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In Time
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
To Ease a City’s Traffic, Shifting From 4 Wheels to 2



Amanda Cruz, on a team from the Department of Transportation that monitors the condition of streets around the
city, inspecting a hole on Court Street in Brooklyn. Team members ride bikes when checking bike routes, and this
hole was not far from one.



By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS
September 4, 2007

On many mornings, as commuters pack themselves into subway trains and drivers squeeze onto the streets, Janette Sadik-Khan, the commissioner of the Department of Transportation, rides her bicycle to work.

That the head of an agency long associated with car travel is an avid bicyclist symbolizes what might be a new way of thinking about how New York’s asphalt should be used. In recent months, the city has pledged to add bicycle racks and hundreds of miles of bike lanes on city streets and has been exploring a program similar to one in Paris in which people can use bikes at minimal cost.

The Bloomberg administration says it wants to develop cycling as a viable transportation alternative to ease traffic congestion, reduce carbon emissions and encourage physical activity. But the new attention to cycling has also encountered resistance in some neighborhoods, especially when it threatens to remove traffic lanes for cars and trucks.

Ms. Sadik-Khan said her time on two wheels has become an important part of her work.

“It’s invaluable to get on a bike and see firsthand the conditions that our projects are trying to address,” said Ms. Sadik-Khan, who became the city’s transportation commissioner in the spring. “We are really emphasizing connectivity in the bicycle lane network, because all cyclists, myself included, know that it’s maddening to be coming along a lane and have it simply end and leave you off on your own on a big avenue.”

To that end, the Bloomberg administration has said it will add 200 miles of bike lanes by 2010 — the equivalent of the number added during the last 20 years.

In 2006, for instance, New York — which officials said was the nation’s first city to build a bike path (along Ocean Parkway, in Brooklyn, in the 1890s) — created only two miles of new street bicycle lanes. By the end of the year, it will have added about 50 more.


In its long-term environmental plan released this year, the city said that by 2030 it will have 1,800 miles of bike lanes and paths. There are now 270 miles of bicycle lanes along city streets and 200 miles of bike paths in parks and along greenways.

Because the lack of safe and adequate bicycle parking has become one of the primary concerns of cyclists, the city has said it will also pursue legislation requiring owners of large commercial office buildings to allow a place for bicycles to be parked indoors. Recent zoning changes in Long Island City, Downtown Brooklyn and the West Side of Manhattan have incorporated that requirement.

Also, the city will install 1,200 new bicycle racks by 2009, in addition to the 4,000 existing racks.

To enhance safety, the Transportation Department has begun to color bicycle lanes with bright green paint in neighborhoods where there are frequent complaints about cars and trucks driving or double-parking, forcing bikes into traffic.

Finally, a team of transportation workers is checking the condition of bike lanes in addition to its regular task of monitoring streets. As the workers check bike lanes for potholes and other hazards, they ride bicycles.

“Cycling, until Bloomberg, had been left off the priority list,” said Noah S. Budnick, deputy director of Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit advocacy group. “But things have really shifted quickly over the past year and a half.”

A number of other large cities, including Berlin, Chicago and Paris, have put bicycling at the center of transportation plans.

In July, for example, Paris made 10,600 bicycles available to the public — and will add 10,000 by the end of the year — for one euro a day, or about $1.40. Riders can get the bikes after swiping their credit cards at bicycle docking stations.

Last year, Chicago officials said their goal was to have 5 percent of all trips carried out by bicycle by 2015. The city is also trying to build enough bike paths so that every resident lives within half a mile of one.

But the attention on bikes usually comes at the expense of cars, and some New Yorkers have not been enthusiastic about the changes.

In Brooklyn, the borough president and some residents have complained about the banning of cars in Prospect Park for most of the day, fearing it will worsen traffic around the park. And residents said that new bike lanes have upset the delicate alternate-side parking routines, as some officers have been quick to ticket anyone double-parking in the lanes.

Bicycling in New York has never been for the timid, with its traffic, potholes, pedestrians, extremes in weather, aggressive drivers and high rate of bike theft.

There is even a cautionary tale among bicycle riders — the veracity of which is unclear — about a young man who had just bought a bicycle and was riding back to his apartment in the East Village, the bike’s price tag still attached to the handlebars.

Two men with knives (sometimes described as two teenagers with guns) steal the bike and ride off. When the man reports the crime, a responding police officer tries to soothe him by saying, “That’s O.K., son, you would’ve killed yourself on that thing anyway.”

Still, Transportation Alternatives estimated that 130,000 people currently ride bicycles in the city every day, up from 90,000 in 1998.

Jason Varone, 31, an artist from Brooklyn who rides 20 miles to and from work each day, said new bike paths have made cycling on city streets less treacherous, but more important, have sent a signal to the rest of the city. “Even if your daily commute is not affected,” he said of cyclists, “there’s a clear message from the government that they’re trying to do something.”

The tolerance for cyclists, however, has apparently not extended to Critical Mass, a loosely knit group of bike riders whose once-a-month mass bicycle rides have been met with squads of officers, summonses, bike confiscations and arrests.

The rides, which a few years ago attracted as many as 2,000 riders, now bring out only about 150, organizers said.

The Police Department, which did not respond to questions about Critical Mass for this article, has said that police enforcement was necessary because the group blocked streets and failed to obey traffic laws.

Bill DiPaola, director of Time’s Up!, an environmental advocacy organization that promotes Critical Mass and other group bicycle rides, said that while the city had improved bike access of late, the gains had not come without constant pressure from bicycle advocates.

“We realized a long time ago that the city is not very friendly to bicycling, so our idea was to create group rides,” Mr. DiPaola said.

“We wanted to overwhelm the city with riders, and we got to the point where we could say: ‘Look, this is the wave of the future. You have to adapt to it.’ ”


Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
 

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LOL! Its ironic that Vietnam and China is changing from two-wheel to four-wheel while we are going other way around. However, I like the idea because of the convenience and flexibility but we may get some problems during snow.
my country(belgium) is known for its bad weather conditions, but still over10% of transportation in my city is done by bicycle!
 

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that is good !!! good for our weather, save petrol, save living cost, ease traffic.
i hope this idea is applicable in Malaysia too.
but sometimes, weather in here really too hot.... for sure sweat lots after take a bike and reach company.
 

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In Time
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A Busy City Street Makes Room for Bikes





By WILLIAM NEUMAN
September 23, 2007

Cyclists and pedestrians never quite imagined it this way, but maybe there is a use for all those cars after all.

The city is planning to remake seven blocks of Ninth Avenue in Chelsea into what officials are billing enthusiastically, perhaps a bit hyperbolically, as the street of the future.

The most unusual aspect of the design, which will run from 16th Street to 23rd Street, is that it uses a lane of parked cars to protect cyclists from other traffic.

It does this by placing the bike lane directly next to the sidewalk on the western edge of Ninth Avenue, which is the left side of the street for those facing north, in the direction of traffic. The plan also takes a lane from cars, creating more room for pedestrians and for the bicycle lane.

“I think it’s a sneak peek at the future streets of New York,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s transportation commissioner. “It represents the kinds of innovative ideas that we can explore to make the streets more livable.”

Next to the bike lane, which will be 10 feet wide, will be an eight-foot section of pavement that will act as a buffer, with plastic posts and large planters to keep cars from entering. The parking lane will be to the right of the buffer zone, and beyond that will be three lanes for traffic.

The result will be a barrier of parked cars between cyclists and moving vehicles.


“For cyclists, you’ve got a physically separate lane that prevents motorists from coming in,” Ms. Sadik-Khan said.

It is a design that has been used in cities in Europe but never in New York City.

Another feature will make life easier for people on foot. At each intersection, a raised island will extend into the avenue. Called a “pedestrian refuge,” it has the effect of shortening the distance traveled to cross the street to 45 feet, from 70 feet.

Ms. Sadik-Khan said that work would begin shortly and that the remade street would be completed by next month.

As part of the plan, single-space parking meters will be replaced by Muni-Meters, which control many spaces, and the cost of parking will increase to $2 an hour from $1.50.

Ms. Sadik-Khan said the makeover of the avenue was possible because traffic volume in the area was low enough that cars could move as smoothly in three lanes as in four.

It is not difficult to see how that rationale could dovetail with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s proposal for congestion pricing, which would charge drivers a fee to use the streets of Manhattan below 86th Street. The fee is supposed to reduce the volume of traffic, which could theoretically free up street space for other uses.

Noah S. Budnick, the deputy director of Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group that works to improve conditions for cyclists and pedestrians, said he thought a protected bike lane would encourage more New Yorkers to get on bikes.

“If you talk to the average New Yorker, they’d ride a bike, but most people say the traffic is too scary,” Mr. Budnick said. He pointed to the example of a popular bike path in Hudson River Park.

“If you provide protected space for riding bikes, New Yorkers are going to use it in droves,” he said.

Mr. Budnick was asked if the idea of parked cars protecting cyclists changed his view of the oversized S.U.V.’s that are often the bugaboo of bikers and environmentalists. After all, the bigger the car, the better the barrier.

“As long as they’re not moving,” he said.


Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
 

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In Time
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
^ What do you mean, there will be two lanes dedicated for parking still. The bike lane will have a divider from the street (the parking lane). The bike lane is right next to the sidewalk. I think this a great idea.
 

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^ What do you mean, there will be two lanes dedicated for parking still. The bike lane will have a divider from the street (the parking lane). The bike lane is right next to the sidewalk. I think this a great idea.
The concept is really good, but there needs to be more enforcement of traffic safety since cyclists are now in a very dangerous spot. They can get swiped on the left by a vehicle pulling out from park, and get swiped on the right by a vehicle turning into another street. If cyclists want to stop, they will need to weave through the parking lane to get to the sidewalk.
 

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In Time
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sorry I am not understanding you still. What do you mean by 'They can get swiped on the left by a vehicle pulling out from park'?

The park cars will be on the right side of the bike lane, not on the left. Seperated by a divider with planters. When the park car leaves the spot it will go on the street, never touching the bike lane. There might be a bike traffic signal like there are some on the Hudson river park bike lane aswell.
 

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In Time
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
In Paris, Bloomberg Eyes Bike Program for Home


By DIANE CARDWELL
September 30, 2007

PARIS, Sept. 29 — Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, on his first trip here since he took office, acknowledged the challenges of bringing home a popular Parisian bike rental program the administration is exploring, saying he was unsure it would translate to New York.

Noting challenges like roads damaged by seasonal changes, the lack of bike lanes, liability problems and the possibility that commuters would not want to carry helmets to work, Mr. Bloomberg said: “You try to see whether it fits, and some parts of it will, but it may very well give you an idea to do something totally different.”

Under the program, which started in July, thousands of bicycles are docked along Paris streets, and customers can rent them after buying a membership ranging in time from a day (about $1.30) to a year (about $38). Members pay by the half-hour, with the first 30 minutes free. To discourage long rides, the fee rises from $1.30 for the second half-hour to $5.20 for the fourth.

Judging from the lines of empty consoles in the city center and the ubiquity of riders, even in the rain, the program has been a hit here, despite occasional technical glitches and a lack in some places of empty spots to return a bicycle. One official told Mr. Bloomberg that 100,000 people had signed up for yearly membership and that customers had taken more than 5 million rides.

Whether such a system could survive in New York, where bike theft is common, remains to be seen. Lionel Bordeaux, a press officer for City Hall here, said the fact that all fees were paid by credit card, and a roughly $200 charge for unreturned bikes, discouraged stealing.

Mr. Bloomberg’s trip is shaping up to be a lushly appointed tour for him and his close aides, with meals and meetings with business, academic, cultural and governmental luminaries, including the American ambassador, Craig Roberts Stapleton; Bernard Arnault, chief of the luxury goods behemoth LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton; and Luc Jacquet, the director of “March of the Penguins.”

Arriving at the Hôtel de Ville, the grand City Hall, Mr. Bloomberg gave Mayor Bertrand Delanoë an apple-shaped silver dish from Tiffany. Mr. Delanoë presented his counterpart with a silver tray and gave a gold brooch in the shape of the Paris logo, a ship, to Mr. Bloomberg’s companion, Diana L. Taylor, who promptly put it on.

The couple, along with Mr. Bloomberg’s deputy mayors Patricia E. Harris and Kevin Sheekey, then joined Mr. Delanoë for a lunch including foie gras and mushroom soup, fish and several glasses of wine, including a 1995 Château Margaux Pavillon Rouge that Mr. Bloomberg seemed to particularly enjoy.

“The wines were French, and they were excellent,” Mr. Bloomberg, a fan of California merlot, told reporters, saying that he did not normally drink at lunch but had made an exception out of deference to Mr. Delanoë’s hospitality. “Can’t explain the second glass of red, but that’s neither here nor there,” he joked.

Mr. Bloomberg ended his day in Blackpool, England, at a dinner with David Cameron of the Conservative Party, whose conference Mr. Bloomberg is to address on Sunday.


Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
 

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Shame you can't yet catch Amsterdam on Microsoft's Live Earth but almost any other +50k town is available. Just check the gravel coloured lanes, in the UK those are bus lanes, in the NL though those are the bike lanes. In my town, it's often allowed to cycle in both directions on the bike lanes at both sides of a street. It's only tricky dealing with dozy shoppers.

Many new bike lanes are built on elevated strips near a junction with car traffic lanes, forcing car drivers to slow down and give priority.
 

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Bicycle cities in North America

I was wondering if anyone has any interesting thoughts about bicycle use in North America.

Ik know that places lik Davis, CA or Denver, CO have lots of cyclists. I also noticed lots more cyclists in NY when I was there in April. Is that a development that is seen elsewhere?

I was wondering which cities in NA have:

- Lots of cyclists
- A large proportion of cyclists in the total modal split
- A strong bicycle culture
- Good bicycle infrastructure
- Good bicycle policiy
- A strong growth in bicycle use

I appreciate all your thoughts.
 

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Love me, love my dog...
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I was wondering if anyone has any interesting thoughts about bicycle use in North America.

Ik know that places lik Davis, CA or Denver, CO have lots of cyclists. I also noticed lots more cyclists in NY when I was there in April. Is that a development that is seen elsewhere?

I was wondering which cities in NA have:

- Lots of cyclists
- A large proportion of cyclists in the total modal split
- A strong bicycle culture
- Good bicycle infrastructure
- Good bicycle policiy
- A strong growth in bicycle use

I appreciate all your thoughts.
There is a velodrome near my house in southwest Atlanta...during the season there are races for all ages/levels and different clubs from across the city use it, and draws fairly large crowds as it has a specator stand. It's one of only 18 existing velodromes in the U.S.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/twotone666/2218886780/


http://www.flickr.com/photos/twotone666/2487981531/


http://www.flickr.com/photos/twotone666/1099623048/


http://www.flickr.com/photos/twotone666/2875130061/
 

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^^That is cool.


I don't know that Madison has any great bike infrastructure aside from bike lanes and racks on buses (no bike freeways that I'm aware of), but if you visit you will notice tons and tons of bicycles piled on top of each other outside of almost everywhere you go. Everyone rides a bike there, probably because anything is easier than driving in Madison (where all the streets are one-way and most of them are closed).
 
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