Quick, Someone Get Me a Shovel

Last week, we saw the sorry condition of the new on-street bike route in Times Square and thought to ourselves how much better things would be if only bikes had some truly protected turf in the Crossroads of the World. Alas, just a half-mile south, our idealistic thoughts were quashed by this depressing visage:

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Here in Herald Square, across from Macy’s, there’s a bollard-protected bike lane for one measly block. Peds are supposed to stay to the left (east) of the planters, and bikes get a few feet between the planters and the bollards. Except when it snows, apparently, in which case someone has the thoughtfulness and foresight to lay out caution tape and cones rather than actually clearing the path.

The ped walkway is partly clear, and the street has been plowed, but bikes are given the freeze. Does the plow not fit? Did the design not take into account the possibility of snow? Do the street cleaners just not care? (Or is it all of the above?) Whether it’s a class I, II, or III bike route, or not a bike route at all, it’s not going to be a good place to ride unless the planners, the builders, the enforcers, and the maintainers really want it to be.

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The wider pedestrian zone is separated from the bike lane by planters, and the bike lane is separated from motor vehicle traffic by inexpensive bollards and low-profile barriers. Photo: NYCFreeParking/Twitter

This Block Now Has a Protected Bike Lane *and* a Wider Sidewalk

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Midtown Manhattan avenues have a problem: The sidewalks aren't wide enough for all the people walking on them. People have to walk in the roadbed to get where they're going. On avenues with protected bike lanes, this means people on foot spill over into bikeways, rendering them all but impassable for cyclists. Now there's a single Midtown block with a protected bike lane that also has a wider sidewalk.