Tuesday, May 26, 2009

On Vacation


I won't be posting for at least two weeks... and perhaps longer.

Keep biking!

Broadway!

Broadway in Manhattan is beautiful. I strolled. I relaxed. I put my feet up. I had a snack. I even flirted with a woman (she was my wife, but whatever).

Everybody has happy (despite the slight drizzle). A worker from Duane Reade came up to us and asked why all the chairs were there. "Is there some concert." I explained it to her. "There will be no cars," she said hopefully, "like forever and ever?!"

Indeed.

But where did all those chairs come from? Brilliant. Because without the chairs, there would be no photo-op. But photo-op or not, it was nice to sit down, particularly on the lounge chairs on the north end.

But the bike lane is gone.

But I'm willing to say good-bye. It was perhaps the shittiest bike line in NYC. Even though they put in so much effort. And it was one I almost never took, given the slant of Broadway and the fact I live in Astoria.

Let the pedestrians have the area. Hopefully 6th and 7th Avenues will get nice bike lanes to make up for the loss on Broadway.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Broadway

I haven't left Astoria to see it, but I'm very exciting about keeping cars off Broadway in Manhattan!

But...

Does this also mean the end of the new Broadway bike lane? Anybody know? What's the master plan?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pulaski Bridge Speeding

I biked to Brooklyn today and took the road rather than the sidewalk over the Pulaski Bridge. On the Brooklyn side there was a cop with a radar gun. So I stopped and asked him what the average speed of cars coming down the bridge is.

"In the 50s. One hit 62."

The speed limit is 30 mph.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So what?

Midtown Cyclists Routinely Break Law.
So?
So do pedestrians.
So do cars.

The traffic laws should be different for bikes.

And I don't want to live in a place where pedestrians (or bikes) wait for the walk sign when so cars are coming.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bold

Vauban’s streets are completely “car-free” — except the main thoroughfare, where the tram to downtown Freiburg runs, and a few streets on one edge of the community. Car ownership is allowed, but there are only two places to park — large garages at the edge of the development, where a car-owner buys a space, for $40,000, along with a home.

As a result, 70 percent of Vauban’s families do not own cars, and 57 percent sold a car to move here. “When I had a car I was always tense. I’m much happier this way,” said Heidrun Walter, a media trainer and mother of two, as she walked verdant streets where the swish of bicycles and the chatter of wandering children drown out the occasional distant motor.

Vauban, completed in 2006, is an example of a growing trend in Europe, the United States and elsewhere to separate suburban life from auto use, as a component of a movement called “smart planning.”

Automobiles are the linchpin of suburbs, where middle-class families from Chicago to Shanghai tend to make their homes. And that, experts say, is a huge impediment to current efforts to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes, and thus to reduce global warming. Passenger cars are responsible for 12 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe — a proportion that is growing, according to the European Environment Agency — and up to 50 percent in some car-intensive areas in the United States.
The story in the Times.
Why can't there be one neighborhood in one city in America that is car free? For New York, I propose Astoria. But realistically, why not Governor's Island? Of course they'd have to let people live there, too. But it could be a great residential/commercial car free urban neighborhood.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

NYC Master Bike Plan and a place to drink

I'm strangely satisfied that I can finally ride in painted bike lanes for a few blocks on my commute to work (on 28th and 29th Streets). It's the first improvement to my bike commute since I moved to Astoria seven years ago.

Yesterday I biked from home to Williamsburg and then to Manhattan. You know, if you squint a bit, the NYC bike route "system" is finally starting to gel ever so slightly. You can ride in bike routes, mostly with painted bike lines, for a good chunk of the way.

It's a much more relaxing ride trusting signs and being in a bike lane.

And I think I discovered a secret route south! Cross Queensplaza on 28th St. Just head straight across. There's a light and everything. Then you can merge with Jackon Ave (avoiding the nasty part of Queensplaza) or zig zag a bit until eventually you get to 21st or 19th Street and the bridge to Brooklyn. Is it better than cutting west before the bridge? I don't know. But the streets over there are well paved and not very trafficked. And it's something new.

Also, an excellent new cocktail bar opened up in the desert of Jackson Ave. Classy but unpretentious. Great for a breather and that extra drink you don't need on the ride home from Brooklyn. Dutch Kills. 2724 Jackson Ave.