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    I’m glad you’re confident of that, but you’re provided no reasoning as to why!

    Again, there’s a case for increasing cycle mode share with good bike lanes, but as for walking; motor sewer? Dude, Amsterdam is a pretty good walking street, with plenty of space for people. Contrast that with the unpleasantness of walking downtown:



    1/2 of the people would walk-cycle for sure

    Amsterdamm is a motor sewer right now


    Nathan Rosenquist

    As a bike route, it’s desperately needed. Like many here I commute from Brooklyn to midtown Manhattan and once you hit pavement on the Manhattan side it’s pretty much “pick your poison” as far as getting up to midtown. You can go a few miles out of your way to get to the West Side Highway (Possible from the Brooklyn or Williamsburg Bridges, damn near impossible from the Manhattan Bridge) in order to wind up fighting through potholes and highway drivers on 30th St. You can go a few miles out of your way in the other direction in order to endure the broken-every-other-block joke that is the “East River Bike Path” (And have fun figuring out how to climb into midtown once you get into the 30s). Or you can dodge pedestrians, aggressive drivers, potholes and garbage juice for 40-odd blocks in the 1st Ave or 6th Ave bikes lanes, both of which make it explicitly clear that YOU are an afterthought and provide little protection in a relatively harrowing environment. Broadway, however, has fallen into disuse by motorists due to the successful plazas. It already has a south-bound bike lane, and it’s trajectory runs very much between the east river bridges and midtown. It is quite obviously an ideal bike commuter route and is currently going to waste.



    You just… went back around without getting at the core issues. Why do you insist that the UWS is bad for walking, and that street improvements will get people out of cabs? It makes no sense.

    Here’s Amsterdam Ave:

    The sidewalks are about 7 people wide. Intersections are acceptably daylit. What’s the issue? Side streets are nice and tree filled (lots of scaffolding, but that’s a separate, citywide issue).

    If you think people are taking cabs because walking is unpleasant on the UWS, I guess I just disagree with you?

    E.g. when you need to get from 80th to 50th (1.5 miles), do you think to yourself, ‘man, if only the sidewalks were wider, and had bulbouts, etc. I’d walk, but oh darn, looks like I’ll be using a cab?’ Of course not. The factors that go into that decision are probably: Hows the weather? How tired am I? Do I need to be there in 10 min or in 30? And is this worth $15?

    What you’re proposing would change that calculus if this were suburbia with no sidewalks or Madrid with human waves of people making walking 2x slower, but this is NYC, despite what you claim we have great walking infrastructure everywhere except maybe SI. None of what you’re proposing would significantly affect the walking mode share here.



    8,000 UWS cab trips from 1600 to 1900 are less than 1 1/2 miles. 7,000 of these can trips are entirely within CB7.

    So how to convince half of these people to walk-cycle instead of driving ?

    I think a spend of $50 million to “complete streets” throughout every inch of the UWS and 50% of those short cab trips would be replaced with walking-cycling.

    one could apply this to 40 NYC neighborhoods instead of the $2.0 billion cost of repairing a couple of miles of BQE

    40 x 4,000 equals a replacement of 160,000 car trips just in the peak afternoon hours.

    The 12 hour number might be 1 million car trips replaced by walk-cycle. ONE MILLION

    Now that is a huge reduction in congestion. Drivers should be hollering bloody murder to get people walking – cycling via improved infrastructure.



    Correction Officer Brandished Gun During Parking Dispute, Police Say (Times)



    Well, yes. By the facts you put up most cab trips on the UWS are 1.5 miles, and we have great walking infrastructure. So for some reason the people aren’t walking, no?

    However, the reality is that the vast majority of people who work in Manhattan don’t live there. So after taking the train for ~40 mins each way, as well as walking to and from the train, can you blame someone if they don’t feel like walking for 30 more mins and take the train or a cab instead (especially if they’re middle age or older)?

    I’ll repeat: you seem to think people aren’t walking more because the streets aren’t nice enough. I disagree and claim that it’s because of distance/weather/time. If what you claim is true the solution is simple; make streets nicer. IF what I claim is true the solution is much more complicated, having to deal with where people live and work. Why do you disagree with my assessment, especially now that you’ve seen what walking conditions are like in paris, the city with great walking mode share?



    your argument is that New Yorkers are too lazy to ever consider walking 1 1/2 miles as a normal activity ?



    We have a better toolkit than making streets miserable for everyone to prop up biking: protected bike lanes, they’re way better than this Paris street.

    Fact is, the walking mode share in paris is huge compared to NYC, despite far poorer walking conditions, which should tell you something about what leads people to walk, and what has minimal effect.



    While the Paris example does indeed look tight, I’d imagine vehicle speeds are lower (thanks to the lack of extra wide parking lanes), making for a more comfortable on-street bicycling environment.

    If we had a similar distance between curbs in NYC, we could create wonderfully spacious pedestrian spaces and still have room to carve out delivery zones and a moderate amount of parking, in addition to separated bike lanes (or more comfortable on-street biking conditions) and greenery.



    I work on Wall Street too, let’s get all motor vehicles public and private out of here! I understand that deliveries must be made but the streets are so clogged now that most of the services like Fedex, UPS, etc. end up leaving their trucks in one location and then deliver on foot throughout the district. So a few central delivery parking areas would handle that.

    Oh, and to the increasing number of full time residents: sidewalks and pedestrian plazas are more welcoming without your canine’s deposits.


    Jonathan R

    Also please bear in mind that many of those intra-CB7 trips are residents taking a taxi home from the market with their purchases. Dr. V should supplement his list with “median fridges” for shoppers to store their perishable products in as they take breaks on their ambles home.


    Ben Fried




    Have you been to Paris? Outside of the Haussman designed boulevards, this is what a typical street looks like:
    It’s actually far more miserable to walk on than our comparatively spacious NYC streets.

    As for your list of 10, those are fine, but I’m telling you, when you decide to walk vs transit: distance, weather, time is going to be the bulk of the decision. If you want to get walking mode share up, the only thing that will work is to have people live closer to where they need to be. I think you’re refusing to address this.

    Tokyo’s hard to compare, both because their density is 3x than of NYC, as well as the wildly different (and homogenous) culture (makes it hard to compare a lot of things, ranging from transit to crime). Big European cities are a more appropriate comparison.


    Simon Phearson

    Ha, you’ve basically described the waterfront in LIC.



    the walking experience on UWS is great by US standards, but it’s horrible compared to civilized cities such as Paris, Munich, and even Tokyo.

    We already know the toolkit
    1) pedestrian bump outs at crossings
    2) Daylighting at intersections
    3) 5 second lead for walk signal
    4) narrowed motor lanes
    5) motor traffic slowing to 25 MPH via road texture
    6) expanded pedstrian plazas
    7) Bollards or pocket Parks on residential cross streets
    8) market clearing pricing for street car storage
    9) wider sidewalks



    I’m pretty sure that those parking lots are necessary for the units to be marketable. Metro North is no substitute for the NYC subway, even with all of the latter’s flaws, and these developments are typically small islands of walkabiity within a sea of pedestrian hostility. Having spent some time around some of these developments in Westchester, what’s missing is even the slightest sense of the sense of possibility and “spark” that comes from urban life. The new developments feel sterile and deadening – lacking any notion of the sheer sense of ever-present possibility that comes from urban life in a place like NYC. They’re like a frozen TV dinner version of urbanism.



    You may be surprised, but i totally agree. It’s a good place to have a totally separate bike route, instead of the one we have now where you mix with turning cars. Broadway’s not part of the grid, so you won’t be affecting connectivity much, and since the cross-streets will still be accessible by car/truck (and the blocks are short), delivery and accessibility wouldn’t be too much of an issue. It would create a great way to walk/bike through the city.



    I’ll say this for the SI Expressway work they did: they do seem to enforce the HOV lane with reasonable regularity. I commute through there and I feel like I see at least one car getting ticketed there during each commute.



    “1 1/2 miles or less is well within active transportation distance.”
    I agree with you, that’s a 30min walk, which is great if the weather is nice! But the walking infrastructure is great on the UWS. I don’t see infrastructure being the problem in terms of people not walking.

    Basically, yes plenty of people take short cab trips (whether they’re rich, old, lazy, or some combination of the three), but they can walk right now; the infrastructure is great for that…and they don’t. So I don’t see how you plan to reduce the number of cabs.

    You have a stronger case for biking though. I’m all for lots of good curb or parking separated bike lanes.


    Kevin Love

    Now the helmet crazies have gone too far. Wearing their hats in church? That’s just plain rude.



    Can’t we get 3 feet on either side of the center islands for bike lanes?



    During typical Afternoon (1600-1900$ on UWS – 8,000 Cab trips are less than 1 1/2 miles.

    1 1/2 miles or less is well within active transportation distance.

    Perhaps 4,000 of these 8,000 cab trips could be substituted with walking-cycling IF the infrastructure supported active transportation.

    1/3 of Motor traffic (400/hour) on Amsterdam are Cabs. Imagine how smooth motor traffic would flow if the cabs went from 400/hr to 200/hr.

    key data page attached




    Pedestrian Zone for Broadway from Union Square to Columbus Circle is long overdue. The success of the expanded pedestrian zones in Union Square, Madison Square, Herald Square, Times Square, and Columbus Circle validates the concept. It is time to link all these Human spaces.



    I don’t know about you, but that’s never been a factor for me. The only thing that determines whether I walk or take the train is how far it is, how nice the weather is, and how much of a rush I’m in.

    The only place I ever avoid because ‘too many people’ is times square.

    Do you really choose to take the train because there are too many people on the sidewalk? Seems like a really …odd choice.

    I’ve walked in cities all around the world, and the only place there really wasn’t enough space to walk might have been Madrid. NYC isn’t bad at all, and seems to be smack dab in the middle of the bell curve as far other large cities are concerned.



    pedestrian zone the arcade steeets



    I know Market Urbanism and other “smart growth” groups support the repurposing of the FiDi Arcades. I usually agree with them but on this issue I disagree strongly. I work in FiDi. It’s a pedestrian disaster. Water St is way too fast. And the interior streets are festooned w/ unnecessary street parking and not enough loading zones. The results are narrow streets, blocked with double parked cars and livery trucks frequently parked on the sidewalk. Also, there’s a lot of construction going on, which also take up a lot of sidewalks.

    My point is, I like the arcades. I appreciate the limited amount of “Breathing Space” they provide to us. They’re not, to me, “useless space.”

    If the City wants to properly “monetize” this space. Then they should properly monetize the road space and get rid of freaking free street parking for HPD, State Comptroller et al, and eliminate all weekday daytime parking spaces in FiDi and have it all be loading zones (or security wardens). There’s tons of parking garages here. If the City wants to give away parking to HPD et al. then put it in a parking garage and save the valuable and truly limited road side spaces for deliveries.

    Otherwise, the notion that we’ll have more retail at the expense of pedestrian space is frankly insulting. I’m sure those little kiosks will need to make deliveries too?



    pedestrian space is horrible throughout the city. Walk share will continue to increase directly in line with infrastructure for people



    There’s a Westchester County story at Streetsblog USA that should be of interest here. TOD happening around MetroNorth stations, but no mention of the enormous parking lots being built with them. No surprise to see former EDC head and parking lover Seth Pinsky part of the wave.

    Westchester’s last 15 years of downtown residential developments have failed to create vibrant on-street pedestrian and commercial revivals. All the new residents hop on the MetroNorth for work, and jump in their conveniently-located cars for everything else. There is so much cheap parking that some residents store extra cars under tarps in these lots. The Peapod and Fresh Direct trucks keep these residents safe even from the local grocery store. The buildings feel more like Batman’s mansion, and the parking structures are the BatCave, allowing residents to rocket to the nearest mall.



    The NYT article about the Water Street arcades repeatedly says “discredited zoning theory”. I’m not sure exactly what they are referring to, and worse, I’m not quite sure if the author knows what they mean.



    Why would our walking share go up? It’s hard to make the argument that most of NYC isn’t already pretty darn walkable, going to the store and other local things people already walk to, but it’s just that a lot of times where people want to be is kind of far. If you want to go to a Broadway show, go to work, etc, it’s unlikely that you’re walking there unless you already live in Manhattan.

    Our transit ridership has been going up, but as far as I can see, transit mode share has not; we just have more people in NYC now, so more people take the subway.



    That’s Manhattan, and you’ll get no argument from me that biking is faster than transit or cab during the day there.

    Things are different in the boros and in manhattan in the evening.
    E.g. For a while I used to commute from South Brooklyn to Queensbridge. By Subway it took me 90min door to door. By car it took me 70min door to door in the morning during rush hour, and about 45min in the evening.



    Not punish, rather spread the burden.

    As Mid Town Manhattan is a straight grid, cross town tunnel with filtration wold be a far more sensible and environmentally just solution that the status quo placing an excess burden on the non tunneled, non filtered Cross Bronx Expressway- which better fits the charge of punish.



    So we should funnel traffic through local neighborhoods in a misguided attempt to punish the wealthy? (and really punishing everyone as a result)

    Poor people are not as concentrated along arterials as you’re suggesting anyway, especially as we put a lot of new development along them.


    Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    Way in the back? That’s me filming the action overhead!


    Peter Engel

    To me, Vooch sounds a bit like the phone pole hit by a car


    Joe R.

    it’s worth noting the average biking speed can double with e-bikes and decent (i.e. mostly nonstop) bike infrastructure. That puts the 40 minute travel radius out to ~13 miles. This more or less covers outer borough to Manhattan commutes.



    Sorry, why can’t our walking mode share go up? Upzone and eliminate parking mandates. People walk places in dense mixed-use neighborhoods; not so much in neighborhoods that adopt policies that cater to motorists.

    Our walking mode share isn’t high because our city is small. Size of the city has little or nothing to do with it.

    Not sure why you think our transit mode share can’t go up, either – transit ridership has been consistently increasing for years, interrupted only by a major recession.


    Richard Miller

    Does anyone else think like me that the Gil Hodges bridge to the Rockaways should also be on the list?



    protected bike lanes in NYC cost $600k per mile these days. 50 Miles of protected bike Lanes exist in urban NYC (plus 50 more that are on far flung Greenways such as the Jamacia Bay Greenway)

    For a pittance of $25million, NYC could build 50 Miles of protected bike Lanes and double the Network.

    The Existing network supports about 200,000 daily trips. Doubling the network would Support at least another 200,000 Daily trips possiblY as Many as 300,000 Daily Trips due to positive network Effects.

    200-300,000 Daily trips for $25 Million

    What other mobility project Supports so Many people at such little cost ?



    You shouldn’t be making a right hand turn at 25 mph

    And I don’t… and almost nobody does. That’s beyond the limit of traction for most vehicles. I have pretty nice tires, and I even I start to squeal at about 20mph on a 90 degree turn. My ‘natural’ turning speed is about 12 mph.

    As for retracting bollards, besides the cost, reliability would be an issue. If ambulances, cops, et. al. are counting on one to go down as they speed by and it doesn’t for whatever reason… not good.


    Kevin Love

    The world-class Dutch cycling infra costs a not-so-whopping 30 Euros per person annually. It costs me more to take my family out to lunch.

    The best in the world for literally lunch money. See:



    where is the FREE PARKING on the street in this photo ? thought BB would get a chuckle Out of this



    It helps when you’ve built motor vehicle infrastructure – a lane on a three lane bridge that connects to a two lane road – that can be reused without significant impact on existing users. Not always the case, especially when you don’t like bike lanes disappearing at congested spots.



    Even though bridge projects tend to cost more because of engineering & construction issues, they’re often politically easier because they don’t involve parking or re-allocating space in a NIMBY’s backyard.


    Joe R.

    It has to do with the fact a large percentage of France’s population is concentrated in Paris and the surrounding areas, and policy decisions are made to keep it this way. This is a bit different from most of Europe where it seems the population might be more evenly spread in a few major cities. As such, this means the Paris metro area is somewhat more populous than it might otherwise be given France’s population and area.

    The peak densities of Tokyo (~150,000 per square km) rival those of NYC even if the average density is a bit less. One thing notable about Tokyo or Paris versus NYC is the fact that just about everywhere within a certain distance of the city centers has a color on those maps, whereas there are large swaths of NYC where density falls below the threshold to merit a color. Most of those are likely parks or cemeteries. What is notable also is the splotchy density map just outside of city limits. Looks to me like plenty of opportunity for infill development in the inner ring suburbs. NYC could end up resembling the Tokyo metro area if we do that.

    Another factoid here is development in Japan is geographically constrained by mountains. They probably had little choice using every available spot.



    Even the TGV routes were laid out with the thoughts of getting to such and such city in x minutes from Paris.

    I don’t understand, what does this have to do with anything? I thought the conversation was about how people in the city get around day to day.

    most of Paris (and London) seems quite a bit less dense than the denser parts of NYC.

    You could say the same about Tokyo.



    Every advantage includes a half mile detour, increasing trip distance by a third, compared to the more direct bicycle routing?



    thanks – Google maps Is clearly set up by a suburbanite


    Joe R.

    Probably close but consider Paris is a special case. The entire country is pretty much centered around it. Even the TGV routes were laid out with the thoughts of getting to such and such city in x minutes from Paris. That said, most of Paris (and London) seems quite a bit less dense than the denser parts of NYC. They’re closer to maybe the middle of Queens or Brooklyn than to Manhattan.