Eyes on the Street: Good News and Bad News for Midtown Bike Commuters

Photo: ##http://t.co/LLAh4QuX##@J_uptown##

Hats off to @J_uptown, who spotted this bit of temporary bike infrastructure in Midtown. He writes:

Unfinished 9th Ave protected #bikenyc lane gets protected detour at 50th! Thx @NYC_DOT

Nice to see DOT taking a page from cities like Copenhagen, where construction crews take care to keep cyclists safe. The extension of protected bike lanes on Eighth and Ninth Avenues will improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians north to 59th Street. The project was proposed by DOT and endorsed by Community Board 4 last year.

Jacob also tweeted a shot of the new bike lane on 30th Street at Ninth, where DOT has sandwiched cyclists between two through lanes and a double turn lane. It’s hard to imagine Citi Bike riders lined up in this lane, surrounded by crosstown traffic. See it after the jump.

Photo: ##https://twitter.com/J_uptown/status/240811792434081792/photo/1/large##@J_uptown##
  • Anonymous

    Yah, these sandwiched bike lanes rarely work well.  Cars don’t give way to the sandwiched bike lane on Bleeker as it approaches Bowery.   And West 30th and 9th ave is much more intimidating then Bleeker.

    DoT, if you’re gonna do it, then do it right!  Big orange cone/flag dividers and orange or green paint.  Otherwise, what novice is going to ride through there? 

  • Good to see that plastic delineators that can be affixed to the roadway are part of DOT’s toolkit.  Can we please get them on Bergen Street by the 78th Precinct?

  • Did DOT do this, or a private contractor? I second Doug’s request and would actually prefer DOT used more of the plastic delineators as temp measures until we have more capital projects for fully protected bike lanes.

  • I rode through the protected temporary lane 50th-47th on 9th yesterday twice – at lunch and again pre-theater – these were the only blocks on my journey that didn’t have someone standing, walking, driving or parked in the bike lane. A welcome relief.

  • Marvelous Marvin

    Poor babies. How about you radical extremists start calling for the enforcement of traffic rules against the non-delivery cyclists, who, in Midtown West, are more dangerous than the cars. The don’t obey traffic lights. If you stand on 8th avenue and watch for any length of time, you will not see ONE cyclist stop for a light if the crosstown road is clear, pedestrians in the crosswalk crossing legally be damned.  More than half of the non-delivery cyclists now don’t even use the ridiculous new bike lanes on 8tth ave, go whichever direction they want, both on the avenues and on the side streets, never, ever use the bike lanes on Broadway, are vocally nasty to pedestrians who, since the lanes on 8th are new, frequently step off the curbs, at the corners, either out of habit, or looking for cabs. In Bloomberg’s Manhattan, you bike riders now seem to believe they have more rights then anyone, including us pedestrians, and think you deserve it.

  • Brad Aaron

    @1d455d2a65b236f9306623aa7ea4e96e:disqus Ad hominem attacks are a violation of the Streetsblog comment policy. Since you have ignored our guidelines several times under different pseudonyms, your comment privileges have been revoked.

  • Dan Berkman

    The sandwich lanes do not work.   DOT
    recently restriped a small portion of Allen street on the south side of Houston
    and moved the bike lane so that it sits between the turning lane and one of the
    other vehicular moving lanes.  In the
    morning, it’s not unusual to find the bike lane “sandwiched”  between two or more large trucks. It’s nothing
    short of terrifying.  I would even say
    that it’s worse than the 2nd avenue clusterfuck/merge at Houston.  

  • Danny G

    @c6824d49f6faf9801b36ca14b660e1e7:disqus A buffered sandwiched lane might be a viable option, but often the engineers are shortsighted and try to squeeze in as many lanes as possible because their computer models tell them to.

  • J

    @36056f95783f8cfb512e9d49d4187ce6:disqus The problem is that, despite a ton of progress, the City still relies on the wildly outdated level of service (LOS) model of traffic—as opposed to transportation—engineering. The LOS model prioritizes the movement of cars, and nothing else. An intersection may get a better LOS score with double right turn lanes, but the model doesn’t take into account the notion that pedestrian collisions as WAY more likely with that setup. San Francisco and Portland are moving away from LOS. When will NYC do the same?

  • Ben Kintisch

    The city has installed plastic dividers to force drivers to merge in a certain way at certain major bridge approaches, i.e. on the way to the Queensboro Bridge and Holland Tunnel.
    How about some bollards to protect cyclists here?

  • J

    @google-0090614ab8360ee15afd7d5599b637b2:disqus I’m pretty sure a private contractor installed them, but all temporary roadway closure plans, known in the engineering world as Maintenance and Protection of Traffic (MPT) plans, must be approved by DOT. In other words, this is definitely the result of DOT’s work.

  • Anonymous

    About the “sandwhiching:”  I’m not convinced that it’s such a bad thing.  Look at the picture above.  Cars are pretty much steering clear.  That’s my experience in the other such lanes I’ve seen, e.g., on 1st Ave approaching 42nd St.

    Every bike lane design has problems.  I think it’s fine for DOT to try these lanes and see how they work and then go from there–especially after bike share is up and running.

  • J

    @ddartley:disqus The problem is that the additional lane was added recently, meaning that we are regressing, here. Honestly, though, I think most of the crosstown lanes in Manhattan are pretty crappy, since they are constantly full of double parked cars. With that perspective, I guess I’ll put up with soem crappy bike lanes on narrower streets, as long as protected lanes on the major avenues continue to expand. 

  • Two points: plastic sticks do not “protection” make. They are made for cars to roll over safely. A line of them does indicate some kind of separation, and keeps cars from parking there, but it’s not protected.

    Also, the sandwich lanes are the way to go. I see this with mixing zones, which force left-turning cars to wait for pedestrians crossing the street, but which then forces bikes to stop for cars stopping for people walking in the SAME direction. Better to ride on the outside of the mixing lane, an ad hoc sandwich.