It’s April. Where’s the NYC DOT Bike Count From Last Year?

Did cycling in New York City continue to rise in 2014? We still don’t know, because NYC DOT has yet to release its annual count.

2014_question_marks
What happened?

Usually, by this time of year, NYC DOT has released its screenline bike count showing the year-over-year trend in cycling in the city core (specifically, the screenline count measures cyclists on the East River bridges, on the Hudson River Greenway at 50th Street, and at the Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Terminal). We’re more than a quarter of the way through 2015, though, and the agency hasn’t posted its stats yet.

For several years, DOT released the screenline count the same year the data was gathered, since the agency focuses on cycling activity during the peak months of April through October. The 2008 count came out in October, 2008. The 2009 count was released in November, the 2010 count in December, and the 2011 count in December as well.

The 2012 bike count came out in the middle of March, 2013, with the addition of stats measuring winter cycling activity. Then last year DOT didn’t release it until Streetsblog posted an unauthorized copy in July.

It would not be shocking if center-city cycling plateaued or dipped slightly in 2014. The city didn’t expand the bike network as much as in previous years, and the bike-share system stayed the same size.

DOT has not responded to Streetsblog’s requests for the 2014 bike count, so for now, we’re in the dark.

The screenline count has its shortcomings, since it doesn’t capture bike activity outside the city core. At a New York Cycle Club event last September, Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said DOT has to improve the way it tracks bicycling throughout the city. With significant bike infrastructure upgrades in the works for streets like Queens Boulevard, 111th Street in Corona, and Bruckner Boulevard, developing better citywide metrics is increasingly urgent.

But the screenline count remains important and useful. It’s the only hard and fast measurement of cycling activity that DOT conducts every year, providing a continuous benchmark stretching back to the 1980s.

  • mikecherepko

    “It would not be shocking if center-city cycling plateaued or dipped slightly in 2014. The city didn’t expand the bike network as much as in previous years, and the bike-share system stayed the same size.”

    And let’s not forget Operation Spite Cycle.

  • Another reason cycling might have plateaued or dipped is that too many bike lanes simply haven’t been maintained. After the 2013/2014 winter, Chrystie St southbound vanished. Many people filed 311 reports beginning in April 2014 but as of today it hasn’t been re-striped. There are too many other class 2 bike lanes to list that just don’t exist anymore, and I’d imagine whatever gains DOT was hoping to get by striping new bike lanes here and there are being undermined by the literal erosion of its bike lane network.

    DOT can’t put down a bike lane, print it on a map, and give itself a high-five for expanding the network. If it won’t commit to robust, separated infrastructure, then paint requires constant upkeep. The excuse can’t be that we’ve had a couple of tough winters. We keep having tough winters and with the way things are going that doesn’t seem likely to change. As Paco Abraham likes to say, safety isn’t seasonal.

  • BBnet3000

    DOT can’t put down a bike lane, print it on a map, and give itself a high-five for expanding the network.

    Who is going to stop them? Certainly not Trottenberg or De Blasio. TA seems too stuck on praising them for the VZ ped bulbouts to actually criticize them on the quality (as opposed to quantity) of the cycling network.

    I’m sure you’re familiar with the 5th/Bergen/Jay route into Manhattan. When you ride this extremely important and central route, does it surprise you that New York only has 1.3% of commuters willing to cycle? I really wonder what the experience of the planners is like when they eat their own dog food.

  • BBnet3000

    Without a major reboot cycling in this city cannot possibly expand much more. Even some of the “best” routes are really quite poor. Most of the protected bike lanes are too narrow (to pass a slower cyclist you end up, ironically, IN THE DOOR ZONE), on the wrong side (the slowest road users on the left? are we in the UK?), and discontinuous.

    I totally understand the need for the mixing zones (new signals are very expensive) but their design is much poorer than the best you see in the NACTO design guide (for real life examples see mixing zones in other cities such as San Francisco) and encourages cars yielding to pedestrians to block cyclists from proceeding straight.

    The way a large portion of our bike facilities actually operate in real life is a complete mess. Is there any feedback whatsoever between the operation of existing facilities and the design of new ones, or the rare re-design of existing ones?

  • steely

    we’re working hard to transform Jay, and other key streets with proper lanes and other safety improvements, and we are not shy about it. BBnet3000, we don’t mind the prodding, but for every word you write complaining about T.A., please write at least one to your local council member.

  • BBnet3000

    I didn’t mean to come off as complaining about TA, I only mean that there’s been a shift in public policy and private advocacy in the VZ era that seem to have taken the wind out of whatever sails expanding cycling had during the Bloomberg administration.

    It doesn’t seem like there’s anyone stopping them from putting in low quality infrastructure in the first place. Frankly I worry that at worst we could end up with another Koch (perhaps David instead of Ed this time) tearing out little-used bike lanes, little used exactly because they are so poor to begin with. We all know that Cuomo would be happy to reprise the role of Hugh Carey in the remake of that famous story.

  • Billy

    Is this newsworthy?

  • walknseason

    God I bet those pigs are just licking their chops to do it again this summer. That was such a spiteful, spiteful thing to do, and forever turned cyclists against cops.

    Meanwhile TA is “applauding” police for their work on Staten island bike rides. Who cares about those cosmetic, recreational rides when commuters need support?

  • BBnet3000

    To be fair if the police have demonstrated anything over the past year, it is a need to be patted on the back to avoid acting out in spiteful, attention-seeking ways. Let’s hope the station commander ordering cops to nail cyclists rolling the T-intersections on Flushing sees that message.

  • walknseason

    Haha you really think that? I saw a bunch of pigs pull over cyclists the last few days on Flushing, now that the “nicer” (well for NYC) weather is back.

  • walknseason

    Troll.

  • Some people care about the timely release of information to assess progress on the city’s transportation goals. DOT used to care too, but it’s been more than two years since they’ve published this data without getting prodded by Streetsblog first.

  • BBnet3000

    This is at Pike Slip and the East River Greenway, the intersection of two of New York City’s “best” bike routes.

    Here’s an example of the kind of bike facilities we can expect to get from our investment: a location where bikes and cars have conflicting green lights! There’s an even more dangerous one I ride through regularly (Dahill and Fort Hamilton Parkway in Brooklyn) that was added last summer. There cars going straight also use the bike lane to get around cars waiting to turn left, so on a bicycle you don’t know if you’re going to be rear-ended or hit head on!

  • JudenChino

    Exactly, it’s like when the Dems f over the left because hey, who else you gonna vote for.

    There’s very little political incentive for them “to do the right thing,” and our only option is to harass the fuck out of this administration and call them out on their hypocrisy. This isn’t about a “life-style choice,” this is about public health and saving lives. Sad thing is, providing walkable/living spaces for bikes and peds are actually really popular but pols are inundated with Noisy NIMBYs and windshield perspective that they’ve convinced themselves that this is some “hobby” for yuppies to bitch about (hence all the “spandex” slurs). Keep up the good work all but it’s hard not to be extremely cynical.

  • JudenChino

    Damn, when I get off the greenway and get onto Allen there, I just take the lane going north and take it with authority (and make eye-contact) but yah, that’s not necessarily safe and suppose a car did plow into you. . . . you die and they get what, at most, a “failure to yield” misdemeanor? It was an accident! They endanger us and then when we’re killed we don’t even get justice.

  • Cold Shoaler

    Yup. They’ve been ticketing on 1st Ave as well. Op Safe Cycle is in spring training.

  • Funny but the San Francisco bike count report is also months overdue. I suspect the SFMTA is sitting on the report because the numbers are so lousy, that they show the bike revolution stalling in SF like it has in Portland:
    http://www.calgarysun.com/2014/03/09/going-flat-out–portland-and-vancouver-spent-loads-on-bike-lanes–for-very-little-gain#

  • Where are the 2013 numbers? And what does the color code represent?

  • BBnet3000

    ie hitting the wall on a not-very-high density network of mediocre NACTO bikeway designs. SF is very far from a properly interconnected network of comfortable routes.

  • Joe R.

    I’m going out on a limb to say last year’s weather, particularly the winter, probably drove the average down even if the numbers riding stayed the same during warmer months. It’ll likely be the same this year. Last year I didn’t ride at all until late February. This year I didn’t ride until early April. In both cases it was a combination of temperatures and constant snow on the streets. Even on the days when it got at least into the high 20s/low 30s, which is about my tolerance point, the street conditions were often lousy. Actually, 2015 was worse. I’ll say those conditions persisted until at least mid March. It was probably not as bad in Manhattan where it seems snow accumulations aren’t as high, and cleanup is better. Still, I don’t doubt the weather is largely to blame if the counts are down.

    Semi related to this is the fact that climate patterns seem to be shifting back to a normal winter. These last two winters weren’t severe in historical terms. In fact, they resemble winter weather I remember back in the 1960s or 1970s. We had a really long spell of much milder than usual winters from I would say the late 1980s/early 1990s until a few years ago. Of course, there are ways to facilitate biking in even more extreme winters than NYC has, but we don’t seem to have the desire to do so, yet anyway.

  • Right. All we need here is more bike lanes—preferably those that take away scarce street parking or traffic lanes on busy streets—and cycling will surge above the less-than-four-percent where it’s been stalled for years.

  • Like Fried I’m actually interested in “information.” Something about those questions that’s somehow out of line? Do all your readers supposedly know what the colors on the graph mean? And why aren’t the 2013 numbers shown?

  • BBnet3000

    Less than 4% with what percentage of the street space? I take it you’ve never attempted to cycle in San Francisco and seen how disjointed the current network is.

  • lop

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/bike-counts.shtml

    .DOT counts cyclists monthly from April to October, with three additional counts in May, August and September for a total of 10 counts per year.

    None of those counts have been released for 2014. No need to worry that a rough winter drove down the average when they break out counts by month.

  • Taking away scarce street parking and traffic lanes to make bike lanes based only on the hope that doing that will significantly increase cycling is a faith-based traffic policy.

  • BBnet3000

    Except that its already succeeding disproportionately to the space reallocated.

  • A True Believer.

  • BBnet3000

    Sorry if I’m more convinced by the studies showing people’s attitudes toward cycling and the results demonstrated by existing infrastructure than by your concern trolling for “scarce parking space” on every article about cycling or mass transit

    How rustled do you get when you see the many people cycling and riding public transit in San Francisco every day? Your injunction was lifted and more people are able to cycle more comfortably in San Francisco because of it.

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