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Thread: Biking in New York City

  1. #136


    ^ agreed

  2. #137
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    Same here.

    They should do these things by neighbohood. The ones with more corporate sidewalk space (park avenue?) shoould be bigger, while ones on more crowded, older streets, like the flatiron or possibly even SoHo, should be a bit more industrial looking (Toronto or Arlington).

    You don't wear the same pair of socks with everything, street "accessories" should be the same. Match where you are.

    Maybe that was a flaw in the contest rules. Maybe the rules should have been looking for a SERIES of bike racks for various neighborhoods.....

    So you can pick A, B or C all from the same design firm, or mix-and-match if you are so inclined.....

  3. #138


    TriBeCa have their own.

    Article HERE

  4. #139
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Hell's Kitchen


    The Tease Is Over: Greenway Link Delivers Delayed Gratification

    by Ben Fried on October 21, 2008

    We received two reports last night that the West Harlem Piers bike path -- a critical link in the Hudson River Greenway -- is finally open after several months of puzzling delay. (NYCEDC informed Streetsblog last week that the hold up was indeed due to problems securing materials for a safety rail.) Now the construction fence is down, and, as you can see in these photos from reader Paula Froke, cyclists are enjoying the unbroken stretch of greenway.
    Streetsblogger Urbanis cheers the end of a long wait:

    After raising a stink about it a few weeks ago, I was amazed to discover on my ride home this evening that the West Harlem Piers bike path was open -- yes, all the fencing was removed, and I sailed free and clear along the new bike path all the way to 135th Street, where it connects with the existing bike path running around Riverbank State Park. Not having to brave ten blocks of traffic on Riverside Drive was a dream.
    More piers pics from Paula after the jump.

  5. #140


    Lane isn’t ‘grand,’ cry some in Little Italy and Soho

    Cyclists pedaling in the new, protected Grand St. bike lane near Lafayette St
    on the “border” between Soho and Little Italy

    A truck parked in the new bike lane between Centre and Baxter Sts
    forced a cyclist onto the sidewalk on Monday, below.

    Downtown Express photos by Jefferson Siegel

    By Jefferson Siegel

    A new, green-hued bike lane traversing Soho, Chinatown and Little Italy has many storeowners seeing red, fearful the lane’s presence will hurt business and create a dangerous situation.

    Less than a month ago, the Department of Transportation installed the new lane along Grand St. between Varick and Chrystie Sts., using a design that physically separates the bike lane from traffic with a row of parked cars.

    “It sounds like a good idea, but on this street, in particular, there’s not enough room,” said Ernest Rossi, owner of E. Rossi Co. Outside the door of Rossi’s longtime business lies 34-foot-wide Grand St., sporting a 5-foot-wide, green bike lane; a 3-foot-wide, painted buffer area; an 8-foot wide lane of parked cars; a 10-foot-wide lane of traffic, and a second lane of parking on the street’s opposite side.

    Rossi said the north side of the street, where a simpler bike lane used to be, will soon be used for commercial parking.

    “It will make the street even narrower,” he said. “A fire truck or an ambulance won’t be able to get through.”

    On the block between Centre and Baxter Sts., a tractor-trailer from Quebec parked on the green-marked bike lane as workers from a corner store rushed up to the big rig to unload furniture.

    “What can I do?” the driver asked. A cyclist was forced to pedal up onto the sidewalk to bypass the truck, which was clogging the designated lane.

    Several business owners said they supported bike lanes, but all echoed Rossi’s belief that their narrow street was not conducive to one.

    Ernest Lepore, president of the century-old Ferrara cafe and pastry shop, is himself a cyclist.

    “I’ve been riding my bicycle in from Brooklyn since I was 16, so I’m for a bike lane,” Lepore said while sitting at a table in his popular shop. The tantalizing smell of baked goods did little to soothe his displeasure.

    “Grand St. is an emergency thoroughfare,” Lepore continued. “Last week two fire trucks couldn’t make the turn,” onto Mott St., a fact several other business owners confirmed. “There’s no provision for cabs, tour buses, fire trucks or ambulances.” The cafe owner said deliveries to his establishment are now scheduled for before 11 a.m. daily because of the street congestion, which he said is caused by the new bike lane.

    His sister, Adeline, noted the drop in business.

    “There used to be 42 tour busses a day, now they’re down to 35,” she said. “Little Italy is now ‘Little, Little Italy.’ The bike lane prevents people from getting here.” The two said business was off 25 percent since the new lane was installed.

    “This could be the demise of Little Italy,” Ernest said, adding, “I question how many more cyclists we’re going to create with this new bike lane.”

    D.O.T. presented the lane proposal to Community Boards 2 and 3 in July. The agency told the boards Grand St. was a “popular cross-town bicycle route” and an essential bicycle network link to the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges.

    Before the bike lane was installed, several dozen concerned local business owners held a meeting with Councilmember Alan Gerson to express their opposition to the special, protected lane.

    Ian Dutton, vice chairperson of C.B. 2’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, said the board had sought input from the business community.

    “The only formal communication the community board has received on the matter was a letter of support from a commercial building owner on Grand St.,” Dutton said.

    “The design was initially made with the input of both the Sanitation and Fire departments, so their initial concerns should have been addressed,” Dutton said of local shopkeepers. “It’s possible, however, that illegal parking has been impacting the success of the design, and we may be asking for changes to further discourage illegal parking and accommodate parking needs.”

    At midday on Monday there were few cyclists on Grand St., but one bike messenger rushed down the center of the traffic lane.

    “I hate it,” Doug D., of Brooklyn, said of the green lane while pausing long enough to radio his dispatcher.

    “The bike lane’s designed for people who ride their bikes slowly,” he complained. He pointed to another obstruction, a ladder standing in the lane leaning against a building scaffolding.

    “It’s the small things, like the pedestrians that don’t follow the rules,” Doug said as nearby a man pushed a cart through the lane. “I prefer dealing with cars,” he added before pedaling off.

    Leonard Altabet, manager of Manhattan Grand Optical near Mott St., worried about the lane’s potential impact on local businesses in the economic downturn.

    “Little Italy is tourists,” he said. “It’s going to kill the tourist industry.” Altabet complained that tour buses have difficulty making it through the newly narrowed traffic lane. He believed siting the lane on a less commercial and wider street, like Kenmare St. two blocks to the north, would have made more sense.

    John Fratta, president of the Little Italy Restoration Association, is concerned about the effect on the community’s “viability.” At a meeting with D.O.T. and the community board, Fratta said the street should have been left the way it was, and that the old unprotected bike lane on the north side of the street should not have been replaced with the protected lane on the south side of the street.

    “D.O.T.’s response was, the harder we make it for cars to drive in New York, the less cars will come to New York,” Fratta said. He said his group and several others are considering filing an Article 78 proceeding, a lawsuit used to challenge decisions by government agencies.

    “It’s like Transportation Alternatives is running the New York City Department of Transportation,” Fratta continued. “We’re not against the bike lane, but you can’t disrupt our whole traffic pattern for a bike lane.”

    Wiley Norvell, a spokesperson for Transportation Alternatives — an advocacy group for cycling, pedestrians and public transit — stressed the need for replacing the old bike lane with the new, safer version.

    “As installed a couple years ago, the Grand St. bike lane was problematic,” Norvell said. “All that congestion and double-parking rendered it all but unusable.”

    “This new design is exciting, because it gives good physical protection to bicyclists, without taking up a lot of real estate. This is a route used by many Williamsburg Bridge commuters, and the city’s first protected cross-town route, so it’s going to get a lot of use,” he added.

    D.O.T. said the new bike lane is a pilot project. By the end of this month, Muni Meters for commercial parking will have been installed on the street’s north side, at which time the agency will start monitoring traffic developments.

    “Grand St. was and remains a one-lane street from Varick St. to Chrystie St., aided by new turning lanes at key intersections,” D.O.T. spokesperson Seth Solomonow said in an e-mailed statement.

    “Again, this project is not complete,” Solomonow said. “Once it is, we expect there may be a few weeks’ adjustment as the community and motorists get used to the changes, and we will make additional changes as necessary in consultation with the community.”

    As 5 p.m. approached, several bike commuters pedaled down the lane on their way home. One of them was Lower East Side resident Michael Ondruska, who commutes by bike to his work near Battery Park and mountain bikes on the weekends.

    “On Spring St., nine times out of 10, there are cars parked in the bike lane,” he observed. “This one is better because it’s got the parking median. It gives you insulation from moving traffic.”

    Ondruska noted that while businesses and the “commercial aspect” are vital components of the city, residents are, too, and just as important as the first two.

    “You have to be respectful to all three,” he said. “I use my bike to go to work, and I’d like it to be a little safer.”

    Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance community organization, said he supported a bike lane on Houston St. — not on Grand St.

    “Bike lanes in the right place are a benefit, but this is the wrong place,” he said. “A protected bike lane might work on a five-lane thoroughfare like Ninth Ave., but Grand St. is not the right place.”

    Soho residents charge that the new lane accommodating cyclists is making it difficult for them to unload their automobiles after shopping trips.

    In September 2006, the Bloomberg administration announced plans to install 200 miles of new bike lanes by June 2009. As of now, 140 miles of new bike lanes have been added.

    © 2008 Community Media, LLC

  6. #141
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Crikey! Being a full-time pedestrian, I generally hate cyclists since a lot of them apparently think pedestrians are a sub-species unworthy of any respect or consideration. However, this story swayed me...a little.

    Bikes and the city: An unsexy tale

    By Dara Lehon

    I am one of an estimated 131,000 group of people who ride a bicycle in New York City. Sometimes I’ll ride 3.4 miles to work; other times I’ll ride 70 miles to the beach and back.

    This past year, I’ve accumulated new scars doing so: one on my shoulder, two on my hands, and one on my right elbow. At some point, my ribs were bruised so badly I couldn’t stand straight, and for a while my hands my hands tingled because I had damaged a nerve.

    But my most recent tale of woe is one for humanity as a whole. See, I almost died after a van knocked me off of my bike, then dragged me up Third Ave. And, while I was getting medical attention, someone stole my vintage bike.

    It went something like this: while peacefully pedaling up Third Ave. to work, a big white van à la O.J. Simpson somehow managed to hook its broken mirror onto my bike. It dragged me about three feet on my side — half on my bike; the other half on the road. Eventually, I managed to break free and to avoid the FedEx truck double parked to my right — while also, thankfully, avoiding the van’s wheels — which were all-too-close to my head and other body parts. I was tossed to the side, near a bus stop. The contents of my bag were splattered in the street. I landed half on my knees, half on my side.

    This is 29th St. at 8:40 a.m. Good Samaritans stood above me, cell phones in hand, asking whether or not I was okay and if I needed to call 911. I was a little frazzled. But I thought I was fine.

    “I just need to get to work,” I said. I wiggled my body parts, shook my head a little, and assessed that I would live. At least, I thought, I wasn’t a ghost bike.

    I grabbed some of my scattered items and hobbled over to the bus stop, where Gene, the driver, met me. He was apologetic. He felt badly. He was nervous. I felt bad that he felt bad. But my body was starting to feel worse.

    Gene said he, too, was trying to avoid an even larger truck to his left. It’s entirely possible. The streets present a daily battle for anyone who uses them — cars, pedestrians, cyclists, pigeons alike. The problem was that he decided it was better to edge me out instead of crashing his bosses’ van.

    So now I’m a little ticked about the fall and about being late for work, and my left elbow and knee are starting to hurt. But I remain calm — certainly calmer than the time I got up and expletives I never knew flew out of my mouth on Avenue C after a woman pulled over without looking, driving straight into me and landing me, oh, under the car, and in a gutter.

    At this point, I’m mostly — perhaps adrenaline-driven — concerned that I needed to get to my office (my organization works in India, and it’d been a busy few days). But, as the pain in my limbs got stronger, I decided it was a good idea to call 911. Just in case.

    Now a note about my bike, which had been picked up and placed on the side by one of the good Samaritans: It’s a classic burgundy San Remo Bianchi. It was a gift that had had some work done — with some brilliant blue handlebar tape and some new wheels. It’s a special, special bike, which makes me happy to ride. It’s sturdy, and cool, and awesome. And, it seemed to have withstood the accident well — much better than my racing bike, which would have cracked immediately upon collision.

    Also note that I keep my huge Kryptonite lock on my bike. The chain makes the bike much heavier than it needs to be. But I’ve told myself that it was worth the investment both in weight and dollars.

    So the ambulance came fairly quickly — along with the fire department. Once in the ambulance, I laughed off the pain (that adrenaline again) with the relatively young, amicable E.M.T. guys. Together, we discovered more and more scrapes and bruises and aches; we talked about my cool bike and my reconstructed knee; about the fact that they first thought I was Sarah Jessica Parker (clearly they didn’t notice that I’m about four times her size).

    As we’re cutting through my stockings to find another abrasion, a shady looking character wearing a cap pops up his head in the (closed) back window of the ambulance. He sees me being treated and sleuths away. We look at each other curiously. I’m a little hazy, but I ask about my bike, which was outside — in the bus stop — between the ambulance, the van that hit me, and the FedEx truck. I’m glad I had grabbed my belongings inside the ambulance.

    “The bike’s okay,” says Bryan, a stocky, built-looking E.M.T. with Ray Ban shades.

    Indeed, I see my Bianchi through the ambulance window. It’s fine. After all, it’s perfectly manicured Murray Hill. It’s morning. But, it had been a while, and 45 minutes after the ambulance had arrived, the police were still M.I.A.

    The E.M.T.s radio the call again, and Bryan goes outside to check on the bike — and for the cops. Bike’s there. Cops aren’t.

    Minutes later, as I’m filling out more forms, Bryan throws open the ambulance doors. He’s visibly pissed. I look outside.

    Cops still M.I.A. My bike is gone. GONE.

    Now, I cuss. A lot.

    It’s enough that I’m physically beat up. Now, I’m morally wounded. And I don’t care how much of an urban jungle we are, this is like picking a wallet off a nearly-dead guy while he’s still breathing.

    Now, I know that people have their bikes stolen in this city everyday. It’s why I bought my heavy, $100 bike lock and why I don’t ever park my fancy bike on the street. And although I’ve been hit — and pissed off — more than once, I still advocate biking in the city wholeheartedly. It’s great that the cycling community is growing daily, that we expect 200 miles of bike lanes by the end of 2009, that showers will be required in buildings, and that, cool new bike racks are popping up all over the place.

    And I hope someday we can be like Amsterdam or Copenhagen where you can leave your bike — unlocked no less — and return to it.

    But after all my near-misses, and too many scars, this was it.

    I am reminded of my city of yore: When I was growing up Downtown, I threw down my umbrella during a temper tantrum on Grand St. Minutes later, someone ran by, and stole it. That was the early ’80s and it was on the Lower East Side. Not Murray Hill, 9 a.m., 2008.

    Now, I want sympathy for my — and countless other cyclists’ — pains. But mostly, I want vindication (and my bike back). Because here’s the best part: I hobbled over to say goodbye to Gene, who apologized again, and wished me well. When I told him about my bike being stolen, he was so outraged that he couldn’t look me in the eye.

    Then, he pointed to his windshield. A big orange letter was tucked beneath his wipers. He had gotten a parking ticket when he stepped out of his van to check on me.

  7. #142

    Default David Yassky introduces bill for bike accommodations

    Brooklyn Heights Blog:

    City Councilmember David Yassky is sponsoring legislation that he says will assist New Yorkers in reducing their carbon footprints. His Bikes in Buildings Bill would require employers to allow their employees to bring bikes to their workplaces. You can sign a petition supporting this bill at his website here:

  8. #143


    Downtowners debate D.O.T.’s grand bike plans

    By Josh Rogers

    The bike revolution will not be televised, but it’s likely to wind up on YouTube with many, many comments from Downtowners.

    The city’s Dept. of Transportation has moved aggressively to expand cycling lanes throughout the city and the changes have inspired critics and supporters to post comments frequently in the blogosphere. The new protected lane on Grand St. is seen by some as a nightmare, and others as a golden experiment providing an opportunity to expand the safer lanes to narrower streets around the city. The critics also say Grand is another example of D.O.T. pushing forward with plans despite community opposition.

    Councilmember Alan Gerson of Lower Manhattan says the initials could just as well stand for the “Dept. of Tyranny,” and that whether it is bike lanes, intransigence on adding traffic lights, or ignoring small businesses, every neighborhood in his district has complaints about the agency.

    “They’re undermining their good programs with plans that generate so much raw anger,” Gerson said in a telephone interview. “I have never seen so much anger at one department from so many different people on so many different issues.”

    He joined a rally a week ago outside the D.O.T.’s Downtown office in which the Chatham Sq. traffic plan, the lack of traffic lights at the intersections of Greenwich and Duane Sts. and Houston and Wooster Sts., the bike lane on Grand St. and the one through a narrow pedestrian area in City Hall Park were among the projects that drew protest.

    But the agency, which has been resistant to explaining its positions at length and refused interview requests for this article, also has its strong defenders who rave about the new plans implemented by Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

    Charles Komanoff, a cycling advocate and transportation analyst, came to the rally to support D.O.T., although the Tribecan thinks the agency is wrong on the Greenwich St. light.

    As the crowd of a few dozen chanted “whose streets, our streets,” Komanoff mockingly said “cars’ streets” instead.

    “The tyranny is the tyranny of the automobile,” Komanoff said later. “For God’s sakes, give the [Grand St.] bike lane six months or a year. If it’s found wanting, make some changes.”

    Ian Dutton, vice chairperson of Community Board 2’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, agreed.

    “Finally we have an administration that says we can’t continue to force as many cars as possible into our neighborhoods,” he said. He agrees with Gerson and others who want a bike lane on wider Houston St., but he said the push to get one came too late in the street’s reconstruction planning, and Grand St. is much safer.

    He said lanes like Grand can be done much cheaper than the protected Ninth Ave. bike lane which has concrete barriers and special traffic lights. Dutton said the department continues to monitor Grand St. and make adjustments.

    Pak Lew, who owns Lendy Electric Equipment Supply on Grand St., said he saw officials from the Fire and Transportation Department’s two weeks ago testing whether fire trucks had enough room to turn onto Grand St. Lew said his understanding is that a few parking spots near the curbs will be removed to make more room for emergency vehicle turns, and Gerson said he has heard the same thing from the city.

    “It’s outrageous D.O.T. would make changes in street configuration without a thorough analysis and testing,” Gerson said of the changes that were made two months ago. “That’s outrageous and crazy.”

    Seth Solomonow, a D.O.T. spokesperson, in a prepared statement, acknowledged that the department made unspecified changes to the lane after meeting with the F.D.N.Y., and said there are no plans for any more adjustments.

    The bike lane is intended to help make the city more green, but ironically, it may also be encouraging a few more people to drive to work. Lew said some of his employees are taking advantage of the new free, all-day parking that acts as a shield for cyclists.

    “Some of my workers come in early to park,” he said. “They never came so early before.”

    Lew said the bike lane is hurting business because non-commercial drivers have trouble finding parking. There are benefits, though, beyond a more punctual staff. He said many of his customers are contractors and have an easier time finding parking with their commercial vehicles.

    Many of his fellow merchants would like to see the lane go away, but Lew said he could live with it as long as there are more adjustments made, such as putting metered parking on the south side of the street to make it more accessible to customers. He thinks a few more spots should be taken away so large vehicles have more room to make turns.

    “A lot of [parked] cars are getting hit, especially at the tail end,” he said.

    On three recent visits to the street on a Saturday and two weekdays, there were several instances of large vehicles having trouble making the turn and drivers turning behind parked cars they mistakenly thought were just stuck in traffic.

    Many people said the street was never plowed after last week’s snow storm — adding insult to injury to the lane’s opponents who wonder why a lane was set aside if it will be closed during most of a storm-riddled winter.

    The city’s Sanitation Dept. referred the matter to D.O.T. Solomonow in his statement, said Sanitation has special equipment to plow the lanes, but he did not explain why it was not done on Grand.

    Lew, the business owner, attended community board and other meetings on the new lane since the summer, but he said many of his friends on the street which intersects Chinatown, Little Italy and Soho were in the dark. Many Chinese merchants don’t speak English.

    Lew pulled out a D.O.T. PowerPoint on the subject and asked “You tell me, is there any Chinese in there — any Italian?” He showed a one-page sheet on the plan written in Chinese, but he said the agency has not responded to his requests to translate the more detailed PowerPoint.

    One of the debates within the Grand St. community is whether there used to be two lanes of traffic or one. Lew explained the confusion.

    “It was a semi- two-lane situation — there was room for breakdowns,” he said. By setting the precise amount of space needed for drivers, parkers, and cyclists, it means that any mishap leads to congestion problems, he added.

    Cycling advocates say the problem with the old one-and-a-half lanes of traffic was cars were always jockeying for position, and now things are less chaotic.

    “Grand St. was congested in 1890,” said Wiley Norvell, a spokesperson for Transportation Alternatives. “It was congested two months ago and it will be congested tomorrow, but its orderliness and safety has pretty dramatically improved.”

    D.O.T. says that since 2003, there have been an average of 23 significant accidents and more than 14 pedestrians injured a year on Grand St., and a total of 23 bicycle accidents over the entire period.

    But Sean Sweeney, leader of the Soho Alliance, said, “we have a transportation commissioner who is a Robert Moses in a skirt. Where Moses destroyed communities wholesale, this commissioner is doing it piece by piece. We want oversight and input.”

    He said cyclists who feel unsafe should “move back to the suburbs…I’m a cyclist and I don’t need it. It lulls you into a false sense of security.”

    Sweeney said he bikes on occasion. Conversely, Dutton, the cycling advocate from C.B. 2, said he drives on occasion and Grand St. is now better for cars.

    “I feel like it’s a much less stressful street,” Dutton said. “I can see pedestrians better [when I drive].”

    The plan did pass Board 2 overwhelmingly, but Sweeney, also a member of the board, said it was because the Transportation Committee “is controlled lock, stock and barrel by Transportation Alternatives.”

    Dutton, the committee’s vice chairperson, said he is a member of the advocacy group but he and his colleagues on the board are responding to decades of traffic problems on the block.

    He rejects the notion that bike lanes hurt businesses, saying many pedal to run their errands. He remembers hearing from businesses worried about D.O.T.’s Summer Streets program. The August event closed nearly 7 miles of streets three Saturday mornings to allow bikers and pedestrians to go from Lower Manhattan to Central Park via Lafayette St. and Park Ave. without worrying about motor vehicles.

    “There is a mentality that cars are king, that cars are key to commerce, which I think is false,” Dutton said. “When Summer Streets came up businesses said ‘what am I going to do without a traffic jam outside and instead have tens of thousands of people walking in front of it?’”

    Still D.O.T. was criticized for unveiling the plan less than two months before it was to start and after it was a fait accompli. After making a presentation at a sparsely attended Community Board 1 meeting in mid-June, D.O.T. officials requested Downtown Express hold the story for another week, so as to not step on the big public announcement. The paper denied the request.

    Komanoff said the agency could show “a little more sensitivity” because it allows critics to nitpick and block the larger important goals of limiting the need for cars. “Without fundamental change,” he said “the losers are going to be pedestrians and cyclists and in the log run, the economy.”

    With reporting
    by Jefferson Siegel

  9. #144
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown

    Default World Naked Bike Ride - NYC - June 20, 2009

    Mark Your Calendars!


    March 10, 2009

    As if spandex didn't already leave too little to the imagination, hordes of cyclists plan to ride through Central Park in the buff on June 20.

    The event is part of the World Naked Bike Ride, which began this week in Australia.

    Participants are encouraged to go "as bare as you dare" in protest of the world's dependence on oil and in celebration of the human form.

    The ride, which started in 2004, has led to several arrests over the years, but in general, the lack of clothing was barely noticed by authorities.

    Copyright 2009 NYP Holdings, Inc.

  10. #145
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    I am sorry, but that is either gross, or painful, or both!!!!

    Lets face it, the naked part has nothing to do with a protest against oil, it is just a bunch of organizers who want to either see some flesh or show it off (or both).

    Humans are such horny buggers.

  11. #146

    Default New bike loop for Battery park.

    New Battery park bike loop.


  12. #147
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Paris, France


    I bike in Paris everyday. I'm planning to visit New York with a bike.

    Deos anyone have an experience of both city?

    I already know this NY, but my memory is short so I have a few question :

    How long does it take to ride from Central Park to Wall Street?

    From, let's say, Hudson River Park to Queensboro Bridge?

    How is the on-street bicycle network today?

    Do you know any friendly hotel for bikers?


  13. #148

  14. #149


    Cyclists, pedestrians and cars clash
    over biking boom in New York City

    By Carrie Melago

    Sunday, August 16th 2009, 4:00 AM

    The number of city bike riders jumped by 35% in a year — making some wonder if New York is big enough for 8 million people, a couple of million cars and about 185,000 cyclists.

    Avid cyclists see themselves as the healthy, green, cheap future of transportation.

    City officials agree, completing 200 miles of bike lanes in three years, adding bike racks and shelters and pushing employers to provide bike parking.

    But with the number of cyclists exploding — increasing 35% between 2007 and 2008 —many pedestrians and motorists say it's getting awfully crowded out there.

    "When I, as a retired woman, walk these streets, I have fear of my safety that I will be hit by these riders and get knocked down," said Marjorie Levine, 62, who has been pushing for more regulations.

    The landscape of city streets has changed dramatically under Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who bikes to work from her West Village home and has won cheers for her pro-cycling policy.

    On July 8, the city marked the completion of a three-year, $8 million project that brought the total miles of street lanes to 420, and Sadik-Khan declared New York the "bicycling capital of the United States."

    Sadik-Khan believes promoting cycling is part of a larger effort to "create a greener, more mobile New York City."

    If the city's population grows by a million people by 2030, as experts predict, cycling will be necessary to alleviate the strain on the roads and subways, she said.

    City officials, expecting the number of bike commuters to triple by 2020, plan to create 50 miles of bike lanes a year going forward, reaching 1,800 by 2030.

    "We've got in place a robust, safe citywide bike network that gets people where they want to go without getting off the network," she said.

    Not everyone agrees.

    A Hunter College study found that cyclists in midtown flagrantly disobeyed traffic laws, with 37% zooming through red lights, less than a third wearing helmets and nearly 75% failing to use head and tail lights in the evening.

    And city figures show bicycles struck and killed 11 pedestrians from 1996 to 2005. No statistics are kept on non-fatal crashes.

    Cycling enthusiasts and activists insist that so-called kamikaze bikers — those who run red lights, cycle on the sidewalk, ride the wrong way on streets and break other rules — are not representative of the cycling population as a whole.

    Statistics certainly show cars are far and away more deadly than bikes, with vehicles mowing down 136 pedestrians in 2007 alone.

    And, of course, cyclists are on the losing end of most collisions.

    Some 225 cyclists were hit and killed by cars in the city from 1996 to 2005, while another 3,462 suffered serious injuries in crashes with motor vehicles.

    Asif Rahman, 22, was struck by a truck and killed along Queens Blvd. in February 2008. His family described him as a poet, a photographer and a hip hop artist who loved cycling.

    His mother, Lizi, has made it her mission to have a bike lane installed along Queens Blvd.

    "I can't stop wondering, are they waiting for some more bicyclists to die on this road? Will they make a bike lane after that?" she said.

    Bike advocates like Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for Transportation Alternatives, acknowledged that a lot of bad bike habits have grown out of years of cycling on hostile streets.

    And with so many new cyclists hitting the pavement, Norvell said it's time to embrace what Sadik-Khan calls a "triangle of respect." That means large vehicles yield to the smaller ones - and cyclists yield to pedestrians.

    "We still have a really 'me first' culture on the street, whether you are a pedestrian, a driver or a big rig," Norvell said.

    "The problem is that some of those 'me's' weigh tons and others weigh 110 pounds."

    To that end, the city's "Look" campaign has run TV ads encouraging motorists to look out for their two-wheeled counterparts.

    And Norvell's group has created a "Biking Rules" handbook that spells out cyclists' rights — and obligations.

    Calling itself "a new street code," the handbook reminds cyclists, "We'll have to give respect in order to get it in return."

    Is biking safe in NYC? Victims on
    both sides weigh in on debate

    By Carrie Melago

    Sunday, August 16th 2009, 4:00 AM

    Nancy Gruskin lost her husband May 1, days after a bicycle delivery man struck him as he crossed a street near his midtown office.

    The cyclist, going the wrong way down a one-way street, knocked 50-year-old Stuart Gruskin off his feet on April 28, sending him to the ground and causing a head injury that killed him.

    Despite the tragedy that left her twin 12-year-olds without a dad, Nancy Gruskin doesn't begrudge cyclists their space on the streets.

    "The serious bikers are not the ones that are causing the problems," she said. "It's the ones that don't care, that feel like they can do anything they want."

    The day the city completed 200 miles of bike lanes, Nancy Gruskin filed a $20 million suit against the catering company that employed the delivery man.

    It also bothers her that the cyclist isn't facing any criminal charges. "I know that he didn't wake up that day and say, 'You know what? I'm going to mow down somebody,'" Gruskin said. "But the fact is that he was reckless and he was careless."

    She also plans to set up a foundation in memory of her husband to advocate for better enforcement of existing bicycle regulations and possible new laws.

    Judy Houchins understands more than most New Yorkers the dangers faced by cyclists — and caused by them.

    A city cyclist for decades, Houchins was struck by a truck about eight years ago near Gramercy Park. She suffered only scrapes and bruises but her bike was totalled — and she has barely cycled in the city since.

    The 76-year-old, a pianist and organ player who does book indexing, finds herself on the other side of the handlebars, dodging bikes as she walks around the city.

    "They really are just cutting in and out of pedestrians on the street, you can't always zig zag as fast as you once did," she said.

    She's been bumped numerous times and makes a point of telling rogue cyclists that they are breaking the rules.

    "Sometimes they curse me out, like who am I to tell them that? And other times they actually get in the street and ride," she said.

    Still, Houchins supports cycling, as long as bikers are responsible. "It's the greatest thing -- no pollution, exercise and you can get anywhere you want to," she said.

    There were no protected bike lanes or public awareness campaigns when Morgen Regan began cycling to work 30 years ago.

    A dressmaker who works in Chelsea, Regan learned to love cycling while living in Amsterdam in the '70s. When she returned to New York, she found the streets far less friendly.

    "I wouldn't have thought a helmet was sufficient protection," she said. "I would have needed body armor."

    Wearing a pair of orange espadrilles and a helmet with a sticker that reads "cowgirl," Regan rides her bike to work from Fort Greene and over the Manhattan Bridge.

    Her husband, Robert, a contractor, also cycles to work most days, saying, "It's just like breathing."

    Morgen Regan says all of the changes that the city has made in recent years are "fantastic" and create more awareness from motorists.

    "There is an enhanced consciousness among drivers," she said. "If they aren't always cheerful, they at least know we are here."

  15. #150


    You're starting to show your age, Merry!

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