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Posts from the Eyes on the Street Category

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Eyes on the Street: Parking Placard Unicorn Spotted on Smith Street

Photos: Justin Pollock

Photos: Justin Pollock

Speaking at a Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce event this week, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill fielded questions about placard abuse on Atlantic Avenue, which has been a drag on Downtown Brooklyn businesses for years.

O’Neill promised to do something about it. From the Brooklyn Eagle:

Businesses on Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill have complained that they are losing customers because so many city workers are using phony permits and other city ID to park for free all day, according to the Atlantic Avenue BID, the organization that represents more 300 businesses along the avenue.

“I’ll have a conversation with [Deputy Inspector] Sergio Centa of the 84th Precinct and rectify that,” O’Neill promised. “My own precinct up in the 44, we had a similar problem …. We cleaned up the situation. I’ll talk to Serge,” he said.

It looks like O’Neill and Serge had that talk.

Reader Justin Pollock snapped these pics this morning on Smith Street, which crosses Atlantic at the Brooklyn House of Detention. Some of the cited vehicles had Department of Correction placards, while others had clothing bearing the DOC shield placed on dashboards. “I counted 15 tickets just on the east side of the street,” Pollock told us in an email.

We’ll see if the 84th Precinct will keep up enforcement, or if O’Neill will take other steps to finally address the illegal parking scourge. But it’s another sign that NYPD can curb placard abuse when it wants to.

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Eyes on the Street: Beginnings of the Chrystie Street Protected Bike Lane

It's not quite finished, by people are already making use of Chrystie Street's new protected bike lane. Photo: David Meyer

It’s not quite finished, but you can ride in the new, safer Chrystie Street bike lane. Photos: David Meyer

DOT has finished work on concrete pedestrian islands along Chrystie Street and has moved on to striping and painting the new two-way protected bike lane between the Manhattan Bridge and Houston Street. The project looks mostly complete, though there are some sections without green paint and not all the markings are down yet.

The Chrystie Street parking-protected bike lane replaces painted bike lanes that were constantly obstructed by illegally parked vehicles. The project also includes concrete pedestrian refuges at East 2nd Street, Rivington Street, and Stanton Street [PDF].

Markings delineating the buffer between the bike lane and the parking lane or moving traffic now extend for the entire length of the project, except for a short stretch just south of Houston Street, which is currently separated by jersey barriers. Jersey barriers slated for the southern end of the project, by the Manhattan Bridge, are not in yet. Also incomplete are changes to the Second Avenue bike lane between 2nd Street and Houston Street, which is supposed to be realigned along the eastern curb to better line up with the new position of the Chrystie Street bike lane.

DOT crews were out at work last week, but thermoplast can’t adhere properly when temperatures drop below 50 degrees, so we’ll need to hit a warm spell for work to completely wrap up.

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Eyes on the Street: Making Room for the Chrystie Street Protected Bike Lane

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DOT moved this concrete pedestrian island a few feet over to make room for a two-way protected bike lane along the east side of Chrystie Street. Photo: David Meyer

Before DOT can stripe a two-way protected bike lane on Chrystie Street, it has to relocate three pedestrian islands to make room for the bikeway. Work on those islands — at Canal, Broome, and Delancey streets — appears to be mostly complete.

The protected bike lane along the eastern curb of Chrystie will replace today’s un-protected painted lanes, which leave cyclists to mix it up with heavy traffic, including lots of trucks and buses [PDF]. It should significantly improve conditions on Chrystie, which thousands of people use to bike to and from the Manhattan Bridge each day.

The existing pedestrian islands along the route have to be shifted over about five feet to accommodate the two-way bikeway.

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Eyes on the Street: The New East Houston Street

The new "Green Street" plaza west of Avenue A. Photo: David Meyer

The new pedestrian space west of Avenue A is bigger than the old sidewalk (below), but places a fenced off planted area between pedestrians and ground floor retail like Punjabi Deli. Photo: David Meyer

Before construction, the area was part of 1st Street. Pictured here in July 2012. Photo: Google Maps

Before construction, the area was part of East 1st Street. Pictured here in July 2012. Photo: Google Maps

The long-delayed reconstruction of East Houston Street between the Bowery and the FDR Drive is starting to round into form. Though the Department of Design and Construction won’t wrap up the project until next year at the earliest, new medians and pedestrian areas between Avenue A and Chrystie Street are finally complete, and the transition to the First Avenue bike lane is no longer obstructed by construction.

Planning for the project began all the way back in the early 2000s, and it shows. While the East Houston reconstruction includes bigger pedestrian zones and buffered bike lanes — a net improvement — it also dates to an earlier era of city street design, before protected bike lanes and plazas were common elements in DOT’s toolkit.

When construction began in 2010, it was set to finish by 2013. Six years later, the end is only now in sight.

East of Chrystie Street, wider medians that will be planted with trees have been completed along the corridor. At Avenue A, a wider sidewalk and seating area was also recently finished by Punjabi Deli. For some reason, the city placed a fenced-off planted area between the ground floor stores and the seating area, an awkward barrier.

One block to the west, cyclists can bike from Allen Street directly to the First Avenue bike lane again, without having to mix it up with traffic, now that the bike lane is no longer a construction staging area.

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Eyes on the Street: New Bike Lanes Around Union Square

DOT crews installing a new protected bike lane on 4th Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets earlier this week. Photo: NYC DOT

DOT crews installing a new protected bike lane on Fourth Avenue between 12th and 13th streets earlier this week. Photo: NYC DOT

DOT began installing new bike lanes leading to and around Union Square this week.

The project — which will eventually include a two-way protected lane around the park’s eastern and northern edges — is not nearly complete, but fresh paint along Fourth Avenue between 12th and 15th heralds bigger changes on the way.

In addition to the new protected lanes, the project adds painted lanes on 15th Street between First Avenue and Union Square East, on 16th Street between Stuyvesant Square and Union Square East, and on 17th Street between Union Square West and Sixth Avenue.

Riding on Fourth Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets. Photo: David Meyer

Fourth Avenue between 14th and 15th streets. Photo: David Meyer

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Eyes on the Street: Drivers Can Now Park All Over the E 38th Street Bike Lane

Mere weeks after installing a parking-protected bike lane on East 38th Street in Marine Park, DOT removed the protection, caving to complaints about the narrower roadway even though the motor vehicle lane was still a roomy 12 feet wide.

Streetsblog reader Jeffrey Diamond shot this video of how the bike lane, which is part of a project designed to improve bike access to the Jamaica Bay Greenway, is working now that it’s not protected. (Diamond also has video of the entire Marine Park bike lane project.)

As you can see, 38th Street has resumed its function as a drop-off zone free-for-all by the park, rife with sloppy, illegal parking and standing. Odds are, losing the ability to easily double-park was what stoked the complaints to DOT in the first place. Diamond warns that once recreational sports start back up in the fall, the bike lane obstructions will only get worse.

The irony is that more people could safely access Marine Park by bicycle instead of driving — if they had good bicycle infrastructure connecting them to it. Instead, the neighborhood keeps its double-parking zone.

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Eyes on the Street: NYC’s Newest Bus Zones on 23rd Street, Jay Street

New dedicated bus lanes on 23rd Street, where Select Bus Service is set to launch in the fall. Photo: Stephen Miller

The new bus lane on 23rd Street, where Select Bus Service is set to launch in the fall. Photo: Stephen Miller

DOT crews recently put down new terra cotta paint for buses on 23rd Street in Manhattan and Jay Street in Brooklyn.

In the fall, Select Bus Service will bring faster bus service to the M23’s 15,000 daily riders with dedicated lanes, off-board payment, and consolidated bus stops. The bus lanes are set to run eastbound from Ninth Avenue to Second Avenue and westbound from mid-block between First and Second Avenue to Eighth Avenue.

The red lanes are here already — Streetsblog alum Stephen Miller snapped this photo of 23rd Street looking west from Seventh Avenue.

And in Downtown Brooklyn, there’s fresh red paint on Jay Street at the long bus stop alongside the Myrtle Avenue plaza:

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Eyes on the Street: Pedestrian Islands Arrive on Amsterdam Ave

Pedestrian islands, like this one at 73rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue, shorten crossing distances while providing additional protection for cyclists. Image: Robert Baron

The new addition to Amsterdam Avenue at 73rd Street.

DOT has finished striping the protected bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue between 72nd Street and 110th Street, and now it’s moving on to the concrete. A reader sent in this photo of a brand new pedestrian island, more of which will be going in on the north side of intersections along the corridor.

The nine-foot-wide raised concrete islands shorten crossing distances and tighten the turns drivers make from side streets onto Amsterdam.

A rendering of a typical pedestrian refuge island on Amsterdam Avenue. Image: DOT

The typical design of a pedestrian island on Amsterdam Avenue. Image: DOT

Earlier this week, DOT said most pedestrian islands on Amsterdam will be installed this year. Between 107th Street and 110th Street a separate capital project will likely delay construction of ped islands until 2017.

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Eyes on the Street: The Emergent Sixth Avenue Bikeway

Work has started on the Sixth Avenue bikeway. The pic in the above tweet is at Sixth and 18th Street. The photo below, sent to us by a reader, was taken at 16th Street.

Sixth Avenue is one of the most biked streets in the city but until now cyclists have had to make do with a narrow painted bike lane next to heavy motor vehicle traffic. DOT revealed its plan for phase one of the Sixth Avenue bikeway in late 2015, after years of advocacy led by Transportation Alternatives.

In January DOT announced that phase one would extend between Eighth Street and 33rd Street, six blocks longer than the original plan to begin the redesign at 14th Street. The revised plan also included some concrete pedestrian islands, which were not a feature of the original proposal.

DOT has said it may extend the lane south to Canal Street next year, with a northward expansion to follow at an undetermined date.

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Eyes on the Street: Bigger Sidewalk, Shorter Crossing at Riverside and 116th

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A tipster sent this photo of the sidewalk expansion underway at the corner of Riverside Drive and W. 116th Street in Manhattan. (It’s one of the elements in a DOT safety plan for Riverside that survived after the agency watered down the project at the behest of Community Board 9.)

Once the concrete is poured, the distance to walk across Riverside will be shorter and drivers will have to make slower turns onto 116th around the squared-up corner.

Image: DOT

Image: DOT