman Avenue Bike Lane, Sharrows

DOT is replacing two 4-foot bike lanes on Seaman Avenue with one 5-foot bike lane and sharrows. Photos: Brad Aaron

DOT is replacing two 4-foot bike lanes on Seaman Avenue with one 5-foot bike lane and sharrows because, according to DOT, the street isn’t wide enough for two standard-width bike lanes. Photos: Brad Aaron

Preliminary markings for a bike lane and sharrows appeared on Seaman Avenue in Inwood yesterday, nearly two years after DOT resurfaced the street.

Seaman Avenue runs from Dyckman/200th Street to W. 218th Street. The only north-south through street in Inwood west of Broadway, Seaman serves as a bike connection between the Hudson River Greenway and the Bronx, in addition to being a key neighborhood biking corridor.

Seaman is also a cut-through for Bronx and Westchester motorists looking to avoid the toll on the Henry Hudson Bridge. It has a few speed humps, and it’s within the Inwood Slow Zone, but those measures do little to keep drivers from speeding past the apartment buildings, parks, schools, and churches that line Seaman from end to end. The 34th Precinct, which issued just 266 speeding tickets in 2015, is a non-factor when it comes to slowing drivers down. Double-parking is probably more common than speeding and seems to get even less attention, enforcement-wise.

All things considered, Seaman Avenue seemed ripe for a change. The street’s old 4-foot wide bike lanes were removed when DOT repaved in the summer of 2014, and were not replaced when the city put down new crosswalks and other markings. DOT informed Community Board 12 last September of its plans to install a northbound 5-foot bike lane and replace the southbound bike lane with sharrows. Though Seaman will retain two lanes for parked vehicles, DOT says it isn’t wide enough to have bike lanes in both directions.

Last year DOT told Streetsblog the agency will monitor the new configuration to see if adjustments are necessary. If DOT is ever willing to challenge the status quo, Seaman could become a much better street for biking and walking, with a protected bikeway next to Inwood Hill Park.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Fast Changes to City Streets: A 9-Step Guide for Creative Bureaucrats

Marshall Avenue and Monroe Avenue, Memphis, Tenn. Photo: John Paul Shaffer

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.

For most of the 20th century, cities answered transportation problems by adding more pavement.

More freeways. More lanes. More parking lots. More things that couldn’t be reversed or revised.

So it made sense, at the time, for the public process around civil engineering projects to focus, above all else, on not making mistakes. Generations of city workers embraced the value of “Do it once and do it right.”

But today’s transportation problems are different, and so are the projects that respond to them. Naturally enough, the process of planning and designing such projects has begun changing, too.

From the experimental lawn chairs scattered across New York’s redesigned Times Square on Memorial Day 2009 to the row of plastic posts on Denver’s Arapahoe Street after a bike lane retrofit last fall, city projects are tackling big problems with solutions that are small, cheap, fast and agile. But until now, no one has created a short, practical guide for cities that want to create a program to do things like these.

Today, we’re publishing that guide.

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DOT to Unveil Plans for Chrystie Street Bike Lane Upgrade Next Week [Updated]


Advocates’ concept for a two-way protected bike lane on Chrystie Street, from 2015. DOT will bring the agency’s plans to Manhattan CB 3 next Tuesday. Streetmix by Dave “Paco” Abraham

On Tuesday the Manhattan Community Board 3 transportation committee will get the first look at a plan for a two-way protected bike lane on Chrystie Street from Canal to Houston.

Chrystie is a key connection to the Manhattan Bridge but biking on it always involves dodging double-parked cars, trucks, and buses. Last year several local elected officials signed on to advocates’ campaign for a two-way protected bike lane on Chrystie, and DOT’s presentation comes about a year after CB 3 asked DOT for a protected bikeway.

The CB 3 agenda item is the first sure indication that DOT is going with a two-way protected lane. Tuesday’s meeting is set for 6:30 p.m.

Also next week: The Manhattan Community Board 6 transportation committee will discuss a “proposed enhancement of existing Second Avenue bicycle lane” between 34th Street and 59th Street. It’s not clear what the terms of the discussion will be, but replacing the sharrows on those 25 blocks with a protected lane would be a huge step forward for the Manhattan bike network. Together with a protected bike lane between 105th Street and 68th Street slated for later this year, it would close most of the 70-block gap on Second Avenue.

The Monday meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Mark your calendars.

Correction: An earlier version of this post said that CB 6 will hear from DOT about upgrading the Second Avenue bike lane. Instead, the meeting Monday will be an internal community board discussion, not a presentation from DOT.


Queens CB 1 Votes for Protected Bike Lanes By Astoria Park

On Shore Boulevard, DOT plans to calm traffic and alleviate conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians by repurposing the north-bound car lane as a two-way protected bike lane [PDF]. Image: DOT

By a vote of 33 to 1 last night, Queens Community Board 1 endorsed DOT’s plan for traffic-calming on the streets around Astoria Park.

Local electeds requested traffic-calming in the area after a hit-and-run driver killed 21-year-old Betty DiBiaso at the intersection of 19th Street and Ditmars Boulevard, at the park’s northeast corner.

The DOT redesign will add two-way protected bike lanes on sections of Hoyt Avenue North, 20th Avenue, and Shore Boulevard [PDF], with the agency planning to address pedestrian crossings on 19th Street, the park’s eastern border, in the near future.

On Shore Boulevard, which separates the park from the East River waterfront, the northbound travel lane will be repurposed as a protected bike lane, and DOT will create safer pedestrian crossings between the park and the water.

In a statement commending the board’s vote, Council Member Costa Constantinides said the redesign “will bring greater traffic sanity to the streets around the jewel of our neighborhood, Astoria Park,” and that more must be done to improve safety on nearby streets.

Streetsblog USA
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Study: Sharrows Don’t Make Streets Safer for Cycling

Sharrows are the dregs of bike infrastructure — the scraps cities hand out when they can’t muster the will to implement exclusive space for bicycling. They may help with wayfinding, but do sharrows improve the safety of cycling at all? New research presented at the Transportation Review Board Annual Meeting suggests they don’t.

Sharrows are useless and perhaps even harmful, a new study found. Photo: University of Colorado Denver

Sharrows without traffic-calming won’t do much to make cycling safer. Photo: University of Colorado Denver

A study by University of Colorado Denver researchers Nick Ferenchak and Wesley Marshall examined safety outcomes for areas in Chicago that received bike lanes, sharrows, and no bicycling street treatments at all. (The study was conducted before Chicago had much in the way of protected bike lanes, so it did not distinguish between types of bike lanes.) The results suggest that bike lanes encourage more people to bike and make biking safer, while sharrows don’t do much of either.

Ferenchak and Marshall’s study divided Chicago into three geographic categories using Census block groups: areas where bike lanes were added between 2008 and 2010, areas where sharrows were added, and areas where no bike treatments were added. They then looked at how bike commuting and cyclist injuries changed in these areas over time.

They found that bike commute rates more than doubled in areas with new bike lanes, compared to a 27 percent increase in areas with new sharrows and a 43 percent increase in areas where nothing changed.

Meanwhile, the rate of cyclist injuries per bike commuter improved the most where bike lanes were striped, decreasing 42 percent. Areas that got sharrows saw the same metric fall about 20 percent –worse than areas where streets didn’t change (36 percent), although the difference was not great enough to be statistically significant.

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Eyes on the Street: Pulaski Bridge Bikeway Rounding Into Form


The concrete barrier to protect the bikeway now covers the whole span. Photo: David Meyer

DOT crews are taking advantage of the frighteningly warmer-than-usual late fall weather to make serious progress on the Pulaski Bridge bikeway.

When the bikeway is complete, pedestrians and cyclists will have a lot more room and won’t have to share the crowded path on the west side of the bridge. The concrete barrier separating the bike lane from motor vehicle traffic consists of both pre-cast and cast-in-place segments. As of yesterday, the barrier appeared to cover the whole span, but work on it was clearly still going on. Closing the slip lane on the Queens side of the bridge is also a work in progress.

The Pulaski project was originally slated to wrap up last December before getting delayed by red tape. For a moment it looked like construction wouldn’t start until 2016, but crews were able to begin in September. So will the bikeway be complete before the winter freeze pauses construction? DOT isn’t counting on it, with the agency slating the opening for the spring.

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The Randall’s Island Connector Is Finally Here

This spring, the Highbridge re-opened between the Bronx and Manhattan, the first car-free crossing linking the two boroughs. Now the second one in less than a year is open with the debut of the Randall’s Island Connector. The project has been in the pipeline for what seems like forever, and on Saturday it opened to the delight of many South Bronx residents.

The connector provides a direct and easy link between the developing South Bronx greenway network and Randall’s Island, with its athletic fields, picnic tables, miles of beautiful greenways, and stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. From Randall’s Island, you can bike or walk to the big island via the 103rd Street footbridge.

Advance apologies for some of the sound. When the winds are gusting over 30 mph and you are below an Amtrak train trestle, well, those aren’t ideal conditions. But kudos to the hundreds of people who showed up on a cold and blustery fall morning to celebrate the occasion.

Streetsblog USA
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What Other Cities Say About Cleveland’s Unusual Bike Lane Buffer

Cleveland’s seemingly backward buffered bike lane on W. 25th Street. Photo: Satinder Puri.

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.

For all their benefits, protected bike lanes can be complicated. Between maintaining barriers, keeping them clear of snow and preserving intersection visibility, it’s understandable that cities opt not to include them on every street project.

Buffered bike lanes, though, are pretty simple: if you’ve got at least two feet of roadway to spare, you lay down some hash marks between car and bike lanes and double the comfort of biking on a street.

Except in Cleveland, apparently.

When the above image started circulating online this summer, many people assumed some sort of miscommunication was afoot in Cleveland. The main point of a buffered bike lane, as made clear by everyone from AASHTO to NACTO, is to separate bikes from moving cars and/or the doors of parked cars, not to protect bikes from curbs.

But as more information emerged and it began to seem as if Cleveland was not only doing this intentionally but might be planning to repeat the design elsewhere in town, we wondered whether this might be a new trend in street design.

So we emailed cities around the country and asked their bikeway designers to say whether they’d ever want to use this setup. Here’s what they said.

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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