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Posts tagged "physically separated bike lane"

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Citi Bike Debuts in New York City!

Memorial Day 2013 marked a milestone in NYC transportation history: the debut of the city's bike-share system, Citi Bike. At 330 stations, 6,000 bikes (of a planned 10,000) were available to more than 13,000 members who signed up for a yearly pass - and many of them couldn't wait to hit the streets!

The press conference at City Hall was a media frenzy. Hundreds of reporters and cameras were on hand to watch Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan ring in the launch. Streetfilms was there at this historic moment and put together this fun four-minute film which features a Citibike bike share station along a protected bike lane, David Byrne telling us what he will do with bike share and the best shot anyone got of Commissioner Sadik-Khan test driving the bike at City Hall.

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A Bike-Parking Protected, Protected Bike Lane Grows In Manhattan

A few years ago, it was pretty big news when on-street bike parking or a bike oasis was installed in any city.  Today, though it is always welcome news, it hardly merits a report.

However, on New York City's 9th Avenue protected bike lane (which back in the day was NYC's first) three bike oasises have been installed between 36th and 40th streets. Having bike-parking replacing a car parking spot in the floating lane is definitely a first for New York City, and quite possibly the first in the United States.

And as we found small businesses seem to already love them.  We filed a short report.

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How Complete Streets Came to East Harlem

This is the story about how East Harlem residents and street safety advocates -- with leadership from Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito -- banded together to win complete streets on First and Second Avenues. After the city backtracked on a plan to build protected bike lanes and pedestrian refuges up to 125th Street on the East Side of Manhattan, this coalition mobilized to put the project back on the table. Later, when the safety improvements came under attack from a few business owners, public health professionals joined Mark-Viverito and NYC DOT to combat misinformation about the redesign and see it through to implementation.

Former Streetsblog Reporter Noah Kazis covered the campaign for protected bike lanes in East Harlem and helps recount the story in this video.

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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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Complete Streets: It’s About More Than Bike Lanes

Over the last four years, New York City has seen a transportation renaissance on its streets, striking a better balance by providing more space for walking, biking, and transit.

As with any departure from the status quo, it can take a while for everyone to grow accustomed to the changes. So Streetfilms decided to look at three of NYC’s most recent re-designs — Columbus Avenue, First and Second Avenues, and Prospect Park West — and show how pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers benefit from safer, calmer streets. We talked to transportation engineers with decades of experience, elected leaders, community board members, people on the street, and business owners to get their take on the new configurations.

The truth is, no matter how hard some media outlets try to spin it otherwise, these new street safety projects have broad community support. And while the story of these changes often gets simplified in the press, the fact is that the benefits of the redesigns go far beyond cycling. A street with a protected bike lane also has less speeding, shorter pedestrian crossings, less lane-shifting and more predictable movements for drivers, and the opportunity to add more trees and plantings. Injuries to pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, and car passengers drop wherever the new designs go in. And on the East Side, these improvements have been paired with dedicated bus-only lanes with camera enforcement, making service more convenient and attractive for thousands of bus riders.

At 11 minutes, this is one of our longest Streetfilms. We cover a lot of ground here, and we hope it’s illuminating no matter what side of the issue you fall on.

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“Floating Parking” & Bike-Buffer Zones in Separated Cycletracks

While we were out videotaping for another Streetfilm, Gary Toth the Director of Transportation Initiatives with Project for Public Spaces (his resume includes 34 years of management experience at NJDOT) took a moment to give a short explanation on what "floating parking" is, why using it is a very smart budgetary decision by the NYC DOT, and why a buffer-zone exists between exiting drivers and cyclists.

We hope this Streetfilm is a great resource that will help ally many fears this new concept (in the U.S. anyway) is experiencing in some cities.  It shows after a very brief adjustment period that drivers do grasp it.  Along the way you'll see ample, helpful footage of some of the many configurations of the NYC's new complete streets in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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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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The Taming and Reclaiming of Prospect Park West

Up until this summer, speeding was the norm on Brooklyn's Prospect Park West. With three wide lanes inviting motorists to hit the accelerator, it was a street monopolized by car traffic. That changed in a big way in June, when NYC DOT converted one vehicle lane to a two-way bikeway separated from traffic by the parking lane. Physically separated bike lanes are making New York safer for cyclists and pedestrians wherever they're installed, and this one is no exception.

The new lane feels safe and comfortable to ride on, no matter how much experience you may have as a cyclist, and it's attracting riders of all ages. For everyone walking to and from Prospect Park, the street re-design means slower cars -- compliance with the speed limit is up by a factor of five, according to a study by Park Slope Neighbors -- and safer crossings at intersections.

The transformation has been dramatic, and like any major change to the street, this one has attracted some vocal critics -- most notably Borough President Marty Markowitz.  While some opponents contend that the lane has been installed without public input, the truth is that community groups have been calling for traffic calming and safer biking on this street for years. Watch and see how the new Prospect Park West has made good on those demands.

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Cycling Copenhagen, Through North American Eyes

While Streetfilms was in Copenhagen for the Velo-City 2010 conference, of course we wanted to showcase its biking greatness.  But we were also looking to take a different perspective then all the myriad other videos out there.  Since there were an abundance of advocates, planners, and city transportation officials attending from the U.S. and Canada, we thought it'd be awesome to get their reactions to the city's built environment and compare to bicycling conditions in their own cities.

If you've never seen footage of the Copenhagen people riding bikes during rush hour - get ready - it's quite a site, as nearly 38% of all transportation trips in Copenhagen are done by bike.  With plenty of safe, bicycle infrastructure (including hundreds of miles of physically separated cycletracks) its no wonder that you see all kinds of people on bikes everywhere.  55% of all riders are female, and you see kids as young as 3 or 4 riding with packs of adults.

Much thanks to the nearly two dozen folks who talked to us for this piece.  You'll hear astute reflections from folks like Jeff Mapes (author of "Pedaling Revolution"), Martha Roskowski (Program Manager, GO Boulder), Andy Clarke (President, League of American Bicyclists), Andy Thornley (Program Director, San Francisco Bike Coalition) and Tim Blumenthal (President, Bikes Belong) and Yvonne Bambrick (Executive Director, Toronto's Cyclists Union) just to name drop a few of the megastars.

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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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Vancouver Adds Cycletrack to Burrard Bridge

It's been 15 years since Vancouver residents started petitioning for a bike lane on one of the bridges that connects to downtown. In the summer of 2009, the city implemented a test lane on the historic Burrard Bridge and almost immediately cycling was up 30%.

Cycling advocates and wheeled commuters explain the advantages to having a protected bicycle path.  Recent reports seem to show most are happy with the implementation and residents favor continuing the trial by a margin of 2 to 1.

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Long Beach Shifts Cycling in to High Gear

Although their proximity to car-dominated Los Angeles can't be denied, southern neighbor Long Beach has put the money and effort behind making cycling an attractive and safe mode, and it's already paying dividends.

Bicycling Magazine's 2010 rankings for bike-friendly cities ranked Long Beach a respectable 23rd, but that doesn't satisfy them.  In fact, their goal is to ultimately make Long Beach "The Most Bicycle Friendly City in America," a bold statement that adorns the art at City Hall (photo by Greg Page/Page One Studio).

With a bike-friendly mayor and big support from the city council, their plans are ambitious. But most importantly they are think big and thinking fast.  A couplet of physically protected cycletracks, sharrows with unique green striping, Southern California's first bicycle boulevard, and hundreds of additional bike racks are just a few of the items already in the ground or coming very shortly.

This video doesn't even touch upon their comprehensive education program in place for students, police, and transit operators.  Ahhhh, well - I guess we'll just have to go back and cover that on another trip (and then go sit on the beach.)

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The Capital’s Colossal Contraflow Cycle Track

While we were down in Washington, DC for the National Bike Summit, Streetfilms got the chance to check out some of the innovative bike infrastructure.
Tops on our list: the city's first protected, contraflow lane for bicyclists. The district DOT has redesigned 15th Street NW between U Street and Massachusetts Avenue to accommodate two-way bike traffic on a one-way street. Northbound cyclists get a shared lane moving in the same direction as car traffic, and southbound cyclists ride in a parking-protected lane. The treatment has also slimmed down the street, removing a vehicle lane and calming traffic.
DC transportation officials say that when designing this protected bike lane, they looked to New York and Montreal for inspiration. Additional use of contraflow lanes could help make critical new connections in New York's bike network, like the gap between Park Slope and Fort Greene that Brooklyn CB 2 recently asked DOT to take a look at. Although not captured in the video DC has just finished a lower tech contraflow lane on Champlain Street in Adams Morgan (See images below). So hopefully some of that inspiration will flow back up the Acela corridor to NYC.
champlain 1champlain 2
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Copenhagen’s Climate-Friendly, Bike-Friendly Streets

Tens of thousands of people from nearly every nation on earth have descended on Copenhagen this month for the UN climate summit. As the delegates try to piece together a framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, they're also absorbing lessons from one of the world's leading cities in sustainable transportation. In Copenhagen, fully 37 percent of commute trips are made by bike, and mode share among city residents alone is even higher.

Come see "the busiest bicycling street in the Western world", and lots of other you-gotta-see-them-to-believe-them features including bike counters (featuring digital readouts), LEDS, double bike lanes (for passing) and giant hot pink cars.

Copenhagen wasn't always such a bicycling haven. It took many years of investment in bike infrastructure to reclaim streets from more polluting, less sustainable modes. Last week, I was able to squeeze in a whirl-wind tour with Mikael Colville-Andersen, the bike culture evangelist behind Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic, to get a taste of the city's impressive bike network and cycling amenities. Watch this video and see how Copenhageners flock to the streets by bike even in December, when average temperatures hover just above freezing.

 

 

 

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Bicycling is UP again in the Big Apple!

On the heels of 2008's unprecedented growth of 35% in commuter cycling, this year the New York City Department of Transportation measured an additional gain of 26%, putting the total 2007 to 2009 increase at a whopping 66%!

Of course much of that can be attributed to NYC installing 200 miles of bike routes in the past three years, including innovative amenities such as the 8th and 9th Avenue cycletracks that separate car traffic from bikers. Safer streets encourage more people to ride, more riders encourage more people to ride, more riders on the road means cyclists are more visible. It's a cycling mathematical equation that I'm sure "Cycling Al" Einstein would have approved of.

In fact, the numbers of cyclists on the roads have tripled since the year 2000. So we thought it would be good to get a reality check from riders as to how it is going out there.  Overwhelmingly, folks we interviewed said it is getting quite crowded out there on our streets and bridges and in most ways that's a good thing!