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Posts tagged "Manhattan Bridge"

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2004: bikeTV Examines the dangerous Manhattan Bridge bike entrances

Here's one from the archives from my bikeTV days (2001-2006) when we had a group of advocates strongly advocating for better safety measures for the access points to the new Manhattan Bridge shared bike-ped path on the south side.

I did an entire episode on entrance/exits to all five East River bridges in 2004.  Here you can see particularly dangerous conditions on Brooklyn side competing with 18-wheelers and fast cars coming off the ramp.  Some of the footage is scary as vehicles hit the curb.  On the Manhattan side it would be a little bit safer if NYPD vehicles weren't parked everywhere possible on the sidewalks surrounding the bridge access points. But a simple stop sign you will see does nothing to slow cars.

Of course these days for bicyclists the path is now on the north side and is pretty much wonderful after years and years of continued improvements. You can see many of those in this "4 Boro Protected Bike Ride" at the 2 minute mark of this awesome 25-mile tour!

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Counting Bicyclists on NYC’s Manhattan Bridge!

Since this has been an such amazing year for NYC bike commuting (after all Bicycling Magazine now says we are the #1 bike city, right?) two dear friends of Streetfilms (Steven O'Neill & Brooklyn Spoke's Doug Gordon) who frequently ride the Manhattan Bridge bike path joined me this morning to count some bicycles.  We spent 20 minutes during the AM rush hour (specifically 8:49 am to 9:09 am) tallying commuters just for the fun of it.

It was a beautiful morning for riding and the numbers didn't disappoint - you'll need to watch the short video to find out the final tally. But the count was not shocking to anyone riding in NYC, after all the Manhattan Bridge has seen the numbers of bike commuters swell over the last five years, and the advent of Citi bike has only made the growth continue.

The October 2013, 12-Hour screenline count from NYC DOT was 4,004/day. Of course our one hour average came out much higher than that but it was done during rush hour. It will be interesting to see 2014's numbers yield.

 

 

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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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“Wolfen” (1981): A Cool Look Back at NYC Transportation Infrastructure

The above apocalyptic-looking still is one of many shots of the South Bronx (circa 1980) from the opening montage to my favorite, New York City-set movie "Wolfen", an often forgotten film (even among horror buffs) about shape-shifters defending their land from greedy fat-cat developers. Though not a 5 star movie, it's a very solid tale with some incredible alfresco scenes providing a reference of just how much NYC has changed in the past 30 years.

Sure there's "The French Connection", "Manhattan", and "The Warriors", but if you love transportation, I'm promising you there's more NYC livable streets nostalgia in this film then any I've seen. Let me take you thru just a few of my favorite scenes.

Very early on a very rich couple are murdered in Battery Park. It's there we meet our protagonist Dewey (right, Albert Finney) a retired detective who is assigned the case. As the police do their work in Battery Park just soak up the scenery of lower Manhattan with the WTC towers and Hudson River making numerous appearances (and yes, that's Gregory Hines, left.)

A few scenes later Finney meets his new partner along the Hudson River for hot dogs and conversation. What makes this scene so incredible? See that elevated highway in the background? That's the former West Side Elevated Highway which partially collapsed in 1973.  It's amazing how little footage of it exists anywhere; it's the only movie I know in which it appears. (Note: "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz speaks much about it in this Streetfilm.)

Read more...

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East River Bridges: 100 Years of Free Rides Take Their “Toll”

The NYC Bridge Centennial Commission, co-founded by "Gridlock" Sam Schwartz, organized a re-enactment today near the Williamsburg Bridge, calling attention to the hundredth anniversary of the last toll collected on the East River bridges. Mayor William J. Gaynor's century-old decision to eliminate bridge tolls translates to a cumulative loss of $31 billion in potential revenue for NYC.  Tune in to hear what $31 billion could do for the city's transportation system.

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My NYC Biking Story: Steve O’Neill

Prospect Heights resident Steve O'Neill has been biking most of his 15 years living in New York City.  Last year he added to his daily roundtrip commute to Columbus Circle by dropping his son Beckett off at school, and the new Prospect Park West bike lane helps him do that safely.

As a subway trip it took 30 minutes, a subway transfer and nearly 200 steps, but by using the bike Beckett gets to school in just ten minutes.  He enjoys it and Steve says, "the last time I didn't ride it was winter and it was really snowy and he was begging to go on the bike instead of the subway."

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Mapping Your NYC Bike Commute

Regardless of age or ability, everyone deserves the right to a safe and convenient bike commute. In New York City, every day the DOT is making that more of a reality - thanks to an incredible diversity of bike facilities. The city has moved past simple, striped bike lanes and on to refreshing configurations like curbside, floating parking-protected, physically separated, two-way bike paths.

Bike riding is on the rise. Commutes that were unthinkable years ago, are becoming attainable. Riders are more confident in their knowledge of the street grid. One resource that helps is the NYC Cycling Map. Use this cycling freebie to not only link up to the best routes in your neighborhood, but also to find alternatives and experiment with your riding. You'll be amazed how easy - and safe - it can be.

So for inspiration and major cajoling, I decided to hop on my Batavus Dutch crusier and show you my new commute from Jackson Heights, Queens all the way to the Streetfilms offices in lower Manhattan via the Manhattan Bridge. It's a hardy 11 miles each way, and yet almost 90% of the journey is on some sort of bike facility or marked bike route.  Furthermore, about 5 miles of it is on completely separate car-free bicycling paths, its no wonder that many days I arrive at work in a zen-like state.

Streetfilms would like to thank Bicycle Habitat for sponsoring this film.

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Sands Street Gets a Sassy, Center-Median Cycletrack

Chalk up more bikeway innovation to the folks at the NYC Department of Transportation. Now nearly complete, the Sands Street approach to the Manhattan Bridge is now safer and more enjoyable thanks to a first-of-its-kind in NYC: a center-median, two-way, protected bike path. Frankly, the facility is a perfect solution to counter the dangers posed by a tangle of roads and highway on-ramps that burden the area. Dramatic before and afters tell the delicious story.

We'll also take you back into the archives to April 2005, when following a severe injury to Transportation Alternatives' then Deputy Director Noah Budnick, advocates held a passionate rally to ask Mayor Bloomberg to not only improve bike access to the Manhattan Bridge, but to all East River Bridges. Four years later, there's much to be proud of. As Ryan Russo, NYC DOT Assistant Commissioner for Traffic Management points out, back in 2005 about 800 cyclists used the bridge daily. In 2009, those numbers have soared to over 2600. That gives us a serious case of happiness.