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Posts from the "Eyes on the Street" Category

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Eyes on the Street: DOT Replaces PPW Bike Lane With Parking

This is one of New York City's most famous protected bike lanes. Photo: @NoBikeLane/Twitter

This is one of New York City’s most famous protected bike lanes on a busy August day. Photo: @NoBikeLane/Twitter

During the warm summer months, lots of New Yorkers decide to hop on their bicycles and head for the nearest bike lane. That’s also when the city does much of its street repaving, and new asphalt is coming to Prospect Park West. But instead of maintaining the heavily used bike path with temporary materials, our bike-friendly DOT has decided that one of the city’s marquee bikeways will be erased for more than a week during one of the busiest cycling months of the year.

It’s a temporary victory for Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes.

Bike riders started reporting the closure yesterday. There was no advance notice of a detour. DOT says milling was completed today. Repaving, which the agency expects to be complete within seven business days, will begin Monday. The department’s paving schedule for next week indicates that crews will be working between Union Street and 20th Street in two sections, first north of 14th Street before moving south [PDF].

Some small white signs printed on white letter paper have been taped to nearby posts. ”Bike Lane Temporarily Closed,” they say. With the bike lane erased, drivers have begun parking at the curb, pushing cyclists into mixed traffic with car drivers. This is especially dangerous for northbound cyclists, who are now traveling head-on into traffic before ducking behind the street’s concrete pedestrian islands for protection.

As an alternative during construction, northbound cyclists can use Eighth Avenue. Riders looking for a route with less car traffic must detour to the more circuitous Prospect Park loop, which offers a series of inclines through the east side of the park.

This situation could have easily been prevented by installing cones or barrels after the street is milled but before new striping is installed. DOT did not answer questions about whether it considered maintaining the bikeway during this period with temporary cones.

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Eyes on the Street: A New Sidewalk and a Safer Crossing in Woodside

Before and after: 37th Avenue at 69th Street, looking east. Photos: Angus Grieve-Smith

Before and after: 37th Ave. at 69th St. in Woodside, looking east toward Jackson Heights. Photos: Angus Grieve-Smith

A simple fix from DOT has made it easier and safer for pedestrians to walk between Woodside and Jackson Heights.

Angus Grieve-Smith posted the above photo on Facebook of 37th Avenue at 69th Street, near Broadway and the BQE, where DOT has added new sidewalk space on the south side of the avenue [PDF].

In the past, pedestrians had to cross to the north side of 37th Avenue in order to make their way between 69th Street and Broadway. To avoid those extra crossings, dozens of people walked in the 37th Avenue roadbed every day.

By removing a pedestrian fence and adding concrete, paint, and barriers, and installing a crosswalk across a BQE service road, DOT created a direct route for pedestrians, shortening the walking distance by 100 feet. More important, people no longer have to negotiate the four crosswalks between the south and north sides of 37th Avenue.

Image: DOT

Image: DOT

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Eyes on the Street: Slower Speed Limits Coming to Broadway, Southern Blvd

nypd_speed_notice

A Streetsblog reader sent in this NYPD flyer posted in the lobby of his apartment building on the Upper West Side, and another reports getting the same notice via email yesterday.

The citywide 25 mph speed limit enacted by Albany this session is expected to go into effect in October. In the meantime, the de Blasio administration is moving ahead with its “Arterial Slow Zone” program, which combines 25 mph limits, safer traffic signal timing, and increased speed enforcement.

Broadway above Midtown and just about all of Southern Boulevard are next in line for the Slow Zone treatment, and it’s good to see NYPD marking the occasion with this straightforward street safety message.

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Here They Are: Meet Some of NYC’s Worst Sidewalk Hogs

Manetta’s Restaurant in Long Island City. Care for a nice pinot noir and some tailpipe exhaust with your entrée? Photo: ##https://twitter.com/alter_spaces/status/487685561558519808/photo/1##@alter_spaces##

Manetta’s Restaurant in Long Island City. Care for a nice pinot noir and some tailpipe exhaust with your entrée? Photo: @alter_spaces

We asked for photos of NYC’s worst sidewalk-hogging businesses, and readers responded.

We relaxed our guidelines a little to make room for government agencies. In the arena of public institutions that show no respect for people on foot, the United States Postal Service and employees of Metro-North in Harlem deserve special recognition.

More from LIC, where pedestrian safety is clearly not a priority for USPS, which seems to be using the sidewalk on 28th Street in Dutch Kills as a loading dock. Photo: ##https://twitter.com/DutchLic/status/486331011131654144/photo/1##@DutchLic##

Pedestrian safety is clearly not a priority for USPS, which seems to be using the sidewalk on 28th Street in Dutch Kills as a loading dock. Photo: @DutchLic

Not surprisingly, car-related businesses were a major force. To the car rental firms on the Upper West Side and car dealers in the Bronx, we salute your complete indifference to people who expect to use sidewalks for walking.

And a special shout-out goes to Manetta’s Restaurant in Long Island City, where the linguine nere comes with a side of valet combat parking.

You’ll notice that several of our winners have violated the law for years in full view of NYPD, which itself may be the city’s most notorious usurper of public space for vehicle storage.

Thanks to all who participated in our search. Everyone whose photo appeared on the blog will get a Streetfilms DVD.

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Eyes on the Street: Keeping Trash Off the Sidewalks in Buenos Aires

Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

Trash on the street in Buenos Aires …

Clarence Eckerson has been following our #sidewalkhogs competition while in South America. He sends this photo from Buenos Aires.

“Not only have I seen very few cars parked on sidewalks,” writes Clarence, “there are hundreds of spaces in the city where trash pick up is located in the street in what were once parking spaces.”

This is a logical alternative to the piles of garbage that obstruct and stink up city sidewalks, attracting vermin and even endangering pedestrians. How nice it would be if NYC, where so many people can barely conceive of using street space for anything other than automobile storage, could get behind it.

Maybe Clarence can find out if these bins require community board approval.

… and NYC. Photos: Clarence Eckerson Jr. and ##https://www.flickr.com/photos/ascentstage/8811078813##John Tolva/Flickr##

… and NYC. Photos: Clarence Eckerson Jr. and John Tolva/Flickr

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Eyes on the Street: New Bike Channel on Inwood Hill Park Rail Bridge

Reader Kimberly Kinchen tweeted this photo of a new bike channel on the stairs of the bridge over train tracks that separate Dyckman Fields, on the Hudson River, from the rest of Inwood Hill Park, to the east.

“It’s only on the second flight so far,” wrote Kinchen. “I assume they’ll install them on the first flight, too — still an improvement for sure.”

We’ve asked the Parks Department if this retrofit will be applied to other stairways, or if there was a request for bike channels on this particular bridge. We’ll update here if we hear back. In the meantime, let us know in the comments if you’ve seen other stairways with newly-installed ramps.

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Who Are NYC’s Worst Sidewalk Hogs? Keep Those Tweets Coming

Car rental outlets on W. 83rd Street in Manhattan don’t own the sidewalk. They just hog it like they do. Photo: ##https://twitter.com/kencoughlin/status/485457059551260672/photo/1##@kencoughlin##

Car rental outlets on W. 83rd Street in Manhattan don’t own the sidewalk. They just hog it like they do. Photo: @kencoughlin

There’s still time to submit your photos of sidewalk-hogging businesses.

Inspired by Clarence Eckerson’s pics of a car dealership that swallowed a new sidewalk extension in Sunnyside, we’re looking for other examples across the city. Readers who tweet the most shameless #sidewalkhogs shots will be rewarded with Streetfilms DVDs. Be sure to include location info in your tweets.

Here’s some of what we’re seeing so far.

Manetta’s Restaurant in Long Island City takes over the sidewalk and the access ramp for valet parking. Classy. Photo: ##https://twitter.com/alter_spaces/status/449690329835249664/photo/1##@alter_spaces##

Manetta’s Restaurant in Long Island City takes over the sidewalk and the access ramp for valet parking. Classy. Photo: @alter_spaces

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Eyes on the Street: Tweet Us Your Pics of Sidewalk-Hogging Businesses

Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

Clarence shot the above photo of a common sight in NYC: car-oriented businesses that illegally commandeer sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk around parked cars or pushing people into the street. He writes:

I just snapped these photos of a brand new curb extension in Sunnyside, on 37th Street and Queens Boulevard, and a car dealership is already using it for car storage, blocking the sidewalk and ramp for disabled access. In Sunnyside DOT has been doing quite a few curb extensions to make a better pedestrian environment, so it’s really appalling that car dealership is using this.

The business in this case is LT Motors, which loves the new sidewalk space so much the dealership is advertising it.

Is this Chevy Suburban priced to move off the sidewalk?

Is this Chevy Suburban priced to move off the sidewalk?

This is a pervasive problem, and one the city should address.

Earlier this week Doug Gordon of Brooklyn Spoke called for tweets of sidewalk parking photos, and we’re going to piggyback on that meme. Post your pics of sidewalk-hogging businesses on Twitter with the hashtag #sidewalkhogs, and we’ll highlight the most egregious examples next week. Winners will receive a Streetfilms DVD. Be sure to include as much location info as possible in your tweets.

As for LT Motors, a spokesperson for local City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer writes: “We have reached out to the NYPD on this. They will be stepping up enforcement to address the pedestrian safety hazards.”

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Eyes on the Street: More Pedestrian Space at Deadly UES Intersection

The crowded intersection of 60th Street and Third Avenue now has a bit more space for pedestrians. Photo: Stephen Miller

The intersection of 60th Street and Third Avenue now has a bit more space for pedestrians. Photo: Stephen Miller

Last September, 16-year-old Renee Thompson was struck and killed by a turning truck driver at the intersection of Third Avenue and 60th Street. Now, the crowded intersection has painted curb extensions on two of the intersection’s four corners that shorten crossing distances and tighten turns.

A DOT proposal in January to Community Board 8 had them on the west side of the intersection, but the curb extensions were striped on the northwest and southeast corners of the intersection last week. Pedestrians could use the extra space: Sidewalks in the area are narrowed by subway entrances, tree pits, and enclosed sidewalk cafes.

Two blocks to the east, the neighborhood received another improvement with the final touches on the two-way bike path on First Avenue beneath the Queensboro Bridge. The concrete barrier separating cyclists from pedestrians was painted last month in a pattern mirroring the tiling on the bridge’s archways above.

The two-way bike path on FIrst Avenue between 59th and 60th Streets now has a concrete barrier to match its tiled ceiling. Photo: Stephen Miller

The two-way bike path on FIrst Avenue between 59th and 60th Streets now has a concrete barrier to match its tiled, arched ceiling. Photo: Stephen Miller

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Will Curb Extensions and Signs Do the Job at Broadway and Dyckman?

DOT extended a pedestrian island that separates north- and southbound lanes on Riverside Drive at Broadway and Dyckman Street, adding space for pedestrians and forcing drivers to slow their turns. Photos: Brad Aaron

DOT extended a pedestrian island that separates north- and southbound lanes on Riverside Drive at Broadway and Dyckman Street, adding space for pedestrians and forcing drivers to slow their turns. Photos: Brad Aaron

It won’t be long before pedestrians will have shorter crossing distances at Broadway, Dyckman Street, and Riverside Drive in Inwood.

Last we last checked, work was just getting underway on curb extensions, following the installation of signs prohibiting left turns for motorists approaching the intersection from all directions. As of this afternoon, the southeast curb extension was complete, and the concrete was drying on the northeast corner. An extension of a narrow pedestrian island that separates north- and southbound lanes on Riverside was also done. Work is still in progress on a second, larger Riverside pedestrian island, where northbound auto traffic forks for right turns, which will be expanded on two of its three sides.

As for left turns, during a five to 10 minute period I saw one motorist make a now-banned turn from southbound Broadway onto eastbound Dyckman. Upper Manhattan resident Kimberly Kinchen tweeted last week that she observed several drivers ignoring the new signs in the span of a few minutes. If this project is to meet DOT’s goal of improving safety by reducing motorist-pedestrian conflicts, it may take more than signage to get drivers to follow the rules. And though the intersection already seems to function more efficiently, motorists continue to speed through it despite the constant presence of pedestrians, many of them seniors and children.

New concrete at the southeast corner, looking north on Broadway.

Fresh concrete at the southeast corner, looking north on Broadway.

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