Drivers Enjoy Special New Standing Zone

Fresh tipster shots from Prince Street. E-mail subject line: "Happy ‘Bike to Work’ Day."

@ Greene

@ Broadway

  • Mark Walker

    Like I said in the thread below: bollards. OK, so bikers won’t be able to pass each other, and they’ll have to use their brakes more often for errant pedestrians and other hazards. But the alternative is a few tons of automobile blocking the entire lane.

  • juno, your case worker

    it’s not the separation/barrier that’s the problem, it’s bollards in particular. anything that isn’t continuous will be a constant, never-ending snag hazard directly next to you. this is one instance where i agree with the “official” design guidance sources.

  • Mark Walker

    OK, I see your point. But my contention is that nothing less than a physical separation will prevent cars from invading bike (or pedestrian) space. Something that would smack against bumper or tires. What would you suggest? Not trying to be snarky, just looking for solutions.

  • Lucas

    How about a small concrete curb?

  • Car Free Nation

    Increase the fine to $500. This is the classic case of a crime in which most perpetrators are not caught. Because of that, the actual fine has to be high enough to compensate for the fact that most of the time you don’t have to pay it.

    As it is now, someone can store their car in the bike lane 50 times before they are caught, which makes the per standing charge somewhere near $2. At $500, it might actually be a deterrent.

  • juno, your case worker

    yah any kind of median/curb would be fine. they’ve put down little (1′-3′ wide) curbs in paris, montreal, melbourne etc and it works fine – and it’s cheap!

  • Charlie D.

    What about using the same plastic “bollards” that are used on the 9th street lane? Just end the bollards 50 ft or so before intersections so that bicyclists can merge out of the bike lane to the left in preparation for left turns.

  • Stu

    Car Free Nation–how about they actually start fining people? I don’t care how big the fine is, i just want people to see cops writing out tickets.

    It’s either that, or I start carrying a recoiless hammer to ding up every car standing in my lane. After all, they try to do the same when I”m in their lane.

  • Dan

    I agree that a small curb would be perfect. It would not be impervious to autos but the idea of the curb and of any separation in general is a perception of safety. I don’t really know why they don’t do this?

    The painted lane is supposed to be for bikes, not cars. A painted lane without physical separation admits, I think, by it’s very nature, that cars have priority at the curb and on the street.

  • buford puser

    Hey, credit where credit is due: I pointed out yesterday that DoT has really helped out drivers by color-coding these new parking zones.
    I agree with some of the posters that more enforcement is necessary; yesterday I was trying to park my Hummer in front of my co-op in one of the new parking zones & this guy on a bicycle kept getting in my way & even had the nerve to give me the finger when I gave him a blast on the horn to let him know he needed to get on the sidewalk where bicycles belong.
    This proves what I said yesterday: marking these new double parking areas with bicycles is confusing people. I am confident that DoT will straighten this out; in the mean time, I know we can count on the NYPD to look out for NYC drivers as they always do- after all, they drive all day; it’ll be a cold day in hell before they’ll do anything for someone riding a bicycle in the street.

  • Larry Littlefield

    No one is going to fine these people. How many laws are on the books (to satisfy one constituency) and not enforced (to satisfy another)? Given the choice between blocking a motor vehicle lane and possibly facing a confrontation and blocking a bike lane, they are going to block the bike lane.

    The only value I see to painted bike lanes is that if bicyclists believe that is the streets where they are supposed to go, they’ll possibly herd together on those streets, increasing their perceived numbers and visibility.

    The more I think about it, the more the bicycle boulevard idea makes sense. You get rid of through traffic — traffic in a hurry. You time the lights at 20 mph. That protects the bicycles from moving traffic.

    And bicycles use the moving traffic to prevent other motor vehicles or pedestrians from blocking the ROW.

  • Charlie D.

    I would guess that the main reason why they don’t put small median between the lanes is cost. Paint is cheap, construction costs more. Plus, they would probably have to adjust the drainage somehow as well.

  • Spud Spudly

    Bless these drivers for doing something to cover up that hideous shade of green that DOT painted on the street. It’s awful.

  • buford puser

    I just want to follow up by saying thank God that here in NYC, we don’t have the madness of civilian control of the NYPD.
    Imagine what this city would be like if the NYPD actually had to listen to the Mayor & get in line with the policies followed by the rest of city government, rather than being an independent policy-setting body.
    We’d have crazy stuff like policemen enforcing traffic laws; if the city were crazy enough to, say, make lanes in the street for people to ride bicycles, the NYPD would actually have to cooperate with other city agencies & enforce those rules!
    Thank God Ray Kelly will never have to take orders from Mike Bloomberg, so something like that remains just a crazy fantasy!

  • Lucas

    I can understand not putting down a concrete curb when there is parking on the other side of the bike lane. However, in this case, if the bike lane is completely off to one side, why not put down some sort of physical separation? I’ve heard complaints that emergency vehicles should be able to get into bike lanes, etc, but a small curb would be no problem. It would just make the random motorist think twice before jumping a curb to stop in the bike lane.

  • There have been some pretty dumb attempts at physical separation – like the bricks on Adams street – what genius thought that up? Cars don’t notice it, the bike lane runs through an active bus stop, and it drives cyclists crazy.

    Physical barriers can be really bad design – for example if the lane is on the left side of the street and you’re coming in from the right, the cyclist will get into the lane mid-block. If it’s got a physical separation, now you’re stuck in the car traffic with a new curb or line of bollards to worry about. I’m not saying they’re a bad idea, just that they take a lot more planning and forethought than lots and lots of green paint.

    Green paint everywhere!

  • Jason A

    Am I the only one who looks at the painted lanes and thinks, “Yikes, slippery in the rain!?”

  • Stacy

    If it’s not yellow cabs, black livery cars, or delivery trucks, it’s the shoppers and venders who think the Prince Street Bike Lane is some designated space where they can meander with absolutely no regard for what else might be going on in this busy City.

    Obviously this is an idea that doesn’t work. Why can’t we have a Houston Street bike lane that actually goes from one side of the island to the other?

  • Spud Spudly

    Am *I* the only one who thinks that huge green stripe in the street is hideously ugly? And what do you think the maintenance schedule will be for those stripes? Can’t wait to see what they look like in five years after they’ve been cut up by every city agency, utility, pothole crew and plumber in the region.

  • Stacy: The real problem here is that the sidewalks on Prince are insanely narrow, especially on the north side. This is simply not a good location for a bike lane. The sidewalks should be extended and there should be no parking permitted at all. Eventually, the whole street should be pedestrianized.

    Putting the crosstown bike route on Prince Street was a serious, serious mistake on DOT’s part. Prince needs more pedestrian capacity, and people will spill over into any space they can find because there simply isn’t enough room on the sidewalk.

  • Dave

    The reason they don’t put bollards or curbs or otherwise delineate biking lanes is snow. Snow plows have to be able to clear the streets and the sanitation department wants to be able to do it all with one size snowplow.

    BTW this is why we have the insanely oversized bake lane on Ninth Avenue….it could be half the size except for snowplows. (You’d think they’d buy a smaller width snowplow, wouldn’t you?)

    And those of you complaining of intrusions into bike lanes, tell me where do you expect cabs to let passengers in/out? In the lane of traffic so everyone swerves into the bike lanes? For bike lanes that are occupied what, 2% of the time?

    The solution is the elimination of parking spaces and no-standing on the opposite side of the street from all bike lanes. All deliveries and cab activities can be done at the opposite curb from the bike lane.

    But the car-focus in this city is so strong and so supported by City Hall that taking away parking spaces will never happen. I guess we need a few more bike accidents/fatalities to prove my point.

  • I think Dave is right on the snow plow issue. but even if they got smaller snow plows, I don’t think they would separate the bike lane here. The roadway is just too narrow. Any cab, truck or other vehicle stopping for any reason would cause an unavoidable obstacle to the flow of motor vehicle traffic. In Europe they would tolerate that, but I don’t think we are ready for it in NYC (I’d love to be proven wrong).

    In my view, the answer is neither infrastructure nor zero-tolerance enforcement by NYPD (as much fun as it would be to see that approach finally applied to traffic violations by motorists rather than bicyclists). The answer is for bicyclists to courteously but assertively tell motorists and pedestrians blocking the bike lane to move, just as you would tell someone occupying a seat with their baggage on the bus or subway to move it, or ask someone dumping garbage on your block to stop. Bicyclists themselves must keep the bike lanes clear.

    For those who say it is pointless to engage strangers in these kinds of situations, I have a story. When I was 21, I lived in Brooklyn and due to my job and lifestyle I drove almost everywhere. I was one of those people who would cruise down the middle lane on the FDR at high speed past all the other motorists waiting patiently in the right lane to access the off-ramp for the Brooklyn Bridge, and then I would merge onto the ramp at the last minute. I’ll never forget how one time a guy I was about to merge in back of simply stopped his car, got out right there on the FDR, went over to my window, and told me what I was doing was incredibly rude, and that my time was not any more valuable than his. I never did it again.

    Of course there are people who will not respond to this kind of counselling but (call me an optimist) I believe they are a minority. There is also the one-in-a-million who will have a hostile or even violent reaction to being approached this way. It’s certainly important to be civil and courteous when a stranger to move in a public place. But I don’t think the possibility of violence, any more than notions that it’s NYPD’s job to keep the bike lanes clear, or infrastructure pipe dreams, are valid excuses for not speaking up when a stranger in a public place does something that is rude, illegal, and imposes a burden on you. Even in New York City mores play a huge role in regulating behavior and the only way they are enforced is by individuals engaging each other directly. There is just no substitute.

  • Michael1

    Ok this may be more directed towards Lucas and Charlie D. A raised bike-lane is a good thought. However, if you had to avoid something, a pedestrian for example or wrong-way bike, and you decide to exit the bike lane, you will feel a jolt. Less-experienced cyclists may loose their footing on the pedals and that’s all it takes to get clipped by a car. A response may be, no problem let’s make the curb smaller. That’s a good idea too. However, cars can still jump that curve and if it’s too small, park on it still. Charlie D. mentioned plastic bollards. They are used on 9th Avenue because it prevents cars from parking on the buffer zone. It’s a separation between a bike lane and a parking lane. For Prince Street, we are dealing with a separation between a bike lane and a moving lane. A car can easily take down a plastic bollard, and they are easily eaten away. The reason I say cast-iron bollards is that it provides a cyclist with the opportunity to exit the bike lane for whatever reason, however cars cannot penetrate to go into the bike lane.

  • a

    Carry spraypaint or a sharpee. when you ride by leave your mark.