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  1.  

    Joe Enoch

    Couldn’t agree more. I think a good solution would be to put signs in the middle of the crosswalks informing bicyclists (in a car-free par of course!) to yield to pedestrians.

  2.  

    Joe Enoch

    I shed no tears for Staten Island. There’s no reasonable way to get there (or escape) by bike, most of the people who live there seem content with the conditions and vote for representatives who shout at bicyclists from their cars.

  3.  

    Jonathan R

    Joe R is right. I rode from Upper Manhattan to Bayside this morning and it took 90 minutes to travel 18 miles, or 12 mph. That’s before 7 am, so with minimal traffic. If I could get that up to 15 mph, I would be saving 18 minutes, which is a substantial time savings.

    Mike’s trip to Columbia from Park Slope (assume Grand Army Plaza origin and West 116th St destination) should take 75 minutes to go 12.6 miles according to Ride the City, and by IRT 34 minutes. It’s great he has an extra 40-60 minutes a day to kill getting around.

  4.  

    Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    If you wanna read the Wednesday Joke of the Day, just read the Staten Island Advance article. I think it embodies the hypocritical nature of any means of advance in transportation and transportation safety for S.I.

    First, they want better bus service, but gripe over the blue lights (because it was used illegally, and now blue lights for no one citywide) and bus lane cameras (because they actually catch trespassers).

    Then, the Staten Island Advance actually has an article that admits many of its borough’s drivers are speeding. Now, because the school moved, they want the camera removed because it’s illegal yet they want cameras nonetheless. Who the hell cares if the school is there or not? That law was the only way to get them in the first place, after NYC officials tried every which way to get Albany to install the cameras at all. And behold, residents are complaining because it actually works. The article even starts by saying it caught someone going 12 over the limit on Hylan Blvd (If the limit is 30, then the driver was going 52). My point is no one should be complaining about a speed camera if you obey the speed limit! Regardless if it’s a revenue generator, that’s the devices intent: to catch speeders.

    I can’t wait to see what will happen when they finally get their North Shore line they’ve been dying for. That is a YIMBY / NIMBY backlash waiting to happen. Consider it a blessing the MTA at least factored into their Capital Plan new subway cars for the SIR, and a brand new station.

    Or bike lanes for that matter. Look at the DOT’s map, it’s more wishful thinking than actually implementation. Maybe they are afraid to implement it because it will take a travel lane, cause congestion, and decrease the air quality, which is all total balls.

    Meanwhile, elsewhere in the NYC…

    Rant complete.

  5.  

    Anxiously Awaiting Bikeshare

    The cat lived, thankfully!

  6.  

    Joe Enoch

    This is what we used our speed gun for…

    http://www.insideedition.com/videos/2579-speeding-traffic-court-judges

    Classic tabloid TV news.

  7.  

    Joe R.

    It may just not be long enough or straight enough to be worth racing on, or at least it doesn’t appear to be looking at it on a map. Evidently there are places better suited to racing nearby. That’s not really the case with Central Park where better places to ride are many miles away.

  8.  

    Reader

    No, you almost never have people racing in Vondelpark. Anyone in racing gear is likely cutting through the park to go somewhere else, outside of the city.

  9.  

    Joe R.

    Why wouldn’t bike superhighways be practical in NYC? If we want to increase bike mode share in a place like NYC past the low single digits, we need safe AND fast bike routes. You can’t compare bike travel times to the subway. That’s highly variable and route dependent. For example, the subway portion on the route I take into Manhattan is 18 minutes to go about 7 miles. Other people with less favorable routes might need twice that time or more to go the same distance. Rather, you need to compare present bike travel times to whatever a rider’s cruising speed is. When you do that, you’ll find travel times by bike in this city are abysmal, often more than twice as long as what they could be. That’s really what Dutch cycling infrastructure is all about-getting average trip speeds by bike reasonably close to whatever speed a person rides at-whether that’s 8 mph or 25 mph.

    I think the issue here is as far as I know nobody has attempted to greatly increase bike mode share in a very large city like New York, so we’re in largely uncharted territory. If you start to think of NYC more as a bunch of towns separated by some distance than as a large Amsterdam you’ll see why our present approach hasn’t been all that successful. London may well have the right idea with its SkyCycle concept. I would love to see that built, at least on a smaller scale, to see how well it works.

    The crux of this article is in the last sentence-namely “Forcing pedestrians and cyclists to obey rules made for cars is an exercise in futility.” Whether in parks or on surface streets that sentence is equally true. NYC’s surface streets are largely too congested to shoehorn in bikes unless you want to accept the premise that bike travel will be grossly suboptimal due to the necessary compromises. Separated lanes aren’t separate at the one place which matters most for safety and rapid travel times-namely intersections. Bike traffic lights are cute and all, but they’re not going to get cyclists to stop every two blocks any more than regular traffic lights have. I don’t consider a cyclist who wants to get where he/she is going in a reasonable amount of time to be a selfish prick, any more than I don’t consider a subway rider who expects the trains run as fast as safely possible to be a selfish prick.

    I don’t know how long your 12 mile commute takes, versus how long it might take if you have a nearly unimpeded journey, but consider the implications of expecting people to use bikes when doing so is dramatically slower than it needs to be. On a hypothetical trip to Manhattan under present street conditions it would probably take me an hour or more to cover the ~10 miles. That basically would add 25+ minutes each way to what the trip could take me with decent bike infrastructure. It’s even at least 15 minutes slower each way than the subway/local bus combo I would use for such a trip, even though it could potentially be at least 10 minutes faster with the right infrastructure. That’s a lot of extra time to be spending traveling if you work 6 or 7 days a week like many people do. 25 minutes more each way is a full 4 hours plus extra spent traveling during a 5-day work week. Or put another way, if you assume 8 hours working, 8 hours sleeping, it robs you of about 5% of your free time. Moreover, it’s a very unpleasant 25 minutes each way as it’s spent creeping along in traffic, or stopped at red lights breathing in vile auto exhaust. In NYC especially, where time is more precious than in most places, you can’t realistically expect people to bike if doing so ends up being much slower than it needs to be. Maybe you don’t need to do your commute faster, but many others won’t even consider such a commute by bike unless it was faster.

    This is really where Streetsblog loses a lot of potential support for its causes-the assumption that everyone can all peacefully coexist at street level if only everyone accepts that getting around the city will be abysmally slow for everyone. That’s Stockholm syndrome if you ask me. Sure, getting around by car in a city probably shouldn’t be fast or easy or convenient given the negative externalities. That doesn’t mean all other modes need to be just as slow, or worse. Even in the heart of Amsterdam, bikes have a faster, more direct route than anything else. There may be bike traffic signals, but on average there is a lot less stopping than in NYC. We copied the protected bike lanes well enough here, but seemingly discarded everything else the Dutch do which makes cycling so popular there. After all, the solution according to NYC isn’t providing cyclists with fast, safe routes where they hardly need to stop, but rather with blitzing them with tickets because they predictably won’t stop for red lights every 2 or 3 f-ing blocks. Even Dutch cyclists wouldn’t be all that law-abiding in that situation. I was dumbfounded when I read about Central Park having something like 46 traffic signals in the 6.1 mile loop ( http://chasingwheels.blogspot.com/2011/02/46-lights-of-central-park.html ). Seriously, can anyone not see something seriously wrong with that picture? That’s NYC’s standard answer to safety-signalize the hell out of something.

    I’ve certainly never seen a group of spandex jackasses zooming around anywhere in Amsterdam. I’ve seen them slowly making their way to the outskirts of town, and I’ve seen them between cities. But, never in the city.

    Maybe that’s because they only need to go a handful of kilometers before they reach bike superhighways where they can speed to their heart’s content. You probably wouldn’t have spandexers zooming around Central Park or NYC surface streets either if they could reach some place more suitable for fast riding within a few minutes. As things stand now, you need to ride well past city limits for better riding conditions. Note I said better because they’re still not all that great. In most cases you’re just trading fewer traffic signals/pedestrians for more speeding cars. Other than some short segments of a few greenways, there’s probably no really decent bike riding within about 100 miles of NYC.

  10.  

    meghan

    drive sober or get pulled over! watch video below

  11.  

    meghan

  12.  

    Andres Dee

    Turn your speed gun on Atlantic & Flatbush in Brooklyn, a so-called “slow zone”. And while you’re there, count the flagrant light runners and turn violators, which you can detect with your naked eye.

    Oh, wait, they’re not bicyclers.

  13.  

    WalkingNPR

    Lounging in sunny spots on the floor, sleeping all day, people actually prosecuting your death….cats get all the perks.

  14.  

    Mike

    I’ve never seen people race in Vondelpark, though I suppose it may happen. I’ve certainly never seen a group of spandex jackasses zooming around anywhere in Amsterdam. I’ve seen them slowly making their way to the outskirts of town, and I’ve seen them between cities. But, never in the city.

    To your larger point about greater distances — I commute (often by bike) from Park Slope to Morningside Heights. The trip via safe bike routes is about 12 miles. I don’t ride fast, and I tend to stop for lights and avoid going very fast along the mixed use areas along the Hudson. It takes maybe five more minutes than the same trip via subway. It’s also very pleasant.

    I don’t think we need to be able to go faster — we need to be able to ride more safely. Separated lanes. Driver awareness. Traffic signals just for bikes. Cyclists who don’t ride like selfish pricks. These are the things we need to increase mode share, or at least these are the things Amsterdam has (a city where there are 20 bikes per car due to their policies and infrastructure).

    The wonderful bike superhighways in the Netherlands aren’t practical in the cities, especially in the city centers. To expect to install them in a much more dense city like NYC is unrealistic.

  15.  

    Mia Moffett

    Steve Miller hits the nail on the head once again!

  16.  

    Joe R.

    The Mango is actually middle of the road in terms of velomobiles. The Milan SL holds the speed crown for production velomobiles right now:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPgDdAx9K7E

    As for human-powered speed records, now we’re at 83.13 mph ( http://www.bikeradar.com/us/road/news/article/world-human-powered-vehicle-speed-record-upped-to-83-13mph-38440/. ) I personally feel the century mark is within reach but it will take a better understanding of achieving laminar flow to reach it.

  17.  

    Joe R.

    The fact that he was able to mostly use a vehicle like that to its full potential is a testament to the design of Dutch cycling infrastructure.

  18.  

    Joe R.

    Their cities are also small enough that one doesn’t need to ride all that fast to make useful trips in a reasonable amount of time. NYC and other cities of similar size will require some means for cyclists to cover long distances relatively quickly if we ever want to increase mode share past a few percent. Central Park itself is probably bigger than a lot of Dutch cities just to give some idea of the differences in scale. Remember their largest city has 1/10th the population of NYC, with most of that concentrated in an area maybe 3 miles in diameter. The Amsterdam model doesn’t scale up all that well to a city ~20 miles in diameter.

    Also note that riding responsibly doesn’t necessarily mean going slow. It just means riding at a speed appropriate for the conditions. I’m sure you have people racing in Vondelpark but they don’t do it when the park is crowded.

  19.  

    Bobberooni

    Raised crossings are only dangerous for bikes that don’t slow down. Sounds like a good idea to me. And yes, I bike most places.

  20.  

    Mike

    On Friday night, I’m flying on the red eye to spend a week and a half in Amsterdam. While the Dutch do go fast along the wonderful uncrowded paths in the countryside (I have several day trips planned along them), you won’t see anybody going dangerously fast in Vondelpark (the one in the picture, which is the scaled down Central Park of their scaled down city). You can get out of the city quickly (especially if you cross the Ij and head north) to some excellent empty cycle lanes, but people in Amsterdam itself tend to ride very responsibly within the city (lining up at lights, riding at safe speeds, and so on). The reason nobody dies in the traffic lightless Vondelpark is that they all ride responsibly.

  21.  

    Jorge O

    They’re smart, they know where the money is. Not in enforcing the law.

  22.  

    Jorge O

    I’m in.

  23.  

    Jorge O

    #MyNYPD doesn’t give a shit. That’s the real problem. If there’s no special opperation going on they won’t lift a finger unless the car hit you and you’re already dead. And even then it’ll take them a half hour to make it to the scene.

    Maybe if you report there’s possibly abandoned pot in the car. All they care are confiscating drugs and guns, officers get paid personally in cash for it thanks to our anti-drug paranoia and the so called “war on drugs”, which btw –completely unrelated, and yes I realize this is a stupidly long sentence– keeps us as the country with the highest population percentage incarcerated.

    So as you can see there’s more severe problems to focus on…

  24.  

    Andrew

    Not just WPIX. Check out the brilliant comments on Sheepshead Bites: http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/2014/09/speed-camera-issued-6000-tickets-one-day-belt-parkway-exit-ramp/

  25.  

    Kevin Love

    Yes, a beautiful yellow Mango velomobile. And in spite of its size, there is zero problem sharing the cycle paths with diamond frame bikes. Because the cycle paths are made to proper widths and not shoehorned in as an afterthought.

  26.  

    HamTech87

    That TZ Bridge editorial by the Times Union was bizarre. It wants Cuomo to act like an adult, but then thinks that he should use bank settlement money to pay for this oversized boondoggle?

    Cuomo should use the Climate March as a personal and political “moment.” He should shrink the bridge in the name of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, raise tolls to discourage more driving, and install a world-class BRT system (or even rail!).

  27.  

    Mat50

    Absolutely, no question. When I first learned to ride a motorcycle, my instructor’s mantra was that I should always have both an escape route or enough room to stop at whatever speed, in whatever squeeze I was attempting. It might bear application to non motorized vehicles as well.

  28.  

    Lisa Sladkus

    And this is why I love Streetsblog.

  29.  

    BBnet3000

    You don’t have to ride 100 miles to get out to the countryside in The Netherlands (and even there, theres cyclepaths).

  30.  

    BBnet3000

    He’s on a faired-in recumbent from what I can tell. They set human-powered speed records in those things.

  31.  

    Cold Shoaler

    Ugh. That f-ing lot. What a terrible step backwards. And, yes that intersection is going to be the worst part of the park by far.

  32.  

    dporpentine

    Sorry! I’m clearly the crazy one–or incapable of basic reading comprehension at least.

  33.  

    Joe R.

    This is my favorite quote from your link:

    “I took the same route back, so I had a slight tailwind. With the tailwind it took an hour and ten minutes to get back home. That’s an average speed of over 37 km/h (23 mph) including riding back through the pedestrian area slowly, slowing down at junctions and at one point coming to a near standstill to pass a horse.”

    Yeah, those Dutch riders are really slow. ;)

  34.  

    Kevin Love

    Here are a whole bunch of videos of people cycling fast in The Netherlands without any problems. The infrastructure is designed for all people. Including fast ones.

    http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/search/label/speed

  35.  

    Kevin Love

    From the linked Post article:

    “Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to make every New Yorker of walking age ride these contraptions…”

    Phew! I seem to have narrowly missed the compulsory cycling police. All hail the All-Powerful Bicycle Lobby that can now force every New Yorker to ride!

    …Can’t make this stuff up…

  36.  

    Alex

    Agree about the racing, no doubt. But the difference between a speeding bike and a speeding car is still about 30 MPH and 3000 lbs. Comparing the two is not useful.

  37.  

    sbauman

    Crosswalks constitute less than 5% of the Central Park loop. Any “solution” that addresses only the crosswalks will ignore 95% of the park loop’s chaos.

    ” People crossing on foot, no longer on the lookout for high-speed motorized traffic, expect greater freedom of movement, while the stream of joggers and cyclists on the road, unencumbered by bulky metal cages and generally moving at speeds that enable eye contact with other people, can engage with their surroundings in a way that drivers cannot.”

    The problem is present park rules discourage such eye contact. These rules have pedestrians and cyclists moving in the same direction. The cyclist’s eyes are met by the back of the pedestrian’s head.

    This is counter to traffic law which has pedestrians facing traffic while walking on a roadway.

    “§1156. Pedestrians on roadways…(b) Where sidewalks are not provided any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall when practicable walk only on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing traffic which may approach from the opposite direction. Upon the approach of any vehicle from the opposite direction, such pedestrian shall move as far to the left as is practicable.”

    If park rules were changed to conform to standard traffic law practice, both pedestrians and cyclists eyes could meet 100 feet or more before the point of impact. Each could take evasive action and signal the other to his intentions. The most effective evasive action, as noted in the law, is to move sideways to avoid a collision. It’s also the more effective than lowering speed limits.

    “What might work? The busiest crossing points, like near Columbus Circle, are candidates for raised crosswalks.”

    There are pedestrian underpasses under the West Drive at 61st and 64th Streets. These underpasses are 475 and 188 feet away from the recent fatality on the 63rd Street crosswalk. They are part of Olmstead’s original design that separated pedestrians from carriages.

    The problem is recent park alterations have led pedestrians away from these underpasses and towards crosswalks. Columbus Circle is an example. Columbus Circle was an original carriage entrance to the West and Center Drives. Its pedestrian entrance led to the underpass at 61st St and the West Drive. Aerial photos suggest the Columbus Circle carriage entrance was converted to a pedestrian entrance between 1995 and 1996. The new entrance led pedestrians to a crosswalk, rather than follow the old path to the underpass under what an 1875 map called the Grey Shot Arch.

    It’s more difficult to date exactly when pedestrian paths were diverted from the underpass under the Dale Head Arch at 64th St. Most Central Park West entrances are post Olmstead, including all south of 66th Street. Maps and aerial photos from the 1920′s show a pedestrian entrance leading from the W. 66th St Transverse to the Dale Head Arch entrance at 64th St. The 1950′s decade saw the Transverse entrances enlarged to separate the entrance and exit at W. 65th and W. 66th Streets. The new pedestrian entrance at W. 65th St led pedestrians to the 63rd St. crosswalk rather than the 64th St underpass. A 1964 map lists a W. 62nd St pedestrian entrance that led to the 61st St. underpass. That entrance has since been moved to one just north of 63rd St that leads to the 63rd St. crosswalk. Perhaps, park historians will fill in the gap as to when and why pedestrian entrances were added or moved.

    The first item in the toolkit is to avoid pedestrian-vehicle-bicycle conflicts. Recent park changes have lured pedestrians into potentially dangerous situations by avoiding the existing underpasses in the park’s crowded southwest corner.

  38.  

    Charles

    Most of the loop has a much wider paved area than is really needed. This is especially true of the stretch in which the latest death occurred. At the very least, give the loop a road diet — convert a third to half of the paved area to cobbles or porous pavement. That might slow the bikes down and reduce the area in which pedestrians are exposed to danger.

  39.  

    Mat50

    why doesn’t the DA have to clarify their reasoning to not prosecute?

  40.  

    Mat50

    Let me make an uncomfortable observation: every video I’ve seen on YouTube or elsewhere of bicycling in the Netherlands, as shown above, city or countryside, shows people of all ages going at a MODERATE, steady rate of speed. We complain about speeding cars, yet there ARE so many speeding bikes. Central Park on a lovely afternoon is NOT the place to race/train.

  41.  

    SheRidesABike

    If anyone needs the tl;dr version, you could just read this edit:

    “It’s unreasonable for a cyclist to assume that a green light means the
    path ahead will be unobstructed by pedestrians, just as it’s
    unreasonable to expect cyclists to come to a full stop when it’s safe
    for them to slow down and navigate around people crossing the loop, just
    as it’s unreasonable to expect a pedestrian to wait for the light when
    there is clearly a safe opening to cross.”

  42.  

    vnm

    There are private vehicles in the park on the West Drive between 8 and 10 a.m. on the East Drive between 3 and 7 p.m. Traffic signals are controlled remotely by computer, right? How hard would it be, from a technical perspective, to set them up to be flashing yellow for the rest of the time?

  43.  

    tubulus

    So start a club, pool your money, buy land, and build your own velodrome. In the meantime, the park is very quiet at 6am.

  44.  

    Alex

    I like this idea. When they reconfigured Prospect Park a few years ago, I was hoping they’d set the traffic lights to blink yellow with “Yield to Ped” signs. Instead, they just set the lights to stay green until pedestrians use the beg button. The problem is that no one uses the beg button, they just cross when there’s a clearing. It mostly works, but there is confusion and cyclists still get ticketed for going through the occasional red when literally no one is around. It’s silly.

  45.  

    IlIlIl

    Balance isn’t going to happen. Look at bridges with bike/ped only lanes. You invariably end up with pedestrians using the bike lane. In the Manhattan’s case it is because people can’t manage to read the signs or are lazy. In the Williamsburg’s people won’t walk two more blocks to the ped entrance. The NYPD isn’t going to ticket enough pedestrians to do anything about it.

    Every bike lane ends up with people on it jogging or walking or pushing an over stuffed cart of bottles and cans.

    A balance would be nice but it isn’t going to happen because this is NYC.

  46.  

    tubulus

    That seems a bit overkill. We have a perfectly good (actually, quite amazing) training loop that is very safe for an ample amount of time every day. The trick is just striking the balance as far as safety vs recreational use.

  47.  

    IlIlIl

    Or maybe the city could start building some truly bike only training areas so people don’t have to ride out to Queens for a velodrome. How many tracks are there in this city? And we have one velo?

  48.  

    Reader

    Prospect Park needs to charge for parking in that lot. No one except for people with handicapped plates should get to park there for free.

  49.  

    Stanley Greenberg

    Just wait until the Prospect Park Ice Skating Rink Parking lot opens and cars are crossing the main road. It’s hard to believe anyone thought that was a good idea several years ago. I believe that this will be the only perpendicular intersection in Central or Prospect Park. Cars will cross the paths of cyclists, skaters, runners and walkers . Given the increase in park usage, and Vision Zero, how can the Parks Department justify adding a dangerous crossing to an already dangerous place. Add to this that the rules change several times a day and no one will know when they can go anywhere safely.

  50.  

    tubulus

    Agree with almost everything here except structural changes that would make cycling unsafe (ie raised crossings). There should still be room for cyclists to use the park for fast training, but only during specific hours. By that I mean before 7 or 7:30 AM from April-November or so, maybe extending that in winter. I certainly have a bias as a cyclist, though I also walk in the busiest section of the park every day with a baby and a dog, so I think I have a decent sense of what would be safe. The biggest problem with fast cycling is the combination of fast cyclists, slow cyclists, runners, and walkers – crossing the street becomes a live game of Frogger. This is just not an issue early in the morning.