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Posts from the Bicycling Category


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.”

Read more…


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


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.”


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.”

Read more…


Queensboro Bridge Bike/Ped Path Will Close Every Night Until 2017 (At Least)

People who bike over the Queensboro Bridge had to endure months without nighttime access to the bridge’s car-free path earlier this year, with ConEd infrastructure work closing off the north outer roadway. Now, after a short respite, ConEd work has resumed, and nightly closures are slated to last “through the end of the year,” according to DOT’s Facebook page for the bridge.

The Queensboro path carries thousands of cyclists across the East River each day, but will be closed seven nights a week between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Previous closures this year started at 10 p.m. The people most affected are working cyclists on their way to work or home.

In the spring, when the closures began, activists from Transportation Alternatives’ Queens committee called on DOT to open bike access at night to the unused south outer roadway. The city didn’t act on the idea. Instead, cyclists who need to get across the river can take a shuttle bus provided by ConEd every 15 minutes, or find another way home.

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NYC Needs Huge Growth in Cycling to Reach de Blasio’s Climate Goals

Mayor de Blasio wants NYC on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, but reducing transportation-related emissions won’t be possible without a significant mode shift away from private vehicles.

Transportation accounts for more than a quarter of citywide greenhouse emissions, and a whopping 92 percent of that comes from cars and trucks. Reducing the number of cars on the streets is essential to the mayor’s emissions goals, according to the “Roadmap to 80 x 50” report released this week by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability [PDF].

Mayor de Blasio's climate change plan relies on a dramatic increase in in-city bike trips. Image: Mayor's Office of Sustainability

Mayor de Blasio’s climate change plan relies on a dramatic increase in in-city bike trips. Image: NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability

The report proposes a decrease in the percentage of trips in private vehicles to 12 percent from the current 31 percent. Bikes would play an essential role in the shift, increasing from a 1 percent to 10 percent share of total trips — as would buses and trains, which today account for only eight percent of total citywide emissions.

Earlier this month, DOT released a blueprint for increasing bike mode share in its five-year strategic plan, which includes protected bike lanes and a five-borough Citi Bike system. The Office of Sustainability report also acknowledges that the city has a long way to go before cycling is an accessible transportation option in many parts of NYC.

“Despite the rapid growth in the city’s bicycle network, there are still many areas that lack sufficient bike connections,” the report says. “In addition to planned expansions, the City will emphasize an all-ages and abilities core network of protected bike lanes throughout the five boroughs, and the build-out of key connectors linking neighborhoods to transit hubs.”

The “Roadmap” report also assumes an increase in bus ridership — which the slate of reforms proposed by the NYC Bus Turnaround Campaign could help make possible.

The report highlights the public health effects of high emissions. Fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, released by vehicles causes 320 premature deaths and 870 emergency room visits each year, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Read more…


De Blasio Signs Right of Way and Bike Access Bills

Today's legislation ensures that pedestrians who enter a crosswalk during the flashing “Pedestrian Change Interval” have the right of way under New York City law. Image: DOT

The new law ensures that pedestrians who enter a crosswalk during the flashing “Pedestrian Change Interval” have the right of way under New York City law. Image: DOT

Following unanimous City Council votes earlier this month, Mayor de Blasio signed several bills yesterday with important implications for walking and biking in NYC.

Public Advocate Letitia James’ Intro 997-A, now known as Local Law 115, amends the legal definition of pedestrians’ right of way so anyone who steps off the curb during the flashing “Don’t Walk” phase has the protection of the law.

Without the legislation, district attorneys and NYPD had declined to charge many motorists who struck people in crosswalks, citing a passage in the city’s traffic rules that said “no pedestrian shall enter or cross the roadway during the flashing ‘Don’t Walk’ phase.”

“By passing this law, we are taking a common-sense step toward protecting pedestrians and making New York’s streets safer,” James said in a statement. The new rule goes into effect on December 27, 90 days after the signing.

At the same ceremony, de Blasio also signed three bills enhancing bike access to commercial and residential buildings.

Read more…


Bronx Electeds Call for “Complete” Concourse for Buses, Bikes, and People

Council Member Andrew Cohen speaks in favor of the "Complete the Concourse" in front of the Bronx County Courthouse. Photo: David Meyer

Council Member Andrew Cohen speaks in favor of making the Grand Concourse a complete street. Photo: David Meyer

With momentum building for a complete street and fully-protected bikeway along the Grand Concourse, Council Member Andrew Cohen joined Bronx activists on the steps of the Bronx County Courthouse this morning to call on the city to redesign the street thoroughly and expeditiously.

“The entire length of the Concourse… [represents] a design from the 1950s — all about moving cars as quickly as possible without regard for pedestrian safety.” Cohen said. “We really need to make sure that we’re getting the resources, our fair share of Vision Zero improvements to make this Concourse everything it has been in the past and everything it will be in the future.”

More than 1,000 people have been injured and 13 have been killed on the Concourse in the last four years, according to city data. In light of the staggering losses, Transportation Alternatives has called on the city to bring protected bike lanes, dedicated bus lanes, and safer sidewalks and crosswalks to the entire length of the Grand Concourse. So far, more than 3,000 people have signed on to TA’s “Complete the Concourse” campaign.

The effort also has the support of the Bronx Health REACH Coalition, which aims to combat the high rates of diabetes and heart disease in the southwest Bronx. “We have one of the highest rates of obesity in the Bronx, and having a safe Concourse means people will want to get out, they’ll be able to ride their bikes and they’ll feel much safer,” said Amril Hamer, who lives near the Concourse at 165th Street and Gerard Avenue.

Hamer, who bikes in the neighborhood, said the Grand Concourse’s current un-protected bike lanes leave much to be desired. “They don’t have that bike lane infrastructure in place, so we’re competing with the double-parked cars, somebody maybe opening a car door on you or something like that, so it’s not safe at all,” she said.

Read more…


Shame Bike Lane Blockers — and City Hall — With This Interactive Map

A new web site lets people publicize incidents of motorists blocking NYC bike lanes. The developer hopes the site will draw attention to bike lane obstructions as a serious safety issue, leading Mayor de Blasio to devote more resources to improving bike infrastructure.

Cars in Bike Lanes allows users to upload photos of offending vehicles to an interactive map, along with time and location info, and a description of each incident. Posts are vetted before they go live. Clicking on the license plate number shows whether the motorist is a repeat violator.

Developer Nathan Rosenquist told Gothamist he developed the site in response to City Hall’s “lack of leadership” on keeping bike lanes free of cars. During a recent appearance on WNYC, Mayor de Blasio said it was OK for motorists to park in bike lanes in certain cases. But parking in bike lanes is illegal, and poses a safety risk regardless of driver intent. “I don’t think he understands that it takes a lot less time to be killed on a bike than it takes to let the kids off at home,” Rosenquist said.

Rosenquist said his map, which is based on OpenStreetMap, is “more complete than both the DOT’s 2016 [bike] map and Google Maps.”

Ultimately Rosenquist would like to collect enough data to pressure City Hall to build more protected bikeways and keep motorists out of painted lanes. “New York City’s streets and traffic management need radical permanent changes to stay sustainable,” he said.


Expanded Citi Bike Routinely Hitting 60,000 Trips Per Day

With 67,489 trips last Wednesday, Citi Bike hit a new daily ridership peak for the ninth time this month, according to an email sent to members this morning. Riders have made 10 million Citi Bike trips so far in 2016, reaching the milestone more three months earlier than last year.

Citi Bike has broken its daily ridership record nine -- nine! -- times this month. Photo: Jon Orcutt

Citi Bike has broken its daily ridership record nine — nine! — times this month. Photo: Jon Orcutt

NYC’s bike-share system is in the middle of a three-year expansion plan, with the service area now extending up to 110th Street in Manhattan and into the Brooklyn neighborhoods between Prospect Park and the Red Hook waterfront. Record ridership should be expected as the system grows, but it’s notable just how many people use the system now. On days with good weather, notes Citi Bike, ridership is comparable to the Staten Island Ferry or the boro taxi program.

For international comparison, London’s bike-share program, which is three years older than New York’s and has more stations and bikes, has only topped 60,000 rides twice in its entire history, according to Transport for London data. Only Paris’s Velib and China’s massive bike-share systems get more ridership.

After declining in 2014, Citi Bike ridership started to turn around last summer when new ownership made a slew of improvements to the system’s hardware and software and began to add new stations.

The question now is how the city and Motivate will keep the momentum going after next year’s round of expansion in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. DOT says its goal is to bring bike-share to all five boroughs, though it has yet to provide a timetable for doing so.

Streetsblog USA
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Why a Struggling Industrial City Decided Bikes Are the Way Forward

Reading, Pennsylvania, isn’t your stereotypical biking mecca. It’s a low-income, largely Latino, post-industrial city of almost 90,000 people.

But without much of anything in the way of bike infrastructure, Reading has the third-highest rate of bike commuting in Pennsylvania and is among the top 15 cities on the East Coast.

Some civic leaders in Reading have seized on the idea of better serving people who bike as a way to improve safety and community, as well as to help reverse the legacy of sprawl and disinvestment.

We’re excited to be the first to post this video from the Portland-based publishing crew Elly Blue and Joe Biel.

The film is part of a short series that Elly and Joe produced to show a broader cross-section of regions and people working on bike issues. They made the films while traveling around America on their Dinner and Bikes Tour.