Wednesday, July 21, 2010

[Updated] Looking at the First Avenue's new bike lane and 'floating lane'

In recent weeks, I've had several conversations with readers about the ongoing renovations of First Avenue... in which a dedicated bike path and bus lane are going in (most people think the bike and bus lane additions are a good thing, especially among my cyclist friends, but...)

Anyway, work continued on the Avenue this past weekend...





Topic No.1

Have you looked at the parking instructions yet?



The floating lane? As EV Grieve reader Blue Glass said to me, "only an engineer could make street traffic so confusing."

Topic No. 2

The possible impact on local business. Foot traffic aside ... a lot of the stores here are the kind in which people are used to quickly parking and zipping in for the goods (especially during holidays, where cars are double-parked on 11th Street around to First Avenue for Veniero's) ... How will the stores accommodate customers who want to stop for a few minutes to make a purchase? Ditto for quick deliveries. The bus and bike lanes have removed some parking spots. Several shop owners are worried about the reduced parking options... look for a story on the topic soon from a local TV station...





Topic No. 3
Not everyone is really hip to the dedicated bike/bus lanes yet...




Here's an example of someone stopping for a quick pick up at Veniero's ... what you don't see here is the bicyclist nearly taking off the car door...



It will take some time here for everyone to learn to live with the changes... motorists...cyclists...pedestrians...merchants...cops...at least until the city paints in the green bike lane.

Updated: Noonish... As for the local news report I mentioned... NY1 has filed a report, East Village Businesses Find Fault With New Bus, Bike Lanes. To the story:

The new bus and bicycle lanes along First and Second Avenues are part of a major city traffic overhaul, but local business owners say the lanes are taking up parking spaces and creating obstacles for delivery trucks.

Business owners say the lanes, which stretch from Houston Street to 34th Street, force delivery men to walk into the bicycle lanes and forces them to run the risk of injury.

"My truck has to park away from the curb. Now my employees have to cross through an active bike lane and there's a possibility of being hit by a bicycle, and there's cyclists getting hurt. My driver's getting hurt," said hardware store owner Jim Doria.

"Should have the bike lane on the other side, the way it was before and parking would be on the same side," said business owner Jawad Rasul. "I think that would be a lot better for the bikers and for the store owners."


And the comments are getting going on this topic...

Previously on EV Grieve:
Hot tar for a hot night

The Second Avenue bike lanes: What do we think so far?

For further reading
:
Matt Harvey had a piece in the Post Monday titled, Attack of the killer bikes!

64 comments:

Melanie said...

I am starting to understand the floating island and bike lane installation and I like it.

Anonymous said...

The city has gone too far with the bike lanes. And I'm a cyclist! This isn't Copenhagen. It's NYC and cyclists here just aren't as considerate or as apt to follow the rules of the road. I seriously think these bike lanes are going to cause huge problems and some serious accidents. You can't bend over backwards to accommodate cyclists who unlike motorists aren't licensed and aren't required to have license plates. The city is in for some major lawsuits when pedestrians get mowed down even more often than they are now.

Michelle Vaughan said...

I think the new bike lanes are genius, and I am a cyclist. Part of this entire revamping of streets in Manhattan is to make it LESS accessible for cars. Bikes and buses should take up more space on the road, so it encourages people to use that kind of transportation instead of adding to traffic congestion. The more divided and protected the cycling lanes are from the cars, the safer cyclists are (something like 3,000 cyclists are hit by cars in NYC a year). This should encourage more folks to use their bikes instead of flooding our streets with cars and their double-parking (which causes congestion, blocks cyclists from their lanes and is dangerous). I think Veniero's will survive.

This is one of the coolest moves our city can make in the effort to be more green. If it's a nod to Copenhagen, Amsterdam or Berlin, great. NYC becomes more progressive, which can make our city an example for other American cities to get their residents to depend less on cars (oil) and more on human power transport.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. I bike a ton and drive sometimes and these bike lanes are garbage and so innapropriate for our infrastructure.

MinNY said...

Judging from the accident reports on the two lanes on the west side (8th/9th) those streets are much, much safer now, despite much whining.

"According to city transportation data, since the 9th Avenue bicycle path was installed traffic injuries for all users has decreased by 56 percent, including a 29 percent decrease in pedestrian injuries." (link)

I'll expect the same to be true for the two much-needed lanes on the east side...why should their streets be safer?

If Veniero's is so concerned about losing customers because of the bike lane, perhaps they should put up a bike rack outside their window...selling coffee and pastries to people on bikes seems like a perfect way to get extra business...and almost nothing in the city has the same profit margin as a cup of coffee, and some baked flour, sugar & butter.

Anonymous said...

It's not that they have taken up SOME spots, they have taken up a lot of spots. I live in the East Village and used to park quickly and pop in and out of several stores along Second Avenue. The other day I circled the block half a dozen times before jumping into what appeared to be a legal spot. A few minutes and a 115 dollar ticket later I resigned myself to not being able to patronize those businesses nearly as much in the future.

Anonymous said...

If you live in the East Village, how about walking to some stores?

Anonymous said...

Who cares that traffic injuries went down 56% if you can't easily park your car and get a piece of cheesecake?! Baked good are way more important than pedestrian and bike safety!

Anonymous said...

Unless this infrastructure change is accompanied by behavior change, I have to agree with Anonymous. The city needs to start ticketing bikers who fly through lights and go the wrong way whether in their own lanes or not. The threat of a $100 ticket for not cleaning up after your dog completely transformed sidewalk life in the city. A similar transformation has to be made now or pedestrian life (crucial to the city but despised by many bikers) will become intolerable.

Lisa said...

Dear Bike Riders - I have no objection to sharing my streets with you. What I don't want is to see you on the sidewalks (please note the operative word "WALK" in there), nor do I want to see you flying through red lights and pedestrian crosswalks when you do not have the right of way, even if you are in a bike lane. I am sick of almost getting slammed into by dorks on wheels who yell at me when I cross with the light and who regularly and aggressively ignore the rules of the road they, too, are supposed to follow. It's a big city, we all need to co-exist, but this "holier than thou" attitude bikers exude, this self-congratulatory mindset that makes them think because they're not polluting they can be a-holes, is really tiresome. And dangerous.

Anonymous said...

If you live in the East Village, why are you driving to stores in your own neighborhood?

Anonymous said...

Oh my god, something new and different!!! Confusing!!! Ahhh, must be stopped. I fear change!

Oh no! Replicating successful European ideas!! Impossible!! This is New York City, we can't possibly learn from others! Too crazy!

Anonymous said...

YO BIKES DON'T FUCKING REPLACE CARS. YOU CAN'T CARRY THINGS ON THEM AND WHEN IT IS COLD OR RAINING YOU DON'T RIDE THEM. IT'S A PAIN IN THE ASS. I RIDE A BIKE SOMETIMES BUT SHUT THE FUCK UP, THEY'RE A PAIN IN THE ASS.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to the poster above, I sometimes wonder what city some New Yorkers are living in. Check out this survey from NYU students -

http://www.streetsblog.org/2010/06/01/whats-good-for-green-transport-is-good-for-business-in-the-east-village/

That's right, a whole whooping 7% of people shopping on 2nd Avenue between Houston and 14th St. got there using a private car. 88% walked or took transit. And those people who drove spent less than the others!

Maybe we should look at empirical evidence rather than anecdotal experience when analyzing the impact of infrastructural changes.

Jill Woodward said...

The new bike lanes may mean an infusion of shoppers who never really used this route before. Cyclists buy things too. Agree with the other comments that this plan should cause some pain to motorists, that's the whole point. Also let's note that you can carry things on a bike--it's done in those places mentioned earlier, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, etc. I ride when it's cold and rainy too--just like cyclists in Northern Europe.

Finally, I fully agree that cyclists will have to embrace a new etiquette (aka the Law). Now that cyclists are slowly being given respect by the authoritay, we will need to give that same respect to drivers and pedestrians. On the other hand, peds are not entitled to step off a curb and jaywalk against the traffic light, all the while texting and never looking up from handheld device. Pedestrians will also need some behavioral shifts, if only for their own survival.

Modestmerlin said...

I TOTALLY agree that NYC bicyclists are out of etiquette control (I own a bike and have lived in the EV for over ten years). Formal and informal cooperation between pedestrians, cars, and bicyclists will take time, but from my point of view this street traffic overall is really positive for people like me who primarily walk, bike, and use public transportation to get around. I support any measure that incentivizes more people to use bicycles and public transportation (especially if it also has the effect of rerouting some of the annoying, transient weekend crowd).

WB said...

Those Streetsblog numbers are really interesting. Some parking spaces are being lost with the introduction of these bike lanes (how many, exactly?) but the changes we're making are really important. As a society we're far too reliant on cars and gasoline. New York is known for innovation in music, art, technology -- why not transportation?

And I have to say, if you double-park to pop into stores in these crowded sections of downtown, you deserve to be ticketed heavily. Double-parking really fouls things up for the rest of us who may be trying to get somewhere in a car, cab or bus. It also increases the risks for cyclists, who have to navigate out into the street to get around you. And you may end up blocking the path of an emergency vehicle. Your pastry is not that important. Have your spouse circle the block while you run in if you can't find a legit parking space.

Anonymous said...

actually the problem isn't the bike lanes - it is the bus lanes -

The bus lane should be in the center lane of the street!

Anonymous said...

i think it sucks, bikers have been getting around for years with traffic, and all the sudden, this junk bike lane crap starts to happen. I was born and raised in the EVill, and I have to say it has gone to crap with all the yuppies and wanna bees moving in. No one wanted to step foot in this part of town for years , when it was filled with killers and gang and drug lords and junkies.If I moved into your home will it be ok for me to just change the way everything is set up in your apt... No , of course not, so why should it happen here...i hate the bike lanes.

BaHa said...

Bike lanes: An accommodation for self-congratulatory pricks, who rarely use them, preferring to weave in and out of traffic while yelling at people who are crossing with the light to get the f*ck out of the way.
Instead of looking both ways, now I must look four ways, plus the sidewalk. And by the time I've done that, some jerk on a racing bike nearly knocks me over anyway.

Anonymous said...

I was at the corner of 10th and 2nd the other day and saw a near collision between a cyclist whizzing down the avenue and another cyclist who was crossing at 10th and 2nd and blocking the entire bike lane...with his bike. Bicyclists don't even respect the bike lanes. I agree with the other posters who talked about bicyclists getting ticketed but I don't know how easy that would be to enforce. You can't have a cop on every corner and if a person on a bike doesn't want to stop they can easily slip away.

Anonymous said...

These bike/bus lanes are fantastic. Just like everything else, as bikes become more mainstream the behavior of bikers will fall in line. Brining bikers into the fold is a necessary step to a better city, and I'm glad our neighborhood is taking the lead.

Anonymous said...

Jill Woodward said "bicyclists buy things too" - are we to assume they never bought anything before they got a bike??

Good luck getting cyclists to obey the law. It's not gonna happen unless they have to register or get a license plate in some way. They just go their way, usually shouting "f*ck you" or giving the finger. Bicyclists are the Wild West in NYC.

I live in E Village and biked years ago when I was younger & able (back when my fear was of getting hit by a CAR). Now, nearing retirement, after 3 knee surgeries & with considerable arthritis, biking is no longer an option for me. I walk, but now have to fear getting hit by CYCLISTS, the majority of whom ignore traffic lights, laws, and even direction of travel.

It will be interesting to see how much everyone likes bike lanes when they themselves become unable to bike! Everyone gets older, and those of you who are oh-so-smug about biking will eventually find out what it's like to FEAR bicyclists because of their irresponsible behavior.

Anonymous said...

First, the idea of people parking for a few minutes to run an errand in a store in the EV is lunacy. It's a foot traffic area (like most of NY). It's a ridiculous argument for keeping curb parking.

Second, the owner who said moving the bike lane into the street (as it is on 9th St, for example) makes it better for bikers is crazy. How does that make it better for bikers? By possibly having a cab drive into you, or a car pull out into you? Or biking into an opening car door?

Third, without barrier curbs on the "floating" spaces, nothing will stop vehicles from pulling up to the curb. Also agree with the poster who said cyclists in NY are generally non-law abiding.

– A cyclist

Shawn Chittle said...

The solution is to establish a bike speed limit that can't exceed that of Michael Musto.

blue glass said...

annonymous says "First, the idea of people parking for a few minutes to run an errand in a store in the EV is lunacy..."
REALLY?
how about spending some time actually looking at how many cars do park for a few minutes while the driver or passenger runs in to buy something. coffee, cake, even last minute groceries, health food store items, etc. etc.
many folks drive for work, especialy delivery people. think UPS.
and while there are far too many cars that come into the city (and residents that have cars) you can't make a blanket statement that they all don't need to cars.
another example of a one-sided thinker.
oh, yea, you do admit bikers are non law abiding.
isn't that a big problem in a community where "It's a foot traffic area (like most of NY). It's a ridiculous argument for keeping curb parking)"
there is much more to this than keeping curb parking.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like much of the same ado when the Ninth Avenue, then Eighth Avenue, bike lanes were created. And by now pretty much everyone understands how the parking works.

Marty Wombacher said...

@Shawn Chittle: Ha ha ha! Nice to see a humorous comment here.

Goggla said...

I support the use of bikes and am all for reducing car traffic. However, I think these lanes could have been designed better. This morning on 1st Ave, I saw 4 cars parked where there used to be room for at least six. On 2nd Ave, a Fed Ex truck had to park in the traffic lane to make a delivery, so there were only two lanes open for cars, backing up traffic. Last night on 2nd Ave, I saw buses in the regular lanes, bikes going the wrong way in the bus lane, and people standing around in the bike lane.

My biggest question is still why the bike lane needs to be between the curb and parked cars. As I see it, bikes will still get hit with doors, drivers now have two sides of traffic to contend with and pedestrians cannot see all the bike and car traffic when crossing the street. It seems to me all the old problems are still there, but now there's added confusion and danger.

And, I was nearly run down by a scooter on the sidewalk this morning. The bike lane was wide open, as was the street. You can paint as many lines as you want, but it's still up to people to actually follow the rules.

Anonymous said...

As a cyclist who's been riding in the city for 15 years, my reply to those angry at bikers who blow through stoplights and pedestrian crossings:

Let's make a deal. We, as cyclists, will stop running red lights and pedestrian crossings if you, pedestrians, will start to pay attention to your surroundings. So, no more wandering into the bike lane while talking on your cel phone. No more crossing a street against the light and being surprised when I go past on my bike, with the light.

No more ignoring your four year old child running across car and bike traffic because sending that text is much more important than making sure your pride and joy makes it to his or her next birthday. No more standing two feet out in the crosswalk--in the bike lane--while waiting for the light to turn green.

And on and on.

Anonymous said...

The lanes on the other side of the cars is fucking RETARDED. When you are turning in a car, you can't see if a bike is flying through. It's fucked. I ride bikes too, how is this being overlooked by either side?

MinNY said...

"Why does the bike lane have to be on the other side of the parked cars?" Two reasons, both for safety:

1 - to keep cars from merging over into or blocking the bike lane while double parking, which sends bikes out of the bike lane into traffic.

2 - bike lanes painted between parked cars and traffic are right in the "door zone" and bikers are constantly dodging car owners opening their doors (which can be fatal, as it was earlier this year on the 6th avenue bike lane, when a man was doored while traveling in the bike lane, which knocked him under the wheels of a moving vehicle in the travel lane, killing him). The 5 foot buffer between the parked cars should prevent most 'dooring' accidents (how many cars have doors more than 5 feet wide when opened?) and make the consequences of all bike accidents far safer, since bikers aren't likely to fall into the travel lane.

Yes, it can be somewhat inconvenient for businesses unloading their trucks. Most people on the west side have come to like the shorter crossing distances from the traffic islands. I agree that bikes should only travel in one direction (plenty of bike riders hate these 'salmon' biking upstream) and need to yield on red lights to pedestrians...but pedestrians also have to learn that the bike lanes are not sidewalk extensions that can be entered mid-block without looking.

Again, it all comes down to safety. If these bike lanes approach even half of the safety improvements of those on the west side, we should all be grateful. Less people dead or in the hospital is always a good thing in my book.

RatherBeBiking said...

Protip :

When business owners say prefer the old style bike lanes, it's because they could easily block those to receive their deliveries. Now they're upset because they don't get to break the rules as easily anymore.

The rest is history. This is the same slew of whining that's surrounded just about every other new bike lane in the city.

You've heard it all before, it's just new whining about a new lane. The only thing we really need now is less needless automotive traffic, and less cyclists riding the wrong way and pedestrians who step off the curb without looking.

Chris said...

Anon@3:39: They're called mirrors. All cars have them and should use them. Have you gone out to look at the lanes yet? There's a "mixing zone" and yield markings at every intersection of a westbound street. It's there to make the bikes visible to cars.

Also, to the commenter who said that this is another way that yuppies are ruining the neighborhood: I suppose in addition to going back to the era of junkies and addicts, you'd prefer to see people get run over by cars, too. These lanes narrow the street and make crossings safer. You've lived here for a long time, so you're not getting any younger... maybe you should start to appreciate that the city is trying to make it safer for the elderly and immobile to cross the street.

Anonymous said...

To Anon @ 3:19: You say we should make a deal where the cyclists will obey the laws if the pedestrians will stop jaywalking (except that jaywalking is a birthright of all New Yorkers!), and talking on cells or texting while crossing.

I don't see the big deal about people standing in the bike lane waiting to cross, except of course if THE BIKER IS GOING THE WRONG WAY (even if the biker has the light). Pedestrians should be able to feel that a bike would only come from the direction of traffic flow on a given street, but name me one street or avenue that doesn't have cyclists ignoring the one-way signs, and creating a hazard to the pedestrians - a hazard that is made worse because the cyclists can't be heard approaching.

I agree that the pedestrians who talk or text while crossing are a menace, no question. But some of us pedestrians who are doing NOTHING except trying to cross with the light are still getting menaced by careless bicyclists.

AND getting hit by a bike (and typically the biker takes off like a bat out of hell) causes far more injuries (and SERIOUS injuries) to the pedestrian, than a pedestrian in your path causes to a bicyclist.

I've been on both sides of this situation, and the person with the vehicle (whether bike, pedicab, motorcycle, car, or truck) ALWAYS does more damage to the pedestrian than a pedestrian does to the vehicle.

There is NO accountability on the part of cyclists. I might be far more sympathetic to them if they took responsibility for their actions, and if they obeyed traffic laws. To me, a cyclist riding the wrong way in a bike path is as potentially damaging to others as someone texting as they cross the street. Both parties are behaving badly, and the fact that one person behaves badly/wrongly does not justify others in breaking the law.

Bicyclists get a bad rap because they deserve it: they almost universally treat traffic signals (whether stop signs or traffic lights) as "optional". If you behave anti-socially (which is what people are doing when they drive a vehicle the wrong way down the one-way street, or don't stop for red lights), don't expect to be applauded for it, nor for people to want to encourage MORE of you to get on a bike & behave similarly.

Amanda said...

Many bicyclists in this city think they can have the privileges of a car AND the privileges of pedestrian at the same time. They can't. You are on wheels, you are not a pedestrian. Get off the sidewalks, stop at red lights, and ride in the direction of traffic. Life's tough, but those are the rules.

Chris said...

Anon@5:14: Sometimes, I feel like the only one on a bike who actually follows traffic laws. But attitudes like yours, that make me out to be as much of a villain as everyone else on a bike, make me wonder why I even bother.

Anonymous said...

I'm the auto driver who lives in the East Village and stated that the bike lanes will cut down on my shopping on Second Avenue.

I need to drive a car for my job. It wasn't a problem 25 years ago when none of you lived here, but hey, I understand that things change. It may be anecdotal but I am simply describing my own situation. Used to be I would stop on my way home, FIND A LEGAL SPOT, and do some shopping. With the vastly reduced number of spots this is no longer possible in most cases. Anecdotal, yes, but also true.

Larry Slade said...

I'm curious that if it should happen the this crappy summer doesn't go on forever, what will happen during, after, snow storms? How will the bike lane be plowed if the cars are in the way?

Anonymous said...

I'm leaving Manhattan after 60 years (in part) to avoid losing my life to this uncontrolled plague of ill mannered cyclists. Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg for his lack of consideration, I'll now be buying 2 cars, and driving into the city when I must.

I now cede these streets to these maniacal inconsiderate louts, and can only hope they do an effective job of thinning the herd by running into each other, instead of the pedestrians who actually have the right of way.

Anonymous said...

@Chris: Please go back and read what I wrote: "almost universally" -- I did NOT say "everyone on a bike".

I truly appreciate that you do follow the traffic rules, but even YOU admit that you "feel like the only one on a bike who follows traffic laws", thus reinforcing my point that most bicyclists don't!

Why *do* you bother? Why *should* you bother? Because it's the right thing to do, and because you're generating good karma by observing the laws. Otherwise, you join the non-compliant cyclists in a version of "if everyone else jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you jump too?".

I hope you continue to have the courage of your convictions, because you are one of the cyclists who give cycling a good name!

HippieChick said...

I SWEAR, I am going to start carrying a 2x4 to clobber arrogant bicycling pigdogs going the wrong way and wheeling around heedlessly in the damn bike lanes. I almost got hit twice today on 2nd Ave and 9th as I waited to cross the avenue. Just because the wheelnuts now have a dedicated lane does NOT mean they can ride as they please. AND STAY OFF THE FUCKING SIDEWALKS!

Anonymous said...

I live in Downtown Brooklyn. I need to wear a three point cage because of a broken neck suffered in a truck accident. I was crossing at the intersection of Hoyt and State Streets, with my seven year old son, and I had the light. Out of the blue, a bicyclist, roaring down on State Street, blowing the red light, ran right into me and knocked me flat onto the street. Fortunately, he missed my son. Instead of trying to help me up, this obnoxious cretin starts screaming about not watching where I was going. By this time, I was able to get up. I stared at him; then, at his bike. He kept yelling. I bent down, picked up his bike and proceeded to smash every spoke on the rims. He then started to scream "Are you fucking crazy, or something?" I smiled and said "Next time, watch where you're going". My son thought what i was able to do was "awesome". Watch what happens next time.

Anonymous said...

Bikers, you are not at the epicenter of the transportation universe.
Just as cars must yield to all walkers and bikers, you must yield to the walkers. Pedestrians, even when wrong, must be respected. You are bigger and faster and that means you must protect pedestrians by causing them no harm. It upsets you that people are in the bike lane, well sorry, it upsets drivers when you are in their lane, with a bike lane on the other side of the street. It upsets pedestrians when you almost run them down while they are obeying the law.

I do a great a deal of walking in addition to driving and biking, so I see everything from all 3 perspectives. The only reason I see the majority of bikers slow down at an intersection is when they think they are going to hit something or be hit be hit by something. Traffic signals are irrelevant to these riders.

You also need to learn that just because you can go a certain speed, doesn't mean you should. A speed limit is only a limit when conditions are permitting. Walk on the Brooklyn Bridge on a nice day. Tourists strolling and wrongly spilling over into the bike lane. Bikers still come full speed, especially when they are riding on the descending part of the bridge. One day I will see a full speed collision involving one of these speeders.

Bikers, you want respect, start giving some back by obeying all traffic signals and signs. I know it is an almost inconceivable idea, but you also have to bear the burden of watching for pedestrians who are not watching out for themselves. You are part of the transportation network and society, not center of it. Act like it.

blue glass said...

it's not just the bikes, the cars or the pedestrians. it's the folks from the bars that puke, scream and ruin our sleep. it's the sales person that can't add and then takes it out on you when they make a mistake. it's the amount of time that those of us who care have to spend mopping up after those of you that don't. it's the rudeness and greed in our current something for nothing society.

blue glass said...

bikers want more and are the most flagrant violaters of traffic laws. red lights mean STOP. a south heading street goes DOWNTOWN.
sidewalks are made for folks that WALK not bicycles.

i've been hit twice by a bicycle going the wrong way (i look both ways). one hit caused later damage to my knee. i should have called the cops, gotten the guy's name, taken a ride to the hospital and sued. but walkers are much more interested in getting where they are going with as little bother as possible.

why are bikers so sanctimonious as if blessed by god because of their "purity"? get off your high horse and join the rest of us humans!

cars are not such law abiding citizens either. they love to jump the light (either before it changes or after it changes, especially making turns). nor do they look for bicycles before opening doors.

and hey, anonoymous, who are you to criticize folks that don't walk to the stores, assuming that everyone that shops in the "east village" is from the east village or that everyone in the east village is capable of walking more than a block or so?
it's amazing how what you do colors what you believe. if everyone would just obey the traffic laws it would be easier and safer.

it's time to put the walkers ahead of the bikers or drivers. we use the streets more than anyone else. we probably shop more locally. we have no protection from the tonnage of cars or the swiftness of bikes when they hit us.
and yes we jay-walk.
we should all obey traffic laws eh?

Chris said...

To give you an idea of what I put up with by following laws on my bike: a couple weeks ago, I nearly hit an old lady who was jaywalking by crossing the bike lane on 2nd Avenue while I had the green light.

A crowd of people around her - legally waiting on the sidewalk - yelled for her to get out of the way. She faked toward the sidewalk, then faked back into the street. I missed her by inches.

None of this was my fault. She was breaking the law, and I had the light. But I can almost be assured that 100% of the people who witnessed that think that I'm at fault, because in the eyes of pedestrians, bikers are ALWAYS to blame.

I've actually cut down on biking recently because my blood boils every time I do. I yell constantly at "salmon" who bike against traffic. I block the bike lane as best I can when I stop at red lights to keep people from blowing past me while I wait. It's frustrating. I just want to ride. But there's only so much one person can do.

I beg pedestrians, when you see a cyclist who ISN'T breaking the law, thank them. Positive reinforcement will help. When pedestrians and drivers yell at the ones who break the law, it fuels the cyclists' feelings that they're being persecuted and empowers them to break the law more.

By the way, my hope is that once the 1st Avenue lane is open and painted in full, fewer northbound cyclists will abuse the 2nd Avenue lane. Of course, that's my hope... but I have very little faith in my fellow cyclists.

Anonymous said...

Shut up you fuckin sekf righteous connecticut pussy. Everyone walks and rides bikes and uses cars sometimes. This isn't a fucking situation with sides. Suck my dick yo.

Larry Slade said...

I kind of wish that they had just made to sidewalks a foot or so wider, but I guess that is too much to ask.
I also wonder how much all this transformation costs.
Could it have gone into the public trans fund and helped to keep the fares lower?

Chris said...

Larry, I would've liked that, too, but unfortunately, extending sidewalks would have required tearing out all of the drainage at the curb and replacing it. The bike lanes only require paint... the cost is minimal in comparison.

Anonymous said...

The city could help close the budget gap if they started ticketing bicycles. Way too many bicyclists are complete assholes and dangerous.

Pedestrians first.

Chris said...

Anon@1:42: How about if they ticketed drivers, who speed in larger numbers and are much more likely to kill pedestrians? I'd rather see that problem taken care of first.

I wonder if the 9th Pct. has issued even ONE ticket for speeding or red light running this year.

Anonymous said...

I'll be happy to see them ticket cyclists riding on the sidewalk or going the wrong way. I ride a bike, but I also walk on the sidewalk, and I hate seeing people riding there. Same with bike-salmon in the bike lanes.

In exchange, can we get cops to ticket people double-parking in the bike lanes...even the ones who are "just there for a minute."

Anonymous said...

The city really needs to launch a concentrated effort to educate all it's citizens on proper bike rules. You can't just create a culture by painting some bike lanes and expect people to comply. The result is near anarchy and we can see it happening quite clearly.

Unless NYPD is willing to ticket offenders with regular enforcement waves (like they sometimes do with cell phones), we won't see civility or compliance. It would be very cool if they did enforcement sweeps like they used to do with the food delivery guys, where the police drove around with a big truck and violators had their bikes seized. Might make some people think twice about breaking the law.

Also, they really need to license those electric motorized bikes that all the delivery people are using. They are clearly not bicycles, but motorcycles and they easily attain speeds of 25 - 30 mph. I see these cycles going top speed on sidewalks, against traffic etc. Regulation will help to prevent accidents.

Anonymous said...

bikewads - sick of the bikewads. lost in their pc bikelanes - riding facesmash into all oncoming/crossing/living others - they have somewhere to go... ah, related to the teetering twitters - walking facesmash etc ...

Anonymous said...

Ladies and gentlemen, I have the solution.

#1: Cycling licenses. Every bicycle must be registered and every cyclist must have a license. They'll need to pass a test where they must demonstrate comprehension of:

-which direction to ride
-which side of the road to stay on
-how, before crossing a red light, to slow down, look to see if there is any traffic and whether crossing said red light will impact anyone
-how to signal turns
-how to resist the urge to zoom right past jaywalking pedestrians as closely as possible, regardless of how much they might deserve to be startled

#2: Pedestrian licenses. Every pedestrian should be licensed and registered. They will need to take a sidewalk walking test to prove that they know:

-to stay on the right side of the side walk
-not to swerve and to allow other pedestrians to easily pass
-when walking next to others in a group of people, to split up in order to allow oncoming pedestrian traffic to flow through
-not to stand in the middle of a busy sidewalk, or even worse, pace around in a circle while talking on a mobile phone
-proper stroller navigation
-to look left and right before jaywalking
-not to cross the street when there are oncoming vehicles who will need to slow down for you

Once all cyclists and pedestrians have successfully registered and passed their exams, they can continue to ignore these simple, basic principles, like the assholes they are. (see: car, taxi, bus drivers)

Dina R. D'Alessandro said...

I was almost clipped by a bike after the new lanes were put in on Grand Street. I wasn't sure if people were making up rules and regulations in the comments here, so I checked out the following online and thought I'd share:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/biketips.shtml#laws

Anonymous said...

It surprises me a bit to not see anyone suggest a public awareness campaign for pedestrians, cyclists as well as drivers.

I ride my bicycle from my home in Brooklyn into Manhattan on a regular basis. It is the most efficient, environmentally responsible and cost effective manner for me to get around. Cyclist who ride the wrong way are a hazard to me, themselves and everyone else. I have ridden my own bicycle in to more than one of them, much to there surprise, because it makes me so mad that they are compromising my safety. When my actions force them to stop I inform them that they are going the wrong way. I don't know that it changes any of there behavior but that person can not say that they did not know that a one way street is one way for both cars and bicycles.

The responsibility of every New Yorker is to pay attention when you are on the streets. In the bad old days it was to avoid being mugged or worse. Today with an ever increasing population it is the only way we can all get where we need to go safely.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous July 25, 2010 3:33 PM

I agree with you about a public awareness campaign, but I disagree with your comment "The responsibility of every New Yorker is to pay attention when you are on the streets".

New Yorkers DO pay attention when they're on the streets, but they also have reflexive responses that their bodies have learned over many years which include taking a single step off the curb and looking in the legal direction of traffic. For an older person, it is extremely difficult to sense a bike coming from any direction as your hearing and peripheral vision deteriorate with age. NY is a city that demands people act as pedestrians, more than as drivers/riders, so everyone is pretty much out there on the streets and sidewalks every day.

Cyclists are bound by the same vehicle and traffic laws as motor vehicles when it comes to the rules of the road, and among those rules is the one where a pedestrian ALWAYS has the right of way, even (unfortunately) if they're jaywalking. So while it would certainly be appropriate for pedestrians to be careful, it is the responsibility of the cyclist to avoid hitting them.

Anonymous said...

As a long time resident of the EV, biker and car owner, I have to say this new system is awful.

I've ridden my bike for years up and down first avenue and I can't say I feel any safer now.

For all of you pro Euro-style bike lane fanatics who are poo-poo'ing the notion of a quick park job to do some local shopping, you've really got blinders on if you think losing 30% of parking won't impact local business.

Perhaps many of you forgot that of the local residents MUST move their cars twice per week for 1.5 hours. This is usually the perfect time to pull around the corner and do some shopping. BUT NOW, there is nowhere to park.

You have to drive around the neighborhood for an hour or so increasing traffic in the area on those days. If you're lucky you can find ample double parking in residential areas.

I can't believe this has been instituted. I will be trying to run over a biker to skew the statistics so that maybe we can switch back (just kidding).

Anonymous said...

Business owners up and down both 1st and 2nd Avenues from Houston to 96th are going to be impacted negatively by this. There is a good chunk of commerce generated by people "just passing through" Manhattan who want to take advantage of the great things this city has to offer. If it's extremely difficult to find a place to park, they won't be able to shop, plain and simple.

It's bad enough that we've lost so many great businesses in the EV due to gentrification. Commerce is being funneled into the tourist areas so the fat asses can shove more Magnolia Cupcakes down their gullets, and we're left to watch (as Jeramiah so aptly puts it) A Vanishing New York.

alec said...

I mean, there are people who are inconsiderate and dangerous to pedestrians, whether they are on a bike or in an SUV. However, if I had my choice, with one of these maniacs heading my way, I'd certainly prefer one on a bicycle.

Bike lanes are so obviously an improvement for people in the city -- not just those who ride, but also those who breath our emissions-fouled air. The fact that people are up in arms against bikes -- I mean, BIKES! people, bicycles! -- is both weird and a little depressing.

Adam said...

I'm a all-year bike commuter, and it's not the cars that I have problems with but other cyclists and pedestrians. Most NYC cyclists are arrogant, self-centered idiots, same goes for the peds. I feel safer in a traffic lane with cars than in these new bike lanes. Cyclists and peds need to be ticketed for breaking rules, without enforcement they'll never follow these rules because they have their heads too deep up their asses. I don't ride on sidewalks, all I want is the peds to keep off of the bike lanes and cyclists ride in the proper direction and obey traffic lights and signs.

sarah said...

I just recently bought a bike to shorten my commute while avoiding the transit fare hikes and increasingly depressing subway conditions and I was shocked at how difficult it is to bike here. I could not believe how many people ride the wrong way on one-ways. It seems like common sense to ride with the traffic. As a biker, I understand that since my spot is in the road, I need to obey the road rules. I wish more people obeyed safety rules relative to their mode of transportation, or at the very least just used more common sense. My ride to work is short, 3 miles round trip, but one day I almost got doored 4 times just on my way home, not to mention how many cars I had to avoid that pulled over and cut me off. I bought the bike to reduce my stress and have a more peaceful and fun commute, but now I feel apprehension every time I consider riding to work instead of walking (taking the subway from Murray Hill to Chelsea takes the same amount of time as walking so I rarely bother with it).
Furthermore, I just got back from Amsterdam, where I rented a bike to get around. NOT ONCE in 5 days did I hear a honk or an angry shout from one person to another. People were patient with each other, people paid attention to each other, and people took a moment to make sure their actions were respectful and safe. I was saddened to compare this experience with my recent experience biking in new york due to the actions of my fellow bikers, pedestrians, and drivers, because I believe we can all do better with a little consideration for the rules and with putting everyone's safety as the top priority. After reading this forum, though, it appears we are more divided than I thought possible.