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Posts from the Long Island City Category

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Eyes on the Street: Pulaski Bridge Bike Lane 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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11th Street Should Be a Great Bike Connection for Western Queens

Both designs proposed for the foot of the Pulaski Bridge route cyclists east down 49th Avenue. Image: DDC/DOT/Parsons

The proposals for the foot of the Pulaski Bridge don’t include an intuitive connection to 11th Street. Image: DDC/DOT/Parsons

With the Pulaski Bridge bikeway set to open this spring and Long Island City streets in line for a total rebuild, DOT has a rare opportunity to improve the western Queens bike network. One of the most important connections in the neighborhood is 11th Street, which forms the most convenient path between the Pulaski and the Queensboro Bridge/Queens Plaza. So far, though, DOT’s design options for 11th Street come up short.

11th Street is the most desirable route for cyclists hoping to get to the Queensboro Bridge. Image: Google Maps

11th Street is the most direct route between the Queensboro Bridge and the Pulaski Bridge. Image: Google Maps

Earlier this month, DOT and DDC presented potential street redesigns for Long Island City. None of the options for 11th Street included a protected bike lane, even though several blocks of the street are wide enough to add one easily. Nor do the proposals for the foot of the Pulaski Bridge include an intuitive bike connection to 11th.

Instead, the city’s design for the foot of the bridge only creates a good bike connection to 49th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard, which runs by the waterfront. A better connection to Vernon will be helpful, but a safe and convenient link to 11th Street is needed as well. The easiest path from the Pulaski to the Queensboro Bridge and the Queens Plaza bike path runs through 11th Street.

At around 70 feet wide, curb-to-curb, 11th Street has enough room for a protected bike lane. But DOT’s current proposals for 11th Street add pedestrian space via an extended east sidewalk or an expanded concrete median and don’t call for protected bike lanes.

A protected bike lane on this stretch would make walking and biking safer. On other streets with protected bike lanes, pedestrian injuries have fallen 22 percent, according to DOT.

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DOT: Pulaski Bridge Bikeway Will Open By End of April

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The steel fence will extend over the drawbridge section of the Pulaski, protecting the new bikeway. Photo: Jon Orcutt

Construction of the Pulaski Bridge bike path is slated to finish at the end of April, according to a DOT spokesperson. As DOT’s bridge division puts together the finishing touches, specifics of the new design are coming to light, including how the bike lane will negotiate the drawbridge section of the Pulaski.

On most of the bridge, the bike lane will be separated from motor vehicle traffic by concrete barriers. The concrete transitions to metal railings near the drawbridge section. Currently, there is no railing on the drawbridge itself, but DOT says that’s coming soon.

TransitCenter’s Jon Orcutt tweeted pictures of the new railings yesterday:

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Take a Look at What’s on the Table for Long Island City Streets

"Option 2" for the Pulaski Bridge gateway, right, would provide pedestrians and cyclists more space and safer crossings. Image: DDC/DOT/Parsons

“Option 2” for the Pulaski Bridge gateway, right, would expand pedestrian space and create a two-way bike connection to Vernon Boulevard on 49th Avenue. Image: DDC/DOT/Parsons

Every street in Long Island City is in line for a top-to-bottom reconstruction, and as part of the project DOT and the Department of Design and Construction are proposing several improvements for walking and biking. Here’s the presentation the agencies gave to Queens Community Board 2 earlier this month, showing the preliminary redesigns. The project covers several streets and intersections, and some of the options on the table go a lot farther than others to make walking and biking safer.

With the Queensboro Bridge to the north and the Midtown Tunnel and Pulaski Bridge to the south, Long Island City is plagued by car and truck traffic. The neighborhood’s population is growing rapidly, but its streets still suffer from wide car lanes, excessive speeding, and chaotic intersections that make for a poor walking and biking environment.

DOT and DDC are looking to address these shortcomings at several places. In many cases, the city showed different design options for each location, some clearly preferable to others. Overall, there’s a lot more to like if the city follows through on the more ambitious designs.

At the foot of the Pulaski Bridge, one option would create a much better connection to Vernon Boulevard by adding a two-way bike lane on 49th Avenue. It would also make a short block of 48th Street car-free to create a more continuous walking environment. But another option includes neither of those improvements.

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Total L.I.C. Street Rebuild to Include Safety Overhauls for Key Intersections

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer alongside the DDC and DOT Commissioners this morning. Photo: David Meyer

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer alongside DDC Commissioner Feniosky Pena-Mora (to the left) and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg (on the right) this morning. Photo: David Meyer

The streets of Long Island City are getting a total rebuild, and as part of the project four major intersections along Jackson Avenue and Vernon Boulevard will get redesigned for greater safety.

Many other intersections could get curb extensions or other traffic-calming treatments as part of the $38.47 million neighborhood-wide street reconstruction. Speaking this morning at the foot of the Pulaski Bridge, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer said DOT will prioritize four intersections: 21st Street and Jackson Avenue, 23rd Street and Jackson Avenue, Vernon Boulevard and Jackson Avenue, and Vernon Boulevard and 44th Drive.

Jackson and 11th Street, a complex multi-leg intersection that pedestrians and cyclists have to navigate to get to the Pulaski Bridge, will also be improved. Once the Pulaski Bridge bikeway opens this spring, there will be a lot more room for walking and biking, and the approach on the Queens side could use an upgrade.

Long Island City’s population is on track to soar as new development hits the market. But sandwiched by the Queensboro Bridge to the north and the Pulaski Bridge and Midtown Tunnel to the south, the neighborhood is often overrun by car and truck traffic, creating an unpleasant and unsafe environment for pedestrians.

In December, Van Bramer, DDC, and DOT hosted a public workshop where local residents and business owners overwhelmingly cited Vernon Boulevard and Jackson Avenue as streets in need of safety improvements. Jackson Avenue feeds into the Pulaski and is the site of several popular attractions, including MOMA P.S. 1, but has few safe crosswalks. In 2015 alone, 31 people were injured on Jackson Avenue within the project boundaries.

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Eyes on the Street: Just Another Brush With Death at a Typical NYC Crossing


The design of 29th Street and 39th Avenue in Long Island City is typical of thousands of New York City crossings: an intersection of relatively narrow streets where drivers are allowed to park to the edge of crosswalks with no design elements to force motorists to slow down.

The combination of poor visibility and lack of traffic-calming features leads to crashes like the one in the video, taken Thursday, when an Access-A-Ride driver sped into a crosswalk while turning left and struck a child with a van’s door-mounted mirror. Luckily it appears the child wasn’t seriously hurt.

Jean Cawley, who sent us the video, has written to DOT officials, including Queens DOT Commissioner Nicole Garcia, several times to ask for traffic-calming measures at this intersection and other locations in the area. Cawley also submitted a petition to DOT from residents of Dutch Kills.

Consistent NYPD enforcement wouldn’t hurt either. The 114th Precinct, where the crash in the video occurred, issues an average of just 23 tickets a month to drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians.

Below are images from a two-vehicle collision at the same intersection that sent a cab onto the sidewalk.

“Cars barrel through our streets in a dangerous manner all day, every day,” wrote Cawley in an email to Garcia, with the video and photos attached. “I hope you will help. DOT’s actions may save a life.”

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Long Island City’s Streets Need to Catch Up With a Growing Neighborhood

Jackson Avenue cuts diagonally into 11th Street right where it intersects with the Pulaski Bridge approach, a nightmare for all users. Image: Google Maps

Jackson Avenue cuts diagonally into 11th Street right where it intersects with the Pulaski Bridge approach, creating a hostile environment for walking and biking. Image: Google Maps

Long Island City is booming with new residences, and more are on the way with the massive Hunters Point South development. As the area becomes home to more people, its streets need to catch up.

On Wednesday night, Council Member Van Bramer and DOT hosted a public workshop to discuss how $8 million in capital funds can be put to use redesigning the neighborhood’s streets. About 25 Long Island City residents and businesspeople attended.

With the Queensboro Bridge, the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, and the Pulaski Bridge on its borders, Long Island City is overrun with more traffic than most neighborhoods. Many industrial business remain, leading to heavy truck traffic, particularly on Jackson Avenue and Vernon Boulevard. And with scant on-street parking regulations, Manhattanites have used Long Island City as a free parking lot for decades. Residents at the meeting said drivers routinely travel far above the speed limit on the neighborhood’s streets.

DOT has been studying the area since January and plans to develop a preliminary plan for the neighborhood to be presented early next year. At the workshop, attendees split into three groups and worked with DOT reps to discuss streets and intersections most in need of improvement. “We’re looking for opportunities to have the different modes have a better way to get around the neighborhood,” DOT Queens Borough Planner Samantha Dolgoff said.

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Eyes on the Street: Pulaski Bridge Bikeway Rounding Into Form

tantalizing_pulaski

The concrete barrier to protect the bikeway now covers the whole span. Photo: David Meyer

DOT crews are taking advantage of the frighteningly warmer-than-usual late fall weather to make serious progress on the Pulaski Bridge bikeway.

When the bikeway is complete, pedestrians and cyclists will have a lot more room and won’t have to share the crowded path on the west side of the bridge. The concrete barrier separating the bike lane from motor vehicle traffic consists of both pre-cast and cast-in-place segments. As of yesterday, the barrier appeared to cover the whole span, but work on it was clearly still going on. Closing the slip lane on the Queens side of the bridge is also a work in progress.

The Pulaski project was originally slated to wrap up last December before getting delayed by red tape. For a moment it looked like construction wouldn’t start until 2016, but crews were able to begin in September. So will the bikeway be complete before the winter freeze pauses construction? DOT isn’t counting on it, with the agency slating the opening for the spring.

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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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Eyes on the Street: Signs That the Pulaski Bikeway Will Really Happen

pulaski_cones

A reader sends in this shot of the southbound side of the Pulaski Bridge, taken yesterday morning. That was the day NYC DOT said construction would start on the two-way protected bike lane over the bridge, which has been beset by delays until recently.

Not that long ago it looked like construction of the bikeway, originally slated for 2014, might not begin until next March. But in the last few weeks the timetable has accelerated, and now DOT says it will be complete by the spring.

Those orange construction cones may not look like much, but they’re a sign that people won’t have to fight over scraps of space on the Pulaski’s narrow, shared biking and walking path much longer.