Commuting - NYC (Manhattan) bike lanes... WTF?
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I posted this question in the "Northeast" community board as well. I apologize for the duplication.
Can anyone explain what's up with the bike lanes in Manhattan? Some of them have changed recently and no one seems to understand it.
For example, 8th Avenue from Penn Station up to somewhere around 57th Street.
The pattern was, until recently, left to right (west to east):
sidewalk, parked cars, bike lane, four lanes of traffic, parked cars, and finally the other sidewalk.
But now this has become:
sidewalk, a green painted lane, door zone, parked cars, four lanes of traffic, parked cars, and the other sidewalk.
The green painted lane is not marked as a bike lane. Pedestrians assume it is an extension of the sidewalk, bikes assume it is a bike lane, and it is very, very, very, dangerous.
Does anyone know?
I asked three policemen today, and they did not know. I called 311, and they did not know.
07-03-12, 02:17 PM
I rode a section of this today from 42nd to 47th and it didn't seem too bad by NY standards. I'll give it another shot on the section you refer to and see if I encounter the same problems. I live at 43rd and 10th so I tend to cut off to the West Side path for most of my uptown downtown travels except when I need to be more midtown.
Small consolation by comparison, I know, but coming back down on 9th (without any bike lane) is and always has been a nightmare mid- day. Trucks squeezing every bit of room along with aggressive cabs, jay walking pedestrians and illegally parked vehicles swinging open doors to unload goods or passengers.
As far as the changes I can offer no info as to why, whether they are temporary or incomplete. If I hear anything I'll post or pm.
07-03-12, 02:29 PM
Green is a new pavement color for bike lanes in the US.
Thanks, both. Very helpful.
The 8th versus 9th comparison is interesting. I ride up 8th in the morning after sitting on a train for an hour, mostly unconscious; so am in a reasonably easy going mood when riding up the (now green) bike lane. But in the afternoon, after sitting at my desk for eight hours, I'm ready for 9th Ave. It's not a nightmare for me, but I can see how another rider would see it like that. It is some serious playing in traffic, especially in the Lincoln Tunnel to Port Authority region.
I have heard bits and drabs about the city's new Bike Rental program that is to be launched this month; I suspect the "new" bike lanes will be announced then. I'm a bit short of optimism about this, though. Changing the behavior of NYC pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists is not going to be easy, or pleasant.
07-03-12, 09:45 PM
I'm surprised this caught you by surprise. I've been riding on avenues in NYC built this way for a while now. It doesn't feel dangerouser than the other design. People don't respect the lanes very well, but they never did. Sometimes I just ring my bell continuously. Not that it helps. I oughta get one of those bells that runs off the tire.
Goodness, makes me thankful for low traffic streets without bike lanes in a very small city. I'd probably go mad in New York.
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