Hey, DOT — 2010 referred to as and it desires its avenue redesign again.
An Higher East Aspect neighborhood panel on Wednesday applauded the town for redesigning lethal Third Avenue — a seven-lane automobile sewer that provides no quarter for bus riders, pedestrians and cyclists — to incorporate devoted bus and bike lanes, however many members of the panel in addition to avenue security activists lamented that the plan may nonetheless be extra ”formidable.”
Why would they be complaining of an absence of ambition? For one factor, the design offered final week to be constructed subsequent 12 months is sort of an identical to what the town did on First Avenue below then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg in 2010.
Each roadways are 70 toes huge. The plan for First Avenue repurposed 22 toes for cyclists and bus riders. The plan for Third Avenue between E. 59th and E. 96th streets that was offered final week repurposes 23 toes for cyclists and bus riders (the additional non-car 12 inches are within the bus lane).
Twelve years and a bike growth later and Third Avenue will get principally what the town constructed on First and Second avenues — the place the bike lanes are already dangerously overcrowded.
Along with failing offering a very revolutionary streetscape design that included the bus and bike lane into one thing new, the town DOT didn’t even widen the sidewalks to offer pedestrians some profit.
“Widening the sidewalks is a lacking element,” stated city planner Mike Lydon, who not too long ago created renderings of what streets may appear like sooner or later — if New York Metropolis had political will (see slides beneath). “Taking another lane of site visitors to offer again to pedestrian area would have enhanced the proposal.”
The redesign received the endorsement of Group Board 8’s Transportation Committee, in addition to Higher East Aspect Council Member Keith Powers and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, however the Beep is looking on the town to go additional by including extra pedestrian area and loading zones as a way to mitigate the large spike in deliveries and congestion.
“The redesign’s dedication to expanded protected bike lanes and devoted bus lanes will flip this notably harmful stretch of the roadway right into a safer, extra environment friendly, and forward-thinking artery for all commuters on this key east-side transit hall,” Levine stated in a press release to Streetsblog. “I additionally hope the town will use this chance to establish places for badly wanted loading zones within the streetscape.”
third Ave on the Higher East Aspect is a harmful stretch—with 6 pedestrians & 1 bicycle owner killed since 2016.@NYC_DOT has proposed a redesign to make this avenue safer for all customers, and I strongly help it. (And it may be made even higher, e.g. with further pedestrian area) https://t.co/Cz3KfUDjDr
— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) October 13, 2022
The eight-foot-wide bike lane proposed for Third Avenue is 2 toes wider than those on adjoining First and Second avenues, however with the cross-hatched buffer, the room for cyclists stays 11 toes. That quantity of area has confirmed to be outdated. Automobiles and vans barely outnumber bikes, regardless of drivers getting nearly 12 occasions as a lot area, based on a Streetfilms rely final 12 months. Neighborhood residents’ seemingly insatiable tastes for supply meals fills the bike lanes with staff and commuters.
“The lesson we realized from Second Avenue [is] we’d like wider lanes,” Lydon stated.
At challenge is whether or not the Division of Transportation is actually redesigning roads to encourage a mode shift to bikes that it claims it’s searching for. Presenting a redesign plan for 2023 that’s nearly an identical to at least one offered in 2010 means that the town isn’t constructing for the town that’s claims to need, however merely for the town that it at the moment has.
Talking in a special context about Paris’s Covid-encouraged bike growth, Kate Fillin-Yeh of NACTO, the group of metropolis transportation officers, instructed Streetfilms that a part of Imaginative and prescient Zero is having the imaginative and prescient.
“One of many large issues is to construct for the volumes we would like,” she stated in a Streetfilms video. “We spend quite a lot of time constructing for the volumes we’ve got, and we find yourself with respectable, however still-not-wide-enough lanes in quite a lot of locations. … With the Paris instance, they’ve constructed for the town they need to see, they’ve prioritized and made it completely the best option to take the metro, to bike, to stroll.”
Even the design agency that helped dream up an entirely reimagined Third Avenue in New York Journal’s Curbed final 12 months was additionally cautious to embrace the town’s plans, calling them “light-touch enhancements” that may hopefully result in a extra sturdy redesign.
“The Division of Transportation’s plans for Third Avenue characterize an essential incremental step in reclaiming Manhattan’s avenues as thoroughfares for individuals slightly than arteries for site visitors,” stated David Vega-Barachowitz, affiliate principal and director of city design and the structure and design agency WXY. “These light-touch enhancements assist pave the way in which for a extra multi-modal, pedestrian-focused avenue that celebrates Third Avenue’s potential as a public area.”
Different advocates are hoping this plan is only a leaping off level for much more. Neither First nor Second avenues has been dramatically altered since being redesigned, however the metropolis did come again with revisions. On Second Avenue, DOT changed harmful mixing zones with safer offset crossings, and only in the near past crammed within the gaps within the bike lane between E. 43 and E. thirty fourth streets.
“Third Avenue wants more room for individuals and fewer area for automobiles — and DOT’s plan delivers with new bus lanes and a protected bike lane,” stated Anna Melendez, Manhattan Organizer for Transportation Options. “As this plan strikes ahead, we urge DOT to incorporate bodily safety for bike riders and pedestrians, wider sidewalks, and new loading zones to sort out harmful double-parking.”
The proposal might be heard by the total Group Board 8 on Oct. 19, and as customary and unambitious as some say the plan is, the backlash has already begun.
“It’s by no means sufficient for the bike lane individuals. Now they need two bike lanes, we had been simply getting one,” stated Andrew Tremendous, vice chairman of the E. 86th Avenue Affiliation, throughout the assembly on Wednesday. Tremendous did acknowledge the significance of protected bike lanes, however stated that there could be loads of area for all highway customers if the town really enforced its site visitors legal guidelines.
“I feel protected bike lanes are nice, safety is essential. Nevertheless, the concept of placing a protected bike lane on Third Avenue could be way more palatable if we may in some way commit to really implementing site visitors legal guidelines. Everybody’s double parking, the vans are in all places. If we implement site visitors legal guidelines there’s room for everyone,” he stated.
And that’s the place the necessity for loading zones come into play, advocates stated.
The DOT says the design is only a begin and is slated to interrupt floor subsequent 12 months, however Nick Carey, the lead engineer of the DOT’s bicycle unit, couldn’t elaborate on what these future adjustments or additions would appear like.
“I don’t assume that something we’re proposing is the top of Third Avenue, it’s not the ultimate design, the place after that, it’s all completed,” he stated.
However not like Second Avenue now, the town’s plans for Third Avenue don’t embrace putting in any bodily supplies apart from paint and plastic, a call that might have lethal penalties for pedestrians.
“We have to harden the pedestrian islands. Paint and plastic is de facto not sufficient,” stated Higher East Sider Peter Chowla. “We now have on Second Avenue curbs on these pedestrian islands and people are actually essential and actually useful to pedestrians to remain protected with rushing site visitors.”
Carey managed to seek out the silver lining within the design’s lack of extra bodily safety, like concrete or jersey obstacles.
“As a lot as I need to downplay that we’re speaking about momentary supplies like paint, that’s what that is. So nothing we’re doing would preclude additional enhancements sooner or later.” he stated.
Carey stated it’s not an “impossibility” that the town would take away one other lane of transferring site visitors from automobiles and provides it to bus riders or cyclists, however that it’s not at the moment “a part of this proposal.”
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