At the end of 2016, NYC DOT opened its newest protected bike lane on Chrystie Street in lower Manhattan, a street that has received high praise from both advocates and the community!
Since 2008 Chrystie Street had been a simple, narrow striped bike lane which at first may have served its purpose while cycling numbers were simply still "growing". However, as the rate of daily cycling has soared over 80% between 2010 and 2015, and as thousands of morning cyclists commuted via the Manhattan Bridge, Chrystie Street was badly in need of improving, especially with the crush of double-parkers rampant.
Thanks to frustrated cyclists intervening with guerrilla tactics and placing traffic cones strategically in an effort to keep the drivers out, a movement was generated to place a 2-way protected bikeway on the east side of the street. NYC DOT listened and came up with a sensible plan. Manhattan's Community Board 3 was strongly behind it voting unanimously for its approval. It is almost a text book case of how bicyclists, their communities and city agencies should respond to the voice of the people! Sit back and watch how much better the street is now!
Check out our previous entry in Street Transformations on the QBB bike path here: vimeo.com/171753284. More to come if you love these!
I edited together this montage on a whim to show a timeline on the progress on the Queensboro Bridge bike/ped path from 2000 to 2016 - just to see how much interest there is in biking New York City history.
If this proves popular, there are dozens of spaces in New York City that have seen similar changes. I could put together dozens of similar shorts on seeing that I have been documenting the streets since the late 1990s. So please let me know if you enjoy this.
The entire 20+ year fight from activists from Transportation Alternatives and other groups to get dedicated space on the bridge is the stuff of legend, but it require far more than the 2 minutes I have devoted here.
For the latest in our Street Transformations series (for others see here: Street Transformations) we check out the dramatic before and afters of the Sunnyside protected bike lanes installed by NYC DOT at the end of Summer 2018.
The links complete a missing section that will enable cyclists to go from the center of Queens all the way to Brooklyn Heights without ever really leaving the safety of a protected bike lane! That's over 10 miles!
The NYC DOT really thought innovatively to get the lanes installed, particularly the final blocks of Skillman Avenue to reach the overpass of the Sunnyside rail yards cycle track. Angled parking was moved further away from the sidewalk and concrete parking blocks were installed to keep drivers from going too far forward to interfere with the path of bikes.
Check out this mini doc of the story of the Sunnyside bike lanes.
For people who live west of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the only way to walk or bike there is to cross 111th Street. But until recently, getting across this street was a death-defying risk, especially for parents with young kids.
The old 111th Street had five travel lanes and two parking lanes, forcing people to scramble across a wide street with rampant speeding to get to and from the park. Most people on bikes chose to ride on the sidewalk instead of mixing it up with motor vehicle traffic.
In 2014, a coalition of Corona groups banded together for safer biking and walking access to the park. Working with Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, advocates from Immigrant Movement International, Make the Road New York, and Transportation Alternatives pushed for a redesign that would narrow the pedestrian crossings and install a two-way protected bike lane.
Three years later, Mayor de Blasio finally gave the green light to DOT’s safety overhaul of 111th Street. It was the culmination of relentless advocacy by local residents, including the newly-formed collective Mujeres en Movimiento, who had to overcome opposition from local power brokers like Queens Community Board 4 transportation co-chair James Lisa and Assembly Member Francisco Moya.
With DOT crews wrapping up work on the 111th Street project, local residents went for a celebratory ride last week. Streetfilms’ Clarence Eckerson was there and put together this video tour of the redesigned street and retrospective of the three-year advocacy campaign to make this project happen. Congratulations to everyone involved on a hard-fought victory for safe walking and biking in the neighborhood.
Yeah. It's been in the ground for a few months, but every time I have been to the new awesome bicycle access on the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge I haven't been with my camera or it has been too dark. So I was finally able to grab a few quick minutes of footage on the way to another shoot and had to share this right away.
If your city is telling you there is no room for making cycling safer around your bridges, have them take a look at the amount of road space and accommodation NYC DOT has done here. Elimination of parking spaces, safe & comfortable protected 2-way lanes and a configuration I have never seen anywhere just yet in the U.S. - South 5th Place off the bridge bike path exit not only has a two-way protected lane, but a painted bike lane on the street to allow for safe bike left hand turns!
What is great is not only the safety aspect, but that the city acknowledged the tendency of the instinct of cyclist's on how they wanted to approach the bridge. They made it legal to go two way from every road and modified the streets to make it happen, even if it meant eliminating parking and driving lanes (and turning one street one way from two-way - you can see from 2005). And that means no more ticket stings for people who are just trying to bike to work, play, exercise or to go meet a friend up on the Billy B!