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Posts from the Manhattan Bridge Category

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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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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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Streetfilms Shorties: Fix the Dysfunctional Chrystie Street Bike Lane

Back in February, Manhattan Community Board 3 asked DOT to study a protected bike lane for Chrystie Street. Head over there during any rush hour and it’s easy to see why: There are tons of people biking to and from the Manhattan Bridge, but the painted bike lanes on Chrystie are constantly blocked by double-parked cars and buses. Even when you’re not weaving in and out of motor vehicle traffic, you have to keep your eyes peeled for illegal U-turns and drivers crossing the southbound bike lane as they exit garages.

The agency said it would study bike lane upgrades for Chrystie, but gave no timetable. That was in March. Apparently, someone got tired of waiting and set up orange cones on one long block in the beginning of October to keep the bike lane clear. That was all it took to provide a little more security for people biking northbound on Chrystie, and in this short Streetfilm, Clarence makes the case for some simple changes to permanently improve safety on one of the city’s most important bike routes.

StreetFilms
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Counting Bicyclists on the Manhattan Bridge!

Since this has been an such amazing year for NYC bike commuting (after all Bicycling Magazine says we’re the #1 bike city, right?) two dear friends of Streetfilms (Steven O’Neill & Brooklyn Spoke‘s Doug Gordon) who frequently ride the Manhattan Bridge bike path joined me this morning to count some bicycles. We spent 20 minutes during the morning rush hour — specifically, 8:49 a.m. to 9:09 a.m. — tallying commuters just for the fun of it.

It was a beautiful morning for riding and the numbers didn’t disappoint. You’ll need to watch the short video to find out the final tally, but the count won’t shock anyone who rides regularly in this part of NYC. After all, the Manhattan Bridge has seen bike traffic swell over the last five years, and the advent of Citi Bike in 2013 is helping to keep that growth going.

Last October, NYC DOT tallied 4,004 bikes over this bridge in 12 hours. Of course, our average came out much higher than that because we counted during rush hour. It will be interesting to see what the official 2014 counts yield.

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After First Snowfall, Bike Paths Getting Cleared

DOT crews brought snowblowers to the Manhattan Bridge bike path this morning. Photo: Ignatzybanjo/Flickr

It looks like major bike routes are getting cleared after the season’s first snow. This stands in stark contrast to the conditions four years ago, when it took days for bridge and greenway paths to be cleared of snow and ice. What did you see on your way to work this morning?

Workers clear snow from the Queens Plaza bikeway approach to the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. Photo: Valcristdk/Instagram

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Monday: No More Detour on the Manhattan Bridge

Image: NYC DOT

After a seven and a half month detour, the time is finally upon us: Starting Monday, cyclists can return to the north side of the Manhattan Bridge, and pedestrians can go back to the south side. The days of biking on the harrowing Bowery detour are just about over, and knock on wood, there were no casualties (except for the credibility of the Daily News editorial page).

Some construction sheds will remain on the bridge paths until 2013 — read all about it in NYC DOT’s construction update [PDF].

It seems likely that the Manhattan Bridge detour hampered the growth of the city’s annual bike count, which measures cyclists crossing six points around the edges of the Manhattan CBD. So, will we see a rebound effect now that the bridge is going back to normal? Leave your forecasts in the comments.

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Manhattan Bridge Bike Path Detour to End on March 5

Manhattan Bridge cyclists won't have to brave the Bowery as of March 5. Image: NYC DOT

The Manhattan Bridge bicycle path will return to its usual place on the north side of the bridge on March 5, according to a Department of Transportation spokesperson.

Since July, construction has forced cyclists and pedestrians to swap sides on the bridge. Bike riders heading into Manhattan have had to navigate a dangerous detour onto the Bowery. Though DOT painted a temporary bike route along Bowery for the duration of the construction, NYPD enforcement was almost non-existent and the lane was often unusable.

Flipping the bicycle and pedestrian paths on the bridge also led to some heightened conflict, not so much along the path itself but in the minds of the Daily News editorial board. The newspaper wrote a series of scathing editorials depicting cyclists as “illiterate, blind, or merely — this is our guess — oblivious to all man-made law,” one of the low points of last year’s media bikelash.

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Wanted: Better Protection for Thousands of Cyclists Dumped Onto the Bowery

Cyclists exiting the Manhattan Bridge this morning were immediately greeted by a parked NYPD van in the new temporary bike lane on the Bowery. Photo: Ben Fried

Today was the first day of a construction detour expected to send thousands of cyclists onto the Bowery from the Manhattan Bridge every day. A temporary bike route extending from the south side of Canal Street to Prince Street was constantly blocked by parked police vehicles, trucks, and cars during the morning rush, forcing cyclists to weave into the stream of Bowery traffic — full of buses and large trucks.

The northbound detour sends cyclist up the Bowery from just south of Canal. Image: NYC DOT

The detour is expected to last for at least six months. As a consequence of cable rehabilitation work, which according to the city will make the Manhattan Bridge bike path unrideable, DOT is directing cyclists to swap places with pedestrians and take the south side of the bridge. The announcement mapping the detour routes went out last Friday [PDF].

The Manhattan Bridge sees the second-most bike traffic of the four East River bike crossings — an average of about 3,000 cyclists each day, according to DOT’s 2010 counts. All was well on the Brooklyn side this morning, and the detour for bridge-bound cyclists on the Manhattan side doesn’t call for riding on any streets that might be especially hazardous for cyclists.

But the Bowery detour was hairy, to say the least. Some sort of physical protection, like Jersey barriers, will be necessary to prevent situations like this, just north of Canal:

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Video: 400+ Cyclists Per Hour on the Manhattan Bridge

New York Post columnist Steve Cuozzo, proponent of birther-style conspiracy theories about the growth of cycling in New York, might want to check out this YouTube clip that NYC DOT posted earlier this week, along with other information on how it conducts bike counts. It’s a time-lapse video of cyclists on the Brooklyn approach to the Manhattan Bridge during the morning rush last May. Real people riding real bikes — see for yourself, Steve.

Last year, the city counted 2,984 cyclists per day on the Manhattan Bridge, compared to 2,606 in 2009 and 2,210 in 2008, the last full year before the Sands Street bike path was built. Those counts come from averaging the number of cyclists using the bridge between 7 a.m and 7 p.m. on six days between April and October. Back in 2005 (when the city got its numbers from a single day’s observation instead of six, making comparisons to today somewhat indirect), 829 cyclists were counted on the Manhattan Bridge [PDF].

After the jump, bonus time-lapse footage from Tracy Collins, showing bike and car traffic over the Vanderbilt rail yard on Sixth Avenue in Brooklyn last August. By my count there are about 30 bikes and 80 motor vehicles headed toward Park Slope over the course of about 30 light cycles:

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Canal Street Report Recommends Wider Sidewalks, Smarter Parking

The only thing more congested than Canal Street might be Canal Street's sidewalks. Photo: via Flickr.

The only thing more congested than Canal Street might be Canal Street's sidewalks. Photo: Bertrand Duperrin via Flickr

Canal Street, to put it mildly, is due for a makeover. The street is clogged with traffic from the Holland Tunnel and the un-tolled Manhattan Bridge. Pedestrians jostle for space on the packed sidewalks, and they’re especially at risk of getting hit by a car, according to the city’s Pedestrian Safety Study.

Fortunately, the funds are in place for an eventual reconstruction and re-imagination of the street, thanks to federal World Trade Center emergency relief aid. To help determine how to design Canal Street, which must strike a balance between serving the local community and the regional transportation system, NYMTC, the region’s metropolitan planning organization, has been engaged in a nearly decade-long process of studying the area and drawing up recommendations for the corridor.

In a report released last Thursday [PDF], NYMTC recommends making Canal Street friendlier for pedestrians by adding significant amounts of sidewalk space. But larger changes, in particular the creation of a carpool lane in the Holland Tunnel, weren’t included. According to the NYMTC report, NYCDOT has agreed to use the recommendations to inform its plans, though a DOT spokesperson said only that the agency was reviewing the findings.

The Canal Area Transportation Study process began in 2002, and the first phase ended with some relatively small improvements to the area, like high-visibility crosswalks, new signage, and temporary improvements near Allen Street. Since 2005, the second, larger-scale phase of the study has been underway, bringing together all the regional transportation agencies as well as others with a stake in the project.

The NYMTC team studied a wide array of congestion-busting ideas for the corridor. Some, like two-way tolling on the Verrazano Bridge or congestion pricing, were dismissed because they required legislative approvals well outside the project’s scope. Transit expansions, like bringing the PATH train north from the World Trade Center or building light rail on Canal, were rejected as too costly. Some ideas were nixed because they lacked community support or because they conflicted with New York City’s Street Design Manual. Other ambitious proposals, like keeping traffic off side streets including Pell, Doyers, Mosco, and Mulberry, were referred to the appropriate agency for further study.

What’s left still has a lot to like.

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