Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Dedicated Lane

With Manhattan's long and wide one-way avenues, why do we still have such congestion? The question should really be, who is actually worthy of being relieved of such congestion, and how can we alleviate just them. Let's face it, certain user of the road should be protected over others. Here are the main avenue user categories in my perspective (in no order):

Cabs (and other T&LC vehicles)
Personal Cars, Trucks & Motos
Delivery & Service Vehicles (public & private)
Emergency Vehicles
Commuter & Delivery Bicycles
Parking (and double parking!)
Construction & Maintenance Operations

How would you order them in terms of priority?

I have expressed my concerns over the lack of prioritization in the past. The following is an excerpt from a journal entry for a planning class at Pratt back in June, 2009:

"Let me elaborate on the dedicated lane, because this addresses what I believe to be the biggest problem due to congestion, and that is emergency vehicle efficiency. About two or three times a week, as I am biking to or from work right through standstill traffic (the greatest benefit for cyclists), I pass an emergency vehicle, sirens on, that cannot move because traffic is stopped and cars can’t physically pull out of the way. The effect congestion has on individual commuters, taxi cabs, busses, etc is IRRELEVANT when compared to the effect it has on emergency vehicle efficiency. If somebody has 30 minutes to get to a business meeting in Midtown West from the Upper East Side and they choose to take a cab, they will obviously be late, and that is their problem, not the public’s. They could be on time if they took the subway. Now if somebody is having a heart attack or an apartment building is on fire and the medics or firefighters cannot respond quickly, people might die. It is for this reason and this reason alone, that there should be a dedicated lane on EVERY AVENUE for emergency vehicles that can also be used for non motor vehicles (cyclists, roller bladders, skateboarders, etc) that can easily move out of the way. The lane should be between the sidewalk and the parking lane as to not causes problems when cars are trying to park. This solves the biggest problem due to congestion, that HAS YET TO BE ADEQUATELY ADDRESSED and also provides much needed resources for non-motor forms of transportation. It may not fix congestion as a whole, but it will fix the most important aspect of congestion."

The dedicated lane capable of handling an emergency vehicle has proved its worth on 9th Ave, and now the east side is embracing this idea. The MTA and DOT are trying to finalize a plan for a 1st and 2nd Ave continuos system (thanks to Caroline Samponaro of TA for passing this along):

Here's the plan

Here is one of the designs for a big portion of the UES (where they AREN'T building a subway simultaneously and for the next 10 years)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sidewalk Inlay

No bikes allowed on the sidewalk...except for here. This is a neat hardscape feature in front of Metro Bicycles on 14th between 1st and 2nd.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Brock fought the law and the..Brock won!

Bike ticket #2 has been successfully dismissed.  At a February 18th appearance at the MTA Transit Adjudication Bureau hearing in Brooklyn, my January 19th ticket for riding my bike on the Atlantic Ave 4/5 subway platform was ruled invalid because the officer had omitted the time of the offense on the ticket when originally written, then added it later, making my ticket not an exact copy of what was on file.

The hearing consisted of a 1-on-1 in a small room with an MTA judicial official who discovered the error upon reading the case background information into the tape recorder. She promptly stated the ticked was dismissed and then ended the recording without me saying a word. Afterwards, when asked if I had questions, I brought up the arguments I was planning to use, such as that the code of conduct section 1050.6a was the wrong offense, and also that the ticket said I was riding my bike on the train when it was actually the platform. The judge indicated those were also valid arguments, but the bottom line is you should probably fight any ticket you ever get because you never know.

Current Score
Brock: 2
Cops who like to give bike tickets to Brock: 0

Here are the MTA subway rules.

is some interesting insight on the TAB hearings.

Another interesting aspect of the experience was seeing a Rasta-like character in the waiting room who had coincidentally picked a relevant ticket number...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Who you callin' a parade?

Thanks to Mavro for passing this article along.

Click here for article

I hope Judge Kaplan realizes he just put himself in the category of people that blatently misunderstand the society of people who use the city streets. Forcing a group of 50 or more cyclists to file for a parade permit is ludicrous however you look at it. As long as nobody is obstructing traffic, this ruling is obscene. How about we direct our police force to real crimes like theft and assault. Even littering deserves more attention than this. Am I wrong?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dog Parking?

It's risky enough that people leave their dogs tied up to poles while they run into the store. It's even riskier to tie it to my bike.

Do people really assume that I'm perfectly content untying the stupid thing and retying it back up? Who do they think I am? Why not just tie it to the pole? What is the thought process here? Is their any?

And what are those sorry excuses for legs. This dog belongs on

Monday, February 1, 2010

Caution Note

I had just heard another moving lecture by the wonderful Majora Carter at a Macaulay event at the CUNY grad center on 5th Ave between 34th and 35th (thanks to SAS for hookin it up). As I was walking out, I saw something bothersome on my bike. At first I thought I got a ticket of some sort, or at least an angry note. But when I got closer and pulled off the yellow slip of paper, I realized it was an informative letter of caution. I found it a bit peculiar, but entertaining at least. I like the part where they encourage people to ride ugly bikes...