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Posts from the Protected Bike Lanes Category

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Jay Street Protected Bike Lane Construction Begins Next Week

Good-bye to all that: with a protected bike lane, Jay Street will (hopefully) be rid of its notorious double-parking.

On Jay Street’s painted bike lanes, double-parking and placard abuse are rampant. A protected bike lane aims give cyclists a clearer path.

Work on the protected bike lane on Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn — including a new signalized crossing at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge — begins next Thursday, July 28.

With around 2,400 cyclists a day, Jay Street is one of the busiest bike routes in the city — cyclists account for 34 percent of vehicle traffic during rush hour. But people on bikes have to deal with chaotic street conditions and rampant parking placard abuse.

The painted lanes on each side of Jay Street will be replaced with parking-protected bike lanes between Fulton Mall and the Manhattan Bridge [PDF]. That should make conditions much less stressful for cyclists, though at five feet wide with a two-foot buffer, the bike lanes will be narrower than design standards recommend.

At the Manhattan Bridge off-ramp north of Nassau Street, a new signalized crossing will enable pedestrians and cyclists to proceed without having to worry about traffic coming off the bridge. A section of fence around the plaza at the foot of the bridge will open up access for pedestrians at the crossing.

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Streetsblog USA
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AASHTO’s Draft Bikeway Guide Includes Protected Bike Lanes and More

Bike guide contractor Jennifer Toole speaks last month at the annual meeting of the AASHTO Subcommittee on Design.

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

As the most influential U.S. transportation engineering organization rewrites its bike guide, there seems to be general agreement that protected bike lanes should be included for the first time.

A review panel appointed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials will meet July 25 to start reviewing drafts of the new guide, including eight new chapters highlighted here in blue:

If the panel likes what they see and the relevant committees sign off, AASHTO members could vote on possible approval next year.

When AASHTO’s design subcommittee held its annual meeting in Baltimore last month, members who focus on bicycling facilities said they often need the sort of engineering-level detail and guidance about physically separated bike lanes that AASHTO guides are known for providing.

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Can a “Tuff Curb” Protect Cyclists on 2nd Ave? We’re About to Find Out

Between 52nd Street and 43rd Street he new bike lane will only be protected during off-peak hours. Image: DOT

Between 52nd Street and 43rd Street the new bike lane will only have a “low profile tuff curb” for protection during off-peak hours. Image: DOT

DOT has a plan for a protected bike lane on 16 blocks of Second Avenue that will test out a new configuration, where the only protection is a row of short, yellow plastic “tuff curbs.” The project shrinks the protected bike lane gap on the avenue in Midtown but still exposes cyclists to fast-moving motor vehicles on the heavily-trafficked approach to the Queens Midtown Tunnel. DOT presented the plan last night to the Manhattan Community Board 6 transportation committee, which endorsed it with one abstention and no votes against.

The project calls for a bike lane between 59th Street and 43rd Street [PDF], leaving several blocks approaching the Queens Midtown Tunnel with no changes. Between 59th and 52nd Street, the bike lane would be protected with parked cars. But from 52nd Street to 43rd Street the protection afforded by a parking lane will not be in effect during peak hours.

From 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. parking and commercial loading zones will give way to motor vehicle traffic along that nine block stretch. Additionally, between 48th Street and 43rd Street, there will be moving traffic next to the bike lane from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. To deter motorists from entering the bike lane along those blocks, DOT plans to install “low profile tuff curbs” — yellow plastic bumps.

Since 2010, motorists have killed one cyclist and four pedestrians in the project area, including 79-year-old Teresa Martinelli, who was killed at 58th Street just last week.

The absence of round-the-clock parking lanes will weaken pedestrian safety measures as well. The parking protected section will have pedestrian islands and dedicated turn signals at some intersections, so pedestrians and turning drivers don’t have simultaneous “go” signals. Below 52nd Street, the rush hour lane traffic lanes preclude those measures. Instead, the plan calls for painted curb extensions on side streets to induce motorists to make tighter, safer turns (see above).

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Tonight: See DOT’s Plan for 16 More Blocks of 2nd Avenue Protected Bikeway

Second Avenue, pictured here between 58th and 59th Streets, is getting more protected bike lanes. Photo: Google Maps

DOT intends to close some but not all of the protected bikeway gap on Second Avenue, pictured here between 58th and 59th Streets. Photo: Google Maps

Later today, NYC DOT will present its plan to install a protected bike lane on Second Avenue between the Queensboro Bridge/59th Street and 43rd Street to the Manhattan Community Board 6 transportation committee. The project would significantly shrink the gaps in the southbound protected bike lane but still leave cyclists exposed for several blocks approaching both the bridge and the Queens Midtown Tunnel.

In January, Manhattan CB 8 endorsed DOT’s plan for a protected bike lane and pedestrian islands between 68th Street and 105th Street on Second Avenue. And last month DOT unveiled plans to close gaps in the First Avenue protected bike lane in Midtown.

On Second Avenue, DOT said the nine blocks above the bridge would have a “transitional” design of sharrows, implying that the gap would be filled in later. Until there’s a continuous protected route, however, people on bikes will still have to confront intense traffic and intimidating conditions on the streets near the two crossings between Queens and Manhattan.

If you want to speak up for safer biking on Second Avenue and convey the urgency of closing all the gaps, so there’s a continuous bikeway and safer pedestrian crossings along the length of the whole street, tonight’s meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the NYU School of Dentistry, at 433 First Avenue.

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The 20th Ave Protected Bike Lane — Almost Totally Functional, But Not Quite

In the spring, NYC DOT striped a two-way, parking-protected bike lane on 20th Avenue connecting to the Astoria waterfront, but for weeks drivers kept parking in it. Queens residents tweeted their frustration with car owners failing to observe the new parking regulations:

The 20th Avenue protected lane is part of DOT’s effort to improve biking and walking access around Astoria Park [PDF]. Last month, the agency provided this statement to Streetsblog about the cars obstructing the lane:

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Streetsblog USA
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Unless US DOT Changes Course, Building Protected Bikeways May Get Tougher

Seattle, Washington.

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

“Hey, how long does it take you to get to work?”

“Well, on average my car is usually traveling at 36 mph.”

No actual human makes transportation decisions this way. But for some reason, the federal government has proposed evaluating highway congestion based entirely on the speed of cars — while ignoring how far or how long people have to drive or ride to get where they’re going.

It’s a system that’d reward states for spending billions to extend freeways to sprawling exurbs, transportation reformers warn, but penalize communities that make their streets more space-efficient.

“Let’s say your [road’s average speed is] going from 40 mph to 30 mph,” said Katy Hartnett, director of government relations at PeopleForBikes, in an interview. “Maybe at 30 mph you’re actually moving more people through, because you’ve put a bus on it, or a bike lane.”

For the White Flint neighborhood of Montgomery County, Maryland, that’s exactly the risk. The county has a long-term plan to run a bus rapid transit line and protected bike lanes up Rockville Pike, greatly improving access to the White Flint Metro Station. Old Georgetown Road would also get protected bike lanes, helping form a connected bike-and-transit network that could combine to create convenient alternatives to rush-hour traffic in this redeveloping suburban area.

“Montgomery County, it’s growing quickly,” said Garrett Hennigan of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. “Over the past five years there’s really been a change in focus and a change in thinking in how we should plan around the bike.”

But the federal rules as currently proposed might penalize Montgomery County for trying to get ahead of its congestion problem. That’s because Rockville Pike and Old Georgetown Road are both classified as “principal arterials,” which makes them part of the Federal Highway System, which means any slowdown in auto traffic would raise bureaucratic red flags — even if the actual result would be to help more Marylanders escape congestion.

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After 8 Years, DOT Finally Has a Bike Plan for Dyckman St. CB 12: Not So Fast.

DOT's plan would put painted bike lanes on Dyckman Street between Broadway and Nagle Avenue and a two protected lane between Nagle and 10th Avenue. Image: DOT

DOT’s plan calls for painted bike lanes on Dyckman Street between Broadway and Nagle Avenue and a two-way protected lane between Nagle and 10th Avenue. Image: DOT

Eight years after uptown advocates first called for a bike connection across Inwood, linking greenways along the Hudson River and the Harlem River, DOT has a bike lane plan for Dyckman Street.

Between Broadway and Nagle Avenue, the redesign would convert the current four-lane design into DOT’s standard road diet template — a general traffic lane and a five-foot-wide un-protected bike lane in each direction, plus a painted median and center turn lanes. Between Nagle Avenue and Tenth Avenue, where there are already buffered bike lanes, the project would add a nine-foot two-way protected bike lane with a three-foot buffer along the north side of Harlem River Park.

While the plan falls short of the fully-protected connection advocates wanted, it’s a big improvement on a street that currently lacks space for cycling.

Washington Heights resident Jonathan Rabinowitz, who has pushed for a bikeable Dyckman Street for several years, said the project will provide a useful link to other recent bike network improvements in the neighborhood. “For someone who is going typically [north-south] like myself, even this minimal on-street bike lane approach is a benefit because it creates a space on those two blocks to connect Fort George Hill with Sherman Avenue,” he said.

In addition to the road diet and bike lanes, the project includes new median islands at Vermilyea and Post Avenues and a large painted curb extension and new crosswalk at the intersection with Tenth Avenue.

On June 6, DOT presented the Dyckman Street project to the Manhattan Community Board 12 transportation committee [PDF]. Instead of supporting the plan, the committee asked DOT to hold a workshop on the proposal and the overall transportation needs of the area. But neighborhood residents have already waited eight years for safer cycling on Dyckman.

The Dyckman project has gone through an interminable public process. In 2008, after months of local advocacy, CB 12 passed a resolution requesting a DOT feasibility study of a Dyckman protected bike lane. Then, in 2011 and again in 2012, the board requested bike lane upgrades. But now that a DOT plan has finally materialized, the committee wants to delay implementation with more meetings.

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DOT Bike Planning Starts From Scratch in Clinton Hill

So long, Clinton Avenue Greenway. Image: DOT

The Clinton Avenue Greenway is not going to happen. Image: DOT

After withdrawing its plan for a two-way protected bike lane on Clinton Avenue last month, DOT will start over with a series of public workshops to develop a new plan for walking and biking safety in Clinton Hill and Fort Greene.

DOT Bicycle and Greenway Program Director Ted Wright shared the news at last night’s Community Board 2 transportation committee meeting.

At the same meeting, the committee declined to endorse a new signalized crosswalk at the Jay Street exit ramp from the Manhattan Bridge, one of the final elements in the agency’s plan for a protected bike lane on Jay Street.

Wright said the purpose of the upcoming meetings will be to develop a new plan for bike and pedestrian safety in the neighborhood. “Everything is on the table. This is not just going to be us talking about Clinton Avenue again,” he said. “It’s a full scale re-look at the entire process.”

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StreetFilms
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Biking on Amsterdam Avenue in NYC — Now More Like Biking in Amsterdam

Getting a protected bike lane on NYC’s Amsterdam Avenue was an epic struggle. This year, safe streets finally won.

Amsterdam Avenue is a neighborhood street on the Upper West Side, but it was designed like a highway with several lanes of one-way motor vehicle traffic. Local residents campaigned for nearly ten years to repurpose one of those lanes to make way for a parking-protected bike lane and pedestrian islands. They kept butting up against a few stubborn opponents of the street redesign on Community Board 7 (for viewers outside NYC, community boards are appointed bodies that weigh in on street redesigns, among other neighborhood changes).

Fed up with the dangerous conditions on Amsterdam, residents ramped up the activism. They staged silent protests and neighborhood actions to publicly shame the community board members stalling the redesign. Their efforts were rewarded earlier this year when CB 7 voted in favor of DOT’s plan for a protected bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue from 72nd Street to 110th Street. Although not fully built yet — 14 more blocks above 96th Street are still to come — the project has changed the feel of the street dramatically.

It was a hard-earned victory, and yesterday people who fought for a safer Amsterdam celebrated with a ride down the new bike lane. Here’s a look at the ride — a sight we should see many times again as advocates organize for more space for safe biking and walking throughout NYC.

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Protected Bike Lanes Will Connect South Bronx to Randall’s Island

DOT is creating two new protected bike routes linking the Randall's Island Connector with the Mott Haven and Port Morris neighborhoods. Image: DOT

DOT is creating protected bike routes linking the Randall’s Island Connector to Mott Haven and Port Morris. Image: DOT

Last fall, the city opened a direct car-free connection between the South Bronx and Randall’s Island. The Randall’s Island Connector provides convenient access to acres of parks and ballfields and — via the 103rd Street footbridge — Manhattan. But the truck-heavy industrial streets that lead to it still leave a lot to be desired. A new NYC DOT project would create bicycle links between the Connector and 138th Street [PDF].

The DOT project calls for protected bike lanes linking the Connector to streets on each side of the Bruckner Expressway, which divides Mott Haven to the west from the more industrial Port Morris to the east. The plan draws heavily from ideas put forward last summer by The Haven Project [PDF], an initiative of the New York Restoration Project. Bronx Community Board 1’s municipal services committee voted unanimously for it on Monday.

Segments of two-way protected bike lanes on Willow Avenue, 133rd Street, St. Ann’s Avenue, as well as a very short piece of 138th Street, would converge at Willow and 133rd, where the bike route to the Connector entrance at 132nd Street would follow a short jog on the sidewalk. For the most part the bikeways will be nine or ten feet wide with three-foot buffers, but on one block of 133rd the bi-directional lane will only be eight feet wide, including the buffer.

willow_ave

A two-way bikeway on Willow Avenue, above, will draw cyclists to a route with less industrial truck traffic than parallel Walnut Avenue, below.

walnut_truck

Image: Google Maps

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