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  • Ninth Avenue bike lane

    Big changes are coming to Ninth Avenue between 16th and 23rd Streets, on the east side of the avenue. Parked cars are going to be moved away from the sidewalk, to allow for a bike lane between the sidewalk and the parked cars. Individual parking meters will be removed, and replaced by MUNI meters. (I don't really like the latter, as you have to search for them up and down the block, and they don't allow you to add more time to the meter whenever you want -- you have to wait for your time to run out, or you lose money.) As a bike rider, I welcome a bona fide bike lane where I don't have to worry about dodging around double-parked cars into traffic, being sideswiped by taxis picking up fares, speeding cars trying to get by me with an inch margin, etc. The bike lane won't help, though, with drivers careening around corners without a care for who's entering the crosswalk. The distance for this bike lane is so short -- only 7 blocks, or 1/3 of a mile -- that I can't imagine it's anything more than a pilot program so that the city can see how it works in practice, and how it's received. All in all, I think it's a good thing for those avenues that can handle the squeeze -- the amount of lanes for cars would be reduced from four to three. What do you think?

  • #2
    Re: Ninth Avenue bike lane

    I know it's just a pilot, but why such a short stretch? Also, I think pedestrians are going to be a problem. When they're crossing the street, they'll ignore the fact that they're walking across a bike lane or just stand in it while they're waiting to cross (look at the mess on the Hudson River bike path--despite clearly delineated ped and cycle lanes, peds are ALWAYS in the cycle lane and don't seem to care). Turning cars might have a bit more difficulty seeing cyclists as there will be parked cars sort of blocking the view of the bicycle lane.

    I don't know what the solution is.

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    • #3
      Re: Ninth Avenue bike lane

      You're very right that pedestrians are a problem. A large part of the solution is for bicyclists to be aware that they are subject to the same Vehicle and Traffic Laws as motor vehicles. eg. obey traffic controls (traffic lights, stop signs, street markings etc etc), yield to pedestrians, yield to the vehicle with the right-of-way, have a working light, bell and reflectors, signal before changing lanes and so forth. This isn't just a matter of civility, IT'S THE LAW.

      It's always amazed me that pedestrians and bicyclists don't seem to grasp the very simple concept that an average of 170 pounds of muscle and bone, whether on foot or two wheels, is going to come out a very poor second to a couple of tons of steel and plastic on anything from four wheels to 26 wheels moving at any speed.

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      • #4
        Re: Ninth Avenue bike lane

        Yeah Snap, it's the law but how many pay attention. It also the law not to ride on the sidewalks. Oh beware the bike messengers.

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        • #5
          Re: Ninth Avenue bike lane

          So true, JimR and SNAP. I can't count the number of times I've almost been blindsided by someone on a bike on the sidewalk. Have you seen the new bill being introduced which would charge restaurants fines for violations incurred by their bicycle deliverypeople? I hope that passes.

          For the bike lane, I think it's a good idea. I agree that pedestrians and cars could be a problem, but if it has its own traffic light that would be a help. A WALK/DON'T WALK signal would impart the idea to the pedestrians that it actually is a street and not something to stand in, and a traffic light would impart the idea to the cyclists that they are expected to follow traffic laws. Part of the problem with the Hudson River Park bike/ped path is that there's no traffic signal. A lot of the time you just end up waiting for a break in the bike traffic to scamper across.

          Id love to see protected bike lanes like this around the city. Right now, the situation with the traffic is so scary here that I wouldn't even consider getting a bicycle...and given the choice, I'd much rather ride a bike everywhere than get on the subway.

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          • #6
            Re: Ninth Avenue bike lane

            It looks beautiful though what they're doing with setting up tables at 14/9th in the median - the other day I saw them putting them and I thought it was only for a certain function, then the next day I saw umbrellas and people chillng there! Hopefully they put something up though to majorly protect people sitting in that area from speeding traffic, and heat lamps so we can perch there winter-time too (which btw was just approved for outdoor cafes!)

            Apparently Apple is opening where Western Beef used to be.

            We should learn from Scandanavia how to share roads with each other. It's amazing how in-sync they are there with buses, trolleys, trams, bikes, cars, peds...etc, all on the same pavement.

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            • #7
              Re: Ninth Avenue bike lane

              Originally posted by Vidis View Post
              We should learn from Scandanavia how to share roads with each other. It's amazing how in-sync they are there with buses, trolleys, trams, bikes, cars, peds...etc, all on the same pavement.
              So true. When I was in Copenhagen and Stockholm I was impressed by how many bicycles there were, and how safe is seemed to be to ride them in traffic. It'd be so nice to see that sort of harmony in New York. Better for everyone's health, better for the environment...the benefits are endless.

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              • #8
                Re: Ninth Avenue bike lane

                This is a bad idea. Why? Because a bicyclist traveling at speed will have nowhere to go when a car door suddenly opens. If they can't do some movie stunt thing where they jump the curb or fly over the door, then there's going to be a horrible, gory accident. They're pretty much trapped between a lane of parked cars and an elevated sidewalk. And, like with Times Square, the sidewalk overflow will spill into it.

                Most people parking there cars will wait for the wheel to hit the curb before they stop. With this, they'll wait until they hear the thump of a bicyclist hitting their bumper.
                www.shardsofglass.etsy.com, www.shardsofglassmosaics.blogspot.com

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                • #9
                  Re: Ninth Avenue bike lane

                  Following is an excerpt from last Sunday's NYT which addresses ChrisNYC213's comment. I had originally posted the entire article under the thread "New Traffic Pattern..."

                  FROM TODAY'S (9 23 07) NEW YORK TIMES

                  A Busy City Street Makes Room for Bikes

                  By WILLIAM NEUMAN

                  ...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...

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                  • #10
                    Re: Ninth Avenue bike lane

                    I stand corrected. OUCH. And so totally embarrassed now. They certainly put a lot of thought into it. More than I put into my snotty little post.

                    Thank you, SNAP. It will be interesting to see what this actually looks like when it's done.
                    www.shardsofglass.etsy.com, www.shardsofglassmosaics.blogspot.com

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                    • #11
                      Re: Ninth Avenue bike lane

                      Originally posted by JimR View Post
                      Yeah Snap, it's the law but how many pay attention.
                      This intersection has a delayed green for pedestrians. And most just ignore it...and they wonder why the cars bear down on them. It's one thing to cross a red light (as a pedestrian) when no traffic is coming. But this is almost the exact opposite. I can see where the city setup the delayed green to alleviate traffic congestion and help against pedestrian accidents, but people just don't read. The delayed green should be done away with -- if anything, it gives motorists a false sense of security.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Ninth Avenue bike lane

                        Vidis, I believe the new Apple Store will be installed on the corner of 9th and 14th where the Belgian restaurant Markt was located before it moved (or, more accurately, was forced to move) to Sixth Avenue and 21st.

                        AEG, I agree about the delayed green. So few intersections in the city have delayed green lights that it's easy even for long-term residents to forget it's there. I don't see there being so much left-turning traffic that it's necessary to retain this system, particularly now that Ninth Avenue traffic will be further restricted by the new changes.

                        And I completely agree about the bike riders in this city--fully 95% of them ignore all traffic rules and storm through crosswalks when the light is against them. They should be following all traffic rules posted for vehicles. It's astonishing that the cops in this town make it routine to totally ignore these dangerous moving violations.

                        So far, I don't find that on Ninth Avenue, pedestrians are ignoring the bike lane as predicted (before the changeover) in a post above. Perhaps as more bike riders catch wind of the changes and start using the lane...

                        However, I do find the ped/bike collision at Hudson River Park to be disastrous. But I don't blame either the peds or the bike riders in that case--the problem there is that they're being forced to share the same narrow ribbon of asphalt despite the fact bike riders travel at a much higher rate of speed. Pedestrians are given no dedicated ground along some stretches of the river. For all the money, high-priced design, and intractable bureaucracy deployed by the park's planners, they sure have messed that aspect up.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Ninth Avenue bike lane

                          There are clearly marked, separate lanes for bicyclists/rollerbladers and pedestrians on much of the Hudson River bikepath between the Battery and 59th Street. Pedestrians routinely walk in the bike/rollerblake path.
                          Last edited by W16thDenizen; 10-02-2007, 04:28 PM. Reason: typo

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                          • #14
                            Re: Ninth Avenue bike lane

                            Originally posted by W16thDenizen View Post
                            There are clearly marked, separate lanes for bicyclists/rollerbladers and pedestrians on much of the Hudson River bikepath between the Battery and 59th Street. Pedestrians routinely walk in the bike/rollerblake path.
                            True, but they're not separated by any means whatsoever, and the lanes are about as slim as half a normal sidewalk width--at least in the section by Chelsea Piers. Both pedestrians AND cyclists often have a hard time keeping in their lanes, and there's no place for pedestrians to cross to the other side. And even when you're dutifully walking in the pedestrian lane, it's so narrow that you often end up being sideswiped.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Ninth Avenue bike lane

                              Certain parts of the Hudson River bike path are definitely dangerous in the sense that they're too narrow (Chelsea Piers and the area around the Intrepid). If I'm riding early in the morning, the bike path is usually fine, but after 10:00 or so, I just ride up 10th Ave. and down 9th Ave. to get uptown or to the Park. I'd rather take my chances with the cars, buses and trucks. That bike path just isn't worth it unless you're cruising very slowly and are willing to be held-up by pedestrians and cross traffic. But the new bike lane on 9th will be different. I'm just thinking that as people are waiting for the walk sign to cross Ninth Avenue, they'll wind up standing in the bike lane to do so. I hope it does work out and they can implement bike lanes on many avenues. At least they're finally TRYING.

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