Manhattan CB 4 Asks DOT for Safer Intersection Designs on Protected Bike Lanes

Four Manhattan community boards have now endorsed advocates' concept for better-protected intersections.

Instead of cyclists and turning drivers merging into the same space at intersections, the design prompts drivers to turn more carefully across the bike lane. Image: Reed Rubey
Instead of cyclists and turning drivers merging into the same space at intersections, the design prompts drivers to turn more carefully across the bike lane. Image: Reed Rubey

Community Board 4 has joined the ranks of Manhattan community boards calling on DOT to improve safety at intersections along streets with protected bike lanes. Last night, the board passed a resolution recommending the agency eliminate “mixing zones,” where cyclists and turning drivers must negotiate the same space at the same time, in favor of a design that would encourage drivers to slow down and yield to passing cyclists before turning.

Volunteers Willow Stelzer and Reed Rubey have been making the rounds at community boards and building support for their intersection design concept since April. They were prompted by the death of Kelly Hurley, 31, who was struck and killed by a turning box truck driver while she rode in protected bike lane on First Avenue.

The concept extends the green paint of the bike lane through the intersection, adding plastic bollards to separate car traffic from bike traffic and compel motorists to take slower turns.

Bollards would be placed at intersections to increase physical separation between cyclists and motorists and slow turning drivers. Image: Reed Rubey
Plastic bollards would be placed at intersections to increase physical separation between cyclists and motorists and slow turning drivers. Image: Reed Rubey

CB 4 is the fourth Manhattan community board to express support for Rubey and Stelzer’s concept, along with boards 3, 5, and 7.

DOT has publicly shown a few other concepts that would give cyclists more separation from traffic at intersections. In May, the agency announced plans to hire a full-time staffer tasked with coming up with safer intersection designs on protected bicycle routes.

  • AnoNYC

    That last bollard is probably most important. The one opposite the crosswalk from the rest. It’s imperative the DOT implements as shown.

  • Adrian Horczak

    The DOT could also do what it does for pedestrians. It sets up traffic lights at crosswalks, rather than just relying on drivers yielding to pedestrians. For protected bike lanes, there could be a dedicated phase for cyclists. The problem is that would cause more traffic. The ideal solution would be to educate drivers and make the road test more difficult to pass. It is too easy right now, so there’s a bunch of bad drivers out there who do not deserve their license.

  • com63

    That would be good. At every “mixing zone” have a green cyclist light and a yellow blinking turn arrow to make clear that cars must yield to cyclists.

  • letters

    That last bollard can’t be added without restricting the maximum length of turning vehicles.

  • Vooch

    Christian Ude, the bike commuting Mayor of Munich, faced a similar challenge with their PBLs.

    The city spent a lot of phenomenal amount of energy and resources on educating drivers to yield at PBLs.

    Result ? Drivers now yield. It’s simply part of the driving culture

    Engineering is highest priority. However, Mayor Ude strongly reccomends adding driver education also.

  • Vooch

    wrong – they just need to turn slower

  • J

    Great. The new DOT staffer can simply read the CROW design manual and implement versions of those designs. Or, if they can’t afford to pay the $100 fee, or if they need pretty pictures, they can just download the MassDOT manual and use versions of those designs. This isn’t rocket science.

    https://www.crow.nl/publicaties/design-manual-for-bicycle-traffic

    http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/highway/DoingBusinessWithUs/ManualsPublicationsForms/SeparatedBikeLanePlanningDesignGuide.aspx

  • Reed Rubey

    That last bollard is key to making the intersection safe. If vehicles of a certain length cannot negotiate the turn that makes the intersection safe for pedestrians and cyclists, then I propose that only vehicles that can make such a turn not be permitted on side streets.

  • 43 year old, midtown cyclist.

    Can somebody who was there last night explain how the death of Kelly Hurley is being used as a justification to change designs? When I read the Daily News article about the crash, it appeared that a mixing zone had nothing to do with what occurred. As a person who rides a lot and enjoy NYC’s unprecedented growth of protected bike lanes, advocates and journalists should be very careful where this conversation goes.
    Kudos to DOT – please keep up the good work!

  • Paul Benson

    I really like the additional lights they have for turning vehicles and for bicyclists on 9th ave in Chelsea. 9th also seems to have extra wide buffering and additional white painted lines. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f5e29df42542261de9400faa37a01c7dc4eeb18b966c456e83b2c0a8e328335c.png