Trottenberg: DOT Will Make It Safer to Bike Across the Harlem River

Photo: Brad Lander/Twitter
DOT officials, including Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, center background, answer questions from Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, right, this afternoon. Photo: Brad Lander/Twitter

This afternoon, officials from DOT and Citi Bike testified before the City Council transportation committee on the state of bicycling in New York. How will NYC DOT make it safer to bike in the city and design streets where more New Yorkers feel comfortable biking? Today’s hearing featured a glimpse into the bike policy initiatives the de Blasio administration is developing.

Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced a new DOT “Bikes on Bridges” program to create safer access to and across the city’s network of bridges. The agency will focus first on the Harlem River crossings, which local residents and Transportation Alternatives have been campaigning to improve for walking and biking. There’s no timeline for implementation, but Trottenberg said that the effort will result in short-term recommendations and guide future long-term capital investments on the bridges.

Trottenberg also restated the city’s commitment to expand the bike network with 50 miles of bike lanes each year, including five miles of protected bike lanes. She noted that more than 340,000 trips are taken by bike each day in NYC, and said the city aims to double bicycling by 2020. That would not exceed the growth rate in recent years, and may actually be a step back from prior goals stated by the administration. In September, Trottenberg had reiterated a campaign pledge by Mayor de Blasio to raise NYC’s bike mode share to 6 percent. According to the most recent Census data, the current bicycle commute mode share in the city is 1.2 percent.

Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez asked if the city could pick up the pace of protected bike lane installation. “If we’re going to take it to the next level, then we’re going to have to talk about additional resources and additional personnel,” Trottenberg said, adding that protected bike lane projects consume a significant amount of time as the city works with local merchantsresidents, and community boards.

Here are more highlights from the hearing:

  • Bike racks on buses? Maybe, on a few routes: Trottenberg also announced that her agency is working with the MTA to launch a pilot to install bike racks on buses along some routes, particularly those that cross bridges. New York’s transit authority has lagged behind its peers on this issue. Details on the initiative from the MTA were scant and noncommittal. “The MTA is working with the NYC Department of Transportation to explore this idea,” spokesperson Adam Lisberg said.
  • An updated in-depth look at serious injuries and fatalities: Eight years ago, the city released a comprehensive, multi-year, inter-agency review of serious injuries and fatalities of bicyclists [PDF]. The report provided good data about the dangers facing NYC cyclists but has grown out-of-date. As biking for transportation becomes more widespread, bike safety is an issue that directly affects a growing population of New Yorkers. This year, the number of bicyclist injuries is slightly outpacing last year’s totals, and fatalities are way up over the year before. Trottenberg said that the city is using new data to refresh the old bike safety report and will release an updated version next year.
  • Citi Bike, cash cow? Rodriguez wanted to know when bike-share would start turning a profit that could be split with the city, but neither Berlin nor Trottenberg could say when that might be. “We’ve simplified the profit-sharing agreement,” Trottenberg said. “We’re now going to do a smaller piece of the gross profits, if those should come.” She added that until Alta’s sale, it had not been reimbursing the city for on-street metered parking converted to bike-share stations, as required by its contract. Under the new contract, Alta is paying the city a flat $1 million annual reimbursement for lost parking revenue. Trottenberg said future station sitings will minimize the loss of car parking so as to not diminish the city’s revenue stream and to “minimize inconvenience to motorists.”

The hearing also had its share of requests from council members related to their districts:

  • Staten Island Council Member Debi Rose asked general questions about bike safety in her borough and pressed DOT officials about building a bicycle and pedestrian path on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Trottenberg said DOT is “exploring” the concept with the MTA, which operates the bridge. One issue that didn’t come up over which DOT has direct control: Improving conditions for cyclists who use the Staten Island Ferry.
  • Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer asked for an update on the delayed Pulaski Bridge bike path, and DOT’s Josh Benson confirmed that it will be installed early next year. Fellow western Queens representative Costa Constantinides asked about bike improvements to 21st Street. Benson said safety fixes there would focus mostly on slowing down speeding drivers and improving conditions for pedestrians, while the agency is planning to add barriers along the existing bikeway on parallel Vernon Boulevard.
  • Benson said DOT will continue neighborhood-level bike lane planning already underway in Long Island City, Ridgewood, Brownsville, East New York, and Corona next year. Trottenberg added that the de Blasio administration is focused on expanding the city’s bike network beyond the central core of the city.

The police department and the transit authority came up a number of times during today’s hearing, on issues from enforcement to building a path across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Neither organization testified today.

This post has been updated. Alta will pay the city $1 million each year to reimburse for paid on-street parking used by bike-share stations, not $5 million as previously reported.

  • BBnet3000

    Trottenberg added that the de Blasio administration is focused on expanding the city’s bike network beyond the central core of the city.

    Midtown barely has any bike infrastructure today. The Financial District is pretty shaky as well, and I wouldn’t exactly recommend anyone timid ride in Downtown Brooklyn though it has some bike lanes. What core is the Commissioner referring to here? The West Village and Chelsea?

    Adding a smaller amount of lower quality infrastructure farther from the denser concentrations of cycling-length origins and destinations than in the past 6 years is supposed to double cycling in the next 6 years?

  • I think it’d be better to focus on making a smaller area really good than make a larger area barely mediocre. Given the exponential impact of completing a network of segregated paths that people will use the cost per mile per user will be much less and this would serve as a good measure of what kind of results can be expected.

  • ralph

    5 miles of real bike lanes per year doesn’t seem like much of a goal. Community boards slow them down? Nobody voted for any of the folks on the community boards, and the DOT doesn’t need their permission. It would be nice if our government actually did things rather than just exploring the idea of making a plan to draft a proposal to do a study that could lead to recommendations for a proposed plan.

  • Sean Kelliher

    I know the bike infrastructure in midtown well. It’s not really infrastructure, it’s paint on the pavement and there’s almost always motorists driving or parked in it. In many places, there’s not even enough space between parked and moving vehicles to squeeze through. As a result, you get what you pay for. Almost everyone on a bike is male and between the ages of 20 and 50.

    My fear is that we’re going to be getting more of this, and Trottenberg and de Blasio are going to claim victory when, in reality, we’re not winning at all.

  • walks bikes drives

    I actually disagree here. If we truly want to increase mode share, I think it needs to be bigger picture. Must subways go out to the outer boroughs along just a main path, and as a beginning, I think bike ways should do the same. Build a set of long distance, high traffic, efficient bike lanes that can, truly safely carry a cyclist through most of their ride assuming not staying within the cost neighborhood. Like, the 34th ave bike lane – just make it 1) actually safe and 2) efficient, which right now it is neither. Build a backbone. Then expand outwards to make a complete network.

    Cycling is automatically efficient in most of Manhattan because of traffic density slows a great deal of traffic. However, it is intrinsically much less efficient in the outer boroughs. Safety, of course, is lacking everywhere.

  • Mr. Mojo Risin’

    Siting bike share stations so as to “minimize inconvenience to motorists” is everything that’s wrong with the de Blasio’s approach to bikes and even Vision Zero right now. They’re just so afraid of saying the wrong thing and that’s translating into a total lack of action. What about maximizing convenience and safety for pedestrians and cyclists? Bike share siting can be done in ways that increase safety, such as using them to daylight intersections. That might involve losing a parking space or two, but so what? This DOT has lost its mojo and this “please all people all the time” approach to bike share, bike lanes, and bicycling in New York City won’t get us to anywhere near 6% mode share in even 50 years. I’m not impressed.

  • Joe R.

    I’m assuming you mean something similar to the bike highways I’ve proposed repeatedly. These would be built along major trunk routes, and by design would allow non-stop travel from city limits to the Manhattan core. In some places, full grade separation would be needed, in others it might not, or it might only be needed at major intersections. The goal here is once a cyclist gets on these bike lanes they never see a red light or stop sign until they get off.

    Cycling is automatically efficient in most of Manhattan because of traffic density slows a great deal of traffic. However, it is intrinsically much less efficient in the outer boroughs.

    A point I can’t emphasize enough. Average traffic speed in Manhattan is well into the single digits. That’s why bikes can regularly beat cars there, even on bike infrastructure with lots of traffic signals. Not so in the outer boroughs where you can often average 15 mph or more by car, at least until you get near Manhattan. The only way you can offer comparable speeds by bike is to allow bikes to travel non-stop for most of their route. If you do that, bikes can usually beat mass transit. They can often match or beat driving.

    Combine these efficient bike routes with the legalization of e-bikes. Now bike travel can offer close to 20 mph average speeds. Put velomobiles into the mix, you can probably get closer to 25 mph, even 30 mph. Think about that. You can go from city limits to midtown in 30 minutes or less. No other transit option comes close for most of the day. Off-peak you may beat that by car if a significant portion of the trip is on an expressway, but most of the time human power would be the winner by a big margin. It could potentially be revolutionary in how we think about the way people get around cities.

  • walks bikes drives

    Yeah, I know you have been pushing the idea of bike highways, which would be great, but even from a more practical standpoint, infrastructure can be created to minimize delays. I’m not against all traffic lights for cyclists, but minimize them. 34th ave, for example, has such poorly timed lights that, on the fee times I have ridden out to Corona from Manhattan, I remember having to stop at a light every 2-3 blocks. And, given the space without stopping, I probably would have averaged 20mph on that stretch.

    Now, talking about an average speed in single digits is only in midtown and downtown. Very not true in almost all of Manhattan north of 59th, but cycling can still be a solid contender. For example, of I took a cab to work in the morning every day, some days I’d be at work a few minutes faster than on bike, and some days a few minutes layer, depending on traffic variation. So on average, my commute is the same. My bike commute is within a minute of each other on a daily basis, so the consistency is also a major factor.

  • queenser

    Joe you complain that the subway is too Manhattan centric, but at the same time advocate for a Manhattan centric bike network. What gives? You don’t need to bike everywhere, be more mode flexible, and we already have trains to get people to Manhattan from far away. Why shouldn’t bike infrastructure be built to serve trips that are poorly served by transit today?

  • Joe R.

    Those same bike highways, supplemented by a finer grid of “regular” bike infrastructure, would be used for trips solely within the outer boroughs which are not amenable to public transit. It’s not an either or proposition here. Look at NYC’s highways as an analogy. Sure, to a first approximation they’re somewhat Manhattan centric in that they allow a person to quickly go from the suburbs to Manhattan. However, those same highways are also often used for other trips, say from Queens to the Bronx, or trips solely within one borough. Bike highways would be no different.

    Trains are wonderful but large swaths of Brooklyn and Queens lack subway coverage. Once you factor in a slow bus ride to the subway, it would be possible to easily beat those travel times by bike on a largely non-stop network.

  • queenser

    Just like subways are useful for intra outerboro trips because they connect to a finer grid of buses? So what’s your complaint about the subway orientation, seems the same.

  • Bolwerk

    If it’s just to address a subway shortcoming, subway coverage problems aren’t as insurmountable as people pretend. Probably two ring-like routes through the outer boroughs would fix most of the routing issues and make a significantly more complete system. Buses are fine for trips of a mile or two.

  • Joe R.

    True, we probably don’t need a whole lot of route miles to get most of Brooklyn and Queens within a mile of a subway station. The problem is I see zero serious proposals to do anything in that regard. All I hear is a lot of talk about SBS and BRT. Lost in all this is the fact that buses are less comfortable than subways, usually much slower, and far less immune to weather problems. When there’s a heavy snow things on surface streets come to a standstill but the subways generally still run. Even the els usually run fine right after a major snow. Rail in all its forms is just much more reliable.

    Anyway, the whole idea behind the bike highways was never solely to address a subway shortcoming. Rather, it’s to give people another option which can potentially be better than mass transit, as good as driving, while also being a lot cheaper than both. It’s also to address the fact that mass transit can probably never be viable for many trips solely in the outer boroughs but with good infrastructure cycling can be. The emphasis here is on safe, fast, stress-free riding. You won’t get that with painted on-street bike lanes due to aggressive motor traffic, traffic signals, poor road condition, etc. I honest feel with the right infrastructure cycling can replace a lot of driving in the outer boroughs, even on trips of 10 miles each way or longer. Such trips are currently a nightmare for many if done on slow, traffic-clogged streets. The extra expenditure of time and energy compared to just cruising along is enormous. The same bike highways which would make 10+ mile trips feasible would also make shorter trips a lot easier.

  • Joe R.

    Big difference here. Bikes can go from a bike highway to a regular on-street grid with zero delay. An intra outer borough trip which can theoretically be done on mass transit often isn’t practical on account of the delay incurred during each transfer. Also, the bike highways aren’t built instead of a finer grid of local bike infrastructure. They’re built along with it. They give cyclists another option, especially at times when surface streets are crowded.

  • Joe R.

    For what it’s worth, it’s pretty hard to average 20 mph if you hit any traffic lights at all. Remember if you can ride at 20 mph, but hit only one traffic light every mile which stops you for a minute, you’re bringing your average speed down to 15 mph. I’m not totally against traffic lights either, but I think we should consider any more than one red light delay every 5 to 10 miles excessive, the idea being it should be possible to average within 1 mph of your cruising speed no matter what that speed happens to be.

    I personally sometimes average around 20 mph for portions of my rides, sometimes doing so legally without passing red lights. However, I find even passing as many red lights as possible it’s difficult to average much above 15 or 16 mph overall. Lights in the entire city are either poorly timed for bikes, or not timed at all. I tend to think bike highways would not only be useful for travel but also useful for people just riding for fitness. That type of riding especially doesn’t readily lend itself to the stop and go common on surface streets.

  • queenser

    mass transit can probably never be viable for many trips solely in the outer boroughs but with good infrastructure cycling can be. The emphasis here is on safe, fast, stress-free riding.

    What about trips between queens and Brooklyn, or within queens but not heading to or from Manhattan? Why not focus on trips served only by busy and slow buses?. In queens maybe a flushing-jamaica corridor instead of replicating existing heavy rail transit?

  • Joe R.

    I never said we shouldn’t do that. In fact, I was actually thinking of bike highways above or near most major arterials. By definition those could serve for a lot of trips not involving Manhattan, including those currently served only by crowded, slow buses. Like I said though, you won’t get significant numbers of people riding unless it’s safe, efficient, and unstressful. As someone who has logged over 4,000 hours and over 72,000 miles, mostly on Queens streets, I can tell you riding here is anything but those things much of the time. In fact, that’s why I ride after 10 PM most of the time. Riding conditions then are still far from ideal, but they’re tolerable to a hard core cyclist. The problem is few things worth going to are open that time. During the day I personally find riding conditions atrocious. Based on how many people I see riding (up from a decade ago but still not all that many) I think others share my view. Ironically, I found riding around my neighborhood much better 20 or 30 years ago. Traffic was quite a bit lighter during the day. You also had far fewer traffic signals. The masses of people driving everywhere just ruined it for everyone not driving.

  • J

    Great, more “neighborhood level bike planning”, which has been super effective at getting sharrows and double parking lanes installed in neighborhoods across the city. Yes, they don’t actually make it any easier to ride a bike, but they sure do add to the DOT lane miles statistics. But hey, protected lanes are hard and all; better to just focus on the easy stuff that doesn’t work.

  • qrt145

    I suggest that when adding up the miles of bike lanes the DOT should use a weighting factor depending on the type. Protected bike lanes: 1; “regular bike lanes”: 0.1; sharrows: 0.01.

  • J

    Fantastic idea!!

  • Reader

    We should have things like “neighborhood level sewer planning” or “neighborhood level telephone/Internet planning.” Some neighborhoods would have clean water, toilets that flush, clear phone connections, and strong wifi signals, while others would be stuck with cholera, outhouses, and tin cans and string.

    Only when it comes to matters of life and death on our streets do we defer so much power to community boards. It’s shameful.

  • qrt145

    It would be even worse than you say: no one would have sewer or internet under “neighborhood level sewer planning” or “neighborhood level telephone/Internet planning.”, because the your sewer or internet pipe at some point would have to pass through a NIMBY neighborhood…

  • Reader

    Good point! Really shows the absurdity of leaving networked system design to non-experts serving near-lifetime appointments to a body that isn’t actually accountable to anyone other than people who park cars on the street.

  • BBnet3000

    If the city instituted traffic calmed (and through-traffic free) Bike Boulevards sharrows on them could count for something. Sharrows on high traffic roads should count for -1.

    High traffic streets that are orange on the bike map like 4th Ave in Brooklyn, Varick St in Manhattan, and Cropsey Ave crossing to Coney Island in Brooklyn, should not be on the bike map at all. Its a joke where the punchline is scaring people away from cycling and human lives lost.

  • BBnet3000

    I like this strategy, but the problem is that none of our existing backbones are complete. I don’t have much faith that the new ones would be any better.

    Look at 34th Ave as an example. In Woodside it goes to sharrows, though on those streets its perhaps OKish. If you are going from Jackson Heights to Midtown though, you’ll have to contend with sharing the road on 2nd Ave after the bridge, which I’ve done plenty of times and I always dread.

  • I’m not sure focusing on commuting, particular longer commutes, is a good idea.

    http://streets.mn/2014/01/14/is-bicycle-commuting-a-bad-goal/

    If you look at places with high numbers of people riding bicycles for transportation you don’t see many people doing long commutes, you see lots of people running errands and making short trips to some place for dinner.

    Most people can’t/won’t do this in Manhattan or anywhere else in NYC. They do not have infrastructure that they believe is safe enough. Worse, statistics on deaths prove that it’s not safe enough.

    Facilities for longer distance commuting might add a percent or two of bicycling at best. Facilities that make an entire neighborhood or a collection of neighborhoods safe and that allow everyone (or 90%?) within them to feel that bicycling is safe and that it is a good alternative will see massively greater growth in mode share.

  • Bolwerk

    I don’t think they’re viable for the same trips. Cycling is largely about recreation. Virtually nobody rides buses or subways for recreation.

  • Bolwerk

    Well, the best surface transit vehicle for accumulated snow is probably a high floor bus, but that’s the worst vehicle for the ~355 days of the year that don’t see significant snow. At least if there is significant crowding.

  • iSkyscraper

    De Blasio is so weak and incapable it’s not even funny anymore. Only in time will people realize how unbelievably effective Bloomberg’s aministration really was. (Hint – it went beyond changing the numbers on the speed limit signs).

  • walks bikes drives

    We can all want and desire a complete, well built system. Fact of the matter is, if that ever does come to fruition, it is going to take time. You have to start with somewhere. While other cities might need cycling infrastructure for local errands, NYC as a while does not need this because we can walk to most errands. Commuting will probably always play the primary role for cyclists because commuting is the primary role for all transportation in NYC. Other cities, you have to drive just to go to the supermarket. Not so in most of NYC. So, build arterials for cyclists, and they can be used for commuting as well as more local riding.

  • New Yorkers, particularly in Brooklyn & Queens, make a gob of short 1 to 3 mile trips by taxi or car that could for the vast majority just as easily or more easily be done by bicycle if they have safe places to ride.

    The reality is that you’ll never see very a very high percentage of the population do much more than a 5 mile commute, much less 10 or more miles. Maybe 5% at most. But you can get 90% of the population to ride 1 or 2 or 3 miles to Target or Buttermilk Channel or get kids within 5 miles of school to ride to school.

    And, if people begin to see this as a viable option they’ll start to look for places to live within their tolerance for a bicycle ride to work.

  • walks bikes drives

    I understand what you are saying, but, think about this: I80 goes from the NJ side of the George Washington Bridge to California. I have driven on route 80 hundreds of times, but I have never gone all the way to California. Most driving of my trips on I80 stayed within NJ.

  • Joe R.

    You’re ignoring the segment which rides recreationally. That’s one segment which would benefit from longer distance facilities probably even more than commuters. By definition recreational cycling doesn’t lend itself to stop and go or very short distances. Also, many commuter cyclists or errand cyclists start out as recreational cyclists. Our goal here is to encourage cycling. It shouldn’t matter if a person is commuting, running errands, or just riding for fun. The idea is good infrastructure gets people on bikes. There’s probably a larger segment of the population in NYC who would ride recreationally if decent facilities were provided than for any other reason. While we can dismiss recreational riding as serving no practical purpose, in fact it does. It increases the health of those doing it, saving society money on medical costs down the road. It also serves to reduce stress, provided of course you have a place to ride with low stress. As a bonus, it can serve as a gateway to cycling for transportation.

    Besides all this, the same long distance facilities which can be used for commuting or recreational riding can also serve for part or most of shorter errand trips. Sure, we absolutely should build “local” bike infrastructure, but that’s not all we should build.

  • Joe, good points on recreational riders. I’ll admit that my focus is on bicycling for transportation not recreation (even though I ride a thousand or so miles a year recreationally). Recreational riding does have health benefits and in some cases may spur someone on to using a bicycle for transportation. Not sure what the percentages are though. Also, the bicycles most people in the U.S. purchase for recreation are quite poor for transportation use while a good transpiration bicycle works well for non-racing recreational riding.

    http://localmile.org/?page_id=75

    Recreational riding does not remove cars and associated congestion, road fatalities, pollution, noise, parking requirements, etc from our streets.

    From a health standpoint transportation bicycling is better because people who do that will do it every day and often several times per day. Recreational riding is maybe once a week or once a month for most people (except serious cyclists) and so the health benefits are marginal.

  • ahwr

    To continue the analogy how many of those trips on i80 would you have made if most exits led to miles of dirt roads before you could reach your destination or otherwise uninviting environments for someone in a car? What if you had to walk the last couple miles from the highway?

    Building a nice linear park would be great. But they are expensive in most cases. In some near natural boundaries or repurposing existing infrastructure they can bebe relatively cheap. But a greenfield linear park? Very expensive. The street level improvements you could get with the same amount of money would serve a far greater number of bike trips, a far greater number of bike miles. Then once you have multiple bikeable destinations (neighborhoods) connecting them with a speedier route could start to make sense.

    http://seattlegreenways.org

    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/50518

  • Bolwerk

    Oh, I agree with saying you are siting them to minimize motorist inconvenience. But then you actually site them where it makes the most sense anyway. It’s a perfectly legitimate white lie.

  • Bolwerk

    Not always to the same extent, but I can’t really see any shortcomings de Blasio has that Bloomberg didn’t. Bloomberg was horrible at communicating the (supposed, if you prefer) benefits of his urban design goals, while de Blasio is actually rather good at it. And their goals aren’t that different either.

  • ahwr

    Depends what they mean. If it means that when they are willing to daylight an intersection near where a bike share station or bike rack is wanted that they put the bikes on the corner instead of midblock and separately daylighting the intersection, so as to reduce the number of lost parking spaces I’d have no complaint. If it means the bikes are two blocks away that would be different.

  • walks bikes drives

    While Joe R. tends to push for a true highway style connection, with grade srpatayed crossings and overload style bikeways, I’m not crossing my fingers that this is going to happen any time soon. I’m taking street level. Take a road that had a long travel distance, and fewer cars than, say, Queens Blvd, and build a correctly done bike lane with split phase lights, etc. Set the signal timing for 15mph. Ideally, a cyclist should be able, at a 15mph average clip, go from one end of the route to the other without stopping very often.

    Your analogy of the dirt roads, the majority of the city are those dirt roads right now. Not the best roads to ride on, but rideable with precaution. I would rather 80% of my ride on good roads with the first and last legs those poorly designed ones. Then, you start branching off with the smaller local infrastructure. The problem with starting by just making two cycling communities very rideablerideable, here in NYC, is that your riding communities are so spread out. Start with what will benefit the most riders. Then spread out.

  • ahwr

    Rideable for how many people though? Most won’t ride on uninviting streets for even a few blocks.

    Have a road in mind to turn into a bike boulevard?

  • Joe R.

    While this is good in concept I proposed my bike highways because reliably timing lights on outer borough arterials is probably not possible. You have two-way north-south and east-west arterials on a roughly half-mile grid in Brooklyn and Queens. Maybe you can manage timed lights on short segments between arterials, but the point is I can’t envision any light timing algorithm where most cyclists wouldn’t hit lights at least once every half mile, if not more. That seriously kills your average speed. The only real solution is to go above (or perhaps below) the street.

    And then there’s the issue of where to put these (presumably protected) bike lanes. There’s room on Queens Boulevard but not on most other arterials without removing a traffic lane or a parking lane. Even on Queens Boulevard, you already have the #7 viaduct you can hang a bike lane off of for half its length, so you might as well continue the elevated bike lane all the way to the end. Sure, I’m not crossing my fingers either that such things will be built, but rather laying out a blueprint for what I feel NYC seriously needs if it wants to increase bike mode share.

    Also, for what it’s worth, it’s the arterials which are the most uninviting streets for the majority of cyclists. The side streets which would be used to complete the journey often aren’t bad as is. The bad ones could be fixed for minimal cost in most cases. That’s why like you, I feel the focus should be on making things better on longer distance arterials. Nearly any bike trip of any length will by necessity end up on an arterial sooner or later. Fix the arterials, things are mostly good for both short and long distance riders.

  • walks bikes drives

    Those that will not ride on uninviting streets will just have to wait until a full system is in place. I am not arguing that only a long distance system should be built. I am just arguing where the first step should be taken. We can put a skeleton together by starting at the ribs, or we can start with the backbone.

    I don’t have a specific road in mind because I don’t know the outer boroughs well enough to pull something out of that. The criteria I would look for would be: one way, long run, light motor vehicle traffic, and central location.

  • walks bikes drives

    I have nothing against cutting out a car lane or removing parking for the creation of this road.

    As for reliably timing, the bicycle thoroughfare would just need to be given signal timing priority. When this road crosses another arterial, this road’s timing is what dictates the light timing and not the other road. I don’t think it is too much to ask.

  • Jonathan R

    If you look at New York City, you see many people driving motor vehicles around the block, looking for parking spaces. You don’t see them on long commutes.

    As tourists, we see “people running errands and making short trips to some place for dinner” because those are the people out, in the places we are, at the times we are out. Commuters typically are at work before tourists leave their lodgings, and they go to job sites, not necessarily tourist sites.

    Manhattanites like me find it superfluous to bicycle to errands because most shops are within walking distance (and many places deliver). Plus, it’s a pain to lug a bicycle up and down stairs, especially with extra groceries.

    Not sure why you cite “statistics on deaths” to “prove that it’s not safe enough,” when your own localmile blog post, “3 – Is Cycling Safe ?” suggests that safety is not an issue.

    Again, speaking as a Manhattanite, I cannot stress the importance of the completion of the Hudson River Greenway to historical increases in cycling mode share. It is direct and obvious and links to pretty much the entire island.

    If you feel that intra-neighborhood bicycle facilities are the way to go for your Minnesota home, by all means advocate for that. But I don’t know as Manhattan fits that cookie-cutter model.

    And to speak directly to conditions on 34th Avenue in Queens, the problem with timing the lights for any kind of traffic is that the traffic is two-way.

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