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Eyes on the Street: Leading Bicycle Intervals and Semi-Protected Intersections

1:11 PM EDT on October 27, 2017

A reader sends in this shot of a new signal at 3rd Street in Park Slope, at the intersection with Prospect Park West.

It's what DOT calls a "split leading pedestrian interval": Pedestrians and cyclists get a green ahead of turning drivers, then the red turn arrow becomes a flashing yellow. In addition to providing giving people on bikes some separation from turning traffic, it makes official what comes naturally to cyclists -- proceeding at the same time as pedestrians. That behavior is technically illegal at typical LPIs (Council Member Carlos Menchaca is sponsoring a bill to change that), but the bicycle signal sanctions it while adding some clarity for everyone involved.

DOT had installed nine of these signals at the beginning of the year and said it would be implementing more in a program to test out new intersection designs for bikeways.

The other type of bikeway intersection treatment DOT is trying out is this one on Amsterdam and 85th Street, one of four we're aware of.

Amsterdam Avenue at 85th Street is one of two Upper West Side intersections where DOT is testing a new intersection design. Photo: Lisa Sladkus
Amsterdam Avenue at 85th Street is one of two locations on the Upper West Side where DOT is testing a new intersection design. Photo: Lisa Sladkus

Like its near-identical counterpart on Columbus Avenue at 70th Street, this intersection previously had a "mixing zone." The new design, which advocates and community boards have been requesting from DOT, directs drivers to turn more slowly and better positions them to see passing cyclists.

It also adds a painted pedestrian island, effectively shortening the crossing distance:

The pedestrian island on Amsterdam Avenue. Photo: Lisa Sladkus
The pedestrian island on Amsterdam Avenue. Photo: Lisa Sladkus

As far as we know, there's no official name for this new intersection treatment. It's not quite a protected intersection, though it incorporates several elements of that design. What should we call it?

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