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Cool New York City transportation stuff I’d love to see in Chicago – Grid Chicago

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One-way protected bike lane main downtown to pedestrianized Occasions Sq.. Whereas NYC has some terrific bicycle amenities, it additionally has its justifiable share of motorcycle salmon and bike ninjas.

View extra photographs from John’s Manhattan bike experience right here.

Final week I wrote, “[Chicago is] now the national leader in providing enhanced on-street bikeways.” It’s in all probability true that we’ve got the very best complete variety of miles of protected and buffered bike lanes, 12.5 and 14.5 miles, respectively, for a complete of 27 miles. (The Chicago Division of Transportation lately began counting each varieties as “protected,” however I’m sticking with the usual definition of protected lanes as ones with a bodily barrier, comparable to parked automobiles, between cyclists and motorized visitors.)

However on a go to to New York City a couple of days later, I came upon we nonetheless haven’t beat the Huge Apple in phrases of bodily separated protected lanes; there are presently about twenty miles of them in the 5 boros, in accordance to Streetsblog editor-in-chief Ben Fried. (I’m nonetheless making an attempt to monitor down the variety of buffered lane miles.) New York has been constructing protected lanes since 2007 however Chicago, which solely began final yr, is presently putting in the lanes at a a lot quicker fee, so it’s very potential we’ll overtake them in the close to future.


Protected bike lane with planters for obstacles on 17th Road by Union Sq., NYC.

I used to be additionally impressed by the standard of NYC’s protected lanes. Those I noticed in Manhattan typically concerned concrete obstacles, planters or intently spaced versatile posts, which discourage motorists from driving or parking in the lanes. Even in places the place the protected lanes are solely delineated with paint, I noticed only a few automobiles in the bike lane. However, demand for parking is so excessive on the island that the “floating” parking lanes subsequent to the bike lanes have been virtually all the time at capability, offering good safety for cyclists. Pavement was usually clean and inexperienced paint was typically current to draw consideration to the presence of the lanes.

I hadn’t been to New York since 2008 once I checked out their Summer time Streets ciclovia. Since then Manhattan has gone by means of a tremendous transformation underneath Mayor Michael Bloomberg and transportation commissioner Janette Sadik Khan. Apart from implementing the bike lanes, they pulled off the last word street food plan on Broadway, eradicating automotive lanes and shutting down sections of the island’s important diagonal thoroughfare to calm visitors and make area for some superb new car-free areas. And I didn’t even have time to take a look at different first-rate bike amenities in Queens and Brooklyn, or the brand new segments of the Highline, the glossy, 1.5-mile elevated linear park which paved the best way for Chicago’s Bloomingdale.


New part of the Highline. Photograph by David Carlson.

Ben Fried kindly created an itinerary of latest sustainable transportation amenities for me to take a look at and loaned me his Dutch bike to go discover the Island. Under is a map of the roughly twelve-mile route I took, clockwise from the Streetsblog workplaces at Lafayette and Canal. Earlier than I hit the streets, Ben gave me some background on what I’d be seeing.

View NYC transportation amenities bike tour in a bigger map

Eighth Avenue protected bike lane

“You’re going to see the first segment of this bike lane, which was built in 2008, I believe,” Ben says. “They constructed out the protected bike lanes in segments of often a mile or much less. The primary phase was in this residential and, more-and-more, high-tech workplace district in the West Village and Chelsea. Google headquarters is close by.

“You’ll see the classic New York-style protected bike lane with parking serving as the barrier between bike traffic and vehicle traffic and you’ve got, at most intersections, pedestrian islands in the crosswalks. That’s like a nice little place for people on foot to rest. It lowers the crossing distance for them. The typical Manhattan avenue without this treatment is very highway-like, very wide, one-way, with lots of lanes. This kind of treatment has really reduced injuries on high-traffic corridors in Manhattan, typically in the 35-50 percent range. And the biggest beneficiaries in terms of safety are usually pedestrians and vehicle occupants.”


Eighth Avenue protected lane with pedestrian refuge islands on the intersections. It might be nice to see Chicago incorporate extra ped refuge islands into our protected lane designs. Notice that the mail vans are parked in the “floating” parking lane as an alternative of blocking the bike lanes, as is usually the case in Chicago.

“The first part of the bike lane you’ll ride has bike traffic signals with dedicated phases for bikes. As you progress you’ll hit the newer part of the bike lane in Midtown. It was a crucial project that they just finished this year to extend the Eighth Avenue [northbound] and Ninth Avenue [southbound] protected bike lanes from 35th Street to 59th Street. That really lets you bike to the center of the Midtown jobs nexus. You’ve also got major commuter hubs there, like Penn Station and the Port Authority. So once we get bike share up and running all these commuters from outside the city are going to have the option of using these protected bike lanes to ride their public bikes from the bus terminal or Penn Station to their jobs.”

Pedestrian plazas alongside Broadway

“So if you turn around by at Columbus Circle at 59th Street [at the southwest corner of Central Park] and head downtown onto Broadway, that’s going to take you to all the really high-profile pedestrian plazas in Midtown that have been implemented the past few years. The first one you’ll hit is Times Square, which starts at 47th, and that was really the boldest stroke and the most iconic reclamation of roadway space for pedestrians that Janette Sadik Khan has done. They first pedestrianized it in 2009.”


Protected lane on Broadway headed in the direction of Occasions Sq.. The roadway beforehand had twice as a lot area for automobiles, however now that the road is damaged up by pedestrian plazas and non-contiguous, motorized visitors quantity has dropped dramatically. Ben says that, mockingly, the primary argument the town used for shutting down elements of this main diagonal street is that this makes automotive visitors stream extra effectively on east-west and north-south streets by eliminating a variety of six-way intersections.


Automotive-free Occasions Sq..

“On a bike it kinds of breaks down as a piece of transportation infrastructure because there’s no bike lane through the pedestrian space. But you can dismount and walk and soak it all in. It’s pretty cool. They’re going to upgrade it as a capital project with a nicely designed surface and benches and lighting. For now it’s kind of just the temporary materials and tables and chairs. It still works great.”


Herald Sq. with public seating space.

“So continuing down the next one you’ll hit is 34th Street, Herald Square, and that’s outside Macy’s. That happened at the same time as Times Square. It was really the big business improvement districts that represent those areas of Midtown, the Times Square Alliance and the 34th Street Partnership [that promoted the idea of pedestrianizing Broadway here]. They welcomed this stuff and knew it was going to be good for business.”

“And keeping going you will reach another kind of pedestrianized chunk of space at 23rd Street, Madison Square. They didn’t really have to convert any lanes to pedestrian space. At least the through traffic hasn’t been affected at all. They just made better use of all this extra asphalt and have given that to pedestrians and it makes a huge difference. They did that in 2008, I think, before Herald Square and Times Square.”

Full road on First Avenue

“Once you reach the East Side, First Avenue northbound, this was a real complete streets overhaul they did, not just the protected bike lane and the pedestrian refuges but also Manhattan’s first enhanced north-south bus treatment, which they call Select bus service in New York City. They did that in 2010 and they’ve been implementing the bike lane in segments since then. So the stretch that was redesigned goes all the way from Houston Street to 125th Street in Harlem.”


Choose bus service on First Avenue, comparable to Chicago’s Jeffery Leap however with pay as you go boarding and photograph enforcement of the bus lane. The protected bike lane is situated on the left aspect of the road.

“The busway is a red-painted lane on the appropriate aspect of the road. It’s solely for buses and that’s enforced with cameras. They usually have their pre-paid fare mechanism so if you’d like to use the bus you could have to get this proof of cost slip, which you do through the use of the kiosk on the bus cease. You get your slip with you on the bus after which you possibly can board with out having to wait for everybody to have their Metro card learn by a reader.

Greenways alongside the perimeter of Manhattan

“The West Side Greenway, also called the Hudson River Greenway, is the most heavily biked commuter route in the city. Its origins go back to the Nineties. Actually you can go back even further. It kind of goes back to this famous story of an old highway accidentally falling apart on the west side of New York [in 1973]. There was a long fight over whether to basically rebuild it as a tunnel. The transit advocacy or urbanist advocacy effort basically won saying, no let’s just do this as a surface street and one of the things that came out of that was the creation of the Hudson River Park, and some of the right-of-way on the road was given to this greenway.”


The East Aspect Greenway, wanting north.

“It took them a while to get the West Side Greenway to be continuous along the West Side of Manhattan. I believe now there are no gaps in it. And so it’s kind of like a trunk line for the bike network in the city now. Anyone who wants to come from as far up as the northern tip of Manhattan can basically can use this greenway to get to the job centers and get downtown.”

“The East Side is in much worse shape. It’s pretty nice [south of] 37th Street, although there’s some pinch points, but then there’s just a gap. There’s just nothing between 38th Street and 63rd Street. Above there on the Upper East Side it hasn’t really been designed for transportation biking. I think there are some stairs in the way, and the surface is not as smooth as the asphalt on the West Side. But the big issue is filling that gap between 38th Street and 63rd. That’s in the early stages of resolving itself. There’s a whole complicated land swap with the United Nations going on.”


The Hudson River Greenway. Photograph by Jag9889.

“So those are really good beginner routes for people who aren’t comfortable at all being in city traffic. But you still have to get to the greenway, so another area where there’s room for improvement is getting better access points to the greenway. But I think the Hudson River Greenway in particular has been a really big catalyst for biking in the city.”

View extra photographs from John’s Manhattan bike journey right here.

About the author

Tejas Sachdeva

Tejas Sachdeva

The technical guru, with over 2 years of experience in web designing and coding. Undoubtedly the greatest technical asset present at VerfiedTasks. His work ethics are second to none, an honest guy with a huge heart who is always willing to help others. He discovered the Blockchain world at the very start and being his usual self who is always ready to explore and learn, he began doing his own research which has provided him with a ton of knowledge in this department. His helping nature is what motivated us to start this small initiative known as VerifiedTasks.