Eyes on the Street: The Case of the Missing Bike Lanes, Part II

Turns out many of the city’s marquee Vision Zero projects aren’t the only streets missing bike lanes.

DOT has also allowed its existing bike lanes to fade away. When it does repave streets, the agency often takes months to add back lane striping. Even when it puts paint back on the ground, DOT doesn’t finish the job in some cases, seemingly leaving the bike lane lost to history.

Last month, we showed you two examples where DOT didn’t refresh the bike lane after repaving and putting back all the other street markings. But the problem is much bigger than just those two streets. Earlier this week, we asked for your photos with the #MissingBikeNYC hashtag. The results are depressing.

If New Yorkers can’t count on DOT to stripe paint in a timely fashion, the agency should issue a restriping schedule in addition to the weekly resurfacing schedule it releases.

Or maybe DOT should be honest with New Yorkers and remove these former bike lanes from its bike map.

  • Randyland

    The painted bike lanes in the south east section of the drive in Central Park, from about 59th to about 72nd, are long gone, and this in the most heavily used urban park in America. I’ve emailed DOT about it several times. The don’t even bother to answer, let alone repaint.

  • BBnet3000

    The sad fact is that most of these lanes are worn from cars driving on them and perhaps benefited people cycling less than we would have hoped in the first place. If these are the conditions and traffic levels faced they should be converted to protected lanes in a lot of cases. Non-enforcement (not to mention infringement) by the NYPD certainly doesn’t help.

    You either believe this infrastructure works (in which case the city is putting people in danger by not keeping it up), or you think it doesn’t, in which case better designs are needed. I tend toward the latter camp for a lot of these. Restriping them won’t do shit.

  • Here’s a picture of the bike lane on Richmond Terrace in Staten Island, in front of Staten Island’s most busy transportation hub, the Ferry. It’s been like this for years.

    It’s a stones throw from State Senator Diane “Find-a-f*****g-bike-lane” Savino’s office, and right in front of Borough President James “There’s-no-room-for-bikes” Oddo’s office.

    http://www.silive.com/eastshore/index.ssf/2009/06/bike_lane_on_busy_staten_islan.html

    I can almost forgive the doubleparked cars in it, the drivers probably have no idea that it’s a bike lane. I hardly know it’s there when I ride in it.

  • Simon Phearson

    But don’t forget – according to the TA, Trottenberg’s the “Safety Queen,” and BdB, the “Vision Zero Hero.”

  • Cold Shoaler

    I totally agree with your sentiment here. But I believe the paint on the street, while not optimal, does matter. There are people who feel safer riding when it’s there. That is important.

    A DOT committed to at least maintaining what we have, instead of letting it be erased, would be better than the DOT we currently have. I’ve pretty much given up on expansion/improvement until Polly and/or Bill are gone.

  • Cold Shoaler

    Also, I was *amazingly* disappointed in reality v. bike map on my last visit to Staten Island. Unfortunate.

  • Reader

    “If New Yorkers can’t count on DOT to stripe paint in a timely fashion…”

    Lose the “If.” New Yorkers can’t count on Polly Trottenberg’s DOT to do much of anything other than make appearances at vigils and press conferences announcing the latest half-measure.

  • native new yorker

    Nobody uses the bike lanes on Staten island. The bike lanes on North & South Railroad Avenues are a waste of space. The bike lanes on Father Capodanno Blvd were removed years ago at the request of the community. They were replaced with more practical bus lanes for our express buses.

    The NYCDOT can take years to restripe streets. You can report faded/missing lane markings at this site:
    https://www1.nyc.gov/apps/311universalintake/form.htm?serviceName=DOT+Street+Line+Marking+Faded

  • knisa

    Nobody rides the buses on Staten Island. They need to replace the bus lanes with more practical super-expressways for our private automobiles.

  • ahwr

    95k trips on the locals, 34k trips on the express buses per day. How many bike trips per day is typical for SI?

  • hellskitchencyclist

    HOW ABOUT A TRANSPORTATION ALTERNATIVES/STREETSBLOG PUBLIC ART project/repainting the bike lines. How hard can it be?

  • 9th Streeter

    As Streetsbloggers may recall: Getting that bike lane / road diet implemented on 9th Street in Park Slope was such a hard fought battle. It was, in many ways, a precursor to the Great Bikelash of 2010/11.

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/05/08/ninth-street-update-roberts-rules-of-order/

    People worked so hard to get that and we only got it after four pedestrians — that’s right, two little boys, an elderly woman and another person — were killed on 9th Street in a two or three year period. Oh, and a car went through the front door of Dizzy’s Diner on 8th Avenue and 9th Street. That street was a non-stop shit-show prior to the redesign.

    Since the road diet went in, injuries and crashes have gone way down and no one has been killed on 9th Street as far as I know. And, of course, none of the opponents vehement predictions of doom ever came true.

    It’s such an insult to the community and the activists who worked on this project that Polly Trottenberg and Bill de Blasio’s DOT is letting this languish. Here are two of the boys who were killed on 3rd Avenue and 9th Street in case anyone has forgotten…

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/08/29/brooklyn-traffic-calming-mural-unveiled/

  • Alicia

    I think you missed the sarcasm.

  • DoctorMemory

    Pretty sure that unauthorized painting on the streets isn’t even slightly legal.

    I mean, it’s a good idea, just be prepared to approach it as civil disobedience and possibly spend an evening out on Rikers for it.

  • Joe R.

    Probably more like a few months. That’s in addition to a six figure fine for damages and repairs.

  • AlexWithAK

    Yeah, that report left me baffled.

  • AlexWithAK

    That’s like asking how many people swim across a river to find out whether you should build a bridge.

  • AlexWithAK

    Moreover, when those lines are repainted, they ought to be done with parking-protected bike lanes. There’s more than enough space. But they won’t be because the DOT basically assumes bike lanes are double parking lanes and the NYPD complies. Parking in the 9th St. bike lanes is chronic, especially between 6th Ave and 4th Ave. And squad cars from the 78th are often the culprits, so any hope of enforcement is a pipe dream. The whole situation is a mess.

  • ahwr

    Historically you would ask how many were taking a boat. Tend not to do that when you have a slush fund (gas taxes) to pay for it instead of relying on users of the bridge to pay for it.

  • walknseason

    Transalt is a fucking joke. They are preoccupied with 5 boro rides and mandating helmets, not with making biking as an equal transportation mode.

    I’ll never again give them money after this miserable report – and I was a member for at least 3 years.

  • Mike Lydon

    Traffic tape. Cheapest source we’ve found is here: http://www.colebrothers.com/stripetape/ Non-slip, reflective, easy to go down and easy to remove, which should help avoid any time at Rikers per the comment above… We use this for demonstration projects nationally and recommend that advocates stock a few roles.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    I’m in

    the publicity alone auld be worth it

  • camp6ell

    As of Sunday, they had spray painted the guidelines on 9th street, so looks like the real lines will get done this week.

  • FLYINGCHOPSTIK

    Im down. Didnt right of way group used to do this?

  • This should be upgraded to a parking-protected bike lane. To deal with the double-parking issue next to the C-Town between 5th and 6th Ave, DOT should either create a big loading zone there or make this a two-way path on the south side of the street between 3rd Ave and Prospect Park West.

    Let’s hope DOT doesn’t miss this easy opportunity.

  • But…but…angry!

  • I live at Smith/9th Street and regularly head up Park Slope to go to church, shopping and for many other reasons. I used to have regular run-ins with the limo drivers parked in the bike lane, the funeral home that sets up its valet parking in the bike lane and so on. I’ve now simply given up on 9th St. If I’m heading to a northerly destination, I ride up 7th St and back down 8th. If I’m heading somewhere to the south, I ride up 10th St. There’s plenty of room on 9th St to put in a decent parking-protected bike lane. But, as we’ve long since established, the desire to undertake such projects on the DOT’s part is non-existent.

  • Bike New York, not Transportation Alternatives, runs the five-borough bike tour. I don’t think Transportation Alternatives has ever suggested making helmets compulsory.

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