Today’s Headlines

  • Meet the Circular Firing Squad Responsible for the Leaky Hudson Yards 7 Station (NYT)
  • City Council to Vote Next Week on Giving DOT Authority to Establish New Rules for Plazas (Gothamist)
  • Another Downside to Having Two Different Bike-Share Systems in Neighboring Cities (Jersey Journal)
  • Gridlock Sam Talks Move NY and Crumbling BQE With the Brooklyn Paper
  • 2016 Bike Map Is Out — Check Twitter and Update It Accordingly (Gothamist, DNA 1, 2)
  • Northern Boulevard Will Get New Pedestrian Islands, Crosswalks, Turn Bans in July (TL)
  • How Vision Zero Parallels the Fight Against Drunk Driving a Generation Ago (Velojoy)
  • 300 More Parking Spaces Coming to St. George/SI Ferry Terminal (YIMBY)
  • Winter’s Over — Time for the Year’s First Coverage of the Cramped Brooklyn Bridge Bike/Ped Path (WSJ)
  • The Joy of Biking Around NYC With Young Kids (@jehiah)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Jonathan R

    Unfortunately, adding an extra lane in the middle is a priori inefficient, as there is no pedestrian conflict during the six coldest months of the year, or before 9 am.

    A better solution would be to shut the BQE exit 28B, which ramps onto the outer lane of the bridge, and repurpose the onramp to create a lane from Prospect and Adams over the bridge (along the lateral side, so better views and room to stop and rest), and down the already closed ramp to Park Row. That would provide low-stress access points, instead of the meatgrinders at Tillary St and Chambers St.

  • Joe R.

    I really, strongly feel the car dependent parts of the outer boroughs, like eastern Queens where I live, can get to 50% bicycling mode share with proper infrastructure. What public transit exists here is geared mainly for getting to/from Manhattan. That leaves three choices for local transportation—walking, bike, or car. Distances are often too far for walking, but not too far to bike. Unfortunately, high levels of motor traffic, combined with lack of bike parking, result in low bike mode share. A lot of places in the Netherlands with high bike mode share actually look a lot like eastern Queens. The difference is they have safe parallel bike infrastructure next to high-speed car roads, plenty of bike parking, and often overpasses/underpasses to avoid stopping at busy intersections. We can do all that here if we wanted to. Great places for biking tend to have two major characteristics. One, most trips are under 5 miles. Two, density is lower than in the CBD, making public transit not viable for most trips. The outer half of NYC fits those characteristics. That even includes a good swath of Staten Island.

  • kevd

    Or reappropriate the car lane.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    Agreed – the far outer Boros are pefect for creating high bike mode. Distances are 1-3 miles and stop lights are few. Just need protected bike lanes

  • Joe R.

    Stop lights are fewer than in Manhattan but still way too many. However, building underpasses at busy intersections to avoid the lights gets around that without requiring full grade separation. Just have protected lanes in between major intersections and 2 to 4 underpasses per mile at major intersections. Not costly compared to building subways, but now you have top notch bicycle infrastructure.

  • AnoNYC

    The NYPD needs total reform. The scumbags create laws on the fly when it benefits them.

  • AnoNYC
  • Alexander Vucelic

    underpasses ?

    hmm

    9′ clear height
    9′ wide

    Slope of ramps ?

  • J_12

    I think it might be the default 25mph of any Nyc street without a posted limit. But it would be very difficult, almost impossible, to achieve that speed on a bike during a time where there are significant numbers of pedestrians (basically any time except late night).

  • J_12

    I think anyone who is commuting to work or riding primarily to get from A to B would prefer this. Those riding more for recreation would probably prefer a nice view.

  • HamTech87

    Not sure about 50% but I agree that the flat terrain of much of the southern part of Long Island makes it ripe for mode shift to bikes. And the climate-change exacerbated Superstorm Sandy makes it imperative to change. Sadly, the giant stroads that are Sunrise/Conduit, Merrick Road, Peninsula Blvd., etc. are designed for death.

  • J_12

    Come on … you really think the issue here is that biking just doesn’t market itself well enough relative to public transit?
    When you are talking about daily work commutes, I’m pretty confident most people are optimizing their mode choice along the dimensions of speed, reliability, cost, and maybe comfort.

    Biking is great, but it’s not practical for many people because it is too slow for them, and isn’t an option they can use when it is very cold, very hot, raining, or if there is snow and ice on the roads. There is some cost savings, but it’s not enough to motivate more than a small subset of the population.

    If we had much better biking infrastructure, I think a lot more people would switch to biking for occasional use – in particular recreational trips, weekend outings, maybe commuting during some of the nice weather in spring or fall. But it’s not realistic to think that biking can absorb a significant amount of weekday rush hour commuting from the subways.

  • Joe R.

    Unlike overpasses slope isn’t that critical since you can use the momentum you gain going down to go back up the other side. If you have a 10% grade then you only need to start going down about 100 feet before the crosswalk. If we’re talking a one-way protected lane on each side of the street then a width of 5 feet is adequate. You’ll need some decent lighting of course. You’ll also need fences on both sides of the path once it starts deviating from street level. They do much more elaborate stuff in the Netherlands, but I’m thinking low-cost barebones stuff here. Even if it’s not world-class, it still beats sitting at a red light for 45 seconds or more.

  • bolwerk

    I’d bet bike mode share increases transit use, especially subway use.

  • Joe R.

    Usually though the bridges have higher speed limits than the default 25 mph limit, typically at least 30 mph but often 45 or 50 mph. That said, I totally agree given the congestion levels it’s not likely that many cyclists were exceeding even 25 mph. They probably pulled a number out of their asses, then started ticketing cyclists exceeding that number. This is sort of like when they were ticketing cyclists for going 15 mph in Central Park a few years ago.

  • HamTech87

    It is true that we are lazy, but if bicycling is super-convenient and safe vs other modes, people will choose it for that reason too. I don’t sweat that much when I bike in NYC, but I often choose not to ride b/c it is difficult to get a bike (ugh, Citibike) and scary to navigate streets especially when I’m with a more cautious rider.

    That cycling can be the “lazy” choice is really apparent in cites with safe cycling infrastructure and great transit. In Montreal, I can either hop on a ubiquitous Bixi Bike or schlep all the way to the out-of-the-way Metro. In Vancouver, I can use the hotel’s bike valet or walk to the bus. In both places, I choose to bike because the infra is safe and because it is the “lazy” choice.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    I think you’ll want more than 8′ clear height and 8′ to 9′ width simply to provide perception of safety. I’ve ridden in a few bicycle tunnels – underpases and they are great, but then need a bit of width and height to feel comfortable for the ‘interested but concerned’

    The simplest underpasses I’ve ridden in are approx. 9′ diameter corrugated metal drain pipes cut and covered with fill.

    Some technical challenges with ultilities but nothing insurmountable.

    100′ ramp either side is a lot of real estate. You’ll only be able to create an under pass every 1/2 mile at the most. The Euros likely have standards so we don’t have to reivent the wheel here.

    great concept

  • ohnonononono

    I think you’re right. Transit is basically a “niche” industry in this country ’cause we do so little of it outside NYC. We barely know what we’re doing.

    Highways on the other hand? We’re pros. We build a very standard product coast-to-coast. We have tons of people doing that work so lots of bidders and lots of expertise gained over the past 100 years.

    We need to bring international best practices to the table.

  • Wilfried84

    Re the bike share systems in Jersey City and Hoboken, it’s really unfortunate that they couldn’t agree on a single integrated system, since bike share of course is about network effects. And now they’re practically at fisticuffs fighting each other for riders. There isn’t much news about bike share in Jersey, and I haven’t seen any usage numbers, etc. Can anyone in Jersey tell us what all this looks like on the ground?

  • Joe R.

    Don’t forget that the real estate on either end for the ramp is space which would be used anyway for the protected bike lane even if it were to remain at surface level. One one side is the sidewalk, which isn’t affected at all by the ramp. On the other is either a travel lane or parking lane. These wouldn’t be affected by ramp, either. The nice thing is visually all you’ll really end up with is about 100 feet of fence on either side of the bike lane. That won’t elicit objections on aesthetic grounds like a huge overpass might.

    Ideally eight or nine feet of width might be nice. Presumably the path will have a buffer anyway between it and the travel/parking lane, so you can just carry that width underground. Utilities may require going further underground, but as you said, not insurmountable. You’ll already be 8 or 9 feet under grade level by the time you reach the crosswalk. If there are utilities under the cross street, you still have another ~20 feet to descent further to avoid them. At a 10% gradient that gives you two more feet. If that’s still not enough, you could start the ramp further out. From what I see here when they dig up streets, most utilities are within 3 feet of the surface, so we’ll be OK in most cases with a ramp which starts 100 to 120 feet before the crosswalk.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    a hole with 36″ fence is still perception as a hole

    I love idea but fret that it’s applicability is limited

  • Joe R.

    It only needs limited applicability. On most of the streets I ride on, the main bottlenecks are at major road crossings. Major roads tend to be spaced 1/4 mile to 1/2 a mile apart. Remember the alternative to these would be a full viaduct which would elicit even more objections. 2 to 4 traffic major signals per mile may not sound like much from a Manhattan perspective but it seems you often get caught at every single one riding at cyclist speeds. When traffic is light and you can pass the red, not a big deal but during the day you often need to wait the full cycle. That could add 2 to 4 minutes to every mile. This is clearly not acceptable if we want high cycling mode share. Besides the extra time wasted, you expend a lot of extra energy stopping and starting that often. It also makes cycling really tedious.

  • Joe R.

    I’m somewhat thrilled low gas prices will likely pass into the dust bin of history soon. It’ll be lots of fun watching all the morons who ran out to buy SUVs or pickups when prices dropped start moaning when they go up.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    I’m guessing these inderpasses could not be closer than 1/2 mile apart. They would be excellent for crossing my under horribly wide motor sewers.

  • Kevin Love

    If there should happen to be a revolution in Saudi Arabia, I would not be crying a river of tears to see car driving suddenly affordable only for the very rich.

  • Kevin Love

    By breathing. At least according to the hate-filled bigots.

  • Joe R.

    That’s really how it used to be back when cars first came out, and how it should be again. Let the rich have their toys. There aren’t enough rich to congest our streets with cars the way the middle class does. Also, it seems to me the rich take a bit more pride in having good driving skills, perhaps because they view driving as much a hobby as a way to get around. I’ll be none too sad myself to see all the soccer moms in minivans and the wanna-be macho guys in SUVs or pickups gone for good. The idea that the masses should drive belongs in the dustbin of history.

  • Kevin Love

    Also, when only the rich drive, suddenly the tabloids lose the windshield view and are on the side of the people.

  • Kevin Love

    Cycling has a slow rate of growth? I wish my salary had such a “slow” rate of growth. There are almost five times as many cyclists since the year 2000. See:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/2014-isci.pdf

  • Kevin Love

    The problem with that statement is all the cities where cycling actually does absorb a singnificant amount of weekday rush hour commuting. Trust me, cities like Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Tokyo have no shortage of hot, cold, rain and snow. Take a look at this video and tell me why this can’t be New York. The only difference is the infrastructure.

    https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2009/12/17/bicycle-rush-hour-snow-utrecht-netherlands/

  • Kevin Love

    Yes, they do have standards. See this video for how it works in real life.

    https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/almere-nominee-for-best-cycling-city/

  • Kevin Love

    The best way to communicate safety is to make riding actually safe. Take a look at this video. Do the parents seem to worry about the safety of their children on their bicycles?

    Do these children riding to school seem concerned about their safety?

    https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/cycling-to-school/

  • Jonathan R

    There are probably a thousand times as many people commuting to work and school on “hoverboards” this year as last year. If your denominator is the number of New York City residents, subway use is growing faster than bicycle use.

  • djx

    The goal of having gas prices be much higher is good. But sudden changes in price are not good – a lot of people suffer in big ways with alternatives not available right away.

    We need the price to slowly but steadily increase.

  • Kevin Love

    Sudden changes in prices are inevitable. Take a look at the 10 largest oil exporters. See any trends? Hint: Political instability.