Today’s Headlines

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bikeshare

    I am curious if any studies exist on cycling on the Brooklyn bridge.  I wonder how many additional trips would be made over the bridge if it were of the same quality as the Manhattan or Williamsburg bridge crossings.  I also think there are a lot of cyclists who now go over the Manhattan bridge who would flip to the Brooklyn if it weren’t as congested

  • Anonymous

    Re NYMTC: their biggest concern outside of NYC right now should probably be making sure a new Tappan Zee bridge has a proper rail connection to the west. They probably don’t care though.

    Re Cap’n Transit piece: I think people are getting a little distracted by the cost of subsidizing the bridge. Even if we pay for the bridge outright with tolls, we’re still going to be subsidizing the traffic to the bridge and the traffic from the bridge. This really knots the knickers of the anti-transit faithful to admit, but it isn’t avoidable no matter what mode you’re talking about and it only gets worse with cars. And a New York Post columnist is worried that buses are expensive to subsidize? How the hell else does one maximize use of pavement? (Guess you could build LRT tracks into the pavement, but I digress….)

  • Larry Littlefield

    “I also think there are a lot of cyclists who now go over the Manhattan bridge who would flip to the Brooklyn if it weren’t as congested.”

    All you need to measure this is to compare the market share of the two bridges in summer, when the Brooklyn Bridge is packed with tourists, and winter, when it is not, or AM when there is room and PM when there is not.

    I think in the end this effort will result in cyclists banned from the Brooklyn Bridge and directed to the Manhattan, at least during peak times, as the ideas proposed by the Council members is shown to be economically/physically impossible and taking a traffic lane is politically impossible.

  • Has anyone suggested putting cyclists in a dedicated traffic lane? I, personally, wouldn’t enjoy riding next to traffic and with impeded views, but it seems like it would be the most cost effective way to increase pedestrian space and speed cycling across the bridge. At least it would be one less lane for cars. 

  • I digress . . . politically impossible, right. 

  • Danny G

    @742ec67ca99409c49641a2a7b1a1d8f1:disqus I think two important things to consider are that (1) cities never change and (2) nobody ever succeeded by taking risks or trying anything difficult. You may have heard that the Brooklyn Bridge was configured very differently 100 years ago, but we can be certain that 100 years from now, it will have exactly the same configuration as today.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Has anyone suggested putting cyclists in a dedicated traffic lane?”

    Sure.  But that could only come at then end of a series of changes for the better (tolls, better maintenance) or worse (bridge allowed to deteriorate, no longer strong enough for vehicles.).

  • Anonymous

    @36056f95783f8cfb512e9d49d4187ce6:disqus : meh, I dunno.  I always wonder what’s the chicken and what’s the egg. OK, 100 years ago you could take the Myrtle El to downtown. Now you can take it as far as Bushwick. Seems you could board the Dekalb Avenue Streetcar (now the B38 bus) on Seneca Avenue in Ridgewood and take that across the Brooklyn Bridge too, at least for a while. 

    Were the good ways to get downtown taken away because people stopped going downtown or did people stop going downtown because planners took away the good ways to get downtown?

  • Anonymous

    Not relevant to today’s headlines, but it seems worth noting here that Steve Cuozzo takes the pro-ignorance position in all spheres:
    http://www.drvino.com/2012/07/25/help-steve-cuozzo-navigate-wine-list/
    His replies to the post are precious.

  • @bolwerk:twitter  – people stopped going downtown because the city ripped down expensive infrastructure instead of repairing/replacing it, opting instead to focus on clearing space for better vehicular traffic flows throughout the borough without providing useful, reliable mass transit options. The result is that a select minority of people gets to sit in traffic all day while the working middle class without cars lost mobility. This was mobility they had for a century; those elevated lines were in service decades before the advent of middle class car ownership in America.Automobile-centric urban planning is deeply regressive, as usual, and needs to be reversed. Of course, that’s not even really possible, since the city and state has been chopping up and selling off their various mass transit right-of-way properties for decades, so now it’ll be 10x expensive to squeeze reliable mass transit infrastructure back into the mix. You can’t even rely on SBS to fix the issue, because you would have riots if you tried to squeeze two extra dedicated bus lanes onto Myrtle Avenue. Oh, and how are they going to get around Metrotech? Probably they’ll sit in stopped traffic on other Downtown Brooklyn streets like Livingston and Flatbush Extension, that’s how!

  • Pete

    @36056f95783f8cfb512e9d49d4187ce6:disqus : cities never change?  Funny, I don’t remember there being bike lanes all over town 10 years ago.

  • Ben Kintisch

    Ben – actually I just read the Post piece and it hardly qualifies as bike hate. It’s actually okay, quoting a reasonable amount of pols and the like.

  • Pointless to complain about the trolleys being taken away from the Brooklyn Bridge without mentioning that since the halcyon year of 1907, a total of seven two-way pairs of subway tracks have been put into service between downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan, which provide through service from points all over Brooklyn to destinations throughout the Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan, something trolleys never did.

    As far as converting one of the vehicle lanes to cyclist use, my vote is for the outside inbound lane. Close BQE exit 28B, which leads onto the bridge, and let cyclists enter at Sands St, then leave the bridge in Manhattan via the now closed Park Row exit.

  • Ben Kintisch

    Regarding the rest of the Brooklyn Bridge coverage, I think this idea is creative and forward thinking. And as several commenters have offered, if a real study is done and they discover it’s too much money, I’ll happily take a motor vehicle lane for cyclists.

  • Anonymous

    @jrab:disqus: They serve different parts of Brooklyn, however – and the focus is more on midtown even for many of those pairs. The A/C, F, B/D, and N/Q scarcely even serve the old business district. At best, only the Lex (4/5, not the 6), 7th Ave. lines (2/3, not the 1), and R focus on bringing people from Brooklyn to the old Financial District business center. The A/C tangentially serves the area around what is today the WTC.

    Meanwhile, north Brooklyn has been cut off from downtown/South Brooklyn by everything except the G. The Lexington Avenue El, the Myrtle El, and the trolleys are all gone. Trolleys may not be the right solution today, of course, but the lack of surface rail puts a hole in the NYC transit environment that has never been filled.

    Even if you think subways replace good surface rail (they don’t), complaining about that loss is not pointless at all.

  • Anonymous

    “As far as converting one of the vehicle lanes to cyclist use, my vote is for the outside inbound lane. Close BQE exit 28B, which leads onto the bridge, and let cyclists enter at Sands St, then leave the bridge in Manhattan via the now closed Park Row exit.”

    Of course this is even more politically impossible than taking an inner lane.  But it is even more valuable for a neglected component of transportation — freight.  Eliminating that back-up would make the BQE much better for trucks and vans.

  • @36056f95783f8cfb512e9d49d4187ce6:disqus Snark extraordinaire! I was responding to @f9b2cb395abd5a101456b3b0a40912e1:disqus ‘s comments on the political difficulty of removing an auto traffic lane. 

  • Eric McClure

    @dporpentine:disqus , thanks for the Cuozz link. Hilarious!  The Cuozz really ought to pack it in and get out of New York City while the getting is good.  Rude bikers, impenetrable wine lists, ingrates who don’t appreciate Bruce Ratner’s gift of a basketball arena, tourists jamming Times Square — this place is going to hell.

  • Guest

    I’m less concerned about the costs of the proposed improvements on the span (section they seem to be showing).  That investment could be justified by improvements for safety, tourism, and mobility.  It should have muted opposition, since nobody else has to surrender an inch to provide the extra space.

    The more challenging part might be fixing the approaches.  You can’t use the typical section in the middle of the bridge if you can’t get to it.  And you would be hard pressed to find an extra inch for bicycle approaches in Brooklyn without taking space away from cars.

  • Danny G

    @742ec67ca99409c49641a2a7b1a1d8f1:disqus  @e6c6b10fb9defc8425213d60a7fc2f3d:disqus Yeah I was being facetious. It just saddens me when people write off something difficult but potentially worthwhile as impossible without giving it the effort it deserves. Especially during Olympics season.

  • Bolwerk, if you ever visit, you will find that downtown New York City is a compact and walkable place where you are never more than a five-minute walk from any subway train you desire. It takes all of four minutes to walk from the Woolworth Building on Broadway to Church St, where you can catch the A train.

    Also, if you should happen to visit Bed-Stuy and Bushwick anytime soon, you will notice that on many blocks, the multi-family dwellings that used to be there have been torn down and replaced with two-family houses. There aren’t so many people living there now as there were before they tore down the els.

  • Anonymous

    @jrab:disqus : Um, nice try. I used to live on Fulton Street (Manhattan) and live in the Williamsburg-Bushwick continuum now, so I have pretty first-hand knowledge of how full of it almost every sentence you wrote in response to me is. Don’t try to spin a walk from Broadway to Church as the comparable as the types of distances you tried to spin when you said, “since the halcyon year of 1907, a total of seven two-way pairs of
    subway tracks have been put into service between downtown Brooklyn and
    Manhattan.” If you ever get a chance to visit Manhattan, you’ll probably find your suburban lungs huffing after you walk the distance from, say, East Broadway and Rutgers where the F first stops in Manhattan to somewhere around, say, Trinity Place. That 1.5 miles may be walkable, but it hardly puts you within “a five-minute walk from any subway train you desire.”

    As for population density: even if what you say is true, it’s pretty poor case for less transit – since less transit is precisely what probably would have caused such a phenomenon. Brooklyn is still one of the densest urban areas in the USA, downtown and north Brooklyn even moreso.

    Let’s also keep in mind that almost none of those routes are completely gone. If anything, we’re just paying more for them now that we bustituted them. That’s right: more expense to move fewer people.

  • The ideas proposed by the Council members is shown to be
    economically/physically impossible and taking a traffic lane is
    politically impossible.Thanks for a nice post.

  •  There are  lots of cyclists who go over the Manhattan
    bridge to the Brooklyn if it weren’t as congested.

  • Excellent comments with interesting topics and very useful resources. Thanks for sharing.