Friday’s Headlines: An L of a Mess Edition

Good morning! The L train repairs won’t start for a few more weeks, but the MTA is going to suspend weeknight service from April 15-26, amNY reported. Not so good morning.

Here’s the rest of the news from a slow day yesterday:

  • Congestion pricing is going to really hurt the parking industry, according to the Wall Street Journal — which illustrated its story with a picture of an ugly parking garage taking up valuable space.
  • It was nice to see the reborn Brooklyn Eagle taking street safety seriously. Following up on years of Streetsblog coverage, the Ned Berke-edited website reported on Council Member Antonio Reynoso’s ongoing effort to get the city to stop deferring bike lane and other livable streets decisions to community boards.
  • City Lab took a good angle on the recent vote in Cambridge, Mass. to require protected bike lanes whenever a street is redesigned: Mandated safety designs insulate city officials from the constant hue and cry of car owners. It would work in New York, too (though getting rid of community board would be a start!).
  • And, finally, we have no idea what this is, but Streetfilms auteur Clarence Eckerson Jr. has done it again!
  • Joe R.

    I think the requirement for protected bike lanes whenever a street is rebuilt is a good idea. I would take it one step further and do something similar for limited access highways. Whenever a highway is rebuilt, a parallel, non-stop bike path must also be built. For too long cyclists have been treated like second class users where they mostly have no equivalent to the highways which motorists have. Instead, they’re forced to do entire trips on slow, stop-and-go local streets. While this is OK for a short trip of a mile or two, it makes 5 or 10 or 15 mile trips slow and tedious at best. I can’t think of anything which would make cycling more useful than a trunk network of non-stop bike highways. Even those bike routes which in theory could function as bike highways, like the Westside Greenway, are currently ruined with stop lights, multiple pedestrian crossings, shared paths in places, and poor pavement conditions.

  • On every ride on the Shore Parkway bike path alongside the Belt Parkway, on Joe Michaels Mile alongside the Cross Island Parkway, and on the bike lane connecting Wantagh Park and Jones Beach alongside the Wantagh State Parkway, one gets an idea of how great it would be if we had non-stop express bike lanes adjacent to all limited-access highways. This should have been done from the beginning.

  • Joe R.

    Indeed. It’s amazing how much ground you can cover when you don’t need to stop. It’s also less stressful (both physically and mentally), as well as less energy intensive. You don’t even need to be a fast cyclist to appreciate non-stop bike travel. Even at only 15 mph, you’ll do a 10 mile trip in only 40 minutes. Another thing I like is you don’t have to time your speed to try and make lights. You just ride at whatever pace is comfortable for you.

    It’s a pity the early Robert Moses, who put in the Belt Parkway Greenway, wasn’t the same one who later built the LIE and other expressways. It might have been a much nicer city to bike in.

  • I love riding in the streets of our City; and I have come to adore Philadelphia as a result of riding in its streets. That’s the ideal way to experience a city and to get a feel for it. But I sure would like the option to use a non-stop highway for long-distance trips outside of cities or between cities.

    While I have enjoyed my rides to and from Philly by taking NJ 27 between Newark and Trenton, I would like to be able to ride on a “Bicycle I-95” the whole way.

  • Joe R.

    If the city itself is the destination, then you’re right. However, if I want to experience Manhattan on a bike, I’d still like to be able to get from eastern Queens to midtown as rapidly as possible so I can sight see once I’m there.

    NJ 27 might not be nonstop, but as roads go it’s pretty decent for fast bike travel, even if it’s a bit too hilly in spots for my tastes. Still, point taken. When you’re traveling through mostly uninteresting rural or suburban areas, ideally I’d like to be on a dedicated bike highway. For long distance trips like NYC to Philly, I’d probably also want to be in a velomobile. That could make the trip possible in 3 hours or less with the right bicycle infrastructure.

  • I suppose that I can understand the desire to ride to Manhattan on the LIE or the Grand Central from out in eastern Queens (though riding in the Queens streets can be pleasurable in its own way).

    Regarding NJ 27: it is not a non-stop route. It just is a normal street, with lights every few blocks. But it is direct; and it goes through several interesting small cities. And there is a shoulder on much of it that facilitates bike riding. Also, because it is a main street, there are millions of places to stop for drinks or for food.

  • Joe R.

    One thing to keep in mind is a lot of other cyclists often aren’t riding to sight see. We just want to get from point A to point B as rapidly as possible. Riding on local streets has its points, and if we didn’t have so many traffic signals and congestion the good points might outweigh the bad. Queens might be interesting if you ride when people are out, but unfortunately general traffic levels have made riding too unpleasant for me before about 10 PM. I’d love to be able to go out during daylight hours, but without all the congestion and motorist nonsense. Hence the call for nonstop bikeways along expressways, perhaps also along railway and elevated subway lines.

    Unless they added a lot of lights, as I recall NJ 27 mostly had traffic signals when it passed through towns. In the rural parts it was smooth sailing. The nice thing NJ does which NYC should do is having the traffic signals flashing yellow after around midnight. There’s no reason to have lights on cycles that time of day when there’s virtually no traffic. They do something similar on NY25 past city limits where the lights are on sensors. They only briefly turn red if there’s a vehicle on the sidestreet. I can often ride 6+ miles without even seeing a red light. Again, this is something NYC should look into.

  • sbauman

    On every ride on the Shore Parkway bike path alongside the Belt Parkway, on Joe Michaels Mile alongside the Cross Island Parkway,

    Robert Moses used a legal fiction to get NYC to borrow money outside its debt limit to build the Belt Parkway system. The legal fiction was that he as building “linear parks” that would increase the City’s tax base. The linear parks were the recreational facilities including the bike lane. The automobile roadways were merely access roads to these recreational facilities.

    the bike lane connecting Wantagh Park and Jones Beach

    That bike path was the result of the efforts by Ellen Farrant. Ellen died of cancer shortly after the path was opened. There’s a plaque dedicating the path in her honor at the Wantagh Park entrance.

  • Ian Turner

    In case anyone had delusions about how NYPD views cyclists — the answer is, on par with drug dealers.

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