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Posts tagged "Manhattan"

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No room for peds on NYC’s 8th Ave so they walk in Protected Bike Lane

Can you really blame pedestrians on 8th Avenue?

For a few hours at rush hour in the am/pm the protected bike lane is filled with walkers since they are forced off the dense sidewalks due to the astronomical number of commuters and residents on them.

This of course turns the protected bike lane installed a few years ago into a virtual nightmare of dodging people. But look carefully, in the 30 minutes we were there pedestrians try to be as accommodating as possible walking in the null zone between bikes and parked cars. Cyclists, too, try to make their way slowly (most of them).

It has to be frustrating for all of them. But the true enemy is, as Mark Gorton points out in the video, we have given far too much of the street to vehicles and drivers. Both pedestrians and cyclists should be angry with NYC's administration for allowing this to happen.

At least one more driving lane (and maybe two!) should be given to widen the sidewalks.

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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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300+ People Create Human Protected Bike Lane on NYC’s 5th Avenue

More than 300 volunteers organized by Transportation Alternatives formed a six-block-long “human-protected bike lane” on Fifth Avenue last night, calling on the de Blasio administration to extend the protected bike lane network through Midtown’s busiest streets.

Fifth Avenue has no bike infrastructure above 26th Street, leaving a large void in the bicycle network where there’s huge travel demand. Protected bike lanes can’t come soon enough: Through the first eight months of this year drivers injured 15 people biking and 28 people walking on Fifth Avenue in Midtown, according to city data.

Last month, DOT presented a plan to add a second bus lane on this part of Fifth Avenue, but a bikeway was not included. To date, the agency has hesitated to claim street space for biking and walking on these busy Midtown avenues. DOT has stated a vague intention to extend protected bike lanes through the busiest blocks of Fifth and Sixth Avenues but never backed that up with specific commitments, timetables, or designs.

The hundreds of people taking action yesterday were saying that’s not good enough and took matters into their own hands. The human-protected bike lane occupied two lanes, from 50th Street to 44th Street.

Fifth Avenue functioned perfectly well while the impromptu bike lane was in effect. People biking quickly gravitated to the new space set aside for them, while car and bus traffic continued apace in the remaining three lanes.

In a written response posted on DOT’s Twitter feed, Commissioner Polly Trottenberg framed the campaign for a bike lane as being in conflict with the second bus lane for Fifth Avenue. “We did not want to postpone what we see as a reasonably straightforward improvement for buses,” she wrote.

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Parking Day Meets PeopleWay! (2017)

With the 15-month shutdown of L-train service west of Bedford Avenue coming up in 2019, NYC DOT and the MTA need to figure out new ways to move hundreds of thousands of people each day.

In Manhattan, a big piece of the puzzle is rethinking 14th Street. To keep people moving, Transportation Alternatives has proposed a car-free PeopleWay, maximizing the efficiency of the street by dedicating space exclusively to buses, biking, and walking.

On Parking Day -- an international day of action to repurpose street space for people, not cars (see previous Streetfilms herehere, and here) -- a few dozen TransAlt volunteers were out collecting signatures and educating people about why 14th Street needs the PeopleWay. Streetfilms was there to document the occasion.

Take a look. As one concerned citizen told us, "The clock is ticking New York!"

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Cyclists Become “Human Bollards” to Protect 2nd Ave Bike Lane

Earlier this summer, DOT filled an 18-block gap in the Second Avenue bike lane in Midtown. But there’s a big problem with the project: On most of those blocks, the new bike lane isn’t protected at rush hour, when the number of cyclists is highest and car traffic is most intense.

So this morning, Transportation Alternatives volunteers took safety in their own hands, lining up between 45th Street and 44th Street to form a “human-protected bike lane” during the 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. rush.

In Midtown, Second Avenue was supposed to get “low-profile tuff curbs” — plastic barriers — to keep motorists out of the bike lane during rush hour. (The rest of the day, the space next to the bikeway is a parking lane, which provides protection.) But the agency changed its mind, nixing the treatment “due to safety and accessibility concerns raised during additional design review and product testing.”

“Without that protection, people aren’t going to be using the bike lane,” TransAlt Manhattan organizer Chelsea Yamada said. “We’ve got 20 to 25 folks here that are using themselves as a substitute for infrastructure. We can’t afford to do this every day, we can’t afford to do that, to put our bodies on the line, but that’s basically what we’re doing every day.”

(From David Meyer, StreetsblogNYC)

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NYC Bike to Work Day 2017

Another great ride with the NYC Progressive Council which always turns out bigly for all of these rides dating back to 2014, which thanks to StreetsPAC is when these rides began.
This year saw three separate rides converge at City Hall. We decided to start pretty early on the Upper East Side with Council Member Ben Kallos who has been helping to lead the call for better biking for his constituents and those who ride thru his district.
We met up with several dozen others at Union Square (and lots of other cyclists who decided to join up on the ride on their daily commute) enjoying a mostly stress free jaunt to City Hall. Upon arrival there we met the Brooklyn delegations and at one point eight City Council members and NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg were outside addressing the very large group.
Another fun day of bike riding. Thanks to all.

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NYC Earth Day 2017: A Car-Free Broadway

This year for NYC's 2nd Car-Free NYC Earth Day, things picked up considerably from last year's inaugural event. The big spectacle was that you could walk or bike up Broadway from Union Square all the way to Times Square on car-free streets. But in a way since the Science March was already coming down Broadway to 47th street from the north, many people were able to traverse it all the way to Columbus Circle.
NYC Council Member (and Transportation Chair) Ydanis Rodriguez has been a real star in the move to get the city to think big things and also a great ally in the Vision Zero quest for safe streets. In this short, we got to walk with him for a few blocks and also talk to many New Yorkers about the state of the streets. Many dream big, wanting to see a car-free Broadway in the future, a proposal Mr. Rodriguez also would love to see.
As usual at these events there was plenty of programming. Running clubs. City agencies. Aerobics classes. Free Citibike rentals. In many ways it felt similar to one of the Summer Streets Saturdays in August, except this time it was on Broadway in the heart of the city. A statement to our city that it can be done. All we need is the will. After all 55% of NYC households don't own a car; and 77% of those in Manhattan.

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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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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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Streetfilms and Streetsblog: The First 10 Years

This summer, Streetfilms and Streetsblog celebrated our 10-year anniversary, and to mark the occasion, we created this film looking back at how our reporting and videos have changed streets in New York, the U.S., and cities all over the world.

This film showcases only a small portion of the work that thousands of volunteers and advocates have put in. It begins with the NYC Streets Renaissance, a collection of organizations that banded together in 2005 to rally people around the idea that streets can change, by showing best practices from other cities and photosimulations of what NYC streets could become.

You'll see clips from important Streetfilms like the series on Bogota's Bus Rapid Transit and Ciclovia, as well as recaps of how Streetsblog influenced transportation policy at City Hall, defended the work of transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, and put pressure on Albany to stop raiding transit funds. Getting closer to the present day, we look at why Streetsblog's coverage of traffic crashes matters, the new generation of elected officials working for better streets, and what's next for advocacy in NYC.

A note: This Streetfilm runs over 12 minutes, but if we had the resources it easily be a 90-minute feature documentary. Apologies to anyone left on the cutting room floor and topics not addressed, but perhaps someday we'll be able to make that film!

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Five Eclectic Questions for Streetfighter Janette Sadik-Khan

Right before former New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan set off on a multi-city book tour for Streetfight (along with co-author Seth Solomonow), I was able to get a few minutes to ask her five eclectic questions in Washington Square Park.

Want to know the story behind the appearance of hundreds of cheap lawn chairs on opening day in car-free Times Square? We asked her. Want to know if she has a crush on David Byrne? We asked her that too! Want to know her favorite color jellybean? Well, we didn't ask her that.

But we think you'll enjoy our quick, engaging conversation that's saturated with footage from the Streetfilms vault from Sadik-Khan's 2007-2013 tenure at NYC DOT.

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NYC David Bowie Dance Ride 2010 (B-Roll)

Okay, something I almost never do - in a bike tribute to the legendary musician David Bowie who passed this morning at age 69, I'm loading up straight b-roll to a bike ride I attended with Time's Up in 2010. It was plenty of fun and perhaps the shortest ride ever (maybe a mile?) from Tompkins Square Park to go dance at the Cube. And lots of New Yorkers on the street joined in! Sit back and watch the fun, there's lots of it. Again - this is straight up footage as it happened, essentially un-edited, but captures the spirit of those who love Bowie so I thought I'd let that shine!

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World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims 2015 (NYC)

Sunday, November 15th was World Day of Remembrance and Families for Safe Streets and Transportation Alternatives hosted a march from NYC's City Hall to the United Nations to honor those we have lost to traffic violence and enlighten New Yorkers to use the term "crash" instead of "accidents" when describing such events on our streets.

About 500 people turned out for the powerful event which included speeches by many elected officials including Mayor Bill de Blasio who promised he has only begun to change NYC's street when he first announced "Vision Zero" would be one of his priorities early in his administration. Marchers wore yellow, carried flowers, and held photos of loved ones that are no longer with us. It was one of dozens events held thru-ought the world on World Day of Remembrance.

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Watch what this group of frustrated Vision Zero activists did to get their Community Board’s attention!

For many years, residents of Manhattan's Community Board 7 have been frustrated by the lack of transportation initiative from the leaders of their board. So after many years of trying to work within the boundaries of the system they decided to stage a silent sign protest at February's board meeting.

Since Community Board members are rarely not re-appointed, their positions are essentially for life - meaning that newer and progressive ideas often aren't seriously considered. On the Upper West Side residents are sick and tired of the transportation arm of their board voting against sensible traffic calming and livable streets measures that save lives.

 

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The Green Benefits of NYC Protected Bike Lanes

As I have watched the numbers of protected bike lanes grow in New York City each year, I've noticed the tree canopy above the lanes gets denser and number of trees extending out into the roadway grows.

Though I freely admit this could just be anecdotal, I'm pretty sure the simple reason is this: on the avenues with protected lanes large vans & trucks are no longer constantly brushing and bruising trees since they aren't parking curbside. Although it's not an exact correlation since you can certainly find some blocks where the opposite is true, generally there is much, much more green on these bike corridors.

Add in pedestrian safety islands that have trees and other plantings (many thanks to community associations and businesses) and the buffer zone being a perfect place to put bike parking and Citibike stations, and I think this helps make for a future selling point to communities!