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Posts tagged "NYC DOT"

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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.

 

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The Transformation of Queens Boulevard, Block By Block

For many years, New York City's Queens Boulevard was known as the "Boulevard of Death." The street cuts through the heart of the Queens, expanding at some points to a chaotic 12 to 16 lanes of traffic -- which makes it extremely dangerous for human beings. From 2003 to 2013, 38 pedestrians and cyclists were killed and 450 suffered severe injuries.

Last year, the New York City DOT announced a $100 million dollar commitment from the de Blasio administration to humanize Queens Boulevard and make it safer, a flagship project in the city's Vision Zero initiative. Instead of waiting until the planned permanent reconstruction in 2018 to make any changes, DOT wanted to build in safety improvements immediately. After holding public workshops with communities along the corridor, 1.3 miles of Queens Boulevard have been redesigned, and the changes are already making a huge difference.

If you're an urban planner, transportation engineer, or advocate wondering just what can be done with what seems to be an irredeemably messed up street, then this is the Streetfilm for you. We got an exclusive tour of the changes with NYC DOT Deputy Commissioner Ryan Russo, going block-by-block over the creative solutions the DOT team implemented. Queens Boulevard is as complicated a roadway as there is: Nearly every block is different. To add a functional bike lane and pedestrian mall seemed highly unlikely. Yet here it is.

I'll admit, I'm especially excited about this project since I've lived near Queens Boulevard for years. I was skeptical when the announcement was made that I would see any truly life-altering change, and even if the city pulled it off, it would take years and years. But the installation has been swift and extremely well thought out. The service road is noticeably slower, narrower, and easier to navigate for people walking or biking. So much so that I was motivated to document the transformation with this Streetfilm, which I hope will be a learning tool that people can put to use in their communities. If you can put a good protected bike lane on Queens Boulevard, then just about any street in America should be in play.

In 2015, no one was killed on Queens Boulevard.

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The Queens Boulevard Protected Bike Lane Celebration Ride

If Queens Boulevard can get a protected bike lane, you can probably put one on almost any street in the country.

Yesterday, the Transportation Alternatives Queens Committee hosted the first of what it hopes are many celebratory bike rides down Queens Boulevard, trying out the first 10 blocks of the bike lane installed this month by NYC DOT. When complete, this project will run 1.3 miles from Roosevelt Avenue to 73rd Street. It’s the first phase in what the city has promised will be a thorough overhaul of the “Boulevard of Death,” which is also the most direct east-west route in the borough.

Over the years, many lives have been lost on Queens Boulevard. I spoke to riders yesterday about all the hard work that volunteers and advocates put it in to make this bike lane happen.

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NYC’s Varick Street Gets a Granite Bike Path

As any bicyclist can tell you, a bumpy ride on cobblestones is no fun. In NYC, the DOT has implemented its first granite bikeway on one block of Varick Street to make it easier for cyclists and to keep them off the sidewalks.

You will almost never see me on a sidewalk in NYC for any reason, but I confess, I have used the sidewalk for this one block in the past. The smooth granite is a great idea.

I got to speak with Nick Carey, a project manager with NYC DOT's bicycle program, about how the project came to be and how the department might use the same idea for future bike routes.

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Reflecting on the 10th Anniversary of the “First Streetfilm”: Central Park, Bikelash & Advocacy

Last month was a very bad month in the tabloids and local news for NYC bicyclists. As you've probably heard we had two awful tragedies on the loop drive of Central Park in 2014 with cyclists striking pedestrians, killing both. What followed was sadness, anger and head scratching. But also the predictable media manipulation demonizing cycling, much of it unfair or downright ignoring facts.

While there's no excuse for bicycling at excessive speeds in our public parks during heavy use periods, the fact there are still cars allowed in what should be places of solitude (Central, Prospect & Astoria Parks) is completely insane. I've been a member of Transportation Alternatives (T.A.) for nearly 20 years and know far too much the long campaign to rid our parks of cars. And that's why I really enjoyed Stephen Miller's recent Streetsblog post "Traffic Lights Don't Belong on a Park Loop", which I hope help enlightens the masses that our parks are not highways.

Back in 2004, I was hired by T.A. to produce the (above) short film "The Case for a Car-free Central Park." Though I had been doing transportation videos long before, now looking back I consider it my first Streetfilm. Running an epic 20 minutes we interviewed health care professionals, advocates, authors, electeds and a cross-section of users from all the adjacent park neighborhoods.

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The Metamorphosis of NYC Streets

There's nothing more dramatic than looking back five or ten years at Streetfilms footage to see how much the streets of New York City have changed. In this wonderful montage, check out the incredible changes at Times Square, Herald Square, the Brooklyn waterfront, and many other places that outgoing NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and her staff have intrepidly transformed.

We have similarly high hopes for Mayor Bill de Blasio as he takes office, and look forward to what he and new NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg accomplish. Even though so much has changed, the vast majority of our streets still need to be rethought and redesigned. We need more space for efficient modes, slower speed limits, and traffic calming for our most vulnerable citizens. I hope this short gets them excited to top the transportation record of the Bloomberg administration.

Please note: This is but a short sample of the before-and-after footage at our disposal. Seriously, we could have put together a one hour version!

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NYC Rush Hour Bike Commute!

It's fall and getting cooler in New York City, but that hasn't slowed down the people jumping on bikes. During rush hour it's starting to become a bit crowded, and that's a good thing. If you haven't been to NYC recently, you'll be amazed how much the protected bike lanes and Citi Bike are encouraging more people to ride.

During a recent rush hour ride home through the heart of Manhattan, I couldn't believe it. On Second Avenue, unbroken streams of cyclists ride in clumps -- at one point I counted 20 people riding single-file! So I decided to log some footage during two successive p.m. rush hours on some of NYC's most bike-busy commute paths, including the Manhattan Bridge, Second Avenue, and the West Side Greenway.

A few things I learned from the footage I shot:

  • More cyclists are riding the right way on the protected bike lanes and greenways. Sure, some people salmon, but it seems far less prevalent than a few years ago. Perhaps that's because the numbers are getting so big that self-preservation has taken hold? Whatever the factors, it feels more civilized.
  • Bikes are everywhere and drivers are noticing. Even on popular bike commute segments without bike lanes, drivers seem a little more aware, since cyclists are omnipresent.
  • Citi Bike has undoubtedly boosted cycling numbers and the visibility of bicycles on the streets. The bikes are blue, their front lights flash, and lots of "everyday" folks use them. They're impossible to miss.
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Green Lane Project in New York: City to City Solutions

The Green Lane Project is a partnership of six U.S. cities working to implement next-generation protected bike lanes on their streets.

This past fall, the Green Lane Project brought a few dozen transportation planners from those cities together in New York City for hands-on workshops and face-to-face peer exchanges to see the NYC Department of Transportation's innovative bike lane designs. We were able to tag along on some of the events and share some highlights of that trip.

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NYC’s First Bike-to-School-Day Celebration

Today Brooklyn’s William Alexander School MS 51 was the first school in the five boroughs to host a Bike to School Day.   MS 51 celebrated Bike to School Day with the help of the New York City Department of Transportation, Bike New York and Matthew Modine's Bicycle for a Day. Throughout the week Bike New York held workshops to educate the students about bike safety and riding techniques to prepare for this day. There were two escorted rides to MS 51 this morning, one started in Sunset Park and the other in Carroll Gardens. The rides had "pick up" spots along the way where more students joined the biking pool. Return rides were also planned. Hear from students and event organizers in this video wrap-up of the ride.

Photos Below by Robin Urban Smith :

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Biking around town with Randy “The Ethicist” Cohen

A few years back, Randy Cohen, writer of the NY Times Magazine "The Ethicist" column, visited the Streetfilms set for a unprecedented interview with Mark Gorton about "Transportation Ethics.".  Well we wanted to talk more, so this time we got out of the studio to take a two-wheeled jaunt around New York City and visit many of his favorite spots and take in the alfresco enchantment of the capital of the world.

As you'll see during our ten mile journey, Mr. Cohen offered up some very decisive opinions about car-free Central Park, weighed in on the ethics of  "bike salmoning" (riding wrong way in bike lanes), whether he stops for red lights (you might be surprised by his answer), and comments on how transformative our streets have become for pedestrians and cyclists.

He also doesn't hide the fact he has a massive "policy crush" on NYC DOT chief Janette Sadik-Khan.

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NYC DOT explains Bike Lanes in the Big Apple

Bike lanes: In some cities people are literally dying to have them and some people go so far as to mark their own. Here in New York City, it feels like every time I get on my bike there is a new bike lane - sometimes on the left, sometimes buffered, and sometimes completely separated from automobile traffic.  To understand these lanes, I had the opportunity to go for a ride with the NYC DOT bicycle boys. They explained the classes of bike lanes and showed off some of these inventive facilities.  You can use Ride the City to find a safe bike route in New York City and watch this video to see what lanes are used on your route.

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Walk21 NYC: World Pedestrian Leaders Take Manhattan

With all the recent, remarkable livable streets improvements to the streets of New York City, it's no surprise the 10th annual, Walk21 Conference chose us for its host digs. Visitors and attendees were treated to a cornucopia of pedestrian street infrastructure to salivate over and debate; including tours of the recently opened High Line to a special visit to the soon-to-be-restored High Bridge. Featuring a plethora of speakers, design charrettes and walking workshops, the three-day event drew experts from the UK, Austria, Japan, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Italy, and Australia, just to name a few.

We were able to speak with the organizers and as well as conference registrants, and also got to a chance to chat with some of those on the marquee such as Jan Gehl (Gehl Architects, Copenhagen), Janette Sadik-Khan (Commissioner, NYC Department of Transportation), Kristina Alvendal (Vice Mayor of Stockholm) and Gil Peñalosa (Walk and Bike for Life, Ontario), about the future of walking and the vital importance of this conference in inspiring world leaders.

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Commuting with the Commissioner on NYC’s Bike to Work Day

Between 2007 and 2008 bicycling in NYC leapt an amazing 35%.  And, looking at the streets it's easy to see why: bike lanes, racks & other amenities are popping up everywhere; it's practically a renaissance. There are now 185,000 daily riders on the streets.

Today, NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan was one of them, leading a commuter ride from Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza to City Hall. Along the way there was a brief stop on the Brooklyn Bridge for a Transportation Alternatives Bike Breakfast and then a press conference at City Hall to meet up with Councilmember David Yassky, co-sponsor of the Bicycle Access Bill (Intro 871) and is anticipating its passage later this year.

Streetfilms was able to talk with many cyclists, a few who were inspired enough to be riding to work for the first time ever.  Hear what they have to say, just press play.

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Bike The Falls

Olaf Eliasson's "New York City Waterfalls" is installed along the East River in Lower Manhattan until mid-October. The fastest and most fun way to see all four waterfalls is by bike. The NYC DOT has produced a "Bike the Falls" guide, featuring a map of viewing points and written directions to ensure that seeing the falls by bike is as easy as it is fun. Yesterday, Janette Sadik-Khan lead a "Bike The Falls" ride with New York City cycling advocates along the marked route.

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How Bike Share Might Be?

It is a big week in Bike Share. Paris' velib program is turning one. The NYC DOT says it will test the bike sharing waters. And yesterday, the New York Bike-Share Project launched a five day bike share demonstration. It will wrap up Monday evening with a reception at City Bakery featuring DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan (and my Velib video will debut).