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    Till the bridge is sorted out:


    Miles Bader

    Sure, having bus bike racks is better than not having them, and no doubt have helped lots of people, but they aren’t something you can rely on, even when every bus has them. Bus bike-racks scale very badly: the number of racks on a bus is a tiny fraction of the number of riders, and it’s very difficult to add more.

    So if you ride your bike to the bus stop planning to continue on the bus, it’s always a gamble as to whether there’s any rack space left, and a bike+bus rider always has to have a backup plan in case he can’t get on the bus. For a commuter, this typically means biking is only really practical if biking the entire route is practical, with the bus treated as a sort of optional bonus.

    This problem very quickly gets much worse as the system gets more popular, so you could almost it’s destined to fail.

    [Note this is very different than things like bike parking facilities, which are vastly easier and more practical to expand to meet demand.]



    The city needs to plan/present an entire citywide protected bicycle lane network, approve it, and implement it in one shot. Until we get a network that takes people places, with low stress, the entire way; we won’t have a more diverse bicycling community.

    And what’s up with the new texture in the recently painted (or repainted) bike lanes. Feels more grippy I think.


    Jeff Cohn

    Dangerous bike intersection added to the map.



    Okay, let’s say that’s true. It probably doesn’t save you any time at all because you’ll still get across the next time the light cycles. And you have a probably greater than .5 chance of snarling yourself worse than you would have if you waited.



    Not sure if that’s politically feasible.



    Yup, probably politically connected.



    Only if they pull in front of you, which is itself difficult for them. It’s a game you should expect to lose.



    “There is no discernible advantage to ever blocking the box.”

    Not true in very heavy traffic. If you don’t do it, and the people on the street you’re crossing do, you’ll never get across.


    John Gilbert

    Can anyone explain why this would cost NYC $200 million a year and not $560 million? The press release says up to 800,000 New Yorkers could save up to $700 a year each. 800,000 x $700 = $560 million / year. (Don’t know about 800,000 people but $700 is what paying half the cost of a monthly MetroCard would cost if monthly pass is $116.50 per 116.5/2 x 12 = $699.) What am I missing?


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    I, too, have told so many of these people the same thing. If you can’t make it all the way through an intersection, then you don’t enter the intersection. It’s really that simple.

    But New Yorkers have become accustomed to ignoring this obvious and sensible rule; and the blame for this state of affairs belongs with the police, who choose not to enforce the law prohibiting blocking the box.

    Driver misconduct — blocking the box; stopping ahead of the stop line; blowing stop signs; speeding; double parking; etc. — constitutes the illegal activity that has the greatest impact on the lives of people in this City. Therefore combatting this epidemic should be the number one priority of the City’s police force.

    The obscenely over-staffed police department has the manpower to effectuate such an initiative. But what they lack is the will. They prefer spying on ordinary citizens in the name of fighting mostly imaginary “terrorism”, and also behaving in a terroristic manner themselves towards black and Latin New Yorkers.

    The appropriate attention paid to drivers’ misdeeds would reduce collisions, calm traffic, and improve the quality of life for everyone.




    Putting a rack for 2 bikes on SOME of the buses going over a bridge or 2 is indeed not a significant part of a transit system. HOWEVER, putting a rack on every bus in the system can be a game changer. In Honolulu, every bus has a rack, people know they can rely on its being there, and so it is widely used, both for commutes and for getting to your recreation destination. Who would ever have thought bikeshare would become an integral part of NY’s transit system?

    Now, it is true that TA & MTA buses are stored overnight in lots they totally fill up, with no room to spare; and putting a rack that, folded, adds a foot to the length of each bus would exacerbate the storage space crunch. That’s a legit issue that needs to be resolved. That’s why we pay public sector planners & engineers the big bux.



    It still seems quite unlikely that you should expect an advantage from it. That doesn’t mean it is impossible that it would, after the fact, confer an advantage. In most cases you are still more likely to lose than win, even setting aside any danger you might put yourself in (legal or physical).


    Mike Beck

    Have a transit lane be the traffic buffer for the bike lane.



    There’s something else to consider when you see a truck blocking the box. When driving a truck in very heavy traffic on multiple lane roads, you sometimes cannot sit wait until there is a large enough space for a truck on the other side of the intersection, as there simply will not be one. As soon as there is even space for one car, and usually not even that, smaller and quicker vehicles will cut ahead from either side and fill that void. Even if you wait and a large enough spot magically opens up, by the time you accelerate from a stop and get through the intersection, that space is already gone, again from quicker vehicles that have cut you off, and you are stuck blocking the intersection.


    Larry Littlefield

    it makes more sense than keeping the fare down for everyone, and letting the transit system rot.

    The figures above are for one Metrocard. Most poor households have just one adult. Two Metrocards would cost more. I know of a family that shares one unlimited, and uses bikes for the second spouse to get to work.

    But to put these figures in perspective, look here, and see that Americans in every quintile of income spend at least 14.5% of their income on transportation. And those in the lowest quintile spend the least.

    Consumer Expenditure Survey

    Original Data Value

    By Quintles of Income

    Download: Download as an Excel File

    Series ID Annual 2015 Annual 2015

    Total expt Transport Exp Percent

    CXUTOTALEXPLB0102M $24,470 $3,559 14.5%

    CXUTOTALEXPLB0103M $35,063 $5,923 16.9%

    CXUTOTALEXPLB0104M $45,912 $8,820 19.2%

    CXUTOTALEXPLB0105M $63,671 $11,330 17.8%

    CXUTOTALEXPLB0106M $110,508 $17,834 16.1%


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    No, it is not. It is 100% a matter of political will.


    Miles Bader

    Bike Racks on Buses Are Nice

    I suppose bike racks on buses are nice as a cheap symbolic gesture (“we don’t hate you totally“), but that’s pretty much it. They are not really a useful part of a transportation system.



    Not that anyone’s paying attention, but the fact that something like BQX is being planned and is not being considered to cross the VZB deserves a pretty high spot on the “planning WTFs” list for this city. Instead of having to use a rack, you could bring your bike on the transit vehicle. And SI needs transit egresses off the island pronto.


    Joe R.

    If weight is really a concern, a steel fence along the lines of a guard rail will be much lighter than a jersey barrier. Concrete-filled bollards spaced ~5 feet apart would probably work also.



    Great idea independently of transit, but completely useless at addressing the mobility needs of an aging, fattening population that probably is approaching, maybe even already exceeded, seven figures below the the poverty line.



    Jersey barriers don’t cost 25 million. What are they doing on that bridge that’s so complicated?



    Nose to nose traffic,

    Never happens. There are gaps between cars. A typical car weighs 3000 pounds and is 15 feet long, add five feet until the car in front and you have 200 pounds per linear foot. SUVs are a bit heavier per foot. Live load for lanes that have trucks is higher, and will vary based on the type of truck, 460-660 pounds/foot if I remember right. Jersey barrier weight varies based on what it’s supposed to stop. 4500-6000 pounds for a ten foot barrier is typical. Load standards for pedestrian bridges are ~75 lbs/square foot, more than for general traffic lanes. If the lane was empty it would be fine.


    Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    So wish I could have ridden along to cover it, but alas baby duty! :)


    Patrick Miner

    One idea for the Verrazano side path is to use a fiberglass deck instead of concrete. This would significantly reduce the weight (and increase the durability of) the new pathway structure.



    Do you have a way to make sure the lane is never heavily used?

    Yeah, make one end of it in Staten Island. 😛

    Kidding aside, there’s zero need to armchair engineer this. It’s certainly a viable idea that could be examined by people with the proper qualifications. They’re doing pretty much the exact same thing in the Bay Area on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and its estimated to cost $25 million. The Bay Area is nearly as overpriced a construction market as NYC.



    With the amount of money that bridge rakes in in tolls the path should be gilded.


    Patrick Miner

    This sounds similar to DRPA replacing stairs with a bike/ped ramp on the Ben Franklin Bridge (which features two beautiful elevated walkways). Designers estimated the ramp at $3 or 4 million. Construction bids came in at $8 to 10 million. Perhaps they should value-engineer out or postpone the iron work railings.


    Joe Enoch

    I can’t believe someone on Streetsblog is arguing with me about this, but I looked it up and a 10′ jersey barrier weighs less than 5,000 pounds. Nose to nose traffic, especially if there’s one fully loaded semi or garbage truck or Chevy Tahoe in the mix, is far more weight than the combined weight of the jersey barriers plus the max number of pedestrians and bicyclists on the protected path.



    Per linear foot jersey barriers are something like 400-600 pounds. Not all that different from a traffic lane. People are heavy. Do you have a way to make sure the lane is never heavily used?


    Joe Enoch

    ZERO chance a permanent concrete barrier weighs more than a lane of traffic filled with cars and trucks.



    cost almost nothing to put up permanent bollards and some paint.

    How much of the 300 million price tag is to strengthen the bridge to support the extra weight of the new paths? It might cost more than you think (though less than 300 million) to put in barriers that would offer protection from drivers. I assume you would want more than plastic flexposts.



    If you rearrange the bridge to have 8 general traffic lanes, 2 transit lanes, and 2 lanes for walking and biking, is the bridge the bottleneck? I’d assume it would still be the roads on either side except possibly if half the bridge is closed for maintenance.



    Those were Wild West days of cycling. Sixth Avenue was for racing cabs and using express buses as salmon posts. Traffic lights were considered suggestions on sixth.

    Joe R was there in the thick of it. I was a mere commuter then. He was the elitĂ© of the elite – a bike messenger


    Aunt Bike

    Transportation Alternatives and @TheHarborRing have a petition, 3,493 of a needed 5,000 currently.



    OK, or choose & widen slightly TWO of the current auto lanes, one on the south side of the bridge, eastbound (into Brooklyn), and one on the north side, westbound (into Staten Island). Separate each of these 2 lanes from the next lane with permanent, bounce-back bollards, and stripe & mark BOTH of those new, slightly wider lanes for east-bound bikes, west-bound bikes, and pedestrians/runners (so each traffic lane is sub-divided into 3 lanes). Then, using traffic signals & cones, alternate the bike/ped lanes so that during the morning rush the previously westbound auto lane is used for bikes/pedestrians, and the previously east-bound lane is used by cars and/or buses heading into Brooklyn; at noon or 1 PM, change the signalization & cones so the previously westbound lane is opened to cars (to help in the evening rush), while the previously eastbound lane becomes the bike/ped lane. It would require a very tiny–really negligible– increase in duties for Bridge personnel, but it would never approach $300 million.


    Joe Enoch

    Seriously, this is all that needs to be done. Riding amongst the exhaust of staten islander cars would by no means be a nice ride but this would cost almost nothing to put up permanent bollards and some paint.



    DOT installed a left turn signal at ONE man’s request?

    That seems very odd.


    Joseph Cutrufo

    Take one of the 12 lanes and convert it into a bike/ped path. It’s not ideal, but it would cost a lot less than what’s been put forth so far:



    They look wide enough for riding side by side or safe passing if the vendors stayed out of them.



    Holy shit they had protected lanes in midtown back then.



    This is the best image of them I’ve seen yet, thanks!


    Brad Aaron

    In his 1984 memoir, Koch told the now-famous story of how, in 1980, governor Hugh Carey goaded him into removing the lanes.

    As they rode in a limousine with President Jimmy Carter and lieutenant gov Mario Cuomo, Koch wrote, Carey “began again with the bike lanes”:

    “He said to me, ‘You gotta get rid of the bike lanes. They are terrible.’

    I said to him, Look, they probably are terrible. We’re gonna give them a chance and keep them until spring. If the ridership doesn’t increase, we’ll pull them up.’

    Carey said, “If you don’t pull them up now, I won’t give you the money to pull them up.'”

    The lanes lasted “about two months,” according to Koch.

    I know there were other issues, but imagine the lives saved and injuries that never would have happened if Koch had stood his ground.



    From the nytimes article “Bike Lane Bruises Some Feelings on Its Way Uptown; ‘It Slows Me Down’ A Problem of Adapting” aug 22 1980

    If you are a subscriber and have access to their archive there were some other stories about it that you might enjoy reading. Also you might like this talk with Koch about it.


    Ben Fried

    They were separated from traffic by a concrete curb and had the words “bike lane” stenciled in them. Not sure what happened at intersections. Here is a not-very-helpful picture of Ed Koch riding in one at the ribbon-cutting:

    It was before my time, but I’ve heard they were blocked by vendors and pedestrians a lot — more than today’s Midtown bike lanes.



    Can anyone help find photos of the Ed Koch protected bike lanes? Or even anecdotes from those who were around to ride them? I’ve never been able to find much myself but have been curious about the specifics of the design.



    I used to think that until I found myself in a situation in which there was literally no way to move forward without blocking the box. If you wait another cycle, when your turn comes, the box is blocked again. And again. You could say that the box is being blocked because of all those other people who don’t know how to drive, and I agree, but what else can you do? Maybe there’s no incentive to be the first one to block the box, but once the cycle of blocking begins, there is no other way unless all parties cooperate. Hence the prisoner’s dilemma applies.


    Joseph Cutrufo

    This is my evening bike commute. Proud to say I’m able to climb it on the lowest gear of my three speed! (It used to be a single speed but I converted it because I was tired of having to walk up the hills.) They really ought to address the grading near the rotunda before a new route is established. That’s only fair.



    A better use of $200 million per year would be to use the money to build 400 miles of PBLs in underserved nieghborhoods. After 5 years, there would be 2,000 miles of new PBLs in NYC. 1/4 of NYC streets would have PBLs ! A real network of PBLs would done more to increase mobility for the working poor than subsidized fares.


    Kevin Love

    “NYPD Rules”

    Also known as “imaginary laws.”

    And a message for Mr. Berry, who said, “So by lowering the fares for low-income people of color, hopefully they will be targeted less by the police.”

    Mr. Berry, this may come as a shock to you, but there are also white people who are poor. Maybe they could have their fares lowered also.