Speak Up for Chrystie Street Improvements on Tuesday

DOT plans for Chrystie Street would replace parking with bike lanes.

From Transportation Alternatives Bicycle Campaign Coordinator Caroline Samponaro:

On Tuesday, May 27th, the DOT will be presenting plans for improved Manhattan Bridge bike access via the Chrystie Street bike lane to Community Board 3. As you may recall, the CB 3 Transportation Committee voted unanimously to support the plan on May 14th. In fact, members of the board went so far as to request that the 9th Avenue ‘gold-standard’ parking protected bike lane be added in place of the painted buffered lane that is being proposed.

The Chrystie Street bike lane plan will remove 50 car parking along Chrystie Street, which is a very small price to pay for the number of safety improvements it will bring in their place. It is likely that there will be resistance at the full board level due to this proposed loss in parking, making it very important that vocal supporters of the plan turn out. You can find the DOT’s plan for Manhattan Bridge safety improvements, including Chrystie Street, here: PDF.

Your support for safer street conditions on this vital connector route to the Manhattan Bridge is needed. Please spread the word to your friends and colleagues and let’s pack the room with people who support cycling and complete streets in NYC.

  • What: CB 3 Full Board Meeting on Chrystie Street Bike Lane
  • When: Tuesday, May 27, 2008, 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: P.S. 20 at 166 Essex Street (E. Houston & Stanton Sts.)
  • Time: Public session is 6:30-7:30 p.m.; please sign up between 6:00 and 6:30
  • Geck

    “CB 3 Transportation Committee voted unanimously to support the plan on May 14th. In fact, members of the board went so far as to request that the 9th Avenue ‘gold-standard’ parking protected bike lane be added in place of the painted buffered lane that is being proposed.”

    I think a 9th Ave style bike track is the way to go on the East side of Chrystie Street given that it is a highly congested area and its importance as a link to the Manhattan Bridge–particularly with the limited number of through street on the East side of Chrystie along the park. Otherwise it will just be a glorified double parking zone.

  • gecko

    Kind of bizarre to even consider putting people in harms way for a few parking spots.

    It really says that many people consider life cheap in this town; or, many people are just not thinking straight.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I don’t see why they don’t put a two-way barrier-protected lane on the East Side. After all it saves space — one barrier rather than two.

  • JF

    Again, no sign of ManhattanDowntowner, aka NixIllegalLongUsername, on this issue. He’s happy to browbeat us on the issues he cares about, but doesn’t seem to want to lift a finger for anyone else.

  • christine

    Are you kidding me ??? I thought we were beyond “Make Believe” Bike Lanes… AS Jan Gehl said, this is a waste of time and money..

    Only protected bike lanes can be counted toward the DOT bike masterplan, not the MBBL.
    I look for streets blog to publish real bke lane milage the number ..

  • Batty

    Sadly without a protected barrier this just won’t work. There are way too many trucks that park all along there for deliveries, lumber, etc… that would never pay attention to that. Already it’s double parking all the way down.

    I’d think that one lane of a protected lane on the east side that’s two way would be a better way of doing this.

  • Mark

    This is a big missed opportunity. If there was ever a perfect place for a cycle track, northbound on Chyrstie Street is it. Between Canal and Houston, only Grand and Delancy cut through east west making it almost like a greenway. We need good cycling infrastructure around the bridges because they are areas of high demand. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just something simple and attractive to keep out double-parked vehicles and car doors. Let’s get in a tempory trial cycle track in the next few months, and if it works make it forever.

    I am grateful for the new DOT, but think sometimes their plans fall short in the details. Creating a plaza by eliminating parking is a good idea, but painting it green is not exactly great urban design. A bike lane on Chrystie street is good, but why not design it right? The better these improvements look and work, the more they will be loved by the public.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    I agree with Mark. A physically separated bike lane is the way to go in many places simply due to NYC drivers attitudes and total disregard for staying out of bike lanes.

    As is, the south-bound lane is in the door zone and the gored buffer that is supposed to maintain a buffer between the cars and bikes is a joke since drivers treat these gore striped buffers as wiggle room to violate at will. To avoid dooring issues just make the parking lane wider and also make the bike lane take up the rest of the space.

    Frankly, much of NYCDOT’s on street bike lane designs leave much to be desired. As a soon to be urban planner specializing in bike/ped issues, I could not in good professional conscience, sign-off on most of the designs I see in NYC. 9th Ave is for the most part a wonderful exception but even that I have issues with.

  • huh

    andy, i’m assuming nyc has many soon-to-be, recently-was, and even have-long-been urban planners in their ranks. apparently you know something they don’t, so if you have the holy grail of safe bike facility design within your head, you should probably send it their way =)

  • Linda

    Given the horrific double-parking in this area, a striped bike lane will only make the double-parking worse and, ultimately, harm cyclists.

    Striped lanes in highly congested areas such as this, given the city’s lack of consistent enforcement, only serve to legitimize and make double-parking more convenient (think Lafayette between Prince and Astor – ugh!! – and Chrystie is waaay more congested).

    Unfortunately, in lieu of a legit Ninth
    Avenue-esque bike lane, a striped lane may actually make a bad situation worse and more unsafe.

    We know you’re trying NYCDOT, and for that, we thank you. Now try harder!

  • Why are the motor vehicle lanes 11 ft. wide? Why not 10 ft.? 11 ft. wide is for much higher speeds than what is needed on Chrystie. On Lexington Avenue in Midtown, the travel lanes are 9 ft. to 9.5 ft. wide (I measured them at 32nd Street).

    And with 10 ft. lanes for the motor vehicles, 4 ft. are freed up for wider bike lanes (5 ft. bike lanes are too narrow — 6 ft. or 7 ft. feel way better) and a wider sidewalk.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    Yeah I’d love to work for NYCDOT but I’m not about to move into the city when I can live rent free an easy 10 minute bike ride away from a train station with a 45 ride to Midtown.

    The thing that bothers me the most about NYC designs (and I’ve said it here many times before) is that the lanes are on the wrong side of the road on one-way streets. Fix that and you’ve fixed about 98% of what I have a problem with. People have said that New York cyclists are used to this design. That may be true but other aren’t.

    I have a great example to prove this point. Two weeks ago I participated in the “Folds Up!” ride with a friend from Philadelphia who happens to own one of the best bike shops in Philly. He is, without a question a highly experienced and skilled cyclist with many years of experience. As we left Penn Station and headed uptown on 8th I told him to cross the street over to the left side to get into the bike lane. His immediate response was, “What the hell is it doing over there!” He didn’t even realize or expect that there was one all the way over there.

  • bureaucrat

    three reasons for bike lanes to be on the left side on one-way streets:
    1) as you are riding alongside the passenger-side doors of parked cars rather than the driver’s side, there is less of a chance of being doored (since the driver’s door opens the most frequently)
    2) as drivers are on the left side of cars, you are closer to the drivers of the vehicles moving alongside to you, so they can see (and hear) you better
    3) buses always stop on the right side of the street, so if it’s a bus route you are putting bicyclists into direct conflict with buses pulling in and out of traffic by putting the lane on the right side, whereas on the left there are no bus stop conflicts at all

    one reason for bike lanes to be on the right side:
    1) people have historically expected them to be there

    i don’t understand why this is such an issue for you (and others).

  • Andy B from Jersey

    The primary reason why this practice is done is #3 (I have sources) which in my professional opinion is total bunk. I have never experienced buses as being a significant hazard in NYC or other major cities. The other two reasons are minor benefits that result from the practice but still don’t justify it.

    WHY do I expect bike lanes to be on the right?!?!

    Because thats where they are in EVERY OTHER PLACE IN THE WHOLE DAMNED WORLD that drives on the right! I expect bike lanes to be on the right side of the road just as I expect everyone to drive there cars (and bikes) on the right side of the road and not the left. Sounds like sound reasoning to me.

    There are some very rare exceptions where this is done on purpose but those usually very special cases.

    Again this continues to goes against common sense and will get someone killed eventually which is why I could never sign-off on the practice. I am very familiar with the MUTCD and AASHTO standards for bike facility design and NOWHERE in either of those documents does it suggest that placing a bike lane on the left on one-way streets should be a matter of standard practice.

    NYCDOT is allowed to make there own standards which says this is okay but that doesn’t mean others won’t consider it gross malpractice.


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