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Clarence: The Purple Traffic Calming Wizard

StreetFilms wishes you a Happy Halloween one of the only ways we know how!

We went back to check in how things were progressing on the NYC DOT's plans for the 9th Avenue physically separated bike lane. The pleasant surprises continue as lane improvements, ample signage, and cyclist-only bike signals have now appeared making the innovative project even safer. And although driver behavior continues to improve, there are a few problems to highlight.

If you enjoyed this, check out others in the series: Clarence: The Traffic Calming Sasquatch & Clarence: The Traffic Calming Maniac

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [00:05] Hey folks, it’s your favourite traffic calming maniac and in honour of Halloween I have disguised myself as a wizard, and we are here in Chelsea at the site of the physically separated bike lane on 9th Avenue, the innovative project that the New York City Department of Transportation has conjured up for us, and we’re going to talk about that and hopefully people are going to talk to us. What do you think of the new bike lane?

Speaker: [00:27] I love it.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [00:28] You love it?

Speaker: [00:30] I love it.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [00:31] Hey, this guy loves it.

Speaker: [00:33] Love the bike lane.

Speaker: [00:35] This is just separated and there’s no cars interfering. I can enjoy my bike ride better.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [00:39] It seems to be the first day that they have the bike lights working.

Speaker: [00:42] Wow, I didn’t even realise that. I usually ride on the east side where there’s all bets are off.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [00:49] So one of the great things they have here now is they have activated the bike signals. This was one of the more important concerns was how do you make the left hand turns through the separated bike lanes safe, and these traffic signals do that by giving bicyclists a dedicated signal. They will get the green only while the drivers that want to turn left must hold until they get their green arrow and then the bike signal will go red. Man do I love these bollards. These bollards have been placed here to stop the cars from turning directly into you when making that left. And they’re so… they’re so beautiful.

Speaker: [01:28] This is making New York more… first of all, coming from a third world country, it’s fantastic to see these bike lanes, and catering for the pedestrian and the cyclist, fantastic.

Speaker: [01:37] It’s going to make it look more beautiful, it’s going to encourage people to come and visit. We love it.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [01:42] Hey here on 9th Avenue it ain’t all about cyclists. As you can see they’ve started to fill in some of these concrete islands, and these concrete islands are number one helping serve as a buffer for the separated bike lane. But also they’re helping pedestrians navigate 9th Avenue a little better. It looks here sometime maybe in the spring we’re going to have some greenery planted, a tree, a shrub, I don’t know, I love greenery, I’ll take anything. One of the most important parts of this physically separated bike lane is that, of course, parking has been taken from being curb side to outside, and they’ve done that here with flexible bollards, we love the bollards of course, just because there’s a physically separated bike lane doesn’t mean that there’s no more parking. You can still park but you can’t park here.

Speaker: [02:25] Yes, very excited. It’s the future. Right where they’re turning, that’s my only issue. Yeah. I don’t know I’ll see how it works. I haven’t had any problems with it yet.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [02:34] Another thing we noticed is that there’s a lot of bike racks going in on 9th Avenue, about a half dozen or more per block. It’s always good to have more bike parking. I love bike parking. What’s that? Big bikes for that lane?

Speaker: [02:45] Wow, too wide, too wide.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [02:53] That’s a no-no. So as you can see behind us this is one of the problems we’re going to have to face. The cyclist has to go around this… look at that. That’s because this truck came up, backed in and parked in the bike lane. And to be honest I don’t know how much more you could do to keep that truck out of there other than having a police officer here at all times. So obviously there’s some education that’s going to have to go on and some enforcer. And so there you have it, lots of new physical improvements going on here on the 9th Avenue bike lane, the concrete islands are going in, a lot of pavement markings, the dedicated bike signals for cyclists. So this continues to be something very exciting to watch as it nears its completion and then we’ll get to see how successful it is. And what do you think about my costume today?

Speaker: [03:42] It’s slightly too tight. If you maybe one size bigger then I’ll probably say it’s perfect.

Speaker: [03:47] From a female perspective, we think it’s fantastic. The tighter the better. It shows off those pecks.

Speaker: [03:50] Purple’s your colour. Purple’s your colour.


Clarence Eckerson Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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  • Steve McMaster

    Hilarious AND informative AND festive. Perfect.

    But DOT, NYPD, we need ENFORCEMENT above all else: will make great initiatives like this pointless unless the NYPD is asked to give as much attention to drivers breaking the law as the rest of society. While drivers are able to park wherever they like, cars will always be seen as a convenient form of transport. If they are forced not to break the law and seek real parking spaces even the most suburban New Yorkers will start to see mass transit as a better option.

    This comment funded by the Campaign to get Clarence's trip to Wave Hill posted online.

  • clarissa

    Oh my god! Too funny! I like these light-hearted peeks into urban street culture.

    Though the trucks backing up and parking in the bike lane aren't funny, that's for sure. Enforcement and education are indeed needed.

    Thanks for this!

  • Lazarus

    Anyone know when John "Sour Grapes" Allen is gonna post something about how this doesn't work?

  • http://www.crankmychain.com Dan Kaufman

    "I love greenery! I'll take anything!" 😉

  • Quinn

    Couldn't you at least talk to the guys in the cars in the bike lane. I can't wait for the greenery though. I think that'll stop the cars from going into the bike lane.

  • http://www.bikehoustsonst.net IanD

    I think I like Purple Clarence even better than Normal Clarence! Can we keep him?

    And we wouldn't want to let the ladies down: "tighter is better!"

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