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  1. #1
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    John Allen rides a NYC cycle track

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    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    man! john must get PEEVED when he's driving a car and bicyclists are in front of him slowing him down.

    I'm not excusing the clueless pedestrians. normally american car traffic serves to keep BOTH bicycles and pedestrians off the streets.....

    anyone read "how the streets were made safe for cars?" http://pricetags.wordpress.com/2008/...safe-for-cars/




    peehaps a cyclists so hell bent for speed should have been with the motor vehicle traffic. New York doesn't have a mandatory sidepath law does it?
    Last edited by Bekologist; 05-05-09 at 08:35 AM.
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    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Some of my thinking is there is a problem at least with this design putting a space for cyclists down the middle of a pedestrian space. Could this also be related to over stressing a buffered space for cyclists? Wouldn't a bike lane next to car traffic work just as well if not better and allow for easier transition between vehicular/pedestrian style cycling?
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  4. #4
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    yes, the bikelane needs to be bigger and perhaps more well designed (put the ped sitting zone next to the curb, put much wider cycletrack with partial separations like bollards, hatching, etc next to vehicle lanes) there needs to be more cyclists, there needs to be more order on NYC streets
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  5. #5
    L T X B O M P F A N S R apricissimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    man! john must get PEEVED when he's driving a car and bicyclists are in front of him slowing him down.

    I'm not excusing the clueless pedestrians. normally american car traffic serves to keep BOTH bicycles and pedestrians off the streets.....

    anyone read "how the streets were made safe for cars?" http://pricetags.wordpress.com/2008/...safe-for-cars/




    peehaps a cyclists so hell bent for speed should have been with the motor vehicle traffic. New York doesn't have a mandatory sidepath law does it?
    Hell bent for speed = greater than a walking pace?

    But anyway, this video could just be an intentional illustration of why it doesn't make sense to ride a bicycle in that particular cycle track.

  6. #6
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    my own hyperbolic humor, sorry. but johns' commentary merited it, he sounded at times safety nannyish, angry at pedestrians, overly cautious and hyperbolic in its own right IMO.

    funny at the end, how he wound up not exercising right of way for a couple of minutes, misses a clear opportunity to go, then that guy on the folder SKOOLS john on how to ride a congested intersection in NYC.

    as streetscapes in america are fluid in design, i suspect 20 years from now that streetscape will be significantly different than it is today. NYC isn't scared to 'reclaim the streets' from motor vehicle traffic.

    john interests lie in damnifying americas' still being developed 21st century cycletracks with a hidden agenda (ride like a CAR!) that unfortunately holds bicyclist modal share to sub 1 percent in this country.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 05-05-09 at 09:00 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  7. #7
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    john interests lie in damnifying americas' still being developed 21st century cycletracks with a hidden agenda (ride like a CAR!) that unfortunately holds bicyclist modal share to sub 1 percent in this country.
    Elsewhere John recently wrote about the cycle tracks that he likes in NYC. John is definitely a VC guy and his agenda is pretty far from hidden. From what I gather, he isn't against bike facilities but he does want them to have certain characteristics which I seem to recall you supporting in the past.

    The one on Broadway is pretty awful, IMO. Although John should realize that no one gets around NYC following the letter of the law.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    So John expects to move at full speed while in a bike lane... I'll bet motorists expect to drive at full speed too.

    So why is it that cycling advocates that insist that speed is a big issue for cyclists, have no qualms about delays (however minor) that they may cause to motorists... who also feel that need for speed?

    As far as bike lane courtesy... perhaps John should try employing a bell.

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    thanks for the link. As someone who rides in Manhattan frequently I found this video kind of funny and though I expected to feel less empathy for John Allen I actually understand his frustration and think to some degree it's warranted.

    It looks to me like this design is not working- I haven't ridden this stretch of bike lane- so I cannot attest first hand but yes, it obviously has problems. But obviously, as evidenced by the last intersection, so do the streets of NYC aside from the bike lanes.

    It's not necessarily the bike lane but the ignorant pedestrians who see an empty space and simply fill it. The tables etc seem to be an attractive nuisance at best- not like you'd use them mid-December but the pedestrian traffic will be only worse once the warm weather kicks in rendering the bike lane pretty useless at that point.

    When next I'm in NY I'll make a point of riding this and bring my camera. It does seem the bike lane placement is begging for some pretty serious pedestrian/bicycle conflicts and collisions.

  10. #10
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    thanks for the link. As someone who rides in Manhattan frequently I found this video kind of funny and though I expected to feel less empathy for John Allen I actually understand his frustration and think to some degree it's warranted.

    It looks to me like this design is not working- I haven't ridden this stretch of bike lane- so I cannot attest first hand but yes, it obviously has problems. But obviously, as evidenced by the last intersection, so do the streets of NYC aside from the bike lanes.

    It's not necessarily the bike lane but the ignorant pedestrians who see an empty space and simply fill it. The tables etc seem to be an attractive nuisance at best- not like you'd use them mid-December but the pedestrian traffic will be only worse once the warm weather kicks in rendering the bike lane pretty useless at that point.


    When next I'm in NY I'll make a point of riding this and bring my camera. It does seem the bike lane placement is begging for some pretty serious pedestrian/bicycle conflicts and collisions.
    Exactly... is it really a BL problem, or are pedestrians just overwhelming there?

  11. #11
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    with a street redesign, that cycletrack would be more useful for bicyclists and walked in by less peds.

    flip-flop the seating and the cycletrack, keep bollards and hatching to separate the cycletrack from the vehicle traffic.

    thoughtful deployment of cycletracks in urban areas in the US will likely take several decades to get dialed in to greatest effectiveness.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  12. #12
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Exactly... is it really a BL problem, or are pedestrians just overwhelming there?
    In designing the facility one would imagine it would make sense to take into account the mindset of the NYC pedestrian. So it's a kind of a chicken before the egg thing.

    Long before there were any bike lanes in NYC if I rode through the garment district I might very well encounter a rack full of clothes rolling down the middle of the street and somewhere in the midst of them a man pushing that rack. In Chinatown it could be a pushcart with 1/2 ton of imported goods being transported in the middle of the street. In the meatpacking district whole lambs hanging from a rack rolling down the road. On the upper West Side yuppie moms and dads with kids in strollers. It's NYC it can be a free for all. NYC is basically managed chaos.

    It seems this design does less to manage the chaos than contribute to it. Again, I haven't ridden it first hand and John Allen may very well be doing a touch of the theatrical as he rolls down Broadway. He's not a big fan of most infrastructure and he knows how to play to his demographic- there's a none too subtle sarcasm to the whole affair. He's a capable rider and knows how to ride assertively, which he doesn't particularly do in this video. It was interesting to see the guy at the end of the clip on the folding bike come into the intersection and basically take command of the intersection, cross and move through. I was so hoping he would continue in the bike lane and John would be forced to follow him as the other cyclist, perhaps, moved more deftly and assertively, through the same conditions.

  13. #13
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    That was very funny!

    John Allen getting SKOOLED by a guy on a folder taking control of the intersection.

    his artifice crumbles. lame the obstructionists continue their fight to quell (I've been trying to use r e t a r d but it gets censored despite it being a proper word) rider share with their hyperbole against design of public streetscapes with all members of the public in mind.

    did anyone read how the streets were made safe for cars?

    http://pricetags.wordpress.com/2008/...safe-for-cars/


    autocentric bicycling behaviors do not have to be the norm in america. theres' no sound reason to perpetuate autocentric road design to be the continued status quo in the USA.

    its' just a brief moment in american roadscape history. with the potential of coming restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions, i suspect to see cars getting restricted similar to how they did during the oil shortages of the 70's or just prior to the Beijing olympics- no gas for some cars on some days by license plate (70's USA) and banning days motorists could drive by plate number (beijing)
    Last edited by Bekologist; 05-05-09 at 11:45 PM.
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  14. #14
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    So John expects to move at full speed while in a bike lane... I'll bet motorists expect to drive at full speed too.
    I think that is a mis-interpretation. He expects to move as fast as if he were in a regular travel lane. Whether that is "full-speed" is another issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    It looks to me like this design is not working- I haven't ridden this stretch of bike lane- so I cannot attest first hand but yes, it obviously has problems. But obviously, as evidenced by the last intersection, so do the streets of NYC aside from the bike lanes.

    It's not necessarily the bike lane but the ignorant pedestrians who see an empty space and simply fill it. The tables etc seem to be an attractive nuisance at best- not like you'd use them mid-December but the pedestrian traffic will be only worse once the warm weather kicks in rendering the bike lane pretty useless at that point.
    We all know John is hamming it up to demonstrate a point. Personally, I think it makes the exercise somewhat disingenuous, but I understand the method for presenting an argument.

    Not that it is important, but "ignorant" doesn't strike me as the right word for describing the pedestrians.

    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Exactly... is it really a BL problem, or are pedestrians just overwhelming there?
    I don't think you can disentangle the two in any meaningful way. Pedestrians tend to behave in a certain manner. While such behavior is not fixed in perpetuity, I would argue that it is very hard to change people's inclinations given the crowded conditions in Manhattan and Broadway in general. In the end, you have a bike lane design that makes pedestrian traffic problematic.

    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    It seems this design does less to manage the chaos than contribute to it. Again, I haven't ridden it first hand and John Allen may very well be doing a touch of the theatrical as he rolls down Broadway. He's not a big fan of most infrastructure and he knows how to play to his demographic- there's a none too subtle sarcasm to the whole affair. He's a capable rider and knows how to ride assertively, which he doesn't particularly do in this video. It was interesting to see the guy at the end of the clip on the folding bike come into the intersection and basically take command of the intersection, cross and move through. I was so hoping he would continue in the bike lane and John would be forced to follow him as the other cyclist, perhaps, moved more deftly and assertively, through the same conditions.
    I agree with the highlighted statement.

    In some sense, it allows a sidewalk cyclist and pedestrians move faster than otherwise. Assuming that there is no mandatory sidepath law -- I am fairly certain this is the case, but I no longer live in NYC nor visit on a regular basis -- cyclists can still ride in the travel lane; although I suspect that riding there will subject the cyclist to more aggression than without the bike lane. But moving around NYC on the streets is generally all about aggression anyway.

    That bike lane during the holiday season and warm weather will be a nightmare.

  15. #15
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    hyperbole and artifice against human-scaled streetscapes.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  16. #16
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    The people who support a cycle track in Portland really need to watch this video to observe the consequences of such a monumentally stupid idea.

  17. #17
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    In designing the facility one would imagine it would make sense to take into account the mindset of the NYC pedestrian. So it's a kind of a chicken before the egg thing.

    Long before there were any bike lanes in NYC if I rode through the garment district I might very well encounter a rack full of clothes rolling down the middle of the street and somewhere in the midst of them a man pushing that rack. In Chinatown it could be a pushcart with 1/2 ton of imported goods being transported in the middle of the street. In the meatpacking district whole lambs hanging from a rack rolling down the road. On the upper West Side yuppie moms and dads with kids in strollers. It's NYC it can be a free for all. NYC is basically managed chaos.

    It seems this design does less to manage the chaos than contribute to it. Again, I haven't ridden it first hand and John Allen may very well be doing a touch of the theatrical as he rolls down Broadway. He's not a big fan of most infrastructure and he knows how to play to his demographic- there's a none too subtle sarcasm to the whole affair. He's a capable rider and knows how to ride assertively, which he doesn't particularly do in this video. It was interesting to see the guy at the end of the clip on the folding bike come into the intersection and basically take command of the intersection, cross and move through. I was so hoping he would continue in the bike lane and John would be forced to follow him as the other cyclist, perhaps, moved more deftly and assertively, through the same conditions.
    Yeah, I thought nearly the same thing about the guy at the end of the video... that here was someone that knew how to use the system vice complain about it.

    Along the same lines, I think John would have had to deal with a bunch of pedestrians even if he were riding in the travel lanes... but of course we never get that view.

  18. #18
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    I think that is a mis-interpretation. He expects to move as fast as if he were in a regular travel lane. Whether that is "full-speed" is another issue.
    Exactly... what is "full-speed" when one is now dealing with slow moving cars and trucks and still more pedestrians.

    However, the point I want to make is that those strictly vehicular cyclists that often tout "the speed of riding in the travel lanes" fail to realize that while they are traveling at "full-speed" they are acting as the "pedestrians" to the motorists that are also trying to move at their potential "full-speed."

    Also any vehicular cyclist that points to the advantage of cycling for moving through mixed traffic is doing so due to the fact that cyclists are so rare. If 20-30% of those pedestrians were in the travel lanes riding bikes... "full-speed" would be about what is experienced in Copenhagen and China.

    Racing through the streets like a messenger only works when you are part of a tiny minority... as cyclists in America are.

  19. #19
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    hyperbole and artifice against human-scaled streetscapes.
    Not sure what this is in response to but I think the issue is the order: ped-bike-ped-car space you can have a human scale streetscape that works a bit better with ped-bike-car space. Here is Baltimore's protected bike lane by the Inner Harbor (pic taken from the pedestrian space.)



    I will also mention that if that was me riding in that video I would be frustrated with pedestrians changing lanes without looking. It does not bother me having to slow to pass them safely.
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  20. #20
    JRA
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    Ha. That video is too funny. It should be titled, "Man goes to New York City and finds people."

    Hold the presses! There's traffic in New York. Both pedestrian and vehicular. And, to an outsider, it seems disorganized.

    I doubt the problems Allen encountered had much to do with paint on the pavement, which is about as irrelevant in New York as it is anywhere else. I don't interpret that video as an inditement of "cycle tracks."

    I'd like to know how not having lines painted on the pavement would make things better. Would that magically make the pedestrians disappear? And the cross traffic?

    Actually, the design, street furniture and all might be better than it seems at first glace (even if John Allen is right that it makes it hard to see short pedestrians like dogs hopefully on leashes).

    John Allen's seeming frustration at what seems to be normal human behavior is amusing. A cop walking in a bike lane seems pretty normal. The mystery was why a bicyclist seemed so set on riding between the lines -- must be an out-of-towner.

    It's funny to hear Allen lecturing pedestrians. If I had to bet whether it was Allen or the pedestrians who knew what they were doing, I'd put my money on the pedestrians.

    Some of the frustration and lecturing may be justified but, mostly, it's just futile.

    And is John Allen the first bicyclist ever to stop at some of those stop lines? That cracked me up, as did the schooling Allen got at the end there. Do you think that guy was as frustrated as Allen seemed to be? Too bad the teacher turned off and left Allen to get through the next intersection without blocking.

    In John Allen's defense, he had a live mike -- which tends to catch off-the-wall comments that might make some people laugh. And the teacher was familiar with the area and Allen wasn't.

    Allen's always struck me as fair-minded and having a good deal of common sense, willing to break with dogma. Even that video doesn't change that. I disagree with him on some things but some of the things he's written are quite good and I find myself agreeing with him as often as not.
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  21. #21
    genec genec's Avatar
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    The issue at hand however is that John Allen and his peer John Forester both try riding in cycle tracks, find frustration, and then declare cycle tracks ineffective.

    Locals however, as shown in the video, don't seem to have problems. So should the indictment of "cycle tracks" by frustrated vehicularists be the last word? That is roughly akin to saying that motorists are right and cyclists should never ride on the road... as it might "frustrate" someone.

  22. #22
    JRA
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    The issue at hand however is that John Allen and his peer John Forester both try riding in cycle tracks, find frustration, and then declare cycle tracks ineffective.

    Locals however, as shown in the video, don't seem to have problems. So should the indictment of "cycle tracks" by frustrated vehicularists be the last word? That is roughly akin to saying that motorists are right and cyclists should never ride on the road... as it might "frustrate" someone.
    If the video is supposed to be proof that "cycle tracks" suck then it's pretty lame. What happens on the video and, more importantly, why it happens can be interpreted in a number of different ways.

    But I don't think that's what it is. I take John Allen's video at face value, as an attempt to document a ride and record what happens without a preconcieved idea of what he wants to prove.

    John Forester is in contrast surely primarily a propagandist but I have more respect for John Allen than to lump him with JF and think that Allen's video is some kind of remake of the infamous self-test that helped earn John Forester his well-deserved reputation for intellectual dishonesty, self-delusion and lunacy.

    John Allen has more intellectual honesty than that. Surely. Perhaps he engaged in a little embellishment, exaggerating his frustration for effect-- I don't know-- but I have no reason not to give him the benefit of the doubt. There's nothing in the video that betrays a propaganda motive (although there is some editorializing).

    For all his complaining, how much was Allen really slowed down? How many seconds did he lose in that ten minute video? Compared to what? Seriously. Doesn't Allen display exactly the same "I own the road, get out of my way, you're slowing me down" kind of attitude that bicyclists are so critical of in motorists?

    It's absurd. At one point Allen yells at a pedestrian for being in the bike lane (presumably HIS bike lane) and just a few minutes later ridcules motorists for honking at pedestrians who are in the road. Oh, well, I guess consistancy is too much to ask for.

    But I don't read too much into the video. A guy rode a bicycle in New York. There's no reason that ride is more important or instructive than any number of other bicycle rides in New York. The main value of that video for me is the entertainment value. I got a couple of good laughs.
    Last edited by JRA; 05-07-09 at 03:24 AM.
    "It may even be that motoring is more healthful than not motoring; death rates were certainly higher in the pre-motoring age."- John Forester
    "Laws cannot be properly understood as if written in plain English..."- Forester defending obfuscation.
    "Motorist propaganda, continued for sixty years, is what has put cyclists on sidewalks." - Forester, sociologist in his own mind
    "'There are no rules of the road on MUPs.' -John Forester" - Helmet Head quoting 'The Great One'

  23. #23
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    All those objects and people in the way.. I'd think a speed walker's pace would be in excess of a cyclists', since pedestarians are more mobile.
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  24. #24
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    Although I was also amused at the guy's attempt to lecture pedestrians, I think the video was a pretty good illustration of why cycle tracks do not work in NYC. That track is a sidewalk extension -- it was flooded with pedestrians and very few bikes. I know there are a ton of cyclists in Manhattan, so I suspect that they were on the street, finding it a faster mode of conveyance.

    From the videos that I have seen in Amsterdam, pedestrians do not walk on the cycle tracks. Not that they wouldn't be able to -- they simply don't do it. I imagine it's just a cultural difference. Amsterdam is crowded too.

  25. #25
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chriswnw View Post
    Although I was also amused at the guy's attempt to lecture pedestrians, I think the video was a pretty good illustration of why cycle tracks do not work in NYC. That track is a sidewalk extension -- it was flooded with pedestrians and very few bikes. I know there are a ton of cyclists in Manhattan, so I suspect that they were on the street, finding it a faster mode of conveyance.

    From the videos that I have seen in Amsterdam, pedestrians do not walk on the cycle tracks. Not that they wouldn't be able to -- they simply don't do it. I imagine it's just a cultural difference. Amsterdam is crowded too.
    So the real issue is not the cycle track, it is the undiciplined pedestrians.

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