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Posts from the Protected Bike Lanes Category

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DOT Defers Action on Clinton Avenue Bikeway

DOT wants to give Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn a two-way protected bike lane. Image: DOT

The Clinton Avenue redesign calls for a two-way protected bike lane and concrete pedestrian islands. Image: DOT

DOT has deferred its plan for a two-way protected bike lane on Clinton Avenue, saying it will return to Brooklyn Community Board 2 next month.

The department’s decision was announced by CB 2 transportation chair John Dew at the beginning of last night’s committee meeting. The committee had initially intended to finish hearing comments from people who didn’t get to speak at Tuesday’s meeting on the project, then vote on the plan, which Dew said he believed was “not-yet-ready for primetime.”

The redesign would add a two-way parking protected bike lane on Clinton between Flushing Avenue and Gates Avenue, converting the street from two-way motor vehicle flow to one-way northbound. In addition to creating a low-stress bike connection to the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway on Flushing, it would narrow crossing distance for pedestrians and simplify intersections, reducing the potential for conflict between drivers and people on foot.

While similar projects have reduced injuries and deaths all over the city, and the design closely resembles an arrangement that has functioned perfectly well on Kent Avenue for several years, property owners on Clinton Avenue campaigned against it, claiming that repurposing space from cars to bikes would impede emergency access, endanger seniors, and destroy “the historic nature of the Avenue.”

On Tuesday, Public Advocate Tish James and local Council Member Laurie Cumbo sided with the opponents.

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James and Cumbo Wilt Under Pressure, Oppose Clinton Ave Bikeway

DOT wants to give Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn a two-way protected bike lane. Image: DOT

The proposed street redesign creates space for a two-way protected bike lane by removing the southbound traffic lane on Clinton Avenue. Image: DOT

Last year, Public Advocate Tish James called on DOT to make protected bike lanes a standard feature of street redesigns, a stance she recently elaborated on in an interview with Streetsblog. In December, Council Member Laurie Cumbo stood with the family of Victoria Nicodemus, who was run over and killed on a Fort Greene sidewalk, at a vigil for safer streets.

Now DOT is making a concrete proposal to redesign a street in Cumbo’s district for greater safety [PDF] — a plan for a two-way protected bike lane on Clinton Avenue first floated at the “Vision Zero town hall” Cumbo convened after the vigil for Nicodemus. But James and Cumbo have folded under pressure from street redesign opponents, coming out against the project at a public meeting last night. If Brooklyn Community Board 2’s transportation committee endorses the redesign when it reconvenes on Thursday, it won’t be thanks to leadership from James or Cumbo.

Public Advocate Tish James

Public Advocate Tish James

More than 250 people attended last night’s CB 2 meeting. Opponents outnumbered supporters among people who testified, but fewer than a third of the 90 people who signed up got a turn at the mic. The committee will reconvene at the Brown Memorial Church on Thursday to allow for more public comment, then vote on the plan.

The redesign would convert Clinton between Flushing Avenue and Gates Avenue from two-way motor vehicle flow to one-way northbound with a two-way, parking-protected bike lane on the east side. Crossing distances for pedestrians would be significantly shorter, and concrete islands would encourage motorists to take right turns more carefully. The design would be very similar to the two-way protected bike lane on Kent Avenue, but with more pedestrian islands and more frequent intersections.

Last night was DOT’s first public presentation of the full project, but in April the agency had met with local residents’ associations, schools, and employers about the proposal, and sent staffers to get the word out in the neighborhood. At the same time, some property owners on Clinton Avenue were mobilizing and collecting 1,300 signatures against the project.

James and Cumbo clearly had those signatures in mind as they attempted to reconcile their stated positions on Vision Zero and protected bike lanes with their opposition to this project.

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If You Were Thinking of Sitting Out Tonight’s Clinton Ave Bikeway Meeting…

…you may want to reconsider.

DOT will present a plan for a two-way protected bike lane on Clinton Avenue between Flushing Avenue and Gates Avenue, which would create shorter pedestrian crossings and serve as a useful spur in the bike network for people heading to/from the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. The southbound traffic lane would be removed to create space for the bikeway.

There are currently no north-south protected bike lanes in this part of town. If you want a safer, less stressful connection between North Brooklyn and Fort Greene/Clinton Hill/Prospect Heights/Crown Heights, or between the Manhattan Bridge and the neighborhoods east of Clinton Avenue, this is an important meeting to attend. It starts at 6:00 — here’s where to go.

Opponents have been busy circulating flyers like this one around the neighborhood, in an attempt to incite terror at the thought that one quarter of one street will be dedicated space for cycling:

clintonNIMBYflyer

So there you have it — reserving three quarters of Clinton Avenue for the movement and storage of motor vehicles is simply not enough. Clinton Hill is saturated with bike lanes already and has absolutely no car lanes to spare. Biking in general traffic where you can get doored and thrown under the wheels of a passing truck is great — parents with kids do it gladly!

Keep in mind that curb-to-curb, Clinton Avenue is the same width as Kent Avenue in North Williamsburg, which basically has the same design that DOT is proposing here. Pickups, deliveries, emergency access, large apartment buildings — all function fine on Kent Avenue. People on Kent Avenue — including kids — also have the freedom to get around like this.

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No-Drama CB 3 Transpo Committee Votes for Chrystie Street Protected Lane

The city plans to install a two-way protected bike lane on Chrystie Street in the fall. Image: DOT

DOT’s rendering of the two-way protected bike lane slated for Chrystie Street in the fall.

Last night, Manhattan Community Board 3’s transportation committee unanimously approved DOT’s plan to install a two-way protected bike lane on Chrystie Street [PDF]. The bike lane would run on the east side of Chrystie between Canal and Houston.

Chrystie is an essential connector for the thousands of people who bike over the Manhattan Bridge every day. It’s also completely overrun by double-parked vehicles and gets a lot of truck and bus traffic that makes it stressful to bike on. Last year, 16 cyclists were injured in crashes within the project area.

Last night’s unanimous vote and accompanying DOT presentation took all of 20 minutes, Transportation Alternatives volunteer Brandon Chamberlin told Streetsblog. The committee gave the proposal a conditional thumbs up in March, asking that DOT hold a public forum on the project in coordination with the Sara D Roosevelt Park Coalition. The forum happened on April 12.

Chamberlin said he and one other attendee spoke in favor of the plan. No one spoke against it. “It seems to have been much ado about nothing,” he said of the two-month delay.

The full board will take up the project at its monthly meeting on May 24. DOT has previously indicated the the project would be implemented in the fall.

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De Blasio Advances Queens Boulevard Redesign Despite CB 4 Shenanigans

lizi_rahman_dromm

Lizi Rahman and Council Member Danny Dromm led a rally for the Queens Boulevard redesign before last night’s CB 4 meeting. Rahman lost her son Asif in 2008 when he was struck by a truck driver and killed on Queens Boulevard. Photo: David Meyer

Mayor de Blasio has instructed NYC DOT to move forward with the redesign of Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst following a contentious meeting of Queens Community Board 4 last night, in which the chairman hastily pushed through a vote against the bike lane portion of the project.

“I respect those who disagree with us, but in the end, the safety of our neighbors and our children is the most fundamental responsibility we have in this work,” de Blasio said in a statement released this afternoon. “Today, I have instructed the Department of Transportation to move forward on the next phase of safety enhancements to Queens Boulevard, including a protected lane for cyclists.”

The CB 4 meeting last night was a travesty of public process even by the standards of New York City community boards.

Immediately after arguing that Queens Boulevard “is not a park, it is a very heavily traveled vehicular roadway,” CB 4 Chair Lou Walker moved to “accept the safety plan for Queens Boulevard except the bike lane.” The resolution passed in a quick show of hands, with one member opposed and one abstention, but multiple board members appeared to be confused by Walker’s phrasing and the rush to vote.

Some board members walked out in dismay right after the vote, and dozens of people in the audience who supported the bike lane turned their backs to the board and then left the room.

The median bikeway is a centerpiece of the Queens Boulevard redesign and the project would make no sense without it. DOT implemented the same basic template — claiming space on service roads to create continuous paths for walking and biking on the medians — on 1.3 miles of Queens Boulevard in Woodside last year. The proposal on the table at CB 4 last night would extend that design another 1.2 miles from 74th Street to Eliot Avenue. A third phase through Rego Park and Forest Hills is scheduled for 2017.

Queens Boulevard is one of the only direct east-west routes across the borough, and many people already brave its chaotic traffic on bikes. The portion of the street covered by this phase of the redesign includes the block between 55th Road and 55th Avenue where a truck driver struck and killed Asif Rahman in 2008.

At a rally before the meeting, his mother, Lizi Rahman, called for action. “It’s been more than 8 years, and ever since I lost my son I have been fighting for a bike lane on Queens Boulevard,” she said. “It was pretty difficult from the beginning — almost for the first seven years I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

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111 Corona Mothers Take Over 111th Street to Call for a Safer Design

Mujeres en Movimiento — a Corona-based group of immigrant Latina mothers — marched on 111th Street this Saturday, calling on NYC DOT and Queens Community Board 4 to move forward with the city’s plan for traffic calming and a protected bike lane on the street.

They were joined by their children, members of Immigrant Movement International Corona, and Queens street safety activists. More than 160 people turned out for the march, which was billed as 111 mothers taking over 111th Street for 111 seconds.

Today 111th Street is a treacherous crossing for Corona residents going to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. With two northbound lanes and three southbound lanes, drivers move at dangerous speeds. DOT’s proposal would calm traffic by expanding medians at crossings, painting new crosswalks, installing a two-way protected bike lane along the park, and reducing the number of motor vehicle traffic lanes to one in each direction [PDF].

NYC DOT first presented a redesign for 111th Street more than a year ago, responding to a campaign organized by IMI Corona, Queens Museum, Make the Road New York, Transportation Alternatives, and Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. But it is currently stalled with no timetable for implementation. CB 4 has failed to advance the project, and Assembly Member Francisco Moya has tried to block it. DOT will only say that it plans to “return to CB 4 later this year.”

Saturday, some demonstrators marched with their bicycles, while others held signs with messages like “Los calles tambien nos pertenecen” (“The streets belong to us too”) and “Un futuro mas seguro para nuestros hijos” (“A safe future for our children”). At 49th Avenue, the group blocked the street to car traffic and paraded around the median between 49th and 50th Avenues.

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The Pulaski Bridge Bikeway Is Open and It’s Magnificent

State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan and City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer lead the pack of DOT officials, electeds and advocates on the Pulaski Bridge protected lane's first official ride. Photo: David Meyer

State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan (front left) and City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (right) lead the pack. Photo: David Meyer

Pedestrians and cyclists don’t have to settle for scraps of space on the Pulaski Bridge any more. This morning, the bridge’s new two-way protected bikeway officially opened to the public, the culmination of a four-year effort to improve biking and walking access between Greenpoint and Long Island City.

The Pulaski carries thousands of cyclists between Queens and Brooklyn across Newtown Creek each day, according to DOT. For many years, cyclists and pedestrians had to squeeze onto a single narrow path, while motorists zoomed along on six lanes of congestion-free roadway. The Pulaski path became more congested every year as housing and jobs boomed on both sides of the bridge.

Assembly Member Joe Lentol began pushing DOT for the project in late 2012 after meeting with local residents frustrated by the increasingly crowded conditions on the path. The engineering challenge of providing sufficient protection for cyclists on the drawbridge section of the Pulaski proved surmountable, and construction was initially set to conclude by the end of 2014.

Red tape and construction delays pushed the project back more than a year, and the long wait came to an end with today’s grand opening. The project cost $4.9 million and was funded by the city with support from the Federal Highway Administration.

The Pulaski project is the most prominent example of the city repurposing car lanes on a bridge for biking and walking since Transportation Alternatives won the full-time use of a lane on the Queensboro Bridge for pedestrians and cyclists in 2000 (a fight that lasted no less than 22 years).

Other bridges could use similar treatments. The Brooklyn Bridge and Queensboro Bridge both have bike-ped paths that get uncomfortably crowded, and DOT is currently working to improve bike-ped crossings on the Harlem River.

DOT Deputy Commissioner for Transportation Planning Ryan Russo led a group of department officials, advocates, and electeds on an inaugural ride on the bikeway from Long Island City to Greenpoint this morning.

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What’s Next for the Two-Way Protected Bike Lane Proposed for Clinton Ave

DOT wants to give Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn a two-way protected bike lane. Image: DOT

The Clinton Avenue redesign calls for adding a two-way protected bike lane between Gates and Flushing. Image: DOT

DOT has been going door-to-door in Clinton Hill to get the word out about its plan for a two-way protected bike lane on Clinton Avenue, which the agency first previewed at a Vision Zero town hall held by Council Member Laurie Cumbo in January. While a full presentation on the project is scheduled for next month, it’s expected to come up for discussion at a forum this Thursday hosted by 57th Assembly District Leader Olanike Alabi.

Currently, Clinton Hill lacks a protected north-south bike connection. The redesign would add a two-way, parking protected bike lane on Clinton Avenue between Gates Avenue and Flushing Avenue, connecting to the Brookly Waterfront Greenway. The street would be converted from two-way motor vehicle flow to one-way northbound, and pedestrian islands would narrow crossing distances for people on foot.

Representatives from DOT have been out in the neighborhood the past week talking to residents about the project, and people can also submit comments on Clinton Hill’s biking and walking needs via online surveys. DOT’s street ambassadors will be out again this Wednesday, on the campus of St. Joseph’s College from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and outside the Pratt Institute at the intersection of DeKalb Avenue and Hall Street from noon to 4 p.m.

A DOT presentation to Community Board 2’s transportation committee is scheduled for May 17, according to an agency spokesperson.

This Thursday, 57th Assembly District Leader Olanike Alabi is hosting a town hall, and the Clinton Avenue project is expected to be one of the topics addressed. There’s no presentation planned, but a DOT rep will be on hand to take questions and comments from residents. As with any substantial change to the streets, some opposition from nearby residents is expected. If you live in the neighborhood and want to see this safety improvement move forward, your voice can make a difference.

The town hall starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Teen Challenge Center at 444 Clinton Avenue.

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Eyes on the Street: Pulaski Bridge Bikeway Looks Ready for a Ribbon-Cutting

Update: A DOT spokesperson tells Streetsblog that while finishing touches are being made, cyclists should follow the posted signage, which directs them to the shared pedestrian-bike path on the west side of the bridge. The new protected lane will be “unveiled” later this week.

It hasn’t officially opened, but you can ride on DOT’s long-awaited Pulaski Bridge bike lane linking northern Brooklyn and western Queens. Word is that a ribbon-cutting is set for the end of this week.

Over the weekend, Twitter and the Streetsblog inbox lit up with alerts that the path is rideable, though there are still cones and signs at both ends marking the bike lane as closed.

The Pulaski project has been in the works since 2012, when Assembly Member Joe Lentol requested that DOT explore the possibility of converting a car lane to a protected bike path so pedestrians and cyclists could have some breathing room instead of sharing a narrow, cramped pathway. The bikeway advanced in fits and starts since then, and after some delays it’s finally here, separated from car traffic by concrete barriers and a metal fence.

It’s not every day that part of a six-lane bridge gets repurposed from motor vehicle traffic to make room for biking and walking. The Pulaski bikeway points the way forward for bigger crossings like the Queensboro Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge where cyclists and pedestrians are an afterthought, jammed together on paths without enough space to move comfortably. We’ll have a full report when the new path officially opens.

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Jay Street Redesign Clears CB 2, With Some Design Details Left for Later

Image: DOT

Brooklyn Community Board 2 endorsed most of DOT’s plan for curbside protected bike lanes on Jay Street between Fulton Mall and Tillary Street at its monthly meeting last night. Two key design decisions at each end of the project have yet to be finalized, however, and will be presented to the transportation committee in May.

Chaotic Jay Street is a key link to the Manhattan Bridge, and cyclists account for 34 percent of vehicles on the street during peak hours. The DOT plan calls for curbside, parking protected bike lanes, though at seven feet wide, the lanes will be narrower than bikeway design guidelines recommend.

When DOT presented the plan to CB 2’s transportation committee last month, the committee declined to endorse a new crosswalk at the off-ramp from the Manhattan Bridge just north of Nassau Street, where a fence currently blocks pedestrians from crossing. Before taking a position, committee members wanted to know how DOT intends to control traffic coming off the bridge.

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