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Posts from the Protected Bike Lanes Category


CB 5 Committee to DOT: You Oughta Take a Traffic Lane Outta Sixth Avenue

The DOT proposal for Sixth Avenue adds a protected bike lane but doesn’t remove any motor vehicle lanes. Image: NYC DOT

Like their counterparts at Community Board 4, members of the Manhattan Community Board 5 transportation committee think DOT’s proposed redesign of Sixth Avenue isn’t bold enough. Unlike CB 4, the committee voted for the plan anyway in a unanimous decision last night.

The proposal would add a protected bike lane from 14th Street to 33rd Street, narrowing the avenue’s four motor vehicle lanes without eliminating any [PDF]. Committee members were concerned that the plan won’t slow traffic and lacks various treatments that would better protect pedestrians, like wider sidewalks and raised concrete islands.

“This seems to me to prioritize traffic over pedestrians,” said committee chair Alan Miles.

DOT’s Ted Wright said other community boards are not as eager for more drastic changes. “I wish more community boards were asking for radical things,” he said.

“We ask every time you come here,” Miles quipped. “You’re always concerned about parking spaces.”

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Will the Sixth Avenue Protected Bike Lane Get Done in 2016?

Image: NYC DOT

Image: NYC DOT

DOT presented a plan for a protected bike lane on 19 blocks of Sixth Avenue to the Manhattan Community Board 4 transportation committee last night. From 14th Street to 33rd Street, the design calls for carving out a six-foot bike lane and three-foot buffer protected from moving motor vehicles by a lane of parked cars [PDF].

Sixth Avenue is both very dangerous, with a high injury rate, and one of the most heavily biked streets in New York, where people bicycling already account for a significant share of traffic. So far more than 16,000 people and 160 local businesses have signed on to Transportation Alternatives’ campaign for better walking and biking infrastructure on Sixth Avenue and Fifth Avenue.

Community Board 4 has generally supported complete streets redesigns but the committee did not vote for this one, reports Janet Liff, whose volunteer work with TA has built major momentum for a safer Sixth Avenue. The major sticking points were the absence of split-phase signals at most intersections and DOT’s proposed use of painted pedestrian islands instead of raised concrete islands, she said.

Split phase signals give pedestrians and cyclists a dedicated phase with no conflicts with turning drivers. DOT’s design puts them at 14th Street and 23th Street, the intersections with the highest crash rates. The agency thinks split phases could be problematic if installed at every intersection with left-turning traffic, Liff said, since they lower the share of crossing time for pedestrians, and on a crowded street like Sixth Avenue that could create pressure for people to disregard walk signals.

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CB 7 Members, Upper West Siders Back Amsterdam Ave Protected Bikeway

Image: DOT

The room was packed last night for DOT’s long-awaited plan for a protected bike lane and pedestrian islands on Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side [PDF], with about 120 people turning out at the Manhattan Community Board 7 transportation committee meeting. Most residents and committee members praised the plan, though no vote was held. DOT says it could implement the redesign between 72nd Street and 110th Street as soon as next spring.

The plan calls for a protected bike lane on the left side of the street, as well as pedestrian islands and various left turn treatments, including dedicated bike signals and motor vehicle turn bays at 79th Street, 86th Street and 96th Street. One motor vehicle lane and about 25 percent of the corridor’s on-street parking spaces would be repurposed.

With four motor vehicle moving lanes, Amsterdam is not designed like a neighborhood street. There were 513 traffic injuries, including 36 severe injuries, and two fatalities on the street between 2009 and 2013. When it’s not rush hour, 59 percent of drivers exceed the speed limit. Local residents have mobilized for many years to get the city to improve safety on Amsterdam. In July, CB 7 voted for the third time in six years to request action from the city on a protected bike lane on the street.

Despite those votes, transportation committee co-chairs Dan Zweig and Andrew Albert have consistently tried to stall street safety initiatives. At last night’s meeting, Zweig and Albert stayed mostly quiet while their fellow committee members expressed strong support for DOT’s redesign.

Six of the nine committee members expressed support for the proposal. “If we’re going to achieve Vision Zero, we need a new vision for our streets, and I think this takes us a long way there,” said committee member Ken Coughlin, urging DOT to move swiftly on the proposal. “If the health department came to us and there was an epidemic and they said, ‘Well we have this vaccine that’s going to stop it,’ why would they wait three or four months to implement it?”

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DOT Will Present Amsterdam Ave Protected Bike Lane Design Tonight


Image: NYC DOT

It’s happening: At tonight’s Community Board 7 transportation committee meeting, NYC DOT will present plans for a northbound protected bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side.

The first phase of the project calls for a protected bike lane and pedestrian refuges from 72nd Street to 110th Street, which could be implemented as soon as next spring, according to a DOT press release. A second phase south of 72nd Street would follow.

The design will convert one motor vehicle travel lane to a protected bike lane, with pedestrian refuges and dedicated space for left-turning vehicles on some blocks. At intersections with major streets, split signal phases will separate bicycle and pedestrian traffic from turning drivers. At other intersections, the design calls for the “mixing zone” treatment, where bicyclists merge with turning drivers.

The proposal also adjusts commercial parking regulations on the east side of Amsterdam to cut down on double parking.

With bike traffic on Amsterdam growing rapidly and Citi Bike expanding to the Upper West Side, DOT sees significant potential for bike trips to replace thousands of short cab trips in the neighborhood.

Council members Helen Rosenthal and Mark Levine, who’ve previously called on DOT to make Amsterdam safer, both expressed thanks for the proposal in the agency’s announcement.

This is a milestone in a very long and hard-fought neighborhood advocacy campaign for safe streets. You can help the redesign get to the next phase at tonight’s meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m at the Redeemer Church, 150 West 83rd Street.

Streetsblog will have more coverage tomorrow.


This Is 111th Street Right Before a World Series Game at Citi Field

Residents of Corona are still waiting for DOT to implement a road diet and two-way protected bike lane on wide and dangerous 111th Street by Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The city unveiled the plan this spring in response to a campaign from the Queens Museum, Immigrant Movement International, Make the Road New York, and Transportation Alternatives. Julissa Ferreras, the local City Council member, is a big supporter of the project, but when Assembly Member Francisco Moya came out against it, DOT curled into a ball. The street remains a speedway.

Moya’s opposition rests entirely on his contention that 111th Street needs to be designed like a highway all year long so it can handle peak Mets traffic when the team plays at Citi Field. Here’s how he put it in June:

111th Street is a high traffic road, which suffers from massive spikes in congestion during the numerous cultural and sporting events in the surrounding area, including Mets games and USTA tournaments. There is little doubt that DOT’s proposal to reduce car traffic to one lane will result in slowed traffic and increased congestion, but I am also deeply concerned with the possibility of an increase in accidents and air pollution for the immediately surrounding area.

A DOT traffic study found that Citi Field and U.S. Open traffic doesn’t affect this part of 111th Street much at all, but in a classic delay tactic, Moya’s chief of staff insisted on a “study over the whole peak summer.”

Well, it was October, not summer, but volunteers with TA and Make Queens Safer went out and got video of 111th Street during the peak of the sports traffic peak, the biggest event in the history of Citi Field — the World Series. They recorded these videos in the lead-up to games three and four, which both started at 8:05 p.m., with the stadium filling up well before the first pitch.

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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: The First Avenue Bike Lane Gap Is Shrinking

DOT tweeted a status report this afternoon on the First Avenue protected bike lane gap. Green paint is down on the newly protected section between 49th Street and 56th Street:

This project will close most of the 10-block gap in the First Avenue protected bike lane in Midtown. The last few blocks up to 59th Street, where left-turning motor vehicle traffic heading to the Queensboro Bridge is most intense, will remain unprotected for now. DOT has said it will return to the local community board with a plan to protect those blocks after this phase has been completed.

In addition to the green paint, DOT will be adding pedestrian islands on these blocks this fall. That should prevent fatalities on a very dangerous stretch. Since 2009, the pedestrian death rate on First Avenue along the 10 blocks without a protected bike lane has been much higher than on the rest of First Avenue, according to DOT.


Eyes on the Street: Progress on Pulaski Bridge Bikeway

Photo: DOT

Photo: DOT

Last week DOT posted photos of construction work on the Pulaski Bridge bikeway on the project’s Facebook page. DOT is adding a protected lane that will create more room for people who bike and walk the bridge, which connects Greenpoint and Long Island City over Newtown Creek.

The project has been on New Yorkers’ wish list for years, and has been delayed a few times. In August DOT said drainage problems would push the start of construction to next spring, but those issues were resolved within a few weeks and things got started soon after.

It looks like work is moving apace. Doug Gordon tweeted a pic today, and thanked Assembly Member Joe Lentol, a vocal proponent since 2012, for his support of the project.

We’ve asked DOT about the timeline and will post the agency’s response if we get one.

Photo: DOT

Photo: DOT

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Salt Lake City’s Groundbreaking Protected Intersection Is Open

The second protected intersection in the country is open in Salt Lake City, another milestone for American bike infrastructure.

Using paint and concrete islands, the intersection of 200 West and 300 South lowers the stress level for cyclists, makes them more visible to drivers, and reduces turning conflicts:

Salt Lake City’s protected intersection comes two months after Davis, California, rolled out the first one in America in August.

Alta Planning led the design of the project, and you can see a few scenes of people biking, walking, and driving through it in their clip above.

Salt Lake City's new protected intersection. Photo: Alta Planning

Salt Lake City’s new protected intersection. Photo: Alta Planning


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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