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Posts from the Bicycling Category

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DOT and Citi Bike Celebrate Sixth Avenue Bikeway and #WomenWhoBike

Dozens of people participated in a bike ride today to celebrate Women’s Bike Month and the return of a protected bike lane on Sixth Avenue. Photos: NYC DOT

Dozens of people participated in a bike ride today to celebrate Women’s Bike Month and the return of a protected bike lane on Sixth Avenue. Photos: NYC DOT

DOT and Citi Bike marked the return of a protected bike lane to Sixth Avenue today with a ribbon-cutting and celebratory ride. The event also served to highlight Women’s Bike Month and a Motivate campaign to encourage women in NYC to ride bikes.

The new Sixth Avenue bikeway runs from Eighth Street to 33rd Street, the same street where mayor Ed Koch installed a protected bike lane in 1980 before ripping it out a few months later.

“As an enthusiastic Citi Bike rider, I want women to know that Citi Bike is a safe, affordable, and healthy transit option,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg in a statement. “With such a big gender gap among cyclists, we believe that bike-share and over 1,000 miles of bike lanes around the city will be among the keys to getting more women to ride.”

Studies by Hunter College and NYU’s Rudin Center, both from 2014, showed that around 75 percent of Citi Bike users were men, but that women were more likely to ride where streets are made safer for biking, according to a Citi Bike/DOT press release.

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CB 7 Parks Committee Votes for Hilly Greenway Detour in Riverside Park

NYC Park wants to divert cyclists from the waterfront greenway to the hillier path marked by the bold dotted green line year-round. Image: NYC Parks

The Parks Department wants to permanently divert cyclists from the flat waterfront greenway to the hillier path marked by the bold dotted green line. Image: NYC Parks

Manhattan Community Board 7’s Parks and Environment Committee voted 4 to 1 last night in favor of the Parks Department’s proposal to route cyclists away from from Riverside Park’s waterfront greenway between 72nd Street and 83rd Street.

The plan would direct cyclists inland at 72nd Street through a hilly wooded path passing through the 79th Street Rotunda, which has a particularly steep incline. The justification is that the waterfront path is too crowded for cyclists and pedestrians to share, but the crowding is only a problem during peak summer months, and the detour would be in effect year-round. It is one of three similar detours in the department’s preliminary Riverside Park Master Plan.

The project received $200,000 from Council Member Helen Rosenthal’s participatory budget, far less than the $2 million that the Parks Department reps said is needed for a full build-out. In lieu of securing funds for the full project, the money will go toward partial measures: paving gentler turns onto the detour route at 72nd Street and 83rd Street, installing bright LED lights, and trimming surrounding trees to increase visibility. The project would be implemented next year.

Ultimately, the master plan calls for regrading the path to make it flatter. That would be an expensive capital project that would cost even more than $2 million, said Riverside Park Chief of Design and Construction Margaret Bracken. Until then, the detour will be in effect and the path will be hilly. The LED lights will at least improve visibility at night.

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DOT Floats Greenwich Avenue Protected Bike Lane to Manhattan CB 2

One possible redesign of Greenwich Avenue would convert three blocks of the corridor to one-way traffic flow to make room for a two-way protected bike lane. Image: DOT

One option for Greenwich Avenue: a two-way protected bike lane. Image: DOT

DOT may create a safer cycling connection between Sixth Avenue and Eighth Avenue with a two-way parking protected bike lane on most of Greenwich Avenue — if Manhattan Community Board 2 votes for it.

Greenwich is a short street but an important east-west connection in an area where the Manhattan grid breaks down. Even though there is no bike infrastructure on Greenwich, cyclists already account for 35 percent of all southbound vehicular traffic during the morning peak, according to DOT, and the agency’s 12-hour weekday counts tallied an average of more than 850 cyclists.

DOT is floating a design for a two-way protected bike lane between 13th Street and Christopher Street along the north curb, leaving short blocks at either end unprotected. That was one of two options for Greenwich Avenue the agency showed to the CB 2 transportation committee meeting last week [PDF].

To make room for the bike lane, Greenwich north of 10th Street would be converted from two-way motor vehicle flow to one-way. South of 10th Street, the motor vehicle flow would remain two-way, which avoids disrupting the M8 bus route. The short block between Christopher and Sixth Avenue would have a two-way bike lane but no parking protection. At the northern end, the short block connecting to the Eighth Avenue bike lane would have no bike infrastructure, and two blocks of Horatio Street feeding into Greenwich would get sharrows.

With four feet in each direction for cycling, the bike lane would be on the narrow side, but there’s a couple of feet of street width the DOT could shift over to the bike lane if it chooses.

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CB 1 Endorses Metropolitan Bridge Bike Lane After Two Years of Delays

CB 1 members cited this "extremely dangerous" left turn (red arrow) as justification for tabling DOT's proposal for bike lanes on the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge last month. Image: DOT

CB 1 members cited this “extremely dangerous” left turn as justification for tabling DOT’s proposal for bike lanes on the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge last month. Image: DOT

Brooklyn Community Board 1 unanimously endorsed DOT’s bike lane plan for the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge. It took a while to reach this point — the board repeatedly delayed an endorsement for more than two years.

The project will add painted bike lanes in both directions over the bridge, which connects Bushwick and Ridgewood [PDF].

DOT has revised the design multiple times since first presenting to the board in June 2014. Most recently, CB 1 voted 18 to 8 last month to table the project, demanding that DOT do something about a supposed “left turn of death” from westbound Metropolitan Avenue onto Varick Avenue. The intersection doesn’t have a record of high injury rates, however. In the past three years, two cyclists have been injured at the location (it’s not clear if left turns were involved), and no one has been killed there according to Vision Zero View, which contains crash data going back to 2009.

Transportation committee chair Vincent Gangone said last night that he was recommending the plan because DOT had committed to exploring banning the left turn. Gangone explained that he, CB 1 Chair Dealice Fuller, and District Manager Gerald Esposito had met with DOT officials. He then read the text of a letter from the agency promising to return to the transportation committee in November or December once it has fully studied the potential impacts of the proposed left turn ban.

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Eyes on the Street: Making Room for the Chrystie Street Protected Bike Lane

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DOT moved this concrete pedestrian island a few feet over to make room for a two-way protected bike lane along the east side of Chrystie Street. Photo: David Meyer

Before DOT can stripe a two-way protected bike lane on Chrystie Street, it has to relocate three pedestrian islands to make room for the bikeway. Work on those islands — at Canal, Broome, and Delancey streets — appears to be mostly complete.

The protected bike lane along the eastern curb of Chrystie will replace today’s un-protected painted lanes, which leave cyclists to mix it up with heavy traffic, including lots of trucks and buses [PDF]. It should significantly improve conditions on Chrystie, which thousands of people use to bike to and from the Manhattan Bridge each day.

The existing pedestrian islands along the route have to be shifted over about five feet to accommodate the two-way bikeway.

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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

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Bike-Share Stations Don’t Usurp Parking — They Are Parking

Space hogs in Manhattan and Brooklyn are complaining about bike-share stations on neighborhood streets, and the powers that be are listening.

In a letter to DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione, Assembly Member Dan O’Donnell complained about the much-anticipated rollout of Citi Bike on the Upper West Side.

Here’s an excerpt from O’Donnell’s constituent newsletter (hat tip to Peter Frishauf), which went out Wednesday:

First, the placement of Citi Bike’s docking stations and the resulting loss of parking spaces. Secondly, the lack of community input during a rather quick implementation process.

It is my hope that we can explore alternate solutions to restore critical parking spaces, and that increased dialogue with community will be a part of that exploratory process.

O’Donnell apparently believes parking for cars should be the default use for New York City curb space. He also seems to think the extensive public process for bike-share siting, which already happened, shouldn’t count because people are now griping about parking. All this in a district where more than 75 percent of households don’t own cars.

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Mark-Viverito: Let’s Make the Whole Grand Concourse Safe for Biking

DOT made safety improvements on the Grand Concourse below 158th Street earlier this year, including this closed-off slip lane outside Cardinal Hayes High School, but the project did not include any bike lanes. Image: DOT

DOT turned this slip lane outside Cardinal Hayes High School into pedestrian space earlier this year, but its safety project for the southern section of the Grand Concourse did not include bike lanes. Photo: David Meyer

Add City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to the list of elected officials calling on DOT to get serious about protected bike lanes on the Grand Concourse.

The speaker penned a letter last week to Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg asking DOT to study protected bike lanes on the corridor from 138th Street to 158th Street [PDF], where DOT plans so far have not included any bike infrastructure.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito

More people are hurt or killed by traffic on the Grand Concourse than any other street in the Bronx, with more than 1,000 injuries and 13 deaths in the last four years alone, according to city data. Transportation Alternatives’ “Complete the Concourse” campaign aims to change that by redesigning the street to prioritize walking, biking, and transit. So far, more than 3,000 people have signed on.

Earlier this year, DOT implemented a safety project south of 158th Street that includes expanded sidewalk space and wider concrete medians — but no bike lanes. Now Mark-Viverito, whose district touches the Concourse south of 165th Street, wants to know “what it would take to further enhance those improvements and, in particular, to add bike lanes to this area of the Concourse.”

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Parks Dept. Implements Hudson River Greenway Detour, Then Explains It

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Hudson River Greenway traffic will be disrupted for the next two weeks to allow for construction work around 59th Street, the Parks Department said today.

Yesterday greenway users were surprised to find the path fenced off from 59th Street to around 63rd Street, with all bike and foot traffic detoured onto a path approximately eight feet wide. A sign on the site seemed to indicate the detour would be in place for two years while Parks works on a capital project, including a playground and bikeway, in Riverside Park South.

As it turns out, construction work that affects the greenway is scheduled to be completed in two weeks, according to the Parks Department. During that time the greenway will be closed from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with bike traffic rerouted by Parks officers. Yesterday, however, the detour was in effect in the evening, long after 3:30.

“The Riverside South Greenway will not be closed for two years — rather, it will be closed during certain times of day for a period of two weeks, during which time crews will be at work improving 59th Street entrance and the greenway,” said the Parks Department in an emailed statement. “NYC Parks appreciates cyclists’ patience and cooperation during this brief construction project.”

The explanation is better late than never, but the lack of any organized communication before the detour went into effect highlights how the Parks Department repeatedly fails to treat the greenway as the major transportation corridor that it is. We’re talking about the busiest bike route in the U.S., and the agencies that oversee it don’t even give people any advance notice when the path is disrupted.

“There is no question that there must be a safe and comparable alternative route provided to cyclists given that this is the most traveled bike path in the country,” Transportation Alternatives Deputy Director Caroline Samponaro told Streetsblog via email. “Cyclists of all ages and abilities depend on this path for daily commutes and this is a benefit to the city. We wouldn’t shut down a major roadway, for even a day, without clear and adequate detour plans for drivers. In 2016 we need the same standard for bikes.”

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Ferreras Joins Corona Families to Demand Action From de Blasio on 111th St

Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland brought more than 80 people from Corona and Jackson Heights to the steps of City Hall this morning. Photo: David Meyer

Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland brought more than 80 people from Corona and Jackson Heights to the steps of City Hall this morning. Photo: David Meyer

More than a year after DOT first proposed a redesign of 111th Street in Corona to make it safer for residents to access Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the city has failed to follow through and implement the project.

Today, parents and children from Corona and Jackson Heights joined Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland on the steps of City Hall to say they’re tired of waiting. They called on Mayor de Blasio to move forward with the project, which will narrow the wide, two-way roadway while adding safer pedestrian crossings and a protected bike lane alongside the park [PDF].

“We are demanding, we are urging, we are pleading that the time is now,” said Ferreras-Copeland. “I want to be clear: This is not a favor, this what we deserve. And if other communities can have bike lanes, so can we.”

Crossing 111th Street is the most direct way to access the park coming from the neighborhoods to the west, but it’s a dangerous street. With two northbound car lanes and three southbound, 111th is more like a divided highway than a neighborhood street. The distance between crosswalks is as long as 1,500 feet — more than a quarter-mile. And without safe space for cycling, 84 percent of cyclists ride on the sidewalk.

“It affects me deeply to see mothers that have to run across the intersection simply for lack of a cross-light,” said Vero Ramirez of Mujeres en Movimiento through a translator. “It is us and our children who give life to the streets and the parks.”

“Our school is feet away from 111th Street. Our children and parents walk this street everyday,” said P.S. 28 PTA President Miriam Sosa. “This has been our biggest concern for years.”

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