Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cycletracks in NYC

During my visit to NYC, I had a chance to review many of their innovative bicycle treatments. This one is at the cross street of 34th Street on 8th Avenue adjacent to Penn Station if I recall correctly.
The left hand bicycle lane works well because of the land use on this street. There is a large federal building on the west side and Penn Station (lots of pickups and dropoffs) on the east or right hand side. The treatment provides parking off of the curb lane, similar to the SW Broadway cycletrack. The person on the bike in the photo to the left is riding in the old bike lane that was striped to the right of the parking on the left hand side of the street. This is partly due to how the cycletrack was being used by a wide variety of pedestrians and people on bicycles.
NYC was more confident with the design of the cycletrack and incorporated some concrete to provide a buffer for pedestrians that we haven't.
This sort of treatment reduces the crossing distance for pedestrians and provides a possible waiting area for those that are not able to get across the entire street. It is Portland policy to allow time for people to get through the crossing, so the Walk time would be enough to permit movements through the median, so as not to confuse. A policy discussion could be had on the benefit of providing a longer Walk time as opposed to Flashing Don't Walk which restricts pedestrian entrance to the intersection. There is a certain expectation from the blind community that would suggest that some ambiguity here would not benefit their crossing movements. It is certainly less of an issue with a shorter cycle length (60 on west side of Portland, 70 on eastside) as opposed to a 90-second cycle length that NYC uses.
NYC has some of the most unruly pedestrians and they were on display using the cycletrack on occasion to avoid slower moving people on the sidewalk.
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