Eyes on the Street: Summer Streets Gallery #2

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Welcome to the second installment of our Summer Streets photo tour. This pic comes courtesy of BicyclesOnly, who says Park Avenue South is "one of the more dangerous roadways to bicycle on in Manhattan. Without the cars, it’s a playground for these two."

More pics after the jump…

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Hopscotch action on one of the stub streets. Photo: yyoyoni/Flickr

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Bike clowns entertain at Astor Place. Photo: BicyclesOnly/Flickr

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The approach to Grand Central Terminal has quickly become one of the iconic sights of Summer Streets…

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…as has the passage through the Helmsley Building. Top and bottom photos: yyoyoni/Flickr

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One side of Park Avenue North, looking south toward Midtown. Photo: doddnyc/Flickr

  • Nice assortment of juicy goodness.

  • The shot of the passage through the Helmsley Building is a real taboo breaker. I like the idea of finally being able to walk in places forbidden to everyone but drivers.

  • “I like the idea of finally being able to walk in places forbidden to everyone but drivers.”

    Me too. I think it starts people thinking about all of the possibilities that are out there. It’s easy to get stuck thinking that things MUST be the way that they are simply because they have always been that way.

  • Brad

    I originally was looking forward to riding my bike in the tunnel that completely goes under Grand Central, but going up and around it is nice too.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Park Avenue South is ‘one of the more dangerous roadways to bicycle on in Manhattan.'”

    Not sure I agree with that comment, actually. When I started biking to and from work I tried every option, and found myself feeling safer on Park than on Broadway and 6th, bike lanes or no.
    The bike lanes on Broadway and 6th Avenue are generally obstructed by parking, and the traffic moves faster, because they are one-way. Out on First, and Second and Third Avenues, the traffic moves faster still, and First and Second are loaded with double parking. Madison doesn’t run through, and is jammed with buses.

    The traffic on Park moves much more slowly, and there is less double parking. There is less through traffic, except for those coming across and going in the tunnel. So I ride on Park Avenue South inbound every morning.

  • bob

    Brad – there is no tunnel that goes completely under GCT. There is a tunnel that goes from 33rd St to 40th St and then connects with the aboveground viaduct from 40th St thru to 45th.

  • An interesting perspective, Larry. You are right that traffic is slower due to congestion. The things about PAS that make it seem dangerous to me are the extremely poor condition of the roadbed, the fact that the parking lane is not much wider than a car so the bicyclist is forced to take the lane or get smooshed, and the pronounced tendency of pedestrians to jaywalk or to rush or stretch the pedestrian phase of the signal when crossing because there isn’t enough time for them to get across all six lanes and the medians provide little refuge. There is also quite a bit of cab-hailing going on, almost as intensive as 5th Avenue along Central Park. And then there is the dead-end for bikes at Grand Central. I also have a theory that motorists have an expectation of being able to move quickly because of the six lanes and the anticipation of the Park Ave. tunnel, but those expectations are frustrated, making the motorists become more aggressive. If I am traveling alone, I generally favor taking a traffic lane on a faster-moving one-way roadway. When riding with my kids (and not the the greenway), I generally use downtown bike lanes on Broadway or 5th and halt behind the vehicles blocking the bike lane until it is safe to exit the lane and pass (making sure to point out to the illegally parked motorist the hazard they have created).

    When I need to head north of 14th Street and keep west of Third, I will use PAS but switch over to Madison at 23rd. I find that the bus lanes on Third aren’t bad during non-rush hours–many motorists think the bus-only restriction is around the clock so the bus lane traffic is not bad.

    The bottom line is that there is a terrible dearth of safe bike routes south of 59th Street on the east side.

  • Brad (#3): There’s no tunnel under Grand Central, unless you mean the 4/5/6 subway.

  • “The bottom line is that there is a terrible dearth of safe bike routes south of 59th Street on the east side.”

    Every city street should be a safe bike route.

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