Holiday Headlines

Here are some links to keep all of you hardcore Livable Streets junkies from suffering withdrawal symptoms during the holiday publishing hiatus. As always, feel free to talk amongst yourselves in the comments section…

seoul.jpg
A picture of Seoul, Korea from Forbes Magazine’s most congested cities.

  • Charlie D.

    Re: The greening of Paris

    It’s interesting to hear the opponents… There are people around the globe that seem to think car accessibility = economic growth and health. We have been and continue to try to battle this myth. For some reason most small business owners think that if everyone can’t drive and park at their store, they will go out of business. This is not true, and has been proven time and time again. What will it take to get people to realize this?

  • Steve

    I guess I’m in the hardcore junkie category. Was glad to see the report of ticketing on the new Upper West Side bike lanes, although I tend to agree with the motorist interviewed who thought it was “dumb” to ticket those double-parked during street cleaning. The real problem is the incidental double-parking throughout each day; ticketing during street cleaning seems like a shortcut by the cops to me. Still, it puts residents on notice that the bike lane rules will be enforced. I would hope each of the ticket recipients will now think twice about parking in a bike lane anywhere in the city.

    I’ve been thinking about enforcement against bike lane violations, both those involving commercial vehicles under the city’s stipulated fine/commercial collections program (see discussion here: http://www.streetsblog.org/2006/12/06/traffic-relief-advocates-meet-your-opponents/#comments, at comment #14), and the passenger car violations discussed in the Times article. It seems to me that it is hard to have an informed discussion about whether there is enforcement, and whether it is working, without data. Unfortunately, the city Department of Finance only provides violation data piecemeal, based on searches by license plate. See discussion here: http://nyc.mybikelane.com/post/index/207. So I have made a request today for information on bike pane violations from the Department of Finance, pursuant to the NY Freedom of Information Law. Let’s see what happens. Records requested are pasted in below:

    1. All records constituting or referring to any provision of the SF/CCP that “requires participating companies [in the SF/CCP] to make good-faith efforts to comply with New York City Traffic Rules” (quoted language taken from DoF website).
    2. All records referring to or evidencing the termination of any participant in the SF/CCP program from the program, based on that participant’s failure “to make good-faith efforts to comply with New York City Traffic Rules” (quoted language taken from DoF website).
    3. All records referring to or effecting the classification of parking violations (including without limitation parking or traveling in bicycle lanes by vehicles) as an “amenable” or “partially amenable” violation under the SF/CCP, and/or referring to the reason(s) for such classification.
    4. For parking tickets issued during the period of January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2006 that specify the violation code 48 (description: “bike lane”), data showing with respect to each such ticket: (a) the ticket number; (b) the amount of the fine; (c) the violation code; (d) the violation description; (e) the location of the violation; (f) the date of the violation; (g) the amount due on the ticket; (h) the license plate (including state) of the ticketed vehicle; and (i) information concerning whether a hearing has been requested or held, and concerning the disposition of the ticket at such hearing (if any). This information is requested for each ticket written for violation code 48 during the specified period, regardless of whether the ticket has been fully paid, partially paid, or unpaid, and regardless of whether a hearing was or has been requested and regardless of the disposition of the ticket at any hearing. Please provide the data in electronic format (e.g., Microsoft Excel or Access, comma-delineated “flat file”).

  • brent

    Another junkie here.
    Many SB readers are aware of how reporters use verbiage to manipulate people’s emotions in transportation stories. It is very clear from the title of The NPR report ‘Greening’ of Paris Rough on Motorists by Eleanor Beardsley whose point of view they are relating (motorists) and how events impact them (rough!). Because of this, I do not take too much issue with the fact that the entire report is propaganda focusing mostly on the negative consequences of auto reduction. There is, however, one dangerous passage when the reporter makes claim that the mayor is attempting to, “banish the automobile from the city” implying no cars allowed; an alarming statement and an unreasonable goal. This is contradicted moments later when Beardsley cites that the mayor has a goal of reducing the number of vehicles in the city by 40%. This might seem a reasonable goal to many, but by this point in the story the listener may already be thinking the mayor is a nut.

  • Boogiedown

    “Here are some links to keep all of you hardcore Livable Streets junkies from suffering withdrawal symptoms during the holiday publishing hiatus.”

    Thank Gawd! Thought it was just me!

  • galvoguy

    re:Upper West Side
    Stepping on Toes in the Double-Parking Dance

    i think this may be one of the reasons why communities fight bike lanes.

  • steve

    Galvoguy, you’re right. An interviewee in the article laments the loss of double-parking opportunities due to bike lanes and school buses loading and unlaoding. Naturally the articles fails to mention why the city might want to favor school buses and bicyclists over free parkers like her, whose breathtaking sense of entitlement apparently extends beyond the free parking lanes of each side street to the right to double park illegally next to those lanes. I have no sympathy for her ilk.

  • Hi, my name is Aaron…

    I actually think this ticket blitzing of double-parkers is somewhat of a disaster for NYC bike advocacy and the ongoing creation of bike lanes.

    Like it or not, these folks have been allowed to do this kind of double parking for years. To one day give them tickets without any warning seems about as unfair and stupid as randomly stopping cyclists on the Manhattan Bridge and ticketing them for not having bells or lights.

    The main result of this policy, as I’ve seen in Brooklyn, are neighborhoods and communities angry at NYC cyclists and resistant to new cycling infrastructure and amenities. Basically, the ticket blitz turns bike lanes into a huge negative for the neighborhoods through which the bike lanes run.

    Without a doubt, this policy makes it harder to win future bike improvements. I experienced this when I worked on the Fifth Avenue bike lane in Brooklyn. The number one concern of merchants on 5th Ave was that a bike lane would mean their customers would get more and more expensive tickets for double parking and loading in front of stores. Clearly, the answer here is that we need better curbside parking space management so that stores that need loading and unloading have space for it. But NYC’s agencies and policymakers aren’t putting forward any ideas along these lines. They’re just giving motorists tickets for parking on bike lanes. So the bike lane is the problem to these folk.

    Here’s another big point: The double parking custom saves us from unnecessary traffic congestion on street cleaning days. In areas where the double parking isn’t customary you see lots and lots of vehicles simply circling neighborhood street cruising for parking in the hour after alternate side parking starts. Wouldn’t we rather have these parking spot seekers double-parked than rolling around the city wasting gasoline, street space and carbon emissions looking for a parking spot?

    In lieu of NYC getting down to properly managing its parking space, the amicable solution that’s been worked out for this problem on Dean and 2nd Streets in Brooklyn is totally absurd. Rather than parking on the bike lane, the double-parkers now park just outside the bike lane. Personally, I hate riding between two rows of parked cars with twice the chance of being doored and nowhere to go if something is in my way. So, I ride in the travel lane which is extra narrow because the double parkers are now making room for the (rendered useless) bike lane. So, when I find myself riding on one of these streets during street cleaning hours, I have to worry about getting honked at and harried by the cars behind me on a too-narrow street.

    Until we get some rational parking policy in this town, I say let them double park on top of the bike lane for a few hours a week. Seems to me to be the least destructive solution immediately at hand.

    I’m sure others have strong feelings about it too…

  • ABG

    About the temporary FDR roadway:

    This whole idea has frustrated me for a long time. First of all, those of us familiar with the principle of induced demand know that if capacity on the FDR were reduced by half (with enough time for people to make alternate arrangements), it would just mean that many cars off the road. How much did it cost to build this temporary road so that a few private car owners (no trucks allowed, right?) aren’t inconvenienced for a few months?

    Second, we want a park. We want the east side greenway to be continuous. Why not at least talk about taking some lanes from the FDR? It would have a snowball’s chance in hell, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be mentioned. It’s only by mentioning far-fetched (but still quite sensible) ideas that the moderate ones seem less far-fetched.

    Similar with the Hudson River greenway between 87th and 125th streets. Why not at least mention the possibility of taking a single lane (out of what, six? eight?) for a greenway connector, rather than waiting for funding for some elaborate job with landfill and cantilevers?

  • da

    Well Aaron I appreciate the nuances you’re advancing here. Definitely need to eliminate some parking on streets to allow for deliveries etc.

    But how long must we listen to the whining from people who insist on maintaining a car in the streets of NYC: “Where am I supposed to park my car?”

    Hey buddy, that’s YOUR PROBLEM.

    I say, ticket ’em! Early and often!!!

  • steve

    Aaron, as indicated in comment #2, I might accomodate alt side parkers but only unofficially under the explicit “zero tolerance” policy announced by NYPD in the article. The Dean St. scenario you decry is not 2X the dooring risk (cars in the parking lane are hemmed in, so no one’s getting out) and is preferable to the traffic lane for lower speed bicyclists like kids. Why should bicyclists alone bear the burden of the lack of a holistic parking policy? Why apologize for these motorists andtheir entitlement?

  • crzwdjk

    The problem, da, is that even though the majority of New Yorkers are not motorists, even fewer are cyclists, and, for various (often self-perpetuating) reasons, most people tend to identify with motorists much more than with cyclists. And antagonizing the majority is not a very good way to get what you want in a democratic system.

  • CB

    I second the idea of rational parking policies. I would love to see my city, SF, put curbside spaces up for bid. We do have neighborhood parking permits in the most dense or busy areas of the City; I think they now cost a paltry $50 per year, riased from $25. If they went up for auction, block by block, and there were only as many permits as spots, I wonder how much they would go for? And of course meter parking for business districts with adequate loading zones. Ah, rational parking policies. Why so difficult to get?

  • I agree with Aaron that the ticket blitz did nothing but build more tension between motorists and cyclists. We should have more incentive to garage cars overnight instead of leaving them on the street continuously for weeks on end and wasting an hour of someone’s time every day. The police should more evenly enforce this across the board, not just in bike lanes and what they should focus on is people who violate the 3 minute idling law.

  • Dave

    Aaron:

    The key phrase is “In lieu of NYC getting down to properly managing its parking space”. Instead of griping about double-parking there needs to be better management of curbside parking; the fact that there is no permit parking in NYC astounds me when it is in every other east coast city…even Hoboken.

    Restrict curbside parking to those who pay tax in NYC and register their cars here… and then use the funds to imrpove mass transit. Visitors could use mass transit or if they have to drive, they could park at a meter or use a garage (like I have to do in Boston).

    Has a study been done on how much would be raised by charging for parking? Plus the amount of extra tax collected by those who change residency back to NYC to be able to park on the street?

    Walking in my neighborhood I am constantly amazed at the number of cars routinely parked having out-of-state plates. Those whose tax dollars, pave, police, clean and plow the streets should have the right to park there for a fair fee.

  • dave – good points on residents and taxes – my block in the east village is full of out of state, year-round parkers. i won’t shed a tear if they receive a ticket 2x/week to maintain that luxury. i know recent transplants to NYC who quickly jettisoned their cars due to frequent tickets.
    aaron – while i understand your argument, enforcement is the *only* thing motorists will respond to. the fact that we are constantly questioning when and how bike lane parking violations are enforced, to see a whole block of cars breaking the law and paying for it sends a strong message. the cost of owning a car in NYC *should* be prohibitive – and free parking and a “look the other way” attitude from law enforcement won’t help. (having said that, NYPD posting notices that “starting x/x/06, blocking the bike lane will result in a ticket” would have been a nice courtesy to a community with a new bike lane. fair warning at least…)

  • Steve

    First, apologies for the duplicative comments above. Second, apologies for the lengthy comment below.

    Third, Aaron, crzwdjk and Glenn: sure, it would be best to have a unified parking and traffic enforcement policy that accounted for all the competing users and uses of the streets. And it would have been better if NYPD had first put signs up on the street stating that they were going to start enforcing laws against double parking in the bicycle lanes before actually enforcing them. They could have made oral announcements at community board or block association meetings. As I have stated repeatedly on this site, I draw a distinction between alt-side bike lane double parkers and incidental bike lane double parkers. Personally, I would not insist upon, nor do I expect, that alt-side double parkers in bike lanes will be regularly ticketed. But we all know that it is problematic for NYPD to acknowledge the unofficial policy of not ticketing alt-side double-parkers. To do so would cement and buttress claims of a “right” to alt-side double park, which NYPD cannot do. At present, alt-side double-parkers know that they are condoned by NYPD at sufferance–that they are in fact violating the law and that occasionally they might get a ticket for alt-side double parking.

    What happened here is that the alt-side double parkers saw the bike lanes installed on their street, giving them notice that a new traffic rule against double parking was in effect, yet they decided to ignore the new rule and double park on top of the bike lanes. They paid the price. Here’s how one resident interpreted this event:

    “’It’s a big pain in the neck,’ said Anne-Marie Resor, a local resident. Because of the neighborhood’s many schools, she added, ‘there aren’t many streets on the Upper West Side where you can double-park.’”

    What if the schools located on West 90th Street and West 77th Street won conversion of additional curbside space on those streets for disembarking school buses or other school uses, the city put up signs indicating those dedicated uses, and local residents nonetheless insisted on parking in those spaces because they traditionally had done so? Would we see the same outpouring of sympathy?

    I must disagree with Glenn’s assumption that the ticket blitz reported in the article has antagonized the “majority.” Who says that the few ticketed residents (it can’t have been more than 200 or so and is probably a lot less) reported in the article are the “majority?” What about the bicyclists who want the lanes clear–don’t they outnumber these ticketed residents? What about advocates of traffic-calmed streets? The DOT’s own experts admit that bicycle lanes reduce vehicular speeds and calm traffic (see http://www.streetsblog.org/2006/11/30/detailed-reports-on-135-safe-routes-to-school-plans/, comment #8, point 4). That calming effect is lost when the bike lanes are ignored. What about the motorists who got hemmed in by the double-parkers and couldn’t leave? What about the motorists who were slowed down or blocked by the double parkers, or the occasional triple-parking cabbie or other vehicle whose momentary stop on the street completely blocks traffic altogether? Don’t any of those street users count in tallying up the “majority”? Drilling down beneath the “nose-counting” approach suggested by notions of the “majority,” isn’t it apparent that the public interest in promoting bicycling, bicyclist safety, street calming, and even the smooth flow of vehicular traffic are more weighty than the imagined entitlement of Ms. Resor to avoid a “pain in the neck” by illegally double-parking outside her home, where she can listen out the window for the honking of the motorist she hemmed in seeking egress, or watch for cops who have decided that day to depart from the custom of condoning alt-side double parking, in order to enjoy her free parking space courtesy of the NYC taxpayer?

    It seems like the “spin” given this article by Aaron–“West Side Residents Angry Over Bike Lane Parking Tix” is Aaron’s headline, not the Times’–has cowed otherwise vocal advocates for transferring street space previously allocated to private motorists over to other street users. This is all the more perplexing, given the commentary on this blog concerning the conversion of five curbside parking spaces in Williamsburg to bicycle parking (http://www.streetsblog.org/2006/12/22/small-step-for-pedestrians-giant-leap-for-nyc/; http://www.streetsblog.org/2006/12/18/wider-sidewalks-a-bike-park-and-ride-for-williamsburg/; http://www.streetsblog.org/2006/12/15/the-weeks-links-3/). If converting five curbside vehicular parking spaces in Williamsburg to bicycle parking is “historic,” then the announcement of the NYPD’s “zero tolerance” policy toward parking in bike lanes is epochal:

    “Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the Police Department, would only say in an e-mail message: ‘Motorists who park in bike lanes are subject to be ticketed at any time. The fact that some may receive summonses while others don’t is a product of deployment of resources at any given time.’”

    This explicit, unequivocal announcement of a zero tolerance policy in the NY Times undoubtedly has a broad deterrent effect and buttresses the right of NYC bicyclists to the ~400 miles of bike lanes that DOT promised would be installed by 2009. And if NYPD had merely announced a zero-tolerance policy against bike lane double parking without this ticket blitz direct at alt-siders, would it have been reported in the Times? No way. The fact is, there is no better way of letting NYC motorists know that this zero tolerance policy is for real than enforcing it against the subset of motorists who enjoy one of the highest entitlements under the current parking regime–alt-side double-parkers (who, after all, are comprised mainly of NYC residents whose enjoyment of free parking park 24/7 is facilitated by the unofficial custom allowing alt-side double parking). In addition to being necessary to get the “zero tolerance” message out, the ticketing blitz is probably necessary to counteract the effect of the many NYPD officers out there who by example and explicit policy abrogate the bike lane rules each day. See http://nyc.mybikelane.com/?tag=nypd , and especially http://nyc.mybikelane.com/post/index/140 (cops inviting double-parkers into the bicycle lane).

    Aaron raises several counter-arguments. He correctly points out the arbitrary nature of the ticket blitz and compares it to similar NYPD activity directed at bicyclists. I hate arbitrary police action, as much as anyone. But everyone on this site knows that the bicyclists have borne the brunt of arbitrary police action at Critical Mass rides and elsewhere, for years. Every month, the NYPD tickets numerous Critical Mass bicyclists for completely fictitious violations in a concerted attempt to stop them from exercising what has been declared by the courts to be their constitutional right to ride. I have yet to see motorists step forward to champion the rights of bicyclists against this arbitrary NYPD action against their “brethren” co-users of the streets, bicyclists. In contrast, Aaron has leapt forward to criticize NYPD for ticketing alt-side double parkers without notice for undeniable violations of the law. In my view, real politick does not admit application of the Golden Rule” in these circumstances–at a principled level, at least, I’ll “share the bike lane” when motorists “share the road,” not before.

    Aaron’s argument that alt-side double parking relieves congestion by eliminating cruising for spaces seems questionable to me. I think it is just as likely that that the alt-side double-parking introduces congestion, as explained above. Certainly on the UWS, there are enough side streets without bicycle lanes to absorb all the double parkers displaced by the four bicycle lanes that were recently installed, without inordinate cruising for spaces. And, as the article suggests, some of the displaced alt-side parkers end up paying for garages. I expect that many of them are not financially stretched by doing so. This displacement of free parkers from the curbside to private garages merely demonstrates one of the shibboleths of this blog–reduce the supply of free street space for private motorists, and you will reduce the number of private motorists seeking free street space. Where is the logic or equity in arguing for congestion pricing as a means to reduce the number of moving vehicles in NYC, but arguing against enforcement of rule against double parking in the bike lane, which would inevitably have the effect of encouraging the number of parked vehicles (and vehicles overall) on NYC streets?

    Finally, Aaron and Glenn stress that enforcement of bike lane rules against double-parkers generates resistance to the installation of bicycle lanes. I suppose it is possible that with zero-enforcement of the bicycle lane rules, all opposition to installation of bike lanes would vanish; where would we be then? The bottom line is that the arbitrary police action reflected in the ticket blitz is an evil necessary to promoting bicycling, bicyclist safety, street calming, and general compliance with traffic laws, the burden of which is borne by a small handful of some of the most over-privileged of all street users in NYC who were without question breaking the law. It is misguided to attempt to mollify or “win over” that tiny minority by explicitly criticizing the strict enforcement of rules against parking in the bike lanes.

  • Steve wrote

    I must disagree with Glenn’s assumption that the ticket blitz reported in the article has antagonized the “majority.”

    In my comment (#12) I never said “majority” or even “most”, “more than half” or anything else suggesting that auto owners was the majority. I believe that was comment #10 by crzwdjk http://www.streetsblog.org/2006/12/27/holiday-headlines/#comment-22580

    You make some good points, but as someone who lives and breathes a lot of the resentment directed as cyclists and cycling infrastructure at community board meetings I must say that we have to be realistic and we DO have to “win people over”. Like I said above, the right ticket to give in my opinion is the 3 minute idle law which is routinely flouted and contributes to ground level air pollution.

  • Steve writes:

    <i>Aaron’s argument that alt-side double parking relieves congestion by eliminating cruising for spaces seems questionable to me. I think it is just as likely that that the alt-side double-parking introduces congestion, as explained above. Certainly on the UWS, there are enough side streets without bicycle lanes to absorb all the double parkers displaced by the four bicycle lanes that were recently installed, without inordinate cruising for spaces.</i>

    In my experience, it’s unquestionable. I don’t know that anyone has ever studied it (the Downtown Bklyn Council just did a big study and they might have looked) but on Clinton Street in my old neighborhood, Cobble Hill, I could see, hear and feel the increase in congestion on alt-side mornings when hundreds of cars were being shuffled in and out of parking spaces during the middle of the morning rush hour. What a nightmare. It’s one of the reasons I moved from that place.

    When I started dating my soon-to-be wife and I inherited partial responsibility for her ’87 Toyota pick-up truck (after her surface lot on Schermerhorn Street was sold to a developer), I got to experience the typically 25-minute long, quarter gallon of gas, who knows how many pounds of carbon search for a parking spot. All for a vehicle that we used maybe twice a month. The whole thing was absurd. We still got married.

    One idea based on your comment: In the near-term, in lieu of a major overhaul of the city’s transpo and parking policies, maybe the double-parkers on bike lane streets should be allowed to continue to double-park but just not over the bike lane. Let them double-park on another street. I’d rather have them doing that then driving around needlessly looking for parking spots like I used to have to do.

    Another thought: Maybe the issue we are really talking about here is not so much parking but rather Bike Lane Design. I’ve visited lots of cities with great bike infrastructure where, by design, it would simply be impossible for cars to park on bike lanes b/c the lanes are physically separated from the motor vehicle travel lanes and parking.

  • Steve

    Glenn, sorry for the misattrribution, my error. I’m all in favor of winning people over, but allocation of street space is a zero-sum game, with winners and losers. We can’t win EVERYONE over.

    As for being realistic, the political “realities” that stand in the way of enforcing bike lane rules against alt-side double parkers pale in comparison to the practical obstacles to ramping up enforcement of the 3 minute idling rule (which by the way, I would support). The culprits have to be caught in the act after three minutes of surreptitious observation, and by definition, they are all revved up and ready to take off before the officer can capture the necessary information. Still, despite these obstacles, I would be all in favor of a ticket blitz against 3+ minute idlers. The occasional arbitrary ticket blitz is a much more realistic way of dealing with political opposition to under-observed laws than, for example, a fully enforced zero-tolerance policy (such as Giuliani’s crusade against jaywalking, or Bloomberg/Kelly’s crusade against Critical Mass).

    I plan on making it to the CB#8 meeting on Jan. 2 to see what you are talking about first hand.

  • Also, Steve, I really wouldn’t underestimate how much the anger generated by these neighborhood people is capable of stalling and derailing efforts to build more bike lanes (though, DOT seems intent on not letting Community Boards reject bike lanes these days).

    If you’ve ever gone out and tried to lobby for a new bike lane or bike improvement, you know what I’m talking about. I’ve yet to meet a Community Board or neighborhood association that isn’t obsessed with parking.

  • Steve

    Aaron, thanks for your always thoughtful comments. But it seems to me that the congestion on Clinton St. you are describing is must have been attributable, at least in part, to the fact that alt-side double-parkers hemmed some curbside parkers in, necessitating shuffling and congestion. And however much cruising for spaces there may be on Clinton street, the ticket blitz was on the UWS, where I believe there are fewer car owners chasing after a greater number of legal and “quasi-legal” double-parking spots with more private garage spaces to absorb any spillover. I would not argue if NYPD decided to limit its “bike lane blitzes” to Manhattan and leave Brooklyn alone (like Critical Mass, no?).

    Also, what about the point that the “bike lane blitz” appears to have led some motorists to pay for a garage rather than freeload by illegally double parking on the street, at least two or three times a week–doesn’t this prove that bike lane enforcement reduces cruising, by analogy to the congestion pricing model?

    I agree that the alt-side double-parkers should be permitted to double park on adjacent blocks that do not have bicycle lanes–nothing in the article or any of the comments to this post suggests that NYPD will be blitzing alt-side double parkers per se, just those in the bike lane.

    As for bike lane design, I would love an arterial network of physicially separate lanes but we both know that those would come at the expense of motorists, so I don’t see the design of the lane necessarily avoiding the bicyclist-motorist zero-sum conflict. And in any event, I think the arterial network would probably have to be supplemented by Class II type lanes (especially on cross streets in residential neighborhoods, such as the UWS lanes we are discussing), the conflict remains.

  • Dan

    I agree with Aaron on pretty much every point. I think I wrote something pretty snarky a while back about the value of being “right” in situations like this. Truly all the double parkers broke the rules and there should be consequences but those consequences might have a greater negative impact on what the liveable streets movement is trying to achieve than the act of doubling parking. People, and especially New Yorkers, are set in their ways and you’re not going to convince people that something they’re doing is bad for the city by giving them tickets for something that previously went overlooked. All the ticket does is give people something to be angry about rather than something to approach constructively.

  • Steve

    In response to your final point, Aaron, I am have not attended a CB meeting since the 1980s, and I have not seen first hand how community anger over losing parking spaces has prevented installation of bicyclist infrastructure. But I take your word for it that such anger is a prime obstacle to installation of bike infrastructure, that for years NIMBY-minded motorist-residents successfully opposed installation of bike lanes on their blocks on grounds that it would infringe their imagined entitlement to free parking.

    But now the situation has changed. DOT is installing these lanes no matter how angry it makes the motorists-residents. DOT likewise does plenty of things to the detriment of bicyclists (e.g., holiday “traffic mitigation” in Central Park), no matter how angry it makes the bicyclists. As far as I can see, no one’s anger makes any difference to what DOT does. Rather, DOT has announced a commitment to promoting bicycling presumably because it has been swayed by the rational arguments of the bicycling and “transalt” minority that doing so is good for the city. If DOT and NYPD don’t care about Ms. Resor’s anger, should I?

    I would say: “yes”–we should care about and try to engage the anger that bicycle lanes may generate among affected motorist-residents. That engagement should take the form of creative proposals, such as packaging bicycle lanes on residential side streets with other traffic calming measures like a reduced speed limit, market-priced residential parking permits, and anything else we can think of that could help forge a common cause between resident-motorists and “streets renaissance” advocates/bicyclists. See http://www.streetsblog.org/2006/12/20/new-places-to-double-park-on-upper-west-side/#comments , at comment #14. To me, granting a unilateral exemption for alt-side double parkers in the bicycle lane is capitulation to, not engagement of, the anger of motorist-residents.

  • Please anyone who lives or works in the Upper East Side, come to the CB8 Transportation meeting on January 2nd. They will discuss Gale Brewer’s Traffic Relief Bill (Intro 199), the police parade permit rules and the installation of bollards or other barriers on the Park Avenue Pedestrian islands. http://www.cb8m.com/calendar/event_detail.cfm?EventID=150&Month=1&Year=2007

    In other words, it’s chock full of stuff that Streetsbloggers would be interested in.

  • v

    i like this discussion. aaron, i’m not sure i agree with you everywhere there, but you do remind me of just how silly it is to have unprotected bike lanes (meaning between parking and car traffic, rather than between sidewalk traffic and parking). we could avoid a lot of medical bills and flared tempers if bike lanes weren’t just treated as “some little sliver for bikers to be killed upon.” heck, might even get some non-bikers biking.

    wondering what others think of a comment a friend of mine made recently. “yeah, cars are awful, but those bikers don’t even stop at lights…i’m more afraid of getting hit by them.” how should bikers be held accountable for dangerous and aggressive behaviors, if at all?

  • But it seems to me that the congestion on Clinton St. you are describing is must have been attributable, at least in part, to the fact that alt-side double-parkers hemmed some curbside parkers in, necessitating shuffling and congestion.

    They’re allowed to double-park on side streets but not on Clinton. Despite being a beautiful residential street Clinton collects traffic from all over and sends it into Downtown Bklyn and over the bridge. So when something bad is happening traffic-wise in the area, you usually feel it on Clinton. Alt-side parking congestion is really something that you can see, hear and feel there (though, sometimes there are multiple problems during morning rush hour and alt-side is just another thing).

    the “bike lane blitz” appears to have led some motorists to pay for a garage rather than freeload by illegally double parking on the street, at least two or three times a week–doesn’t this prove that bike lane enforcement reduces cruising, by analogy to the congestion pricing model?

    Was that in the article? That’d be a decent outcome if hundreds of motorists decided to garage their cars, though with no change in curbside parking space management, the spaces they vacate would fill right back up almost immediately, you’d think.

    I would love an arterial network of physicially separate lanes but we both know that those would come at the expense of motorists, so I don’t see the design of the lane necessarily avoiding the bicyclist-motorist zero-sum conflict.

    On many of these extra-wide streets where the city is currently striping bike lanes they could just as well be installing physically-separated lanes between the parked cars and the sidewalk as is done in Berlin, Montreal, Copenhagen and a bunch of other places so it doesn’t have to be a zero sum game.

    But, yeah, at some point it does come down to a zero sum when it comes to NYC’s streets space. And one way or another, space currently dedicated to driving and parking has to be re-allocated to peds, bikes and buses. I just think this ticket blitz is a kind of stupid way for the city to get that process rolling (regardless the pleasure of seeing bike lane blockers getting tickets for once). My concern is that neighborhood resident community board types can and should feel like the Livable Streets movement goals are beneficial to them, not something that brings them more pain. This kind of thing turns them into the enemies of cyclists for very minimal benefit to cyclists or the city as a whole (in my opinion).

  • galvoguy

    i agree that the double parking ticketing in bike lanes on street cleaning day is a loser for bicyclist. letting the people double park on a adjacent block is no good since those people who’s cars are parked would get blocked in. The traditional double parking on street cleaning days is also grasped by the people on the same block realizing they will be temporary blocked in. This ticketing blitz will bring great community resentment against bike lanes.
    i would rather see them first enforce the bike lane parking where it is most critical and dangerous for the bicyclist. swerving around a vehicle is much more dangerous on a main thoroughfare than on a side street.
    i guess i dont hate cars that much, in many areas they are necessary due to horrible public transportation. In westchester not one bus runs on Xmas day.

  • v wrote:

    [Y]ou do remind me of just how silly it is to have unprotected bike lanes (meaning between parking and car traffic, rather than between sidewalk traffic and parking).

    Wouldn’t this be as bad or worse than having to ride between two columns of parked cars flanking a bike lane?

  • Steve

    Aaron, on your comment #27:

    1) Are you advocating for relieving congestion on Clinton Street on alt-side days by opening up the bike lane to parking? Do you disagree that the UWS alt-side double parking at issue in the article may be different?

    2) On the double-parkers who appear to have opted for garages in the face of the ticket blitz–the article quotes a local garage owner as stating that business has picked up due to the blitz. I don’t know if “hundreds” are opting for the garage or not, but does that matter? And I would not expect all or even most of the spaces vacated by the displaced bike-lane parkers to be “filled in” by other cars, because those cars presumably would have heard of the ticket blitz themselves, and the greatest demand for alt-side double-parking spots on any particular block is from the residents of that block. These people know what they are doing is illegal and inconsiderate, so they like to do it right in front of their own house so they can run out and deal with police or those they have inconvenienced (in addition to it being most convenient because it minimizes distance walked to and from the car).

    3) Once again, I agree that NYPD should have gone about this differently, giving notice. DOT shares some of the blame, they should have given advance notice to the communities in which they were installing the bike lanes and educated residents about them (maybe this was done, but I’m not aware that it was, and if it was, then the victims of the ticket blitz got notice). DOT strikes me as an absolute black box that just does what it wants when it wants without warning. Any neighborhood resident/CB types enlightened enough to be receptive to the “streets renaissance” concept should be enlightened enough to realize that DOT and NYPD, not at bicyclists, are the proper target of any righteous anger over the ticket blitz.

  • v

    no, i don’t think it would be as bad/worse.

    holland’s a good example, mostly cuz it’s one of the few places i know a little bit about 🙂 on lower-traffic (meaning cars) roads, bike lanes are often between the car lane and car parking. on busier (or newer) roads though, the bike lane is almost always protected. bikes shouldn’t have to be pushed around by cars moving at two or three times (or more) their speed, and nobody ever gets stuck between two doors. bikes get their own traffic signals (which, yes, they sometimes follow) and more lane space (instead of bikers passing each other by dodging into a car lane, they’re on a separated path that is (now necessarily) wide enough for passing, and which as (oops) taken more space away from cars.

    with separated bike lanes, (almost) nobody slows down / hits bikers in these areas, as nobody doubleparks in the bike lanes, and bikes and buses are never at odds.

  • Steve

    V and steveo,

    My impression is that the risks associated with riding down a bike lane flanked by two columns of parked cars are overrated. At the speeds many bicyclists use–especially inexperienced bicyclists, minors, and seniors–dooring does not pose that great a risk of serious injury. At slower speeds, it is easier to identify the cars from which a passenger might exit/is in the process of exiting ahead of time, and to brake to avoid impact or warn the exiting passenger back into the car. Plus in the double-flanking column scenario, the cars next to the curb generally are hemmed in, so they are unlikely to have recently-parked, soon-to-exit drivers or passengers. Plus at least one of the columns of cars in this scenario presents a risk of dooring from the passenger side as opposed to the drivers side, which is less than a full dooring risk because many vehicles have only one passenger–the driver, who exits on the driver’s side. So if I am traveling with kids or for some reason want to go slow, I would pick the bike lane flanked by columns of parked cars, and proceed slowly and cautiously. And if the alternative to the double-flanked bike lane was a congested traffic lane (say, two or three traffic light cycles to move one block), you bet I would take the bike lane, because it would be the fastest way down the street.

    It seems to me that this debate over whether to ride on the margin (whether a bike lane is provided there or not) or to “ride big” in the middle of the road is a false one. The bicyclists I know and observe generally take whichever is most efficient and fastest, consistent with safety concerns. No one wants to be relegated to the margin by law, but no one wants to have the rule against passing on the right enforced against them, either, when moving up to the stop bar at a red light or slipping through the open margin of a highly congested street. NYC traffic rules seem to let us choose either in most circumstances. Why the debate?

  • Andrew

    Did anybody else get that ironic “support for NPR comes from BMW” message before listening to the report? It sort of set the tone…