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  1.  

    StepUpAndSaySomething

    Tax dollars well spent.

  2.  

    BBnet3000

    That would be the first location I know of with protected bike lanes going in both directions except for 2-way lanes with a natural barrier to one side (like Kent St in Williamsburg and parts of Flushing Ave), which would be a really big deal.

    But lets face it: the DOT has no idea how to handle the turning conflicts, and having parking lining the whole length harms the visibility of cyclists irreparably.

    The DOT just does not have the quality of design or the ability to fend off those unelected advisory councils of elderly car owners (Community Boards) to pull off 4th Avenue. Its a shame, because 5th Avenue is such a horrid experience for cycling but is still heavily used for cycling.

  3.  

    Doug G.

    If most of the work is on the painted medians in the middle of 4th – which more or less match the width of the subway vents – then there’s probably no effect on the potential for protected bike lanes in the future. You can’t really build on those anyway, nor would you want to put a bike lane there. The bigger issue is dealing with the existing curb extensions at the corners, such as the ones closer to Atlantic and Flatbush which were installed as part of the Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Project. Those make curbside lanes very difficult and expensive to put in down the line.

    Hopefully we’ll reach a day when we can play with the car lanes and – Cover your eyes, community board members! – lose a handful of parking spaces along the curb to benefit the growing number of people who bike on this very dangerous street.

  4.  

    G

    Let’s narrow the driving lanes further and install protected bike lanes.

  5.  

    Car Free Nation

    I bike on fourth all the time (going south anyway). The wide parking lanes are not as nice as a protected lane, but much better than a standard bike lane.

  6.  

    Jeff

    The shortcomings of private auto as a day-to-day mode of transportation in Manhattan are not relevant here. If you have an obscene amount of money and just want a car for that odd trip upstate or whatever (situations in which people like us might rent a car), why not pay $1MM to make that rare occurrence that much more convenient?

  7.  

    Ben Fried

    I could be wrong but there might be enough slack in the wide parking lanes and remaining motor vehicle lanes that curbside protected bike lanes are still possible.

  8.  

    Jeff

    I love traffic calming as much as the next guy, but unfortunately this means that the lack of proper bike infrastructure on 4th Ave will be literally set in stone.

  9.  

    Opafiets

    Totally missed that that’s a parking lane not a driving lane.

  10.  

    J Milan

    How did this get to be about helmets?

    This excellent post is about your public officials shirking responsibility.

    When will the cycling and pedestrian community stop blaming their gear for the violence of automobile drivers and the police who ‘don’t have time’ to do their job?

    When will we stop asking if the automobile driver was drunk or texting or tired, etc?

  11.  

    Wilfried84

    It’s a parking protected bike lane, according to the picture, just like 1st Ave., 2nd Ave. etc. 7th Ave. is one way, so they propose a one way bike lane, as on most one way streets. Why would it need to be two way? Is 6′ with 4′ buffer really narrower than any other protected bike lane in the city?

  12.  

    lop

    6 feet is only too narrow for a one way lane if half of it is in the door zone.

    You’re right it’s one way, they want you to go a block over if you want to travel the other direction.

  13.  

    Opafiets

    6′ is exceptionally narrow for the bike lane, even if it’s one-way and there’s one on both sides of the street. I assume this is supposed to be a two-way bike lane given there’s only one?

    Note that this is NOT a protected bike lane but a buffered bike lane. There are significant differences in the two and of how subjectively safe each feels.

  14.  

    millerstephen

    @disqus_vcgQeqozWU:disqus: That’s the “northward extension of the median made out of flexible posts that currently divides traffic on Varick Street approaching the Holland Tunnel” that’s part of the parents’ proposal described in the article.

  15.  

    Flakker

    Larry, I know a candidate for office who would like hear your ideas. Would you please email Gary Carsel, candidate for State Senate in the 24th District? His address is gcarsel@carselforstatesenate.com

  16.  

    Alex

    Why are there flex posts between the left and center drive lanes?

  17.  

    Alan Jacobs

    There’s a lot of excitement all up and down 7th Ave. over this idea. My journeys home to 13th St. from Trader Joe or Whole Foods, with bags draped over my Citibike handlebars, are what motivates me to push for bike accommodations on 7th Ave. above 14th St.

  18.  

    Bob

    Yes! Great work parents! I cannot understand why every avenue is not a complete street. Nevermind bikers and pedestrians, the protected bike lanes remove so much congestion from cars waiting to turn left (check out Park Ave – it has only one real moving lane, which gets choked by cars in other lanes turning into it to avoid cars waiting to turn). 7th is a zoo from Central Park to the tunnel. This would be a great step for Manhattan – it would also increase property values for anyone who owns nearby as well as increase foot traffic for stores.

  19.  

    Joe R.

    You could interpret it that way but it’s probably a little bit of both. Remember when I first started riding a bike as a child in the 1960s bike helmets didn’t really exist. They really weren’t all that common even when I started riding for real in the streets in 1978. Basically, the decision to not wear a helmet was made for me until helmets started becoming somewhat mainstream (late 1980s/early 1990s?). At that point I had a choice. Obviously since I was used to riding without a helmet I continued riding that way. Once I had access to the Internet I decided to do some research to see if in fact my decision to not use a helmet placed me in more danger. That’s really the point where it became more “rational engineering analysis” than “rational sounding justification after the fact”. Had I found multiple studies which showed major benefits for helmet use, I may well have tried to work through all the discomfort/distraction issues I mentioned. However, that’s not what I found. Certainly there was some evidence helmets were effective, sometimes, in certain types of accidents. However, it was not enough in my mind to change what I was doing. Interestingly, the newer the study, the lower the benefits attributed to helmet use. It’s also telling that in major cycling countries almost nobody wears helmets but the per capita injury/death rate on bikes is much lower than here.

    Call it whatever you want, but be aware than I didn’t make my decision in a vacuum. That’s really what I’m looking for here-every cyclist should weigh the pros and cons on their own, do the basic research, without articles in the media, or public service flyers, influencing their decision.

  20.  

    Bolwerk

    Pro-investing tip: try to predict and exploit the irrationality of the next buyer!

  21.  

    Bolwerk

    I don’t know if anyone is anyone’s pocket in this dynamic, but de Blasio is deathly afraid of any disapproval from the delusional crime crusaders (still crusading against crime like it’s 1989).

    Rather than get 1000 new officers, they could start by replacing the officers that practice head bashing, genital squeezing, and ethnic beatdowns. I don’t know if there are a thousand, but we’d probably be lucky if there are so few.

  22.  

    Mike Francesa

    There’s a difference between applying a ‘rational engineering analysis’ to decision-making and coming up with a rational sounding justification after the fact.

  23.  

    Joe R.

    What could be argued to be mass irrationality is society assigning so much value to cars and parking in the first place.

    That’s kind of what I was getting at in my usual verbose, roundabout way.

  24.  

    qrt145

    They can be nauseating sometimes, no question about that. :)

  25.  

    Joe R.

    You’re right but there’s also another issue here regarding cabs and flying which I forgot to mention-I have a pretty severe allergy to aromatic hydrocarbons. In layman’s terms that means I get physically nauseous riding in a car for more than maybe an hour (15 minutes if we’re talking stop-and-go city traffic). I also get nauseous just being in airports with the trace of jet exhaust fumes making its way into the buildings. It also happens to be convenient that I rarely need to travel by car, and I never need to fly.

    We probably all have equally silly reasons for not doing certain things. Lots of people I’ve known refuse to ride a bike because they perceive it as dangerous. No matter how hard I try, I can’t convince these people otherwise. Even my 36 years and 72,000+ miles of riding without anything more serious than road rash fails to convince these people.

  26.  

    J_12

    I’m already 99% sure that DeBlasio is in Bratton’s pocket, but if he approves the 1,000 additional NYPD officers that just confirms it.

  27.  

    Jonathan R

    First, It’s $1m in equity, not $1m in operating costs. The spot will be sold when the owner sells the apartment, probably for a profit.

    Second, tenant has a driver, who parks his own car in the spot while driving the tenant around in the tenant’s car.

    Third, as the Times article mentions, there aren’t many other parking options in SoHo.

  28.  

    qrt145

    It’s not _that_ irrational for the individual to pay $1 million for a parking spot because there is a fairly reasonable expectation that it will eventually sell for even more. It’s similar to paying millions for a rare painting: it’s not a consumable, but a way of parking/investing money while getting some use out of it in the meantime, whether for decoration (the painting), car storage (the parking spot), or impressing your guests (both).

    Of course, as with any investment there are risks. For example, you could become mayor and ban cars from Manhattan, making the parking spot nearly worthless. ;-)

    What could be argued to be mass irrationality is society assigning so much value to cars and parking in the first place.

  29.  

    qrt145

    Joe, I mostly agree with you about helmets, but find it odd that you can apply such a rational engineering analysis to the risks and benefits of helmets but still refuse to fly or ride cabs based on subjective feelings of safety. :-)

  30.  

    Joe R.

    I read about the $1 million parking spots yesterday. Anyone who pays that to park their car, even if they have the money, should have their head examined. It makes no sense on so many levels. I thought most of the very wealthy are well-versed in business? From a business standpoint it makes no sense to pay much more money to store an asset than the asset is worth. It makes even less sense when one considers how car travel in Manhattan often isn’t much faster than walking. It’s certainly slower than biking or taking the subway for most trips. Finally, if these people for whatever reason still think it’s worthwhile to travel by car in Manhattan, they have plenty of options in terms of taxis or limo services. Really, $1 million park spots are so illogical that it smacks of mental illness. Then again, such a description probably explains why our society tolerates widespread private auto use, despite decades of evidence on the negatives of such use. I guess the super wealthy who pay $1 million to park their cars are analogous to extreme smokers or drinkers or drug users who just can’t stop because that temporary high feels so good.

  31.  

    Joe R.

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. What we’re doing here is like fighting Ebola with aspirin, rather than looking for a real cure. I hope in the remainder of my life we’ll at least get a handle on ending this tragic episode in the history of humanity.

  32.  

    Ferdinand Cesarano

    Unfortunately, society has decided to give out driver’s licences essentially for the asking, with no meaningful test of capability.

    In a sane society, a driver’s test would be one which only a small fraction of people could pass, only after much training. It should be similar to obtaining a pilot’s licence. Driving would then properly be a seen as a skill which can be entrusted only to a small cadre of highly-trained professionals.

    However, this is not a sane society, but a terribly sick one. And we are stuck with the consequences our unwise policy with respect to driving. These consequences include roads dominated by deadly incompetents; runaway pollution; the disgusting phenomenon of suburbia; and the entrenchment in the public mind of driving as a right rather than a privilege, and of the personal auto as an entitlement.

    It’s depressing to understand that the best we can do is to fight the symptoms here and there, as the disease proceeds unchecked.

  33.  

    Joe R.

    Steve,

    I actually like the way you mentioned helmet use in your reply earlier, specifically: “She is of the opinion that the helmet saved her from a more serious head injury, and I think she’s right.”

    That sentence can’t be misinterpreted as anything other than the opinion of two people. Something like “…managing to escape with her life (in large part because she was wearing a helmet)” can be misinterpreted as fact by the types of victim-blamers I mentioned.

    I don’t approve of censorship either. I’m glad in a way that you put the bit about helmets in the article because it resulted in the more nuanced conversation we’re having right now. Hopefully whoever reads that will also read the comments. I just feel we as a society need to move away from the general idea that vulnerable users of any sort should be forced to use protection of some type because we absolutely refuse to take the motor vehicle menace seriously. We’ve even seen that with pedestrians-specifically the police flyer last year advising pedestrians to carry flashlights and wear reflective clothing at night. I hope we eventually approach the norms in cycling-friendly countries where helmets are hardly used, and felt by most people to be largely unnecessary.

    Finally, I hope you’re able to find some measure of justice for Dulcie Canton. This case is a microcosm of everything wrong with the NYPD’s approach to traffic violence.

  34.  

    SteveVaccaro

    I don’t agree with the idea that we cannot mention benefits of helmet use because it “plays into” overblown and misguided arguments favoring mandatory helmet use or blaming victims. To me, that is hiding from fact-based, rational discourse.

  35.  

    SheRidesABike

    Ha, Cuomo so tone deaf he cites how he’s championed the fraught residents of Westchester county by rolling back their taxes. . . . Westchester, year after year among the U.S. counties with highest per capita income. #DriversFirst and #RichPeopleFirst!

  36.  

    Joe R.

    The issue here isn’t whether or not helmets provide protection. Although it’s probably exceedingly rare, there are certainly cases where a helmet may save a person from much more serious injury in a bike-motor vehicle collision, even if statistically they’re close to ineffectual in such situations by virtue of their design. And obviously helmets may be somewhat more effective in bike only incidents, particular low-speed incidents.

    Rather, the issue here is that even mentioning a helmet gets us started on the “blame the victim” meme. Others less knowledgeable than your usual Streetsblog readers may interpret what you wrote to mean any cyclist not wearing a helmet who gets seriously injured in a collision with a motor vehicle is partially at fault. They might say Dulcie Canton is only alive today because she wore a helmet, so every cyclist who doesn’t is risking their lives. It may indeed be true in this case that a helmet made a marked difference in the outcome. Nobody can really answer that because we would need to duplicate the same collision, with the same person, then look at the results, in order to determine that. Obviously that’s neither feasible nor remotely ethical. However, it may also be true that helmets may sometimes make a difference in motor vehicle-pedestrian collisions. The fact that they’re never mentioned in that context, but frequently mentioned in the context of bike collisions, is at best a double standard. We shouldn’t encourage that, even on a subtle level.

    Just for full disclosure, I’ve never worn a helmet. I made my decision based on looking a reams of studies. I also considered that given my riding habits and times I ride, a collision of any sort was exceedingly unlikely. A collision where a helmet might make a difference-namely one at low speed involving the bike only, was even more unlikely given that I just don’t ride in the ~10 mph or less zone where helmets are statistically effective (assuming you hit your head, which again isn’t all that likely in most bike accidents).

    The type of collision most likely to kill me, and one I pretty much can’t avoid via defensive riding, is exactly the type of collision which happened here-being hit from being at high speed by a motor vehicle. It’s also the type of collision in which helmets offer a vanishingly small measure of protection. Basically, that’s what it comes down to. Most skilled cyclists can avoid the types of collisions where a helmet may make a difference but not the few where they won’t. From that I concluded a helmet was of no value to me personally, particularly given the numerous downsides-blocked visibility, overheating, abrasion from the strap, distorted hearing, increased possibility of rotational injury. Helmet use is a very personal area where each cyclist should make up their own mind. Anything which suggests otherwise, even at a subtle level, does us a disservice.

  37.  

    Joe Enoch

    Those businesses are loving it, too. On a nice weekend afternoon, every business along that stretch is packed with customers — even without smorgasburg. Meanwhile automobiles zoom by without even a chance to see what’s for sale!

  38.  

    Geck

    $25 million tiger grant for Vision Zero street improvement is good news given the lack of dedicated funding in the City budget. Does anyone know what Gowanus Greenway improvements are included?

  39.  

    Samuel L Bronkovitz Presents

    Thank you for saying this. Often the “green” movement, in its priveldge, falls completely for these smiling weasel “tough on crime” people, failing to recognize what that does to the majority of people.

  40.  

    SteveVaccaro

    As happens in many cyclist crash cases I have handled, Dulcie’s helmet took serious damage, and so did her head. She is of the opinion that the helmet saved her from a more serious head injury, and I think she’s right. I have handled other cases in which helmeted cyclists sustained severe, life-changing head injuries notwithstanding helmet use (in those cases the injuries to the brain occurred due to trauma to the base of the skull, which is not protected by most helmets, or due to overwhelming pressure, as when the vehicle wheel passes over the victim’s head).

    No one is suggesting that helmets are perfectly effective against head trauma from traffic injuries, or that mandatory helmet use is the correct policy response to reckless drivers. That would be silly.

    But it would be equally silly to suggest that helmets provide no protection. People should make up their own minds about whether to wear helmets, based on facts, not rhetoric–regardless of whether the rhetoric is pro-helmet or anti-helmet. But one fact people should take into account, which is very clearly shown in Dulcie’s case, is that riding skill and behavior alone are not enough to guard against head trauma on the grid. Dulcie was using lights front and back, wearing light colored clothing, keeping to the side of the road, riding predictably, and following all the traffic rules, and this scumbag just drove right through her.

    The conclusion I have drawn from this and other crashes is that it makes sense to wear my helmet in certain situations–at night, when it’s raining, when road cycling at higher speeds, or when making trips through trafficky routes on the grid. But I still enjoy riding helmetless in clear sunny weather on the greenway, in the park, or on weekend errands around the neighborhood. I respect other people’s choices to take a different approach, and oppose mandatory helmet laws, but I think censoring or shouting out factual information about the likely effects of helmet use–both good and bad effects–is wrong. IMO, we get too much of that from both sides of the “helmet debate.”

  41.  

    danbrotherston

    If you’re the kind of person who revs your engine or honks at kids I cannot comprehend why we as a society allow you to drive a motor vehicle.

  42.  

    qrt145

    That’s no bike lane. It’s a dooring station.

  43.  

    kio

    Or remove parking wherever there is a left turn bay and have the cars swing right if they aren’t turning.

  44.  

    Lane

    Wow seriously? only 4′ lanes? Meanwhile cars get grossly excessive 11′ lanes and a 5′ median (more space separating cars from each other than separating the two-way bike path from traffic AND wider than the the bike path lanes!)

  45.  

    danbrotherston

    Just make sure your weapon of choice is a car, apparently its okay then.

  46.  

    Came out'a nowhere

    Right on. But, ugh. This should just be deleted: “(in large part because she was wearing a helmet).” Do we really know that? Does it help her case or cycling in general? Foam hats are poor profalaxis against malicious/errant motorists.

  47.  

    Joe R.

    Speed humps are designed to slow cars to ~20 mph. If they’re not comfortable to bike over at that speed or less then they’re not done right. The issue here is the transition point. Sometimes you get a smooth transition from the hump to the street. Other times you transition abruptly from street level to a couple of inches higher. It’s practically like hitting a curb in that case, even at 5 mph, and often you can’t tell which type of transition you’ll get until you’re nearly on top of it. Bottom line-either get rid of speed humps in favor of the other measures mentioned by Eric, or have passthroughs for bikes (and I don’t mean the defacto passthrough between the speed hump and curb where you might need to hit a spot about 3 inches wide).

    We keep doing this and that to slow drivers down, but drivers keep laughing in our face defeating our “solutions”. I’m convinced the only reliable fix will be to govern all vehicles to the speed limit via GPS. Anything else depends upon voluntary compliance or enforcement. Neither is particularly reliable in the long run.

    We might also try raising the speed limits on our highways to provide an inducement to get vehicles off surface streets.

  48.  

    lop

    And if not put in a bike lane with no hump on the road and then no problem.

  49.  

    lop

    Speed humps like raised crosswalks are fine on a bike aren’t they? At least if you slow down to ~ 5 mph?

  50.  

    Daniel

    I was just in Iceland last week and there most city crosswalks are flush with the sidewalk and there is a midblock crossing on most streets, so you end up with 3 speed humps per block. There are several varieties of humps but none are as agressive as the speed humps you see here. In a car at least you hardly feel them if you are traveling below the 19 mph speed limit.

    There has been a 69% drop in Icelandic traffic deaths from 2002 to 2012 as speed humps, neckdowns, lower speed limits, speed cameras and dedicated bicycle lanes have been phased in (vs a 22% fatality decrease in the US over the same time period).

    Note: Most bicycle paths in the Reykjavik are flush with the sidewalk and not the roadway so you don’t experience the humps if you are on a bicycle path.