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Posts from the Protected Bike Lanes Category

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The Calgary Model: Connect Protected Bike Lanes Fast, Watch Riders Pour In

calgary fast facts

Graphic: City of Calgary. Click to enlarge.

pfb logo 100x22Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets.

Last week, we shared a new report about the best practices for cities that want to make faster, cheaper changes to their streets.

Today, let’s take a moment to recognize the North American city that has used these tools better than any other to rapidly improve its bike infrastructure.

The city is Calgary, Alberta. The secret is that it piloted a connected downtown network of low-stress bike routes all at once.

calgary map 570

Downtown Calgary. Images: City of Calgary.

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When to Use Protected Intersections? Academic Study Will Offer Advice

An intersection in Austin gives room for a driver to stop mid-turn while people bike past rather than putting cyclists in a driver’s blind spot. Photo: Greg Griffin

pfb logo 100x22Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets.

If 2015 was the year protected intersections arrived in the United States, 2016 is the year the country’s bikeway pros are starting to really figure them out.

Inspired by Dutch streets, protected intersection designs use a few simple tricks to rearrange traffic at intersections so that people on bikes and in cars don’t have to constantly look over their shoulders for one another.

Last week, Portland State University announced a $250,000 project that will use simulations to put people on virtual streets and test their use of protected intersections. The goal: create data-driven standards to tell cities where protected intersections are needed.

“At what traffic volume?” asked Justin Carinci, a spokesman for PSU’s National Institute for Transportation and Communities. “At what speeds?”

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Jay Street Protected Bike Lane Plan Clears Brooklyn CB 2 Committee

Image: DOT

Image: DOT

Last night, DOT presented its proposal for a protected bike lane on Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn to the Community Board 2 transportation committee [PDF].

Jay Street is the main approach for the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge bike path. During a 12-hour weekday period, DOT counted 2,400 cyclists on Jay Street, with bikes accounting for 34 percent of vehicles during rush hour.

The project will replace painted lanes between Sands Street and Fulton Street with curbside parking-protected bike lanes. The new design will save cyclists from having to dodge between double-parked cars and moving traffic. It’s going to be a tight squeeze, though: The proposed five-foot bike lanes and two-foot painted buffer are narrower than typical protected bike lanes in the city. Buffers are usually three feet wide so cyclists don’t ride where they might get doored. Bus drivers will merge across the bike lane to access bus stops.

Many design details are still in development, including the Smith Street segment between Fulton Mall and Schermerhorn Street, the intersection with Tillary Street, and the area around the Manhattan Bridge. DOT Bicycle Program Director Hayes Lord said the department will come back to CB 2 at a later date, likely in May, to review the final details of the proposal.

Just past Nassau Street, where northbound cyclists must cross the path of drivers exiting the Manhattan Bridge, DOT wants to create a marked pedestrian/bike crossing that could be signalized, but the traffic control plan has not been finalized. Where Jay Street approaches Sands Street, DOT will create a new access point for cyclists through the fence that separates the bike lane from the bridge, so people on bikes can steer clear of right-turning motorists.

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PPW Bike Lane Lawsuit Will Be Decided on the Merits — Bring It On

Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Bert Bunyan ruled yesterday that Prospect Park West bike lane opponents did indeed file suit before the six-month statute of limitations had run out. The case will proceed after all.

The outcome is a surprise, since Bunyan reversed his initial 2011 decision to dismiss the suit. The case only had legs because an appeals court kicked it back to Bunyan in 2012. But here we are.

What this means, as far as I can tell, is that there will now be a trial to rule on the actual merits of the bike lane opponents’ case. I’m waiting to hear back from the law department about whether the city can or will appeal this decision, but even if the city can appeal, why drag this out any longer? The lawsuit has no merits.

Years before DOT replaced a traffic lane on PPW with a two-way protected bike lane, Brooklyn Community Board 6 sent a letter asking the agency to study a two-way protected bike lane on PPW. Prospect Park West had a speeding problem and people wanted DOT to fix it. The bike lane-plus-road diet was the city’s response. The redesign went through the usual community board process and has worked as advertised since it was installed.

Knowing all that, the people suing the city, Louise Hainline and Norman Steisel, need their pro bono attorneys from Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher to prove that DOT’s decision to implement the bike lane was “arbitrary and capricious.”

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Sneak Preview: The Jay Street Protected Bike Lane

DOT will present its proposal for protected bike lanes on Jay and Smith Streets in downtown Brooklyn to tonight's CB 2 transportation committee meeting. Image: DOT

Image: DOT

Tonight, DOT will present plans for a protected bike lane on Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn to the Brooklyn Community Board 2 transportation committee. DOT shared this rendering of the redesign with Streetsblog this afternoon.

Jay Street is an essential connection for bike commuters traveling over the Manhattan Bridge, but it’s chaos during rush hour, when cyclists must weave around a slalom course of double-parked vehicles and car and bus traffic.

Sean Quinn, DOT’s senior director for bicycle and pedestrian programs, told Streetsblog that the redesign has taken on greater urgency as the number of people biking on Jay Street has increased. DOT counts show 2,400 cyclists on the corridor in a 12-hour period. During rush hour, bikes make up 34 percent of the vehicles on Jay Street.

Once this project and its Manhattan counterpart on Chrystie Street are implemented, there will be four miles of continuous protected bike infrastructure from Midtown Manhattan to Downtown Brooklyn.

The DOT plan calls for parking-protected bike lanes on both sides of Jay Street between Sands Street and Fulton Street. For the most part, there will be five-foot bike lanes by the curb protected from motor vehicle traffic by parked cars with a two-foot painted buffer. The bikeways are narrower than typical protected bike lanes in NYC, which usually have at least a three-foot buffer and six-foot bike lane. South of Fulton, where Jay Street becomes Smith Street, there will be less protection, though we don’t have the specifics on that section yet.

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DOT Unveils Plan for a Two-Way Protected Bike Lane on Chrystie Street

DOT plans to install "Jersey barriers" to protecting cyclists turning from Canal Street onto Chrystie Street. The existing design uses sharrows to guide cyclists on Chrystie Street at that location. Image: DOT

The Chrystie Street redesign would place concrete barriers between the bike lane and motor vehicle traffic flying off the Manhattan Bridge. Image: DOT

DOT unveiled its plan for a two-way protected bike lane on Chrystie Street last night [PDF], a project that promises to drastically improve safety and reduce stress for people biking to and from the Manhattan Bridge.

Chrystie Street is one of the most important bike routes in the city. On average, more than 6,200 cyclists ride over the Manhattan Bridge each day from April through October, according to DOT, and Chrystie Street is the key connection between the bridge and the First and Second Avenue protected bike lanes. Last July, DOT counted nearly 3,000 daily cyclists riding on Chrystie Street between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

DOT painted bike lanes on both sides of Chrystie in 2008, but it’s a treacherous ride: Cyclists are often forced to weave in and out of car traffic to avoid illegally parked vehicles. Last year, 16 cyclists and 14 pedestrians were injured within the project area.

Volunteers with Transportation Alternatives have pushed for a redesign of Chrystie for more than a year. In 2015, a design concept for a protected bike lane by Dave “Paco” Abraham won the support of Manhattan Community Board 3 and nearly every elected official who represents the area.

DOT presented its plan for Chrystie to the CB 3 transportation committee last night. It calls for a two-way protected bike lane along Sara D. Roosevelt Park from Canal Street to Houston Street. The two-way path will have a three-foot buffer, and the combined travel lanes for bikes will vary between eight feet and nine feet wide, depending on the total width of the street. To align with the new Chrystie bikeway, the southbound bike lane on Second Avenue will be shifted over to the east side of the street for the two blocks between 2nd Street and Houston.

Including the buffer, the bikeway will vary between 11 and 12 feet wide, depending on the width of the street. Image: DOT

Including the buffer, the bikeway will vary between 11 and 12 feet wide, depending on the width of the street. Image: DOT

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DOT Will Fill in Most of the Second Avenue Bike Lane Gap in Midtown

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The current bike route on Second Avenue goes under these delivery trucks. Image: Google Street View

DOT will present plans this spring to fill most, but not all, of the remaining gaps in the north-south protected bike lanes on the East Side of Manhattan. Significantly, DOT intends to create a physically protected bike lane on Second Avenue between 59th Street and 43rd Street. Combined with the bike lane extension coming to the Upper East Side after surface work on the Second Avenue Subway wraps up, the project would close most of the remaining gaps on the avenue but leave the approaches to the Queensboro Bridge and the Queens Midtown Tunnel exposed.

DOT Manhattan community liaison Colleen Chattergoon shared the news with the Community Board 6 transportation committee last night. The remaining gaps, she said, will be addressed in future projects but not this year. Chattergoon also said that DOT expects Select Bus Service on 23rd Street to launch later in 2016.

Since putting in protected bike lanes on First and Second south of 34th Street in 2010, the city has added segments in East Harlem, the Upper East Side, and Midtown piece by piece — leaving the most traffic-choked blocks for last. As of now, from Houston Street to 125th the only gaps in protection on the First Avenue bike lane are between 47th and 48th streets (it’s a curbside buffered lane for that block) and between 56th and 59th streets (currently sharrows). Both of those gaps are in line to be protected later this year, said Chattergoon, with DOT expecting to present a plan in May or June.

The Second Avenue bike route has the bigger gap, with no protection between 105th Street and 34th Street. In January, Manhattan CB 8 endorsed DOT’s plan to install a parking-protected lane on Second Avenue above 68th Street after subway construction is finished. The project DOT will present in the spring will call for a protected lane between 59th and 43rd. That would leave two significant gaps — one leading up to the Queensboro Bridge and another leading up to the tunnel. DOT intends to fill those gaps at some point, the only question is when.

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Take a Look at DOT’s Chrystie Street Bike Lane Design

Cyclists traveling to and from Brooklyn via the Manhattan Bridge will soon have a protected bike connection on Chrystie Street. Image: Gothamist/DOT

People biking to and from the Manhattan Bridge will soon have a safer connection on Chrystie Street. Image: NYC DOT

DOT will show its highly-anticipated plan for a protected bike lane on Chrystie Street between Canal Street and 2nd Street to Manhattan Community Board 3 tomorrow, and Gothamist has posted renderings from the presentation.

Chrystie Street is an essential bike connection to and from the Manhattan Bridge, but it can be a hair-raising ride full of dodging and weaving around double-parked vehicles.

Image: Gothamist/DOT

Image: DOT

DOT’s design calls for a two-way parking-protected bike lane on the east side of Chrystie, with a three-foot buffer and nine feet for the bike path itself. It looks very similar to the design pushed last year by street safety advocates. Take a look:

At Canal Street, where motorists come off the bridge onto Chrystie, cyclists would be protected by concrete barriers. Between Rivington and Grand, where the road is narrower, the bike lane will be separated by flexible bollards, not a parking lane. The design of the intersection with Houston Street, where the southbound Second Avenue bike lane feeds into Chrystie Street, is still in development, according to Gothamist.

Gothamist also reports that DOT will soon propose a protected southbound bike lane on Jay Street from the Manhattan Bridge path to Schermerhorn Street.

Tomorrow’s CB 3 meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.

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Can You Believe a Few People Are Still Suing to Rip Out This Bike Lane?

Photo: Doug Gordon

It was just about five years ago that attorneys with the law firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, working pro bono on behalf of some people with ties to Senator Chuck Schumer, filed suit against the city for installing the Prospect Park West bike lane. In August 2011, Kings County Supreme Court Judge Bert Bunyan dismissed the suit, but not before bike lane opponents battered DOT and its bike program in the press for several months through various surrogates.

Amazingly, the lawsuit shambles on to this day, as bike lane opponents Louise Hainline and Norman Steisel continue to press their appeal.

In 2012, an appeals court ruled that Bunyan had to hold another hearing to determine if the bike lane was a “pilot” or not. The lawsuit only has standing if the bike lane was a pilot, for arcane reasons explained here. The outcome basically hinges on whether former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz should be believed when he says former DOT chief Janette Sadik-Khan told him the project was a pilot — testimony that he submitted at the last possible moment.

Today, Sadik-Khan and former bike and pedestrian program director Josh Benson testified in Bunyan’s court room, revisiting events that happened nearly six years ago. Next month, Markowitz is scheduled to testify.

I caught a few minutes of the proceedings this morning and the scene was surreal.

Just about all the major players from 2011 have moved on. Markowitz is no longer borough president. Sadik-Khan is no longer at DOT. Benson recently took the top transportation job in Stamford, Connecticut. Schumer’s wife Iris Weinshall, the former DOT commissioner who helped land free services from Gibson Dunn, hasn’t been actively involved in years. One of the named parties suing the city, Lois Carswell, has died. The only people actively involved in relitigating the case, at least publicly, are Hainline and Steisel, but they were both no-shows.

Meanwhile, children who weren’t born when the lawsuit was filed are now old enough to bike on the PPW protected lane.

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DOT: Grand Concourse Project to “Replace and Upgrade Existing Bike Lanes”

A cyclist was killed last year at the intersection of Grand Concourse and 158th Street, pictured, where there is currently no dedicate bike infrastructure. Photo: Google Maps

A cyclist was killed last year at the intersection of the Grand Concourse and 158th Street, above, where there is currently no bike infrastructure. Photo: Google Maps

With Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz calling for better bike infrastructure on the Grand Concourse, there’s some serious political momentum to make this major north-south thoroughfare a safer street. How far will DOT take it?

The Grand Concourse is one of DOT’s Vision Zero “Great Streets” projects slated for capital improvements in the next few years. Currently, it has buffered bike lanes on the service roads above 162nd Street but no bike infrastructure south of that.

That’s a problem: A sizable chunk of cyclist injuries on the Grand Concourse in 2015 occurred below 162nd Street, including one fatality at 158th Street by Franz Sigel Park.

An agency spokesperson provided the following statement when Streetsblog asked if the Grand Concourse would be redesigned with a protected bike lane:

DOT plans to replace and upgrade the existing bike lanes as part of the ongoing capital reconstruction of the Grand Concourse. We expect to present proposals for the next phases of Capital Reconstruction to local stakeholders and Community Boards in the Spring.

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