September 10th, 2019: Leave The Children Out Of It

Warm and pleasant cycling conditions continue today:

Tuesday Weather

Tuesday Partly sunny, with a high near 73. Northeast wind 5 to 9 mph becoming south in the afternoon.

Tuesday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 67. South wind 6 to 8 mph.

Sunrise 6:32am

Sunset 7:14pm

In case you missed it, Charles Komanoff and I discussed the mayor's misguided helmet comments on WBAI yesterday:

Speaking of which, now the governor's getting into the act:

Good to see they agree on something.

In Brooklyn, a private garbage truck driver has critically injured an e-bike rider:

The 62-year-old man was riding north on an e-bike on Third Avenue when the 33-year-old man behind the wheel of the dump truck coming from the opposite direction struck him while making a left turn onto 12th Street around 9:30 p.m., according to a spokesman for police.

And City Councilmember Costa Constantinides wants improvements to the Triboro RFK Bridge bike pedestrian path:

The truth is there are many reasons the Triboro is inhospitable to cyclists, chief among them being:

  • Scary low guardrail
  • Narrow path
  • Stairs on said path requiring you to dismount
  • You may be ticketed for riding over it

So certainly a better path makes sense:

Constantinides wrote a letter to the MTA on Aug. 30 calling on the agency to fix the dangerous pedestrian lane by installing protective fencing along the entire length of the bridge. He also asked the MTA to look into creating separate biking and pedestrian lanes. 

“Crossing the Triborough Bridge shouldn’t be a life-or-death situation, yet that’s sadly what pedestrians and cyclists face the second they enter this crossing,” Council Member Constantinides said. 

And the situation should be corrected:

In addition, the pedestrian path spans five feet wide and is too narrow for bikers and pedestrians to safely share, the council member said. He urged the MTA to re-open the bridge’s southern pathway “which would allow separate, safer crossings for cyclists and pedestrians,” he said. 

Biking is theoretically prohibited in the lane, and punishable by fine. However, commuters still use this path to get to Manhattan.

“Every other East River…path allows for cyclist use. It’s time the MTA needs to legalize — and make safer — biking on the Triborough Bridge,” Restrepo said.

Meanwhile, we've heard people claim bike lanes are dangerous to children, and here's the latest attempt to undermine one on that flimsy basis:

Clearly the woman pushing the stroller in the bike lane is abjectly terrified.

Now, kids who must use this path to get to and from the British International School of NY, the United Nations International School and the nearby River School are forced to maneuver between speeding bikes and oncoming traffic. As bad, EMS vehicles are often stuck on their way to one of the hospitals on the now-single lane egress.

This is because the DOT — despite different plans shown the Community Board — sneakily replaced one of only two exit lanes from Waterside Plaza, housing over 3,500 residents, (where I live), and one section of the FDR Drive service road with a crazily-placed shared bike/pedestrian lane.

Yes, it's a real hellscape over there now:

Bike Lane

Waterside resident Leslie Schatzer told me: “Just last week there was an accident at this location and we sat on the bus for 45 minutes and then were told to get off to walk to 34th and First. We were three senior citizens in 90 degree heat! It’s a crisis.”

Sounds like a crisis caused by too many cars.

Waterside, built in the 1970s, sits on pilings in the East River and is only accessible via a pedestrian bridge or the northbound (formerly) two-lane road which passes through the 23rd St. Skyport Marina, two schools and Waterside Plaza.

This worked perfectly for years. If it ain’t broke, for sure the city will try to fix it.

No doubt it did work perfectly...for the writer.

Waterside Tenant’s Association president, Janet Handal, still upset over the sneaky slight of lane, plans to tell the mayor, if we can get him to come here: “The new bike lanes are dangerous, ill-conceived and poorly thought through. They could result in many more pedestrians and cyclists being injured or killed. The lanes are too narrow to for ambulances, so they can only use the remaining single vehicle lane.”

Let's look at this death trap again, shall we?

Bike Lane

So what's stopping an ambulance from using the bike lane in an emergency--apart from some green paint?

It sure doesn't seem to stop people from parking in them.

In other news, Streetsblog talks to Sean Avery, who seems less like a cycling advocate and more like an eccentric retired athlete whose rage issues occasionally overlap with bike advocacy:

JC: What do you think of biking in New York City now, especially after the now 21 cyclists who have been killed this year?

SA: My biggest issue with the whole biking situation is there’s zero enforcement. The city could probably make a lot more money just enforcing bikers — if a biker runs a red light you should give them a ticket. The messengers in New York City are totally out of control the majority of bikers are out of control. They run red lights, they go the wrong way down streets. I see hundreds of infractions a day.

How is it possible to spend so much time on a bike and yet never notice all the ticket stings?

Or to think that drivers have more "discipline" than cyclists?

SA: I see more bikers break rules than drivers. I think drivers have more discipline than bikers. Bikers that wear helmets and then they run red lights, I laugh at them. These messengers, they all do these dies-in. They’re a bunch of whiny, hypocritical babies because they are the worst offenders in New York City, they don’t follow any rules.

Especially when you've been hit by drivers "numerous times"?

JC: What’s going on with your court case? You just had your third court appearance after allegedly hitting a car parked in a Manhattan bike lane with your scooter and being charged with criminal mischief, and you’ve been offered a plea deal that you’ve turned down. Why not just pay the fine?

SA: It’s just mind boggling. I have no idea what even happened. I have been hit by cars numerous times. What I can tell you is that I didn’t pick up my scooter and smash it into a car, that I can guarantee. So we will run the course, waste everyone’s time, slog through the justice system and, at some point, I’ll win. And it’ll get dismissed and we will move on with our lives.

Mind boggling indeed.

Finally, if you're wondering what's going on with the Tappan Zee Mario M. Cuomo Bridge bike path, it should open sometime this fall:

Tappan Zee

An­other much an­tic­i­pated open­ing for the bridge is sched­uled for the fall. The 12-foot wide bike/​pedes­trian path will be com­pleted on the north­ern edge of the bridge’s span head­ing to­ward Rock­land County. Again, the Thruway Au­thor­ity will not spec­u­late as to its open­ing date other than stat­ing “dur­ing the fall months.”

All of this starts out sounding good...until you get to the stuff about speed limits for cyclists:

The path­way will have six over­looks, termed “belved­eres” (“beau­ti­ful views” in Ital­ian), which will reach out over the Hud­son River. Each of six (mea­sur­ing 12-feet by 60 feet over­looks) will of­fer pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists a some­what dif­fer­ent view of the scenery north of the bridge. A con­crete bar­rier sep­a­rates the bike/​pedes­trian path from the bridge lanes. Cer­tain poli­cies have not yet been an­nounced re­gard­ing its use, such as a speed limit for cy­clists.

Also, a possible increase in the number of people on bicycles is clearly the most terrifying prospect the people of Tarrytown have ever faced:

There are also ques­tions as to how the path­way will be po­liced, ei­ther by foot or pa­trol car. Tar­ry­town’s trustees are still as­sess­ing how to deal with what could be a de­cid­edly hefty in­crease in bike traf­fic in the vil­lage. Mayor Drew Fix­ell has been quoted as say­ing the in­crease of cy­clists will ne­ces­si­tate co­or­di­na­tion be­tween the Tar­ry­town        Po­lice and State Po­lice.

Which is why they want the bike path to be closed at night:

What hours the path­way will be opened, if not 24 hours a day, has not yet been pub­licly an­nounced. Some of­fi­cials from ad­ja­cent vil­lages have called for its use only dur­ing day­light hours, while var­i­ous bike groups and oth­ers want it opened all day.

Close it to cars too and you've got a deal.