Old 09-27-10, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by julesray View Post
Father Capodanno Boulevard, because it is the Staten Island roadway most directly exposed to heavy weather off the Atlantic, suffered a lot of damage during the particularly rough winter of 2009-2010. The heavily used road was regularly cited by borough officials in their campaign against potholes last spring.

The city Department of Transportation fixed the potholes on an ad-hoc basis, but now is engaged in an end-to-end resurfacing project on the shorefront drive.

Share Crews will be working each day this week laying down a new surface on successive segments of Capodanno from South Beach to Midland Beach.

And so by this time next week, it will be a smooth new blacktop surface once again (at least for a while. And just in time for another winter of hard weather.)

All that will remain to be done after Friday is for the DOT crews to paint lines and other markings on the new surface.

Before they do that, however, we have a suggestion for DOT officials: Lose the bike lanes.

As this page and others have pointed out repeatedly over the last several years, the bicycle lanes that the DOT insists on maintaining on Capodanno are wholly redundant.

There is already a new macadam bicycle path that runs parallel to Capodanno just a few hundred feet away right next to the boardwalk and promenade.

In fact, bicyclists can also ride on the boardwalk and promenade themselves, though they have to be careful of pedestrians.

And those bike paths too, run the entire length of Capodanno Boulevard. They also connect directly to Fort Wadsworth on the northern end and on the southern end to Miller Field at Gateway National Recreation Area.

So given that cyclists have these parallel routes available to them, there is absolutely no need to have a third designated bike lane on Capodanno itself.

It’s not just a matter of redundancy, either.

The bike paths adjacent to the boardwalk and promenade and on the boardwalk and promenade themselves allow bicyclists to ride far away from moving traffic. That’s a good thing.

The bike paths on Capodanno, meanwhile, force cyclists and drivers to interact on a street where speeding is commonplace. The bike lanes also interfere with traffic flow, especially where turning cars have to sift through bicyclists traveling straight through on Capodanno.

In some places on the road, the bike lane is also the right-turn-on-red-lane for drivers.

Not surprisingly, this has caused lots of confusion and the occasional nasty dispute between motorists and cyclists.

And frankly, except when there’s a major cycling event, there just aren’t enough cyclists who use the bike lanes on Capodanno to justify their continuation, especially under the circumstances.

The Bloomberg administration is eager to get more people onto bicycles and out of cars. We get it. But in their zeal, some city officials have gone overboard, sacrificing reasonable traffic flow and even safety in order to plant the flag for cycling on busy city streets.

In some places, that conflict may be unavoidable, at least in the eyes of city officials eager to promote cycling. But on Capodanno Boulevard, where there are already two perfectly fine routes for bicycles well away from traffic, it’s completely unnecessary.

There’s simply no reason for a third on the roadway itself, whatever symbolic signficance zealots attach to it.

It’s time for the DOT to declare an end to this flawed concept and let bicycles use the bike paths along the shoreline and cars use Capodanno Boulevard.

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mcsladek September 22, 2010 at 11:41AM

1. The Father Capodanno bike lane is intended for cyclists who wish to travel without disturbing pedestrians on the path by the boardwalk--it is for recreational riders who are training and commuters who have to make the ferry and like to go at higher speeds than a multi-use path may allow. (The same multi-use path and our access to which, I might add, that Parks Dept tried to stunt this July by stringing a fence straight across it).

2. The Father Capodanno lane also extends to a bike lane on Midland Ave, serving as a connection for cyclists, whereas the bike/ped path stops at Miller Field and does not connect to a roadway. Also, that path stretches right by the beach, where there is significantly more wind and exposure to the elements, as opposed to the lane on Father Capodanno, which by nature is shielded from the winds of the Atlantic, allegedly so strong that they cause potholes on the road (as opposed to damage caused by excessive motor vehicle use, which is likely the actual reason for the damage).

3. Cyclists and drivers do not interact on the Father Capodanno bike lane unless a driver is doing something illegal (i.e., parking in the bike lane, merging into the bike lane, driving in the bike lane). The danger is not as present as it is construed in this editorial. Even right-on-red is permitted ONLY when traffic is clear--and bicyclists are traffic as well. Drivers turning right have to wait for the cars in front of them to clear out before they can make their turn anyway. No traffic flow is sacrificed any more than if it were a regular roadway.

4. I don't know how many of the Advance staff who wrote this article stood out by the Father Capodanno bike lane and counted how many cyclists rode by, or if this is just an opinion gleaned from the windshield while driving by; either way, there is NO data to back up the claim that "not enough" cyclists use this lane to make it worthwhile. Enough do. Plenty do. I do.

5. I hardly think that this one lane is "going overboard." Staten Island hasn't enough bike lanes, in my opinion (and in the opinion of many of my peers), as we lag far behind the rest of the city in our cycling infrastructure. I also hardly think that safety and traffic flow are sacrificed with the addition of bike lanes and traffic-calming infrastructure as drastically as this editorial is trying to convince people. See Broadway, 34th St, and Union Square in Manhattan for example. Pedestrian injuries have decreased, collisions have increased, and the DOT is planning even further such measures.

6. Finally, when there are two major instances of drunk driving and excessive speeding that killed three Staten Islanders in a single week (August 28-Sept 4), more Advance space, political will, and community action needs to be devoted to curbing reckless DRIVERS, and not taking away one of the few safe, protected bike routes that cyclists have.

Keep the bike lane. Ride on it one day. You just might enjoy yourself.

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JimColl September 22, 2010 at 5:06PM

Note to the Advance's editorial writers....your statement that "the bike lane is also the right-turn-on-red-lane for drivers" is simply untrue. Section 4-08(e) of the city's traffic regulations states that it is illegal for motorists to obstruct, stand, stop or park in a bike lane. Perhaps you should read your own paper...that's where I got the information from. ("BP:Stop bike lane ticket blitz", August 15, 2009)

And anyway, you don't need to be a traffic engineer to see that removing the bike lane will do nothing but add a few feet to the width of the roadway, and it takes quite a stretch of the imagination to conclude that will increase traffic flow. It will, however, give the speeders the editorial mentions more elbow room, and make Father Capodanno more dangerous.

I also find it contradictory that the Advance's editorial writers acknowledge "speeding is commonplace" on Father Capodanno, then advocate taking away a traffic calming device (bike lane) that is intended to mitigate this speeding. That makes no sense at all.

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boris256 September 22, 2010 at 5:28PM

The Staten Island Advance editors probably don't remember the recent NYPD ticketing blitz of drivers who were illegally turning right on red by using the bike lane. Maybe another blitz is in order?

They probably also don't remember the recent closing of a portion of the multi-use path so that a catering hall could use public space for its private purposes, with no compensation to park users. This has fortunately been reversed.

Last, they probably don't remember the salt pile that appears ever winter at one of the park-and-rides along Father Capodanno, and the trucks pounding the pavement 24 hours a day bringing that salt in and out. Why say the truth when one can just blame it all on the bicyclists?

Once someone described Staten Island to me as "not a suburb of New York City, but a suburb of a different city." Staten Islanders seemingly don't want anything to do with progressive measures to improve the quality of life that has been used in the other four boroughs, as well as in New Jersey - bike and bus lanes that get people out of cars and reduce congestion; more compact development to allow for more green space; a higher-capacity road system, based on the grid rather than the cul-de-sac, that, again, reduces congestion. The Advance make it seem that Staten Islanders do truly want to be left behind in the 70's morass of strip malls and streets without sidewalks.

Well, I, for one, totally disagree with the Advance's viewpoint. I think Staten Islanders deserve clean air, streets where one can quickly get to one's destination, multiple transportation options, and interesting, lively places to live. If the editors think otherwise, they are free to move to Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, or all the other cities that are denying their citizens the things I mentioned. And I'd say good riddance to you all!

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ronmeisels September 22, 2010 at 5:35PM

This article has mistakenly placed bicyclists at fault for situations and incidences caused by a minority of selfish, reckless, and inconsiderate motorists and removing bicycle lanes would only encourage more inconsiderate driving, reckless driving, and speeding along this thoroughfare.

Yet again the rights of bicyclists are under attack and for no other reason except the idea that the roads are for automobiles only.

Bicycles are an alternate form of transportation and bicyclists have a right to travel on ANY roadway.

I do not ride very much for recreation, rather I ride most often functionally to get from point A to point B.

Accordingly, what we need on Staten Island is more dedicated bike lanes that are interconnected, marked, and with appropriate signage so that motorists will get the message that the roads are not their private speedways.

The article claims that the bike path on Father Capodanno Blvd is used infrequently by bicyclists, considering that whenever I use it I almost always see another 10 -20 cyclists traveling in either direction and since the time I am there is about 45 minutes I can easily extrapolate that 100 - 300 Bicyclists use these paths daily, In addition there are many more bicycle riders that use the path near the boardwalk for recreational bicycling. (Bicycle use is growing yearly not decreasing.)

There are a minority of motorists that drive aggressively and with a little respect for others using the public roadways, including bicyclists, pedestrians, joggers, and other motorists, in addition to many cats, dogs, turkeys, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, and other creatures. All are in danger of being run down by the motorists who show little regard what so ever for the life of anyone, anybody or anything.

The primary improvement that could be made on this roadway is the same as many other roadways where there are reckless and inconsiderate drivers who are selfish, self centered and speeding to get somewhere faster while ignoring the fact that they will be required to stop at the next red light, which often results in the speeding driver running the red lights and creating additional hazardous and life threatening conditions for community residents that are out and about.

Perhaps red light cams at EVERY intersection, or more consistent enforcement of the speed limit is in order, Also motor vehicle drivers should support designated bicycle lanes because it reduces the legal use of the main roadway by bicyclists thereby reducing accidents and interference between motorists and bicyclists. Motorists need to be educated and informed more about bike lanes and the fact that bicycle lanes are not to be use as turning lanes or double parked on or blocked for any reason that is not an emergency.

Unfortunately this includes the bike lanes in front of the 120th Police Precinct in St. George, which are most often blocked by police vehicles. The failure of our police department and other city agencies to properly respect and obey the traffic laws and the rights of bicyclists is surely noticed by many hundreds if not thousands of motorists daily and supports the case of motorists who continue to consider bicyclists as second class citizens and a nuisance to them when the reality is that responsible drivers.

Also, considering the traffic congestion problems here on Staten Island, there needs to be some real action on building a better public transportation system so that automobile use can be reduced, this would also go a long way to improving our air quality, which it is seldom mentioned, bicyclists are already contributing to.

Lastly, what is really necessary is a cultural change in some drivers attitudes and behavior so that driving is performed safely, conscientiously and with due care and consideration for all.

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mailman77777 September 22, 2010 at 6:39PM

There are signs on the boardwalk stating no bikes after I believe 10 or 11 in the morning, so your statement that they can ride there is totally wrong.
I agree with removing the bike lanes. They should also allow parking on the east side of the road. There is not enough traffic to justify having three lanes.

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mcsladek September 22, 2010 at 7:28PM

mailman- Incorrect. Cyclists cannot ride upon the boardwalk from 10 PM until 5 AM. All the more reason to allow them alternate routes.

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JimColl September 23, 2010 at 11:17AM

Another contradiction in this editorial...it claims there "aren’t enough cyclists who use the bike lanes on Capodanno", then it claims there is great danger when "turning cars have to sift through bicyclists".

If so few cyclists are using the bike lanes, where are the cyclists the cars have to 'sift through"? Fact is, bike traffic is currently so light on that road that motorists should have no problem sharing it.

I should also point out that when making a turn, motorists are required to wait til cyclists (or pedestrians, or other vehicles) have passed safely, not 'sift through them'. Why the Advance is so tolerant of the ridiculous way motorists behave on this island is beyond me. I guess drivers time is so darned important that it's too much to expect them to wait fifteen seconds for someone to get out of their way.

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gbc65 September 23, 2010 at 12:16PM

The bike lane on Fr. Cap. should be maintained and the bike lane network on SI needs to be improved and expanded. I ride the bike lanes on SI a few times a week. I commute by bike when I can. Properly marked bike lanes make riding and driving safer for all. There are many more routes that would benefit from bike lanes at no expense to vehicular traffic.

On Fr. Cap - The boardwalk lane is not suitable for anything but slow recreational riding. Other users and the rough surface make it inadequate for road/fitness riding. The multi use lane next to the boardwalk only extends from Seaview Ave to the end of the boardwalk. It is a good riding path but, to ride from Seaview to Miller field you must return to the boardwalk or Fr. Cap. As commuter routes both are useless. For commuters Hyland to Fr. Cap. to Bay St. to Front St. to the ferry is a useful bike route from the South Shore.

The current bike lanes are not connected nor do they lead to the ferry from the South Shore. The bike lane on Hylan Blvd from the Conference House is in poor shape, overgrown and pitted and ends in Annadale. From there you are on your own. This route needs to continue to Great Kills Park. A lane needs to connect GK park to Miller Field, then on to Fr Cap. A lane is also needed in both directions down Richmond Ave from Hylan Blvd thru to Richmond Terrace. On a positive note the bike lane on Railroad Ave is well done. It should be expanded past Great Kills and Dongan Hills on each end. Areas of the SI Greenbelt need to be opened up for cycling.

There are different types of bikes and cyclists of all abilities that have different needs. The sport of cycling has evolved beyond 2 wheels and pedals. More effort needs to be put forth to cultivate a cycling community and reap environmetal and health benefits in the process.

Better connections for cyclists to public transportation are needed. Most cities now have bike racks on buses. There is no direct connection for cyclists to ride to Brooklyn. A VZ bridge bike lane (never happen), bike shuttle or bus rack would open up many more cycling opportunities. Bikes are allowed on the SIRT (non peak). Try a bike commute its a great way to travel.

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reddog September 24, 2010 at 8:22AM

maybe the advance is right. we might need to create a new "super blvd of death" where cars speed up the right lane at 50 to 60 mph and if you don't see them and step off the curb, ............i think two lanes are enough. and if traffic slows people down a bit, even better.we don't need another drag strip.if its safe enough to ride a bike it is usually safe enough for people to cross the street.
mr mayor , please expand the bike lanes on staten island

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10kman September 27, 2010 at 5:42PM

This article has to be some kind of a joke, whats next , you're going to tell people smoking is good for us? So much wrong information it's shocking, no wonder i cancelled my subscription, shame on you advance

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