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Posts from the Bicycling Category


Tomorrow: Rally for a Verrazano-Narrows Path, Now a Real Possibility

A preliminary report from the MTA shows new bicycle and pedestrian paths on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge are feasible. Advocates want to work with the MTA on the details. Image: WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff for MTA [PDF]

A preliminary report from the MTA shows new bicycle and pedestrian paths on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge are feasible. Advocates say they want to work with the MTA on the details. Image: WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff for MTA [PDF]

Supporters of building a bicycle and walking path across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge are gathering tomorrow in Bay Ridge to rally for the project. The MTA released a preliminary report this week evaluating the prospects for a path, and it depicts a more complex undertaking than many advocates expected. The advocates working for walking and biking access on the bridge aren’t deterred and say the fact that the MTA is taking the idea seriously is a major step in the right direction.

The Verrazano Bridge opened in 1964 without bicycle and pedestrian access, an oversight that advocates have been trying to correct for a long time. In 1997, the Department of City Planning hired Ammann & Whitney, the firm that designed the bridge, to study the feasibility of adding a bikeway [PDF]. Since the bridge is controlled by the MTA, the city’s report largely sat on a shelf since its release nearly two decades ago.

More recently, a coalition of advocates renewed the push for a Verrazano-Narrows path under the banner of the “Harbor Ring,” a loop of connected bike paths around Upper New York Bay.

After advocates earned endorsements from elected officials, last year the MTA hired consultant WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff for its own feasibility analysis. On Tuesday, the authority briefed advocates and the press on the preliminary results of the study [PDF].

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Eyes on the Street: DOT Begins Filling Gap in First Av Bike Lane [Updated]

Photo: Stephen Miller

Striping for a protected bike lane, left, and markings where DOT eventually plans to install a concrete pedestrian island, center. Photo: Stephen Miller

The Pope has left town and the United Nations General Assembly is over, meaning it’s time to make First Avenue a better place to bike and walk.

The gap in the First Avenue protected bike lane was baked into the initial plans for it, which called only for sharrows between 49th and 59th streets in order to accommodate motor vehicle traffic heading to 57th Street and the Queensboro Bridge. Now DOT is comfortable repurposing that space for a bikeway, telling Community Board 6 in May that it would start filling the gap this summer. The final few blocks approaching 59th Street would be installed later in the year, DOT said, once new traffic flows had smoothed out.

We found out last month that work would be delayed until after the departure of Pope Francis and the end of the UN General Assembly. The heads of state are gone now, and it looks like progress is afoot:

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Francisco Moya’s 111th Street Proposals Are Going Nowhere

Assembly Member Francisco Moya was in no rush to let his constituents know about the town hall meeting he ran at St. Leo’s Parish on Monday evening about the proposed redesign of 111th Street in Corona. No wonder: The event was an elaborate ploy to stop a street safety project that neighborhood advocates have worked long and hard to bring to fruition.

Assembly Member Francisco Moya. Photo: NY Assembly

Assembly Member Francisco Moya. Photo: NY Assembly

Recognizing that 111th Street’s highway-like design creates a barrier between the neighborhood and Flushing Meadows Corona Park, last year the Queens Museum, Immigrant Movement International, Make the Road New York, and Transportation Alternatives got the ball rolling on a safer 111th Street. The campaign garnered the support of Council Member Julissa Ferreras, who allocated $2.7 million in discretionary capital funds for the redesign of 111th Street. This year DOT proposed narrowing crossing distances for pedestrians while adding a two-way protected bike lane and curbside car parking.

Moya has led the opposition to the plan, consistently citing his desire to maintain all the car lanes on 111th Street to accommodate traffic to large events at Citi Field and the U.S. Open. Monday was no different in that regard. “We know that whenever there’s a Mets game, U.S. Open, or any one of these, we know we hit a lot of traffic,” Moya said. “No parking, side streets become an issue, people park in the driveways; we hear a lot of the complaints.”

While Ferraras held two public workshops this summer where local residents weighed in on what they want from 111th Street, Moya’s event was more of a one-man show.

The Assembly member presented “alternatives” that include a bike path in some form. What they don’t include are feasible steps to make 111th Street less of a highway and more of a neighborhood street where people can safely walk and bike. (Ironically, while Moya complained about the parking crunch on game days, none of his plans would add any — only DOT’s would.)

“None of Moya’s proposals address the fact that there are too many lanes on 111th Street, which encourages speeding and causes crashes,” said Jaime Moncayo, Queens organizer for Transportation Alternatives.

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TA, Manhattan Pols Urge DOT to Commit to Fully Redesigning Fifth and Sixth


Bike already account for one in ten vehicles on Fifth and Sixth, a share that will only increase with protected lanes. Graphic: TA [PDF]

Last month DOT announced its intent to add a protected bike lane along 19 blocks of Sixth Avenue. A coalition of advocates, business groups, community board representatives, and elected officials think the city can do better. At a press conference next to the Flatiron Building this morning, they called on DOT to redesign the entire length of Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan.

Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White, right, speaks as Council Member Dan Garodnick, left, and Assembly Member Deborah Glick, center, look on. Photo: Stephen Miller

Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White, right, with Council Member Dan Garodnick, left, and Assembly Member Deborah Glick, center. Photo: Stephen Miller

In a report released today, Transportation Alternatives makes the case for protected lanes on both avenues [PDF]. Protection is needed for the large number of people who already bike on these streets, with cyclists comprising up to one in six vehicles on Fifth Avenue south of 23rd Street, according to TA. Protected bike lanes and pedestrian islands are proven to improve safety for everyone who uses the street. The share of women biking is also higher on avenues where protected lanes have been installed, TA said.

“We’re here today to commend the Department of Transportation and Mayor de Blasio for committing to a complete street redesign on Sixth Avenue between 14th and 33rd streets, but we’re also here today to encourage them to do much more,” said TA Executive Director Paul Steely White. “It’s just irresponsible to have so many cyclists on a main thoroughfare with no protection whatsoever.”

“[We] have been asking for a while that the Department of Transportation make this entire area a bicycle network, so that you don’t simply have to avoid certain avenues because you’re afraid you may be hit or injured,” said Council Member Corey Johnson.

TA conducted traffic counts between April and August, gathering a total of 32 hours of data. Cyclists comprise 10 percent of vehicle traffic on Fifth and Sixth. Bike-share accounts for 26 percent of that bike traffic — more during morning and evening rush hours.

“The numbers do not lie,” said City Council Member Dan Garodnick. “Fifth and Sixth avenues are important corridors for the city and they are important corridors for bicyclists.”

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Eyes on the Street: A Flower-Protected Chrystie Street Bike Lane

Bike commuters on Chrystie Street found a pleasant surprise this morning. The street’s northbound bike lane, a busy connector from the Manhattan Bridge that’s usually a favorite of illegally-parked drivers, had received an upgrade: Someone added orange traffic cones, decorated with the occasional sunflower, to keep cars out of the bike lane.

Earlier this year, DOT agreed to study upgrades to the Chrystie Street bike lanes after Community Board 3 and a united front of local elected officials asked for fixes. CB 3 is still waiting for DOT to come back with a plan.

This morning’s pop-up protected bike lane was the work of the “Transformation Dept.” Photos were first posted under the @NYC_DOTr handle on Twitter. The project, covering two blocks between Grand and Delancey streets, had a budget of $516 to purchase 25 cones and about a dozen flowers. It took four people less than 20 minutes to install, said a Transformation Dept. representative who asked to remain anonymous.

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Salt Lake City Cuts Car Parking, Adds Bike Lanes, Sees Retail Boost

The new 300 South, a.k.a. Broadway. Photos: Salt Lake City.

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.

Protected bike lanes require space on the street, and removing curbside auto parking is one of several ways to find it. But whenever cities propose parking removal, retailers understandably worry.

A growing body of evidence suggests that if bike lanes and parking removal contribute to a street with calmer traffic and a better pedestrian environment, everybody can win.

In an in-house study of its new protected bike lane, Salt Lake City found that when parking removal was done as part of a wide-ranging investment in the streetscape — including street planters, better crosswalks, public art, and colored pavement — converting parking spaces to high-quality bike lanes coincided with a jump in retail sales.

On 300 South, a street that’s also known as Broadway, SLC converted six blocks of diagonal parking to parallel parking and also shifted parallel parking away from the curb on three blocks to create nine blocks of protected bike lanes on its historic downtown business corridor.

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Citi Bike Ridership Begins to Climb Out of Its Slump

Summer sales and ridership numbers show Citi Bike, at last, is on the rebound.

Let the good times roll: DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, left, and Motivate CEO Jay Walder, right. Photo: NYC DOT/Flickr

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, left, and Motivate CEO Jay Walder, right. Photo: NYC DOT/Flickr

The bike-share program grew by leaps and bounds as New Yorkers embraced it immediately after the May 2013 launch, but before long, subscribers grew frustrated with unreliable service caused by buggy software and other operational problems. Sales and ridership slumped.

In fiscal year 2015, which ended June 30, Citi Bike annual memberships fell to 73,369, down 21 percent from the year before, according to the Mayor’s Management Report. The total number of trips also fell to 8.8 million, down from 9.4 million. City Hall attributed the declines to “harsh winter weather” and a jump in annual membership fees, from $95 to $149 last October.

Now, upgrades under new ownership — including back-end software fixes, a redesigned bike, a new docking mechanism, and app upgrades — appear to be paying dividends. Since July, ridership and subscriptions have been turning around. The size of the system has also been growing, but the positive trends predate the addition of stations.

In July, before stations were added, ridership hit a daily average of 35,960 trips, a 5 percent increase over July 2014. Citi Bike also sold more day and week passes this July than last July — a healthy sign.

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Francisco Moya’s Hush-Hush 111th Street Meeting Now Open to the Public

Assembly Member Francisco Moya, who opposes a road diet and protected bike lane on 111th Street in Corona, has decided to let the public know about a town hall meeting he is hosting about the project on Monday — after Streetsblog asked about the lack of public notice.

Assembly Member Francisco P. Moya

Assembly Member Francisco P. Moya

111th Street, which runs on the western edge of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, has too many lanes for the amount of car traffic it handles, DOT says. Trimming the extra-wide boulevard to one motor vehicle lane in each direction would open up room for larger pedestrian refuges, a two-way protected bike lane, and additional parking. Moya and prominent members of Community Board 4 oppose the project, fearing that fewer car lanes will lead to unbearable traffic congestion.

Until yesterday, it appeared that Moya was trying to keep his town hall meeting hush-hush. The event was announced at a recent community board meeting, said CB 4 District Manager Christian Cassagnol, but nothing had been posted on Moya’s social media accounts or website.

A resident of 111th Street emailed news of the meeting to Jorge Fanjul, chief of staff to Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, said Lillian Zepeda, a spokesperson for Ferreras-Copeland. “We were not personally alerted,” Zepeda said. “DOT was not invited either.”

Ferreras-Copeland is a major backer of redesigning 111th Street. Her office allocated $2.7 million to the project, and she has worked with local residents to plant daffodils on the 111th Street median, organize Vision Zero workshops, and secure traffic calming measures from DOT.

Word of the meeting spread from Ferreras-Copeland’s office to Make the Road New York, which has been working with the Queens Museum and Transportation Alternatives to improve the safety of 111th Street. On Tuesday, TA Queens organizer Jaime Moncayo forwarded the notice to Streetsblog. That afternoon, I asked Moya’s office about the meeting.

Yesterday, after Streetsblog sent inquiries, notices about the meeting went up on Moya’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and Moya spokesperson Elyse Nagiel sent an email response.

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Eyes on the Street: Randall’s Island Connector to Open in “Coming Weeks”

The Randall’s Island Connector is still fenced off, but not for long. EDC says an opening date will be scheduled “in the coming weeks.” Photo: Stephen Miller

The Randall’s Island Connector, a greenway link between the South Bronx and Randall’s Island, is almost complete. Bronxites are anticipating a ribbon-cutting any day now from the city’s Economic Development Corporation, which is building the project.

The new path crosses the Bronx Kill, a narrow waterway separating Randall’s Island from the Bronx. Without it, the only way to bike or walk from the Bronx to Randall’s Island is over narrow paths on the Triborough Bridge that include stairs, sharp curves, and a steep ascent to bridge level.

In contrast, the connector will provide a flat, direct crossing from E. 132nd Street in Port Morris to 330 acres of public parks and greenways on Randall’s Island.

Construction crews are currently finishing up handrail installations and minor fencing work, EDC says, before the city schedules a grand opening.

EDC wouldn’t give an exact opening date — but it should be soon. “As we put the finishing touches on the Randall’s Island Connector and schedule a grand opening event in the coming weeks, we are excited for the many opportunities that this neighborhood asset will provide for the community,” an agency spokesperson said.


Downtown Greenway Segment Closed Since 2007 to Reopen in November

Looking south from Vesey Street. Construction on this section of the Hudson River Greenway, detoured since 2007, is set to reopen in mid-November. Photo: Stephen Miller

This section of the Hudson River Greenway, closed since 2007, is set to reopen in mid-November. Photo: Stephen Miller

An eight-year Hudson River Greenway detour is set to conclude in less than two months, restoring a direct bike route along West Street near the World Trade Center site.

Since 2007, the greenway has been closed near Brookfield Place, the office and retail complex on the west side of West Street formerly known as the World Financial Center. For eight years, cyclists (and on many blocks, pedestrians) have been detoured to the streets and waterfront promenades of Battery Park City.

The area covered by the greenway closure has varied over the years. As of today, the greenway remains closed between Vesey and Thames streets.

The detour was put in place while Brookfield and the Port Authority built an underground passageway connecting the winter garden at Brookfield Place with the World Trade Center PATH station. The detour was originally supposed to end in spring 2010, according to a NYC DOT announcement, but delays ensued: the PATH tunnel didn’t open until 2013. When Downtown Express checked in on the situation last year, state DOT said the detour would end sometime late this year.

It seems that timetable will hold. Work is almost done on rebuilding the separated bicycle and pedestrian paths between Vesey and Albany streets, and construction equipment stored on the greenway between Albany and Thames streets should eventually be cleared out.

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