Thursday, May 5, 2011

City's new First and Second Avenue bike and bus lanes are a success, city says

I'm just catching up to this story that Streestblog posted last Friday. The piece was based on a presentation by the Department of Transportation on the First and Second Avenue redesign.

Here are a few highlights via Streetsblog, where you can find more details as well as a dandy slideshow:

The new Select Bus Service is 15 percent faster than the old limited was. It goes 11 percent faster while moving, thanks to dedicated lanes enforced with cameras, and spends 36 percent less time at stops thanks to off-board fare payment.

• Where the bike lane and pedestrian refuge islands were installed, the street is much safer. Injuries declined by 8.3 percent compared to an average of the three previous years.

Riders are flocking to the new protected lanes. On First Avenue, there were more riders counted in December, January, and February with the lanes than in June without them. From June 2010 to April 2011, the count rose by 153 percent. On Second, where the base of riders was higher to start, the number of cyclists rose by 55 percent from June to April.


John M said...

And we can believe them, because they never lie and they're always right.

I love the fact that they use only percentages. 8.3% probably equates to 3 fewer injuries or something. More riders in Dec-Feb than in June without lanes? I'm there every day, more than once. That is one amazingly large lie. Nobody uses the bike lanes in Dec-Feb except for a couple of delivery guys.

You get the idea.

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

That's right, John M, let's ignore any inconvenient stats that don't support our positions!

Meanwhile, where are the free bells? I don't ride a bike on the street, but my bell just died due to overuse on the Greenway bike path (where I ride a bike for fun and exercise). And hey, just because it's a Greenway bike path doesn't mean runners with iPods blasting can't run oblivious and un-passable smack in the middle of it instead of off to the right. Or that groups of pedestrians who see you coming on a bike should have to move 6 inches so you can safely get around them and not have to come to a complete stop while they sullenly walk past you in a thick fog of incomprehension.

Whew! Sorry to get slightly off topic, but am glad that's off my chest.

Anonymous said...

I used the 2nd ave bike lane every day to come home from work, and this includes december through feb. And every night I rode home I saw several others doing the same. These days there's a ton. So I can verify that these lanes are being utilized. Never mind the few sniveling complaints from anti-bikers--the lanes are well appreciated. Face it, with the MTA going nowhere but downhill, more and more people will continue to turn to bike commuting. the installation of the bike lanes was a prescient move.

Brian Van said...

@John M:

First, you're calling them liars without actually demonstrating a lie. For that alone, you're failing to make a convincing argument that something is wrong with their logic or actions.

Second, I used the bike lanes in December and February when the weather allowed, and I'm not a delivery guy. My bike shop is on Second Ave and East 4th Street. I ride through the winter. It's not as pleasant as the summer, but doable.

Third, I'm a little impatient with the amount of irresponsible street use for which the commercial cyclists are responsible, but regardless of that, they are cyclists and people. I don't understand the logic that a particular bike lane is useless if delivery cyclists are the primary users of it. Every restaurant has at least a couple of delivery cyclists working each shift - that means there's several hundred of them, perhaps over a thousand, working every day in the East Village through any kind of weather. Perhaps someone should enlighten me as to why they shouldn't count in DOT statistics, or how they justify a bike lane less than high-income citizens commuting to work in Midtown.

And finally, the reason why cycling use among the general population is so low is that many people consider cycling on NYC streets unsafe and unpleasant because of automobile behavior. The bike lanes are meant to encourage an increase in bicycle usage by providing a secure area for bicycle use without the hazards of competing with cabs and large trucks in fast traffic. It's a fair assumption to say that bicycle usage will skyrocket - and the city and its citizens will see numerous side benefits - if safe infrastructure is provided. People like you talk out of both sides of your mouth when criticizing - the bike lanes aren't needed because no one wanted to bicycle without them, and all statistics that say more riders now use the roads are lying. What does it take for you to agree that these lanes can be good for the neighborhood? Do you need to see at least 50 cyclists coming down the lanes at all hours of the day without any scofflaws and without a single parking space lost or car delayed in the process? Or would that not be enough for you to change your mind?

rovingstorm said...

I was extremely pleased with the M15 the last time I took it. I'll go out on a limb and say it was the best peak hour bus experience I've had (outside the M5, which is just a sweet bus route). Kudos to DOT for that project.

HEY19 said...

+1 @ Brian Van.

glamma said...

where can i get a free bike bell?

Anonymous said...

Those free bells were given out by the DOT when the bike lanes where "opened" back in October - see this Grieve post.

On a related note, May is Bike Month NYC and there's going to be an East River Bridges Ride on Friday, May 6. Ding ding!

blue glass said...

today on the lexington avenue bus a bike rider - plugged into an ipod - came barreling down towards the bus. not hearing the bus horn or seeing the bus (i can't explain that one), the bus driver had to stop short, thrusting passengers sideways onto each other. fortunately nobody was standing up.
two days ago on 12th street off first avenue two bike riders cut in and out of traffic causing the taxis to dance around trying to figure out how not to hit the bikers.
it is like the wild wild west out there.

Brian Van said...

@blue glass: Tell me about it. I inadvertently pissed off a driver today while heading down 14th street (no bike lane) because he wanted to speed around me. He eventually did... and then at the next light I ended up passing him while he was stopped at a red light. So what does he do? Stomps on the gas as I pass by and hits me, knocking me off the bike. Absolutely 100% on purpose. He was so satisfied with himself. Luckily I'm not hurt and there's no damage, cops said they couldn't do anything even with the guy's full ID and license plate, but probably better off the rules work that way because he was trying to say I cut him off too.

This is what it's like out there. Everyone's REALLY aggressive and hostile. I guess people were OK with that for a long time! And now that people are being asked to share the road with bikes a lot more, it's really rearing its ugly head. Some of the cyclists are guilty too! But nobody's road rage is justified by anyone else's mistakes or criminal behavior. I hope more people understand that in the future.