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    Joe R.

    Same with me. A lot of the stuff I need to do to stay out of the way of traffic also helps my conditioning. I don’t actively train, but when you ride in NYC you get a lot of involuntary “training” just trying to stay alive.



    Before I could maintain 18mph+ I was honked at, tailgated and harassed constantly if I didn’t want to ride in the door zone on streets like Vanderbilt, or for riding at all on the lower part of Hoyt Street.

    This city might kill me but until it does it’s in large part responsible for my excellent physical conditioning.


    Joe R.

    I’m 53 years old and can manage 20+ mph for a hour (according to the stats on my Schwinn 240 exercise bike). I can’t manage those kind of average speeds on the road on account of traffic controls, poor pavement conditions, and so forth but I do average over 16 mph on 1.5 or 2 hour rides when I ride regularly (and I’ve broken 17 mph occasionally). Last two years I’ve only been riding about 1,000 miles a year, so my average speeds are a good 1.5 mph lower.


    Joe R.

    A secondary issue with this is the topography of Queens. A few times I’ve tried riding side streets to avoid Northern Boulevard. You end up constantly hitting steep hills. In fact, it seems the vast majority of side street routes by me are like this, not just ones near Northern Boulevard.



    Consolidating two double parking lanes into one isn’t going to solve this problem. People can still take the turn at speed, cutting across the bike lane, which seems to be the exact scenario in which Ms. Davis was killed.

    This either needs to become a filtered route with greatly reduced auto traffic or get a protected bike lane with mixing zones that force people to slow down before turning.

    Figuring out which one it should be requires a comprehensive approach to the bike network that NYC doesn’t seem to be doing. Give it another decade or two.



    less motor traffic than on first avenue NYC



    it’s 12′



    protected bike lane



    This is on the route of the NYC Century, and the markings and cue sheet actually say to take the sidewalk. Really astounding considering how many people cycle on Joe Michaels Mile daily.



    While there is a center turn lane, there isn’t one for bicycles. The collision occurred where the cyclist was probably starting a left turn onto a a bike path, aka the Joe Michaels Mile.

    The center lane at this point is for westbound cars trying to make a turn onto either 223rd St or the Cross Island Parkway (CIP) going south.

    The right, eastbound lane also disappears to permit exiting southbound CIP drivers to go eastbound onto Northern Blv without slowing down. This forces bicycles into the center lane, even if they are not contemplating turning left onto the bike path.

    All of this occurs on a downhill, where speeds are fast for both the cyclist and cars. Reaction time for both is reduced.

    The center lane does not change direction for eastbound traffic until after the CIP is crossed and long after the left turn for the bike path.

    The time of the collision worked against the cyclist. It was shortly after sunrise. Sunlight was probably directly in the eyes of both the cyclist and driver immediately before impact. The driver didn’t need a cellphone to be distracted.



    I’ve had a couple of close calls riding on that sidewalk – specifically with drivers not seeing and or stopping.
    If you want to go east of Joe Michael’s the sidewalk is rideable – but you still are inconveniencing pedestrians, and breaking the law.


    Simon Phearson

    I have no idea how long I can maintain 20 mph. Like I said, I don’t train.



    In the section between 223rd and Douglaston Parkway – a 0.8 mile stretch, there isn’t much curbside parking in the westbound direction.



    I train to race and can’t manage 20mph for more than a couple of minutes. i think you’re overestimating your abilities or experiencing a ‘false flat’.

    that said, i agree that it can be hard to maintain a certain level of effort with a 20mph limit



    Well, certainly the loop drives in CP and PP.
    Before 1966 when they were ALWAYS open to cars, were did the parks close to everyone else at 1am?



    Right! Should have specified, that’s my fault. When I meant exercise, I was thinking of the racers. I’ve seen them sometimes in groups of 3+, most likely training for an event. I would bet they compete online for best lap times around the park. I don’t mind recreational exercise or cycling in Central Park.



    yes. his point is that that rule is stupid.





    I seem to recall hearing a year or two ago that NYPD was ticketing a lot of people for crossing the Brooklyn Parade Ground at night rather than walk around it.


    Simon Phearson

    And what speed would be acceptable? I don’t train to race, but I do bike for exercise, and Central Park’s 20 mph speed limit is too slow for me to maintain a decent level of aerobic activity unless I’m climbing.



    Just the other day I incredulously watched a driver texting from the bus. This went on for several blocks. The NYPD needs to stop harassing people and start ticketing this shit.



    That is so incredibly fucked up.



    Note the way he talks about the planning process. It’s incredible how they’re actually planning proactively for their transit system to accommodate growth, while we struggle to play catch-up here.



    Forget about ticketing speeding drivers, the real problem is the epidemic of people texting and using their “smart” phones while driving. I’ll take my chances (as a cyclist or pedestrian) with a speeding driver watching the road over someone looking down at their phone any day. The amount of people I see driving (in motion) while looking between the road and their phones, and in some cases only at their phones is extremely disturbing.
    Sadly the 111th will probably use this incident to address the safety of cyclists by embarking on a ticket blitz against them.



    If you tried to use other streets besides Northern Blvd. for an east-west route you would end up with a confusing mess where cyclists would need to change streets every mile or less.

    It’s only confusing when there isn’t good signage. Traffic calmed side streets can be the basis of a good backbone network to get more people cycling in eastern Queens. When I’m biking to the QBB I know I just have to take 34th west until the bike lane ends then follow the signs. It’s simple enough. I couldn’t tell you what streets I turn onto without a map.

    This approach has worked well elsewhere.


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    I think that an exception to this is Randall’s Island. I think they let you go through that island (as you have to do if you’re using the Triboro Bridge), even though it’s a park, at any time of day.

    So this sets up an odd thing: you can ride through that park; but, let’s say you get off the bike and start throwing a ball around with your friend, they’d probably stop you.


    Simon Phearson

    I would expect the cyclist attempted to avoid the pedestrian one way; but then the pedestrian went that way; and then the cyclist went another; and then the cyclist tried a last-ditch handlebar squeeze to stop, throwing him down. Pedestrians are incredibly difficult to predict, and it’s hard to correct your path successfully.



    I think we’re conflating two different methods of exercise. there’s the person who gets on their bike once in a while, gets their heart rate up and burns a few calories. then there’s people training for racing. I think its reasonable to limit training for racing while allowing more recreational exercise. the difference? max speed.


    Barri Anne Brown

    All city parks are closed after 1am. I got a ticket in Central Park for biking thru, unbeknownst, after that hour, and it wasn’t a bike ticket, it was a bench warrant.



    DOT bike maps say use the sidewalk, but that isn’t practical because the vegetation is overgrown and sightlines for both you and drivers is poor.

    Ride slow, and expect drivers at the ramps not to look for you and the sidewalks there work fine. It’s less than a thousand feet from Cloverdale to the path entrance with two or three ramps to watch out for cars, it’s not like you’re doing this for miles.



    Shitty design, shitty execution. I can’t believe a design this stupid got approved



    Much of Northern is 70 feet wide, with two general traffic lanes and a part time parking lane in each direction together with a painted median/turn lane. ~ten feet per lane, not twelve.


    Joe R.

    Interesting. Don’t forget though that you also have buses on Northern Boulevard. And even if it were politically feasible to get rid of curbside parking you’ll still need loading zones. That design might work if Northern Boulevard had maybe half the traffic it does. The traffic signals would still be a major detriment unless the city got rid of about 80% of them.




    Joe R.

    I don’t see why the park can’t be open 24/7. Late nights would be a great time to ride loops. Turn the traffic lights off after maybe 10PM, and make the rule pedestrians yield to bikes from perhaps 10PM through maybe 6AM.



    I love trains but the pricing in the NEC tends to be ridiculous. Like the time I found I could save a lot of money relative to Amtrak by renting a car one-way, even traveling alone. That’s what I would call a perverse incentive!


    Joe R.

    The lanes are narrower than that in parts, and in places the parking lane is less than 10′ wide. Also, Northern Blvd. has lots of turning movements at intersections which protected lanes won’t help with. And on top of all that it has a gazillion traffic signals which are timed for 30 or 35 mph, and lots of bus stops. Nothing we do at surface level will give anything more than a marginal improvement given these factors, and there’s no room for a protected bike lane anyway in many places. In fact, I find Northern stressful to ride on even at 1 AM. During the day it’s a complete clusterf*ck for bikes, with little which could be done to make it better.

    The issue here is Northern Boulevard, like Union Turnpike and a lot of other Queens arterials, is that it’s a very old road which is quite narrow by today’s standards for the levels of traffic it carries. Really, unless we can get rid of about half the motor traffic, there’s just not a whole lot you can do at street level.


    Joe R.

    Bike viaducts above Northern Blvd. It has way too many traffic signals to be a reasonable bike route at surface level anyway, even if the room existed, which it doesn’t. There really aren’t any parallel through streets which run for any length without being interrupted. You’re correct that the nearest one is the LIE. If you tried to use other streets besides Northern Blvd. for an east-west route you would end up with a confusing mess where cyclists would need to change streets every mile or less. Really, that’s a problem in much of Queens. The few major trunk routes which run any length north-south or east-west also happen to be heavily traveled routes for motor traffic, with no room for any bike infrastructure. Basically, bike viaducts above the major arterials is the only reasonable solution so long as we’re unable to significantly reduce motor traffic.



    Short term: Filtered routes (aka Bicycle Boulevards/Neighborhood Greenways) for cycling along parallel streets with high quality wayfinding (zigzagging will be necessary), with a focus on alternative routes to Joe Michaels Mile but also on making an overall grid to be near to all destinations in Northeastern Queens without being forced to take main roads.

    Longer term: Either protected lanes or capital constructed cyclepaths on Northern Boulevard itself. The latter could potentially take some space from the sidewalks, which may sound sacrilegious on Streetsblog but this area appears to have little foot traffic and 15′ sidewalks.

    What is actually likely to happen here?
    a) Nothing
    b) Narrowed travel lanes like Vooch proposes, but with the space allocated to a wider median and double-parking lanes



    trivial – the motor travel lanes are 12′ wide, the parking lane is also 12′ wide. The center turn lane is 14′ wide. all of these lanes are dangerously wide. Excessive widyj encourages reckless Driving.

    instead of 12′ motor lanes, make them a safer 10′

    now one has 8′ of width in each direction to create a protected bike lane.

    add in some pedestrian islands, some Ped pump outs, daylighting at intersections and badda Bing bada boom – a complete street that serves more people

    Motor traffic will flow smoother, there will be fewer crashes, and most importantedly, pedestrian safety will be dramatically improved.



    The park for me is not recreation or exercise, it is transportation. I don’t ride loops. I use it as a (mostly) car free route at least once a week on my way to Inwood and back. Closing the park forces me onto less safe and less pleasant streets.



    And if you ride side by side you’ll get a horn blasted in your ear from someone sitting next to an empty passenger seat. The hypocrisy and selfishness is astounding.



    Many good points you make. Thanks for taking the time to make them. San Bernardino’s BRT is far from perfect, and I think if they took your advice their system would be even better. They are also good to keep in mind when designing a real center-running BRT in NYC (see below).

    Left turn bans:
    Many BRTs around the world ban left turns, and NYC’s street grid easily accomodates this via 3 right turns. This keeps ped & bus time high, but if your goal is to make a car movement fast, then yeah, it’s worse, but that’s not typically the goal of BRT.

    Narrow waiting area:
    As I mention above, 16′ is well above the minimum of 10′ of internal width recommended by international BRT experts, so it should be ample. If not, longer stations should accommodate extra demand. If demand is really high, then very frequent buses (every 2-3 minutes) are the next step, and if those don’t do the trick, then the city should really consider passing lanes and sub-stations to get capacities similar to a subway. WIth volumes that high, it’d be easy to justify making the street one-way for cars to get the space for passing lanes.

    Shade and comfort:
    Great point! These should certainly be part of a NYC BRT, and could easily be added to a station design. Certainly a well-designed, covered station would be much nicer than a bodega awning.

    Center Stations:
    Fair point. The city could easily use side stations. This is what SF is doing.

    Station length:
    Good point. Stations can easily be made longer and should certainly be set back from intersections.

    Bus lane protection:
    Excellent point. Barriers should certainly be a part of an NYC BRT project. Because there is no need to ever drive in the lane, the lanes can be 100% protected, unlike curb lanes and offset lanes.

    Bus Stop in middle of street:
    True that people must cross half the street to reach the bus stop. However, everyone must cross the entire street at least once on a round trip bus trip in curbside lanes or offset lanes. In my configurations they’d cross half the street twice. Is that really much of a difference? Plus, everyone benefits from the ped refuge island!

    I think you raise some really good points, which should definitely be incorporated into a NYC BRT. Thanks!!



    Just curious as to how one would redesign a major arterial like Northern Blvd to accommodate bike infrastructure. It’s a heavily traveled bus & truck route, 3 lanes in each direction with a center turn lane. The nearest parallel route for auto traffic is probably the LIE. How would you do it?


    M Peggy Bree

    I am not saying that we don’t need a bike lane.. i am saying that the proposed layout for 4th avenue is not safe,, neither for vehicular nor bike traffic. They need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a better plan. Perhaps studying how other cities have incoirported a bike lane might educate them on safer layouts.



    Of the 16 bike fatalities so far in 2016, half have taken place on corridors, at intersections or in areas that received a “Priority” designation in the DOT’s Pedestrian Safety Action Plans.

    How many of those have any improvements slated that will actually make cycling substantially easier or safer?


    Brad Aaron

    I had a long talk with Van Bramer’s office about this project. Other than problems some people have with the developer, in this instance I believe the NIMBY tag fits.

    We’ve always editorialized in the headlines.



    As long as there is non-emergency motor vehicle traffic allowed part-time on parts of the loop, the full-time car-centric striping will remain. So will the misleading traffic lights that have no meaning during car-free hours. So will the blinking “Bikes use bike lane” signs that imply that half the width of the loop is off-limits even when there are no cars. Squeeze all cyclists, fast & slow, into half the space that would otherwise be available, and conflicts are bound to occur.

    The continued presence of any amount of motor vehicle traffic on the loop endangers everyone even when cars aren’t present.



    “The NYPD public information office said Schenkman ‘collided in the left lane’ with the car.”

    Call the f’ing grammar police. NYPD seems to be deeply confused about the subject and object of this sentence.

    I mean… Literally. The driver who committed this vehicular manslaughter appears to have treated Mr. Schenkman like nothing more than an object in the road rather than a human being. NYPD only reinforces that in their statement.


    Elizabeth F

    So let me get this straight… this road is three full car-lanes wide with no motorized traffic. And not too much ped or bike traffic either. And yet, neither party was able to avoid a collision? Sounds like amateur hour to me.