Eyes on the Street: Bike Traffic on Eighth = Rolling Goldmine


Thanks to BicyclesOnly for posting this shot from yesterday morning’s commute to the Streetsblog Flickr pool. By my count, we’ve got six people riding bikes here on a one-and-a-half block stretch of the Eighth Avenue protected path, with two or three others farther back, in the shade. As far as I can tell, everyone is riding in the right direction. If I was an Eighth Avenue merchant, I’d start agitating for more bike parking in front of my store.

More recent highlights from the Flickr pool (tag photos with "streetsblog" to contribute) after the jump.


Also from BicyclesOnly: The Lafayette Street bike lane on Tuesday morning.


From darkpilot: The corner of Fourth Avenue and 9th Street in Brooklyn is getting a bigger sidewalk. This is one among dozens of intersections targeted for pedestrian improvements in the Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Project.

  • A demonstration of the “if you build it they will come” effect.

    Another demonstration of it I suspect will happen, in probably even more dramatic fashion, is the increase in cyclists the city will see when it finally closes the greenway gaps on the east side of Manhattan.

    Sure, it will be nice to be able to ride on a greenway where you currently can’t. But that’s nothing compared to this: think of all the people who are currently NOT using the greenway on the East Side, because they can’t use it as an actual travel route to, from, or past Midtown. When the city finally finishes that greenway, you’ll not only see an increase in cyclists on the greenway itself, but all over Manhattan.

  • kgardner101

    Great to see! Hopefully with numbers, safety and respect will follow. Of course the picture doesn’t show the 3-4 salmon riding upstream against these cyclists. I counted 18 riding against me on Broadway yesterday. C’mon people, leave riding against traffic to the deliverymen!

  • bc

    Couldn’t agree more with ddartley. I commute straight up 1st ave every day and today took a detour to go on east side greenway (well, detour was really for the doughnut plant, but I digress). I hadn’t done that in a while and had almost forgotten just how inadequate it is, (and the part that does exist from delancey To 34th is pretty sad). I think many people would use it as a north south route, even if they didn’t have to be on the east side ultimately.

  • sam gardner

    Not too long ago biking in New York was essentially a Guy Thing. Old rusty ten speeds or fixed gear bikes used by transport fundamentalists.

    Looking at the pictures, biking has become a laid back transport mode for the mindful girl, 15 to 95 years old.

    Indeed, there is occasionally the rusty ten speed around, or a carbon fiber thing, but most bikes are just city bikes now.

  • There are plenty of counterflow bicyclists out there, and we’ll continue to see them as more and more new bicyclists hit the road. It’s the same as new drivers, who often cut corners in disrepectful and unsafe ways. I did when I first got my license.

    I’ve started gently admonishing the salmon as I pass, and I’ll stick to the curb side of the bike lane so they will have to lie in the bed they have made for themselves. Usually I just meet eyes and shake my head, the message seems to get through. Most bicyclists who get that kind of treatment repeatedly will stop. The ones who don’t, there’s not much that can be done.

  • On the “build it and they will come” theme, here are three things that would dramatically increase the number of cyclists on the road in New York:

    1) A completed, well-surfaced East Side Greenway (as noted by others)
    2) Secure bicycle parking (in office buildings, in on-street bike lockers, in cages within parking garages)
    3) A comprehensive bike share network

  • Bill from Brooklyn

    The DOT has also recently expanded the sidewalks on the west side of 3rd Avenue on a number of the intersections between the Prospect Expressway and 9th Street. Overall this is a good thing, but there are still two traffic lanes going north on 3rd Avenue and if you are biking these blocks during the morning commute it has gotten much more dangerous at each intersection. There is very little room between the expanded sidewalk area and the traffic lanes for two cars and a bike to fit. Worse there have been a number of totally out of control drivers rushing to pass on the right, who are not even aware that these increased sidewalk intersections are in place. In fact, one morning earlier this week a large truck from a store called Dee Dee’s went flying by passing cars on the right me and actually jumped the curb and ran through part of the sidewalk area on the next intersection. I was quite glad to be a half block behind him at that point.

    These blocks need to be reviewed and the most intelligent course of action would be to add a north bound bike lane (there is a south bound bike lane on the other side) and have only one lane of traffic going north until you pass 9th Street.

  • I was walking along Broadway last month and counted 0 bikes going the right way and 7 going to wrong way (10 block or so walk).

    I dont get the point of a bike lane running the same direction as traffic if no counterflow lane is provided. Also, the broadway bike path looked more than wide enough for two way traffic.

    I say let the salmon ride.

  • Sam Gardener:

    Good eye! I think that there are a lot of women riding is possibly the bigger story here. Women aren’t will to take the risks us guys are (and after being purposely buzzed by a driver last night who was doing 50mph+, I can’t blame them). When women are riding in large numbers its because the riding environment is safe, perceived or otherwise.

    And Jass:

    I’m not surprised there lots of “salmon” on Broadway. Put the lane on the left and riding contraflow will seem “right”.

  • One-way traffic simplifies traffic patterns, reduces conflicts and therefore reduces the potential for collisions. (For these same reasons it can also speed traffic up and foster collisions that way, but that’s an issue with motor vehicle. not bicycle traffic.) The Broadway cycle track could accommodate a northbound as well as a southbound lane, but that would require the pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic to watch for bicycle traffic from both directions. Maybe someday NYC traffic and its participants (bicyclists included) will be “smart” enough to handle two-way bicycle traffic superimposed on a one-way grid, but in my view we are not there yet.

    Jass, as a practical matter, when people ride counterflow in the standard 4-foot painted on-street lanes, they make everyone less comfortable and safe. This is particularly so because bike lane traffic is composed disproportionately of novice and more vulnerable bicyclists. Counterflow cyclists force everyone they encounter to negotiate the potential for a head-on collision in a narrow space where there is no clear rule or expectation as to how to do so.

    Andy, what is the basis for your suggestion that left-hand lanes foster counter-flow riding?

  • Even if DOT were to provide a counter-flo lane who’s to say the salmon will use it? Although there is the occasional wrong way cyclist who obviously knows better and will even apologize for riding ‘upstream’ most of these riders seem to be oblivious to any sense of traffic flo whatsoever. Add another bike lane and we could easily find ourselves with two lanes of chaos.

    So what’s worse than a salmon in a bike lane?
    Two salmon riding abreast in a bike lane.

  • Carol

    Now, if the bicyclists would only realize that the red and green lights are for them too!! There are even some nice little traffic lights with bicycles on them. Pedestrians have rights too!

  • Tom

    …and if only pedestrians would realize that just because a car isn’t coming doesn’t mean you have the “right” to cross the street in front of a cyclist that has a green light and proceed to curse them out for almost hitting them. It goes both ways.

  • Stacy, my theory is the contrite salmon are the opnes who’ve been (gently) admonished by their fellow cyclists– c’mon everyone, time to admonish! And Tom and Carol both have a point.

  • I did my best to admonish a wrong-way salmon on Plaza St West by Union St in Brooklyn on Saturday by calling, “Wrong way!” and he swore at me in NSFW language. I guess even misanthropic jerks are doing their part to save the planet.


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