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Posts tagged "NYC DOT"

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The Smashing Success of NYC’s 14th Street Busway (featuring Zardoz)

Since just about everyone around the world has been asking where is Streetfilms' coverage of the 14th Street Busway, the true answer has basically been: just about everyone else did such a pretty good job documenting (and mostly loving) it, that I really felt this one didn't need my input or care. The world really is changing. And social media - particularly Twitter - really branded it a great change for the city on Day One: for transit users, pedestrians and bicyclists using the corridor.

But then my kid found and starting playing with this sock puppet from over 10 years ago. And, well, Zardoz, our fun and enthusiastic sock puppet correspondent was born.

From 6am thru 10pm only buses, trucks, delivery vehicles and EMS/FDNY are able to use it as a thru route. All others must turn off after only traveling one block. This still allows for drivers and car services to access the entire street, but they need to exit which has led to a vast improvement of bus speeds. But not only that but a more human environment. It can be very quiet at times. You can hear birds sing, people talk to each other. With due care you can easily cross the street almost anywhere on the corridor without fear of being killed.

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The Case for Dedicating the Queensboro Bridge’s South Outer Roadway To Pedestrians: Now!

In the 1990s, cyclists fought hard to finally gain access to the Queensboro Bridge when the city dedicated one of its 10 lanes to shared bike & pedestrian use.

That was acceptable back when few commuters used those modes on the bridge. Now?

More than 5,400 cyclists crossed the Queensboro Bridge daily in 2017, a 35% jump from five years earlier. And easily another thousand or so run or walk.

Advocates want the NYC DOT to convert another lane from car use and make separate biking and walking paths on both sides of the bridge. The DOT is said to be open to the idea, however it would take up to two years to implement. That is too long to wait.

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Street Transformations – Union Square (NYC)

Going thru the archives found some really great "vintage" footage to put together yet another episode in the Street Transformations series, this one looking at the positive transformation of the roads that encircle Union Square.

Rewind to 2005 when I was really starting to dive in to the work that would become Streetfilms. I decided to tape a big Community Board meeting to announce the results of a year long traffic study to see the feasibility of extending Manhattan's Union Square north, specifically making two-way 17th Street, one lane, one-way west and adding ample footage for a sidewalk, an extension of Union Square or both.

The "livable streets crowd" really thought this would be a big win but alas - NYC DOT reported other than installing a barnes dance crossing and some small signal timing changes, that 17th street, 19th street and other nearby streets would suffer unacceptable "levels of service" according to the federal guidelines in the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) handbook. In another word "gridlock"!

Of course back then the MUTCD factored very little for pedestrians & bicyclists and discounted livability in favor of moving traffic along at any cost, a huge complaint of sensible transportation advocates.

But as we all know since then, New York City has had a decent renaissance on its streets. Both NYC DOT Commissioners Janette Sadik-Khan and Polly Trottenberg have progressively chipped away at road space for vehicles and added two-way protected bike lanes on two sides, pedestrian plazas, a unique ped/bike one block only section on Union Square West and, yes, extended the park north as was once hoped for all those years ago.

This look back reveals the danger of relying solely on the MUTCD when evaluating cities and their neighborhood streets. NACTO under Sadik-Khan's leadership started a process to broaden the accepted techniques other cities have employed thinking creatively with pilot including paint, bollards, boulders and protected bike lanes.

In the end, what the real failure of the 2005 decision by NYC DOT is the fact that they projected traffic to grow over the ensuing ten years. No one questioned that. But in fact later as NYC slowly deemphasized Broadway as a through route of travel and removed some parking, it actually became easier to see that predictions of traffic Armageddon were not true. And besides: even if traffic on some streets did go up a bit, wouldn't it be worth it to the tens of thousands of pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users to have a much more peaceful journey?

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Queens Fights to Keep their Car-Free Travers Park

“No cars in parks.”

That was one of the many signs carried by one of the hundreds of Jackson Heights residents and safe streets activists who rallied Saturday on 78th Street, which the city has long promised would be converted from a roadway into a park — only to apparently renege on that promise so a car dealership could use a portion of the street near deadly Northern Boulevard.

As Streetsblog reported earlier this month, the city may not finish the job of converting 78th Street into a park in deference to Koeppel Mazda, which operates a dealership on the corner of Northern and 78th Street and wants to keep using the northern end of the street for moving cars around. City officials have given us no answers — and Koeppel isn’t talking.

(above text written by Gersh Kuntzman, StreetsblogNYC)

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Street Transformations – Sunnyside Lanes (Skillman & 43rd Avenues)

For the latest in our Street Transformations series (for others see here: Street Transformations) we check out the dramatic before and afters of the Sunnyside protected bike lanes installed by NYC DOT at the end of Summer 2018.

The links complete a missing section that will enable cyclists to go from the center of Queens all the way to Brooklyn Heights without ever really leaving the safety of a protected bike lane!

The NYC DOT really thought innovatively to get the lanes installed, particularly the final blocks of Skillman Avenue to reach the overpass of the Sunnyside rail yards cycle track. Angled parking was moved further away from the sidewalk and concrete parking blocks were installed to keep drivers from going too forward to interfere with the path of bikes.

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At some Red Lights in NYC, Cyclists Now Get Head Start

Earlier this week, NYC DOT announced a pilot program to let cyclists use the same head start as pedestrians at 50 intersections with “leading pedestrian intervals” or LPIs, which give people a few seconds to establish themselves in the crosswalk before drivers get a green.

Since then, a number of people asked for a visual showing it works. So on the way home yesterday, I got a few quick shots and produced this short video explanation.

NYC DOT has been implementing hundreds of LPIs each year as part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative. The agency will study the results of letting cyclists use LPIs (first proposed by Council Member Carlos Menchaca), before deciding whether to make it permanent policy and expand the rule to other intersections.

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Gawk at the Great New Bike Access to the Williamsburg Bridge From Brooklyn

If your city says there's no room for better bike infrastructure to improve access to important bridge crossings, show them these street changes from NYC DOT. Parking spaces and traffic lanes have been converted to safe and comfortable two-way protected bike lanes on the approaches to the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn.

What's great is not only the safety of the protected lanes, but that the city took into account all the ways people on bikes approach the bridge. South 5th Place not only has a two-way protected lane, but a painted bike lane so cyclists can make convenient left turns.

People don't have to choose between riding a circuitous route and riding a direct route while going against traffic, because every street leading to and from the bridge path now has a legal two-way bike route. And that means no more ticket stings for people who are just trying to get where they need to go on a bike.

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The Northern Boulevard Protected Bike Lane Celebration Ride

Despite the chill, nearly 75 people turned out Sunday to celebrate the new protected bike lane on Northern Boulevard connecting to the popular path known as Joe Michaels Mile in Eastern Queens.

This NYC DOT project added a two-way, concrete-protected bikeway to a high-speed section of Northern Boulevard that's frequently used by parents, kids, and commuters. The ride followed an eight-mile loop of bike lanes, some of which are still in the process of being installed by DOT.

Project opponents upset about the conversion of a car lane to make room for the bikeway have enlisted State Senator Tony Avella to help gin up negative press about it, claiming that the street is now more dangerous.

But people were getting maimed and killed in traffic before this bike lane was added. The impetus for the project was the 2016 death of Michael Schenkman, 78, who was riding on Northern Boulevard to get to Joe Michaels Mile for his daily exercise when a driver struck and killed him. Neighborhood residents and businesses are grateful DOT followed through and made this key connection on Northern Boulevard safer for biking and walking.

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Just a Great Big Pile of August Kudos for NYC DOT

NYC DOT is on a very productive roll recently with many innovative projects going on in New York City. I guess this is my way of saying thanks.

I was away when NYC DOT officially debuted the new shared space (5 mph) street on Broadway near Madison Square Park. So I decided to get a quick look on Friday and, well, it works extremely well for NYC's big foray in to a new kind of street design! It'll be interesting to see where they might try this in the next few years. (And of a quick reference, check out this nearly ancient Streetfilm from when Madison Square Plaza was first created back in 2010!)

Another debut I missed due to travel was the fantastic two blocks on Broadway that have been transformed into car-free urban oases. It's called the Garment District Urban Garden and has been in the ground for nearly two months. I don't know why it took me so long to get over there (maybe because Broadway's eventual foregone destiny is to be car-free?) but the installation ends on September 1st. So get your posterior over there to see it. Lunchtime is fantastic!

To many, this green-paint-delineated, Queens Boulevard bridge path over the Sunnyside rail yards might night seem like a really big deal, but for those of us who ride it we've been made very, very happy. It's been many years coming and now that it is properly marked with #freshkermit, pedestrians are sticking to their posted side making the riding experience much less frustrating and smooth. For reference: if you are not familiar - this section is a direct link to the Queensboro (NOT Ed Koch!) Bridge ped-bike path. See some history on that here via this short Streetfilm!

And finally NYC DOT's amazing Summer Streets continues! An event I have never missed getting out to and enjoying since 2008! (Even being in tremendous pain for 2011 and 2012 following a hip injury due to a car crash and resulting surgery, blood clot and compartment syndrome!) We've even brought my son each year since he was born.

The above compliation is really just the result of cruising down on my way to another shoot. I picked up about 20 shots and threw together this montage for future b-roll use, so figured why not share! The only suggestion I have is one I have every year: there needs to be more events and the course needs to be significantly lengthened. It's popular! It's getting ridiculously crowded at some bottlenecks. I hope Commissioner Trottenberg can give us something even more great in 2018!

screenshot989

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NYC 4-Boro Protected Bike Lane Ride

I've been riding a bike in NYC for more than 25 years. When I started, there wasn't much in the way of good bike infrastructure, but in that time I've watched the bike network expand and slowly get safer.

With recent bike lane additions and enhancements on Jay Street, Chrystie Street, and First Avenue, NYC DOT has pointed out that you can now ride on protected bike lanes almost continuously from Brooklyn to the Bronx. Connecting to other segments of protected bike lanes, with just a few blocks exposed to traffic, you can do enjoyable, low-stress rides of 10, 20, 25 miles on city streets.

So I pitched the good folks at Transportation Alternatives about doing a small group ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan to the Bronx to Randall's Island to Queens and back to Brooklyn -- about 25 miles. After sketching it out, we estimated that 97 percent of the ride could be done on protected lanes, car-free bridge paths, and greenways.

Of course, New York still has a long way to go to make cycling safe for all ages and abilities throughout the city. But we are on our way. As recently as 10 years ago, I can remember the huge advocacy effort that went into gaining two meager strips of white paint for bike lanes here or there. Now we are building up to a useable network.

So come along for the ride, get a good look at the protected bikeways and bridge paths along our route, and meet some of the volunteers who've been working hard to make biking better in New York City. As the soundtrack (which the great Eric Bazilian and Mats Wester generously gave permission to use) goes, "That's a good thing!"

Also, if you want to see the details of all the turns in this journey, I compiled this map.

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Sneckdown Legitimized: Real World Applications from NYC Streets

I just got sick of it.

Every time I post a new video on the sneckdown phenomenon, I get all sorts of comments, emails and tweets on social media that it will never work. That you can't justify the idea. That I should "stop hating on cars". That no matter how well done, the video showing sneckdowns 10 feet from the curb that have been there for weeks (that drivers are successful navigating) that they couldn't work. That we still need all the asphalt for video and that pedestrians are second class citizens.

Well thank goodness I had a camera with me as I walking around the city a few days ago! Since by chance I stumbled upon a number of installations the NYC Dept. of Transportation has placed at intersections that are exactly what we would like to see after sneckdown documentation.

Enjoy. I think this really visualizes how effective traffic calming can be.

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Street Transformation: The Chrystie Street Protected Bike Lane

At the end of 2016, NYC DOT completed work on the protected bike lane on Chrystie Street, a key connection between the Manhattan Bridge and the rest of the Manhattan bike network. The story of this bike lane is a case study in how good things happen when city officials are willing to listen to advocates with smart ideas.

The two-way protected lane replaced a striped bike lane implemented in 2008. That design wasn't working -- cars, trucks, and buses constantly obstructed the bike lane, forcing thousands of cyclists each day to weave in and out of traffic.

The concept for a two-way protected bikeway on the east side of the street was floated by volunteer Dave "Paco" Abraham in 2015, winning the support of the local community board and elected officials. Later that year, a group of anonymous activists calling themselves the "NYC Department of Transformation" placed traffic cones to keep the drivers out of the lane to spur action. NYC DOT listened and came up with a sensible plan -- and the Chrystie Street protected bike lane became official policy.

If you like this video, check out the previous entry in our street transformations series: the Queensborough Bridge bike path.

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NYC Buses: Time for a Turnaround

New Yorkers take 2.5 million rides on the city's buses every day. While NYC's buses provide essential transit, especially in areas beyond the reach of the subway, they are among the nation's slowest and least reliable.

Now a coalition of transit advocates are promoting practical strategies to improve the performance of NYC buses systemwide.

Transit advocates knew something was wrong when they observed declining bus ridership despite increasing population, a growing economy, and record-high subway ridership. To figure out what could be done about it, they spoke to industry experts and researched successful efforts in peer cities to identify common sense solutions to NYC's bus problems. This research is summarized in their report "Turnaround: Fixing New York City's Buses".

The bus system faces big challenges, but these challenges have clear, proven solutions. By transforming how riders get on and off the bus, designing streets to prioritize buses, adopting better methods to keep buses on schedule, and redesigning the bus network and routes, policy makers in city government and the MTA can turn around the decline of the city's buses and attract riders back to the system.

We'll get to see how serious public officials are about tackling these problems on October 6, when the City Council transportation committee holds an oversight hearing on how to improve the quality of NYC bus service.

This Streetfilm was produced in partnership with TransitCenter, the second in a series of four films examining transit in American cities. If you enjoyed this one, check out the first film, "High Frequency: Why Houston is Back on the Bus."

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In Queens: 111 Moms Shut Down 111th Street for 111 Seconds

On the day before Mother's Day in Queens, 111 moms (and plenty of other supporters) angry that their Community Board (Queens, CB 4) has failed to even vote on a NYC DOT proposal that would add protected bike lanes, wide crosswalks and a road diet by completely re-designing 111th Street showed up for an act of civil disobedience to shut down the street to motorists and let their feelings be known.

Council member Julissa Ferreras has allocated $2.7 million dollars to the revamp of the road, which was last majorly designed for the Worlds Fair. The road features extremely wide driving lanes which leads to speeding and has been missing crosswalks at most crossing points, even though it is a popular commuting route for cyclists and for pedestrians going to Flushing Meadows Corona Park.  Here's another video we did showing just how scary it is to cross: https://vimeo.com/132055092

The group was led by Mujeres en Movimiento and many groups combined to make it happen including Make the Road, Transportation Alternatives, Make Queens Safer, Immigrant Movement International and Queens Bike Initiative.

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The Pulaski Bridge Protected Bike Path Is (Finally) Open!

Today was a milestone for traveling between Brooklyn and Queens, as NYC DOT opened the Pulaski Bridge bike path to lots of cheers with a celebratory ride.

Before today, the Pulaski Bridge walking and biking path was dangerously congested, with more pedestrians and cyclists crammed on to its narrow right-of-way every year. The solution? Convert one lane of the roadway to a two-way bike lane, making the original path exclusively for walking. Read up on the project in Streetsblog's coverage of the grand opening.

If a lane of the Pulaski can be taken from cars and given to active transportation, the same can be done on other bridges. One place I'd love to see NYC DOT tackle next? The insanely crowded bike-pedestrian path on the Brooklyn Bridge is begging for a solution like this.