Citing FDNY Concerns, DOT Removes Two-Block Protected Bike Connection

The W. 170th Street bikeway before …
The W. 170th Street bikeway before …

DOT has erased a short contraflow protected bikeway that linked the Highbridge neighborhood to the car-free High Bridge in response to FDNY concerns about the movement of emergency vehicles. The project was part of a package of biking and walking improvements in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan implemented last year, timed to coincide with the re-opening of the High Bridge to the public [PDF].

To meet FDNY’s demands, DOT will shift the parking on the south side of the street over to the curb. Instead of an eastbound contraflow protected lane and sharrows on the westbound side, DOT says this stretch of 170th Street will get a westbound buffered bike lane. The street will retain two lanes for parked vehicles.

… and after. Photo: Jonathan Rabinowitz
… and after. Photo: Jonathan Rabinowitz

So, when confronted with a street determined to be “too narrow” for bikes and cars, the DOT response was to weaken the bike infrastructure while leaving parking untouched. From what I’ve seen this is a matter of DOT priorities, and not a lack of asphalt.

The other issue is the absurdity of designing streets and cities to accommodate emergency vehicles, rather than the other way around.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    how do FDNY ladder trucks extend their outriggers on a typical crosstown Manhattan street with only 14′ between car storage ?

  • Joe R.

    So get rid of the parked cars. Safe travel for cyclists should be more important than storing private property on public streets (something which arguably never should have been allowed in the first place).

  • Jim McDonald

    Probably most city cross streets are wider then 14 ‘ between parked cars. Portable ladder would be an option but much more dangerous. I would rather my grandmother was rescued by a tower ladder then carried down a portable ladder.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    very few Manhattan cross streets have clear 14′ between car storage

    Chinatown, little Italy, and Wallstreet likely has less 12′ typical between car storage.

    what is width required for these absolutely necessary extensions ?

    the ladder truck extension shillboth is a red herring and you know it.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    spoken like a true entitled placard holder

  • Andrew

    Your proposal would reduce the parking supply in many parts of the city by 25% or more. If you’re proposing this because you think the backlash to improving traffic enforcement has been strong, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

  • Andrew

    This used to be a two-way street. It was turned into a one-way street for motor vehicles (but is still two-way for bicycles).

  • Jeff Utz, M.D.

    The closest thing to a placard I have is a Metrocard, that I use to get to work. And, I spend more time on my bike than in cars
    .

  • Alexander Vucelic

    my bad, apology

  • ahwr

    Unless you want a four foot bike lane with no buffer zone the distance between parked cars on 170 would be narrower than on most streets.

  • Joe R.

    It might reduce in in places like Manhattan Avenues by 25% or more but honestly those should be all loading zones or bus stops anyway. It’ll barely reduce it on the side blocks. You’re also neglecting the garages which won’t be affected at all. Point of fact, if the supply of free, on-street parking is reduced, there’s no reason to believe private industry wouldn’t step in with more off-street parking, provided they could make money off it.

  • ahwr

    Point of fact, if the supply of free, on-street parking is reduced, there’s no reason to believe private industry wouldn’t step in with more off-street parking, provided they could make money off it.

    Are you still talking about Manhattan? South of E96 and W110 there is a parking maximum with new construction, and has been for decades. Would they really be able to build more off street spaces to make up for the loss of on street spaces? And would you even want them to?

  • Joe R.

    No, they wouldn’t build them because given the real estate prices they couldn’t make a profit off what drivers are willing to pay to park. So in the end there would be a loss of free curbside parking. I don’t see why this is such an issue. It’s public space. Nobody is entitled to park for free in the city. It’s a privilege granted by the city which can be revoked for any time and any reason. In this case, there’s a great reason, namely safety. Like I said, I’d love for someone to at least propose a daylighting law so all the car owners can come up with half-assed reasons why parking is more important than safety.

  • ahwr

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2015/07/24/dcps-flawed-formula-allows-chelsea-developers-to-skirt-parking-restrictions/

    Would more developments apply for permits to build extra parking? Or build some parking instead of none?

  • Alexander Vucelic

    couple of photos of the infamous outriggers. Truck itself is 94″ wide. Outriggers width unclear

  • J

    This is a straw man. Plenty of streets either have much wider sidewalks or narrower widths or both.

  • J

    yep, and they circumvented the law to have it removed.

  • Jim McDonald

    Chinatown and Little Italy is a very few blocks compared to Manhattan. Wall street are fire proof building where they have enclosed fire proof stair wells to escape. A tower ladder(cherry picker) needs almost 6′ feet on both side.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    FDNY better start demanding removal of one car storage lane on nearly every Manhattan crosstown street if a ladder truck really does require 20′ width to deploy. (94″ +60″ +60″)

    BTW – the Wall Street buildings are “fireproof” so no need for ladders is not accurate. Type 1 ( aka “fireproof” ) construction existed since the 1920s. The buildings on 170th appear to meet type 1 Standards. If the 6 story buildings in Wall Streets tiny streets do not need ladder trucks because of type 1 construction, the ditto for 170th.

    but I think you are on to something, NYFD should find it easy to set up their ladder trucks anywhere in city. You sway they need 20′ width to do so. The only way to get consistent 20′ width everywhere is to eliminate one lane of car parking. Great idea !

  • TruthSeeker

    It’s not about response times it’s about rig placement or the inability to do so effectively because of them bike lanes, which I might add never gets used . Get informed before opening your mouth.

  • TruthSeeker

    They never do, they just throw the damn bike lanes where the hell they want without a care in the world.

  • TruthSeeker

    Yea lets just get smaller trucks all so the wimps on bikes have a safe place to ride while breaking every traffic law. Idiot.

  • Andrew Balmer

    There’s no need to be rude.

  • TruthSeeker

    Uh you’re completely wrong, there are only a handful of those rigs in the city. Do a little research before speaking.

  • TruthSeeker

    Love how you bike folk complain that this is happening because people hate bikes yet you idiots hate cars since you want to get rid of the parking. I’ve seen just as many jerkoffs on bikes recklessly cruising the streets as I have cars. Except that the cars actually stop at red lights and stop signs where those on two wheels never do.

  • TruthSeeker

    So telling you to be informed before opening your ” I’m an entitled douche on a bike” mouth is being rude? Stop whining.

  • Andrew Balmer

    I will not engage with you until you learn to be polite. Goodnight.

  • TruthSeeker

    Typical hipster with no balls. Night loser.

  • TruthSeeker

    Not everyone is happy go lucky because they’re human and not zombies for idiots like you. I’d be miserable too is I had to deal with liberal losers in NY too.

  • AnoNYC

    Agreed, University Ave is also consistently jammed up with double parking in the other direction.

  • AnoNYC

    Actually that bicycle lane does get used quite a bit considering its the East/West connection to the Highbridge. Additionally, the narrow street is beneficial to people trying to cross it. The vast majority of people in Highbridge do not drive.

    A better solution here would have been to eliminate a row of parking, which is far more of an obstacle for a response using the largest firetrucks on any street.

    This street doesn’t really need a physically separated bicycle lane though, just calming in the form of speed humps and daylighted corners with extended curbs.

  • Frank Kotter

    Sorry?

  • Alexander Vucelic

    Rig placement discussion is below. Care to join it Mr. Entitled “I never paying for no parking or no bridge ever” ? You might learn something

  • TruthSeeker

    Discussed by whom? Clueless idiots like yourself who,have absolutely zero clue about how the FDNY operates? And don’t pay for bridges or parking? Keep up the lies you pathetic loser. Again do some research before opening your mouth.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    LOL – we know precisely how the overpaid underworked NYFD operates. BTW, How do I unsubscribe from your ‘service’ ?

  • Brad Aaron

    This person has repeatedly violated our policy against ad hominem attacks and has been banned from commenting on Streetsblog.

  • William Farrell

    238 people were killed by drivers last year in New York City. That’s 238 more people than were killed by those “lawless” bicyclists. So pray tell, which of the two should we be more concerned about?

  • Matt

    Maybe you should reread the last sentence? No one’s saying to get rid of cars or emergency vehicles. It’s that redesigns for safer streets are halted to allow for enormous fire trucks rather than redesigning fire trucks to allow for safer streets. No one’s getting rid of anything.

  • Matt

    There’s a police station in brooklyn that used to be on my commute that used the bike lane (with a lot of traffic too) as a personal parking lot. It pissed me off so much and I’m sure it’s not the only instance of it.

  • Jim McDonald

    The buildings on w170 street are combustible wood joist construction,no sprinklers (class 3). Most wall street building are non combustible steel concrete building with fire sprinklers (class 1).Eliminate all cars would be the best option but cars pay bridge tolls and gas taxes which build our bridges ,paves our rodes and subsidies the MTA.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    parked cars pay bridge tolls ? I though only moving cars paid bridge tolls

    thanks for the clarification on the Type 3 on 170th. surprised that a 6 story masonry building would be type 3 with zero lot line. one could guess then there are plenty of type 3 buildings on streets with less than 20′ clear for the ladder truck

  • BrandonWC

    For what it’s worth, at the Bk CB 2 transportation committee meeting last week, DOT mentioned in response to a question about the Jay between York and Prospect project that they needed to keep a 14′ wide lane for FDNY outriggers. I agree it’s a puzzle how that squares with all the narrow streets in lower Manhattan.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    14′ Sounds about right given the Ladder trucknphotos and Is certainly workable on 170th.

    Complete Street advocates could certainly work within a 14′ width FDNY requirements.

  • BrandonWC

    It’s not insurmountable, but it does make it harder to fit physically protected lanes (by more than parking that is) in streets that aren’t super wide if you need 11′ in the bike lane for DSNY and a 14′ travel lane for FDNY. Unless you made the bike lane 14′ wide and use it as a fire lane, but then you start worrying about cars driving down it.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    great idea 8′ bike plus 6′ buffer equals 14′

    satisfies the FDNY ladder truck requirement while preserving free car storage

  • Arrgh! I wish I had seen this before I spent 45 minutes explaining the disappearance of this vital lane to 311.
    Why vital?
    Because I will be co-leading a group of 30-40 bikers from the High Bridge to the Randall’s Island Connector, and after much trial and error, this was the best route I could find. What are we supposed to do instead to get over to the Edward L. Grant Hwy and head south? Ride against traffic?
    This REALLY SUCKS!!!

  • Jonathan R

    Cross the High Bridge, leave the park via the ramp, then turn left on University, head about a quarter-mile uptown to where it intersects with ELG, then turn right and cruise down the hill.

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