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  1.  

    Samuel Santaella

    Unfortunately, no. The oldest cars for the numbered lines are about 30 years into their 40 year service life, so expect 10 (or more) years before we see anything new for the numbered lines.

  2.  

    Samuel Santaella

    The pace that DOT is moving to make Conduit safer for all users is disappointing, but on the plus side, they didn’t just arbitrarily slap mediocre infrastructure onto the median. This leaves the possibility for well-designed space for communities that doesn’t have to be ONLY a walking/biking trail (and north/south connectors), but can also incorporate maybe playgrounds, plazas, and wetlands. In other words, it can be another linear park.

    This is one of the long-term goals for the Southern Queens Greenway initiative.

  3.  

    Samuel Santaella

    Even if car ownership rate is low in the immediate communities, many people drive THROUGH. So the questions become how many already do so (to perhaps justify taking away a travel lane), and where could some take alternative routes.

    Ocean Parkway’s configuration would be a step backwards for Conduit. Conduit already comes with massive space already put together. So beyond a walking and biking trail and north-south connectors, there’s further potential for other things, like playgrounds or wetlands. Making it like Ocean Parkway would reduce that space into narrow strips in between moving traffic and add road space; it would take away this potential.

  4.  

    Kevin Love

    You forget the motto of the Albany politicians who control the MTA:

    “Good enough for the likes of you!”

  5.  

    reasonableexplanation

    If you follow the google maps link in the original post, you can see it better (try satellite view too). It looks a bit overgrown in the street view (circa 2012), I haven’t been there this year yet personally, but last year I biked in that area a few times and it was in decent shape+wasn’t overgrown.

  6.  

    Jason

    I’m looking at the picture and don’t see a sidewalk on either side.

  7.  

    reasonableexplanation

    There’s a sidewalk on the westbound side only. Based on the daily news photo, it looks like the driver hit the guy on his front driver side, which means either the guy was right in the travel lane (as reported), or that the guy was walking in the bike lane and driver drifted pretty far into it to hit the guy.

  8.  

    Jeff

    I think that sad, narrow, crumbled strip of barely-visible concrete in that ditch on the right-hand-side is meant to be the sidewalk. Or maybe just some cynical urban planner making fun of the idea of sidewalks? Not quite clear to me.

  9.  

    van_vlissingen

    There’s no sidewalk?

  10.  

    Mike

    Wait so the Lexington avenue line, one of, if not the city’s busiest and most crowded, isn’t getting the open gangway cars?

  11.  

    BBnet3000

    What about the headline “a bicycle bell wouldn’t have saved Matthew von Ohlen” wasn’t clear?

  12.  

    Elizabeth F

    Sorry, say what you want. But my experience was always that commuting over the GWB is far preferable to the Manhattan, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Queensboro bridges, Henry Hudson and University Heights bridges. And of course better than the Verrazano Narrows. Really, the GWB is one of the best bridge experiences around, IMHO.

  13.  

    Simon Phearson

    Well, ride a few hundred miles in the city with a conventional bell, and then get back to me.

  14.  

    Elizabeth F

    So you mean… the planned improvements do not increase supply beyond that proposed by the planned improvements.

  15.  

    Neile

    BTW, you (and others) should feel free to reach out to me.

    https://completegeorge.org/contact/

  16.  

    Neile

    “Not true, the proposed changes do increase supply.”

    No, they don’t. Current sections of the GWB narrow to as little as 4-5′. Whereas, I’ve been using 6.8′ all the way across for FHWA grading purposes — as if the improvements were already in place. Still an “F”.

  17.  

    qrt145

    He is so cool the garage pays him. The Naked Cowboy is the Chuck Norris of NYC!

  18.  

    Elizabeth F

    OK, let’s keep working to get peak stats. However, since the peak here is recreational, I’ll bet there is more elasticity in demand than for commuter peaks (where there is already a lot of elasticity).

    > I have not accounted for the *induced* demand that will surely result from the PA widening the approaches — which should certainly expand the constituency of GWB bike-peds-runner without increasing supply.

    Not true, the proposed changes do increase supply. Currently, the bottleneck is the hairpin turn on the south side approach, plus the excessively narrow approach on the south side. Eliminating those problems will increase the capacity of the entire bridge.

  19.  

    c2check

    Howwwww does the naked cowboy get free garage parking???

  20.  

    BBnet3000

    Plenty can be accomplished by engineering that isn’t half-assed.

  21.  

    Neile

    “The discussion here is a design for PEAK bike traffic, not AVERAGE bike traffic. So now we take an increase in average traffic and blithely apply it to peak traffic. Doesn’t work.”

    I agree that the discussion is for peak use. And that’s what FHWA guidelines call for when assigning a A-F letter grade. Which was what I did when performed street-level traffic counts.

    http://tinyurl.com/gw626wl

    PA installed its own traffic counters three months after I showed them my date, but have yet to disclose the raw data from theirs — FOIA requests notwithstanding.

    I expect that if the PA ever did release the hourly results, it would show peak use to well in excess of FHWA-AASHTO thresholds for widening the paths *now*.

    But I have been able to do is pull projections of average use from what the PA publicly released in 2010 and 2014.

    Also, I have not accounted for the *induced* demand that will surely result from the PA widening the approaches — which should certainly expand the constituency of GWB bike-peds-runner without increasing supply.

  22.  

    new yorker

    It probably was an off-duty cop. That could explain why the 90th precinct is trying to bury the story.

  23.  

    Kevin Love

    “Police Arrest 6 Black Lives Matter Protesters for ‘Blocking Traffic’ in Brooklyn”

    Seriously? NYPD is that out of control?

    Freedom of Assembly is a right. Walking is a right. Cycling is a right. Use of public transit vehicles is a right.

    Driving is a privilege. Not just in New York, but in every one of 50 states driving is NOT a right.

  24.  

    Neile

    “Use a moveable barrier system.”

    MB systems are significant undertakings used to shift middle lanes to accommodate morning-evening rush hours, not outside lanes in the manner you envision.

    http://www.roadstothefuture.com/Zipper_I95_JRB.html

    You’re not going to persuade anyone that a dubious option for sometime in the future is a workable substitute solution for widened paths — which could be online as soon 2020 when the North Path re-opens.

  25.  

    Miles Bader

    Sure, maybe the places you ride, and your riding style, etc, mean that a bell isn’t useful for you.

    But “bells aren’t useful for everybody” is very different than saying “any city rider understands that bike bells are almost entirely useless.”

    As a pedestrian, I am “belled” quite often, and rather like them. It makes me aware of the bicyclist, so I know to be careful, but it’s not obnoxious (OK, you can use a bell obnoxiously, like anything… but it’s easy not to be).

  26.  

    Simon Phearson

    Sure. I hate using my loud device with pedestrians (or other cyclists), when we’re in a quiet situation where a real “bell” would be audible. Though, to be honest, I can’t say I find myself in a lot of those situations, riding around the city. Manhattan PBLs? Bike/ped paths over the bridges? The Hudson River Greenway? There’s usually at least a lot of traffic noise to cut through.

  27.  

    ocschwar

    So much blithe discussion on Gothamist on the theory that Van Ohlen’s killer is a cop who was off duty.

    Yikes.

  28.  

    Simon Phearson

    I think that a judge would say that a bell isn’t really “equipped,” within the meaning of the ordinance, unless it is mounted in such a way as to be readily usable in the normal operation of the bike. If the drafters had intended to allow mere “attachment,” they could have used language to that effect.

  29.  

    Elizabeth F

    As I said, these projections are problematic. What I think is tripping us up is that peak bike demand on the GWB is weekend leisure travel, whereas we are used to thinking about situations where peak demand is weekday commuting. That difference is leading to the problematic projections.

    > And from 2010 to 2014, bike trips across the GWB grew 7.2% annually

    The discussion here is a design for PEAK bike traffic, not AVERAGE bike traffic. So now we take an increase in average traffic and blithely apply it to peak traffic. Doesn’t work.

    Almost certainly, the increase in average here is a sign of increased commuting to/from Palisades towns (which happens 365 days/yr, not the maybe 50 days/yr of leisure travel). Who has the stats on past changes in weekend afternoon bike trips, i.e. the peak that matters here?

    > NYC continues to build out its bike grid at 50 miles per year and bike share (Harlem by 2017) with a target of with the goal of raising bicycle mode share to 6% from 1.5-2%.

    That will continue to result in growth of commuter (currently off-peak) traffic. Maybe someday that traffic will rival leisure (peak) traffic. But it does not today, and has a long way to go.

    As for future increases in peak (leisure) traffic… Does anyone here seriously believe that 6% of traffic on the GWB on weekends will eventually be roadies heading to Nyack for the afternoon? Or that this activity has the capacity to grow at 5%/yr? Or that the improvements in the bike network mentioned above (especially the new TZB crossing) won’t result in leisure travelers choosing a wider variety of routes for their Saturday afternoon spin, possibly lessening peak weekend demand on the GWB?

    If commuter-peak travel is ever 6% of GWB traffic (doubtful for the bridge as mentioned above, even if regional bike mode share gets to 6%), then that would justify repurposing one of the 14 lanes for bikes.

    > At a 5% rate of growth, through 2040.

    As I said before, that’s anyone’s guess. See here for what happens when you mindlessly extrapolate exponential growth:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/07/25/semiconductor_industry_association_international_technology_roadmap_for_semiconductors/

  30.  

    Elizabeth F

    Expansion joints: do the same as they’ve done on the sidewalks. This is not the first bridge with expansion joints that we need to get bikes over.

    Jersey Barrier: Use a moveable barrier system. They’re currently used for the Lincoln Tunnel, Tappan Zee Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, I-93 carpool lane in MA, etc. The barrier could conceivably also be used to make a reversible car lane during the week.

    > What if it’s sunny in morning but rainy in the afternoon?

    You would move the barrier every weekend from Apr-Oct, rain or shine.

    > Upshot is you’re speculating on solutions that are more complex and limiting and expensive than just widening the paths.

    As has bee pointed out, that’s also an option for the future.

  31.  

    Neile

    Current use already justifies a wider facility.

    And from 2010 to 2014, bike trips across the GWB grew 7.2% annually, or 50% faster than NYC overall. And that’s on a facility whose the level of service of “F”, which should be depressing growth if there was any alternative.

    NYC continues to build out its bike grid at 50 miles per year and bike share (Harlem by 2017) with a target of with the goal of raising bicycle mode share to 6% from 1.5-2%. So there’s no reason to think the trend won’t continue, if not accelerate. Under PA’s plan, the wider approaches will likely induce a spurt in demand.

    FWIW, here’s the FHWA chart on a widened paths. It also gives runners and pedestrians their own paths which should, hopefully, minimize cross-use use.

    http://tinyurl.com/jorzhrf

    It’s starts life with a grade of “A”, which is a responsible use of funds and maintains and acceptable level of service through 2030. At a 5% rate of growth, through 2040. Not extravagant by any means.

  32.  

    Neile

    Nice, but you’re still not addressing how you cover the expansion joints or pick up and put down the equivalent of jersey barriers. What if it’s sunny in morning but rainy in the afternoon? Labor involved? Cost? Upshot is you’re speculating on solutions that are more complex and limiting and expensive than just widening the paths.

    If the PA thought it was worthwhile, why aren’t *they* proposing it. Or better, why haven’t they done already?

  33.  

    Elizabeth F

    I just don’t believe the traffic projections in this chart:

    1. I will believe that bicycling overall in NYC is growing by 5%/yr (mostly for commuting). But why would that translate to 5%/yr growth for recreational NYC residents yearning to see a slice of NJ on the weekend? Which is the peak traffic we’re talking about here.

    2. Exponential growth never lasts forever, and it’s often hard to know when the growth will stop. GWB weekend bike traffic forecasts for 2024 are worth about as much as Texas highway traffic forecasts for the same timeframe.

  34.  

    Elizabeth F

    The point is this… even if 6% of Palisades commuters choose bikes, that will NOT result in 6% bicycle commute mode share over the GWB. Because the GWB draws auto traffic from regions far beyond the Palisades that people just won’t be biking in from.

    Growth of bicycle commuting among Palisades residents will mostly drive growth in weekday morning/evening bicycle demand. Currently, commuter demand is far below capacity. A fraction of what one experiences on the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges.

  35.  

    Elizabeth F

    > Source? I counted as many 536 users per hour across the GWB in April.

    Source is my experience that I only see crowds on warm sunny weekend days. OK, Spring/Summer/Fall. Once you count rain, that’s maybe 50 days/yr? Most of the times I’ve crossed the bridge on bike, it’s nearly deserted.

    > If cyclists are in the outside westbound lane, how do you propose to get cars traveling at 40 mph across the bike lane it to access the PIPC?

    That exit happens 400′ after the bridge touches ground. Within that 400′, you merge the bikes back out of the travel lane, and onto the planned ramp and overpass that will take bikes to Hudson Terrace in Ft. Lee. Since that ramp is not part of the bridge per se, there are no structural constraints on its width.

    The effect on cars would be the same as any other time the right lane is closed — i.e. minimal, and they can still get to the PIPC just fine.

  36.  

    Neile

    There’s no way to *manage* your way out of a manifestly inadequate facility. Particularly not one where you’re mixing children, skateboarders, runners and dog walkers with category racers and CitiBikes.

    Imagine managing Williamsburg Bridge volume of users with each side half as wide. That’s what the GWB will be like in 2024 under the PA’s current plan.

    http://tinyurl.com/gpbv3tw

  37.  

    Neile

    “In any case… if traffic is backed up heading eastbound you could always take a westbound lane for bikes.”

    If cyclists are in the outside westbound lane, how do you propose to get cars traveling at 40 mph across the bike lane it to access the PIPC? You can’t.

    “and then in the summer only.”

    Source? I counted as many 536 users per hour across the GWB in April.

    https://completegeorge.org/needs/1504-throughput/#_edn1

  38.  

    kevd

    don’t you know? Terrorists only operate at night.
    and on foot or bike.
    so the path has to close at night.
    for “safety”

  39.  

    Elizabeth F

    That contradicts what NJBWC chair said in writing regarding this project. I smell a fish somewhere, I just don’t know where…

  40.  

    CtotheC

    Hmm in that case, why wouldn’t NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission be totally *for* this, because you’ll have to take a cab if you don’t allow private cars? Except there are too many cars in Manhattan now. Only thing you can probably do is to close tunnels and bridges coming in in the mornings. Or, support congesting pricing with Move NY.

  41.  

    Neile

    “The most serious problem is the discomfort from the structural engineers.”

    That directly contradicts what PA Director told the Commissioners. Also what PA engineers have told me. That the plans I proposed are not that different than *their* plans for widening the path. The obstacle is funding. “If you write us a check for $90 million, we’ll do it.”

  42.  

    Elizabeth F

    > Presuming 10% will not stay on the pedestrian side the net effect on the cycling side of having a second path will be marginal at best.

    There are many ways to manage the bridge that could potentially provide higher throughput and would be enabled under the current construction plan. For example:

    1. Eastbound on one side, westbound on the other.
    2. Free-for-all, anybody use any side.

    Anyway, it’s one friggin’ mile. Nobody said you have to have free-flowing bicycle traffic at 20mph. Heck, the cars are lucky to sustain 20mph during peak hours.

  43.  

    Elizabeth F

    > If you regard the cost of a fix during recabling as too high

    We all know it’s a rounding error on the cost of the project as whole. The most serious problem is the discomfort from the structural engineers.

    > If 110 (now 130) bike clubs, shops and elected officials from across the region, including eleven members of Congress, are not adequate constituency to get this project moving, then who is?

    It’s hard to predict how the political climate will change 30-50 years in the future. However, the laws of Physics are not going to change. Whatever structural problems there are with this design today, they will still be there 50 years from now. No matter how much the politicians want it to be so.

  44.  

    Neile

    “In the meantime, the improvements they ARE doing are significant and could potentially double bicycle capacity if needed.”

    Except it’s not. Ped-runner traffic during peak periods is 15-25%. Presuming 10% will not stay on the pedestrian side — as traffic engineers and NY Road Runners (referred to in the letter you sited) have stated — the net effect on the cycling side of having a second path will be marginal at best.

    Certainly not enough to offset a projected doubling of bike trips between 2014 and 2024 when PA scheme is due to come online.

    I raised some questions for the PA on this:

    – If 600 users per hour are insufficient to warrant widening the GWB now, then how much more crowded does it need to get?

    – If you regard the cost of a fix during recabling as too high, then what’s the likelihood that a standalone job, at far greater cost and disruption, will find acceptance later?

    – If 110 (now 130) bike clubs, shops and elected officials from across the region, including eleven members of Congress, are not adequate constituency to get this project moving, then who is?

    https://completegeorge.org/needs/1604-2/

  45.  

    Elizabeth F

    > You said you *commuted* for three years. You worked weekends? I’ve returned across the GWB on any number of Sat-Sun afternoons with the East bound return lanes bumper-to-bumper. That’s why the PA charges peak pricing.

    Yes I’ve driven a lot on weekends. It’s nothing like on weekdays, where 40-minute waits to get on the bridge are common. The traffic problems you experience could be due to the dysfunctional cross-Bronx, which has only 6 lanes compared to 14 on the GWB.

    In any case… if traffic is backed up heading eastbound you could always take a westbound lane for bikes.

    > And physically, if you were to block off a lane for Sat-Sun mornings and afternoons, how would you manage it?

    This was suggested by NJBWC chair. Certainly easier problem than building out new structure for peak traffic that happens not 5-10x/week, but just 2x/week and then in the summer only.

  46.  

    Elizabeth F

    > In March, PA Director of Bridges and Tunnels Cedric Fulton publicly affirmed to Commissioners GWB paths could be widened at any time.

    You mean, in this document?

    https://www.panynj.gov/corporate-information/foi/16012-O.pdf

    He also suggested that there are structural engineering issues with adding the paths.

    But no matter… if the bridge can be widened at any time, that contradicts the claim that we have to do it now because we’re building out the GWB for the next 100 years. Path widening can be done in 2028, or 2050, or whenever PA decides to spend the $90m to do so.

    In the meantime, the improvements they ARE doing are significant and could potentially double bicycle capacity if needed.

  47.  

    Neile

    You said you *commuted* for three years. You worked weekends? I’ve returned across the GWB on any number of Sat-Sun afternoons with the East bound return lanes bumper-to-bumper. That’s why the PA charges peak pricing.

    And physically, if you were to block off a lane for Sat-Sun mornings and afternoons, how would you manage it? What lane would you put it in? How would you cover over the expansion joints which could swallow a bike wheel? Can you site an existing example of movable barrier systems used to facilitate bike access? Laying down orange cones is a safety non-starter.

  48.  

    Neile

    In March, PA Director of Bridges and Tunnels Cedric Fulton publicly affirmed to Commissioners GWB paths could be widened at any time. (I’m not aware of any way to widen the paths other than cantilevering.)

    A similar arrangement has been proposed by Parsons-Brinckerhoff for the Verrazano, which has a similar configuration as the GWB.

  49.  

    Elizabeth F

    I spent 3 yr. in NJ, getting across the bridge by car and bike. And I can tell you, the peak hour (by far) for motor vehicles is during the week. Traffic just isn’t such a concern on weekends.

  50.  

    Neile

    EZPASS PEAK HOURS, Weekdays: 6-10 a.m., 4-8 p.m;
    Sat. & Sun.: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. http://www.panynj.gov/bridges-tunnels/tolls.html