Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 21st, 2007 at 1:33 am
Bicycle and transportation advocates in New York City are ecstatic that their Department of Transportation plans to install a physically separated bike lane (a.k.a. “cycle track).
The news comes from Streetsblog:
“The Department of Transportation revealed plans for New York City’s first-ever physically-separated bike lane, or “cycle track,” at a Manhattan Community Board 4 meeting last night…Unlike the typical Class II on-street bike lane in which cyclists mix with motor vehicle traffic, this new design will create an exclusive path for bicycles between the sidewalk and parked cars.”
Plans also call for the 10-foot wide bike lane to have bike-only traffic signals.
Streetsblog has been at the forefront of pushing the DOT to build a cycle track. Last winter, they published a compelling film about them titled, Physically Separated Bike Lanes. So far, the film has been watched 28,814 times (including some NYC DOT officials!).
According to Streetsblog, NYC planners consulted with a Danish urban designer on the plan.
Portland has toyed with the cycle track idea for some time now and I’ve heard them come up as an option in various projects. Back in January I asked for your opinion about them.
Currently, I’m not aware of any plans to build a physically separated bike lane in Portland.
I’ve heard concerns about the safety of cycle tracks at intersections (especially collisions with right-turning cars). However, a recent study from Denmark (which I can’t find at the moment) showed that they have an overall net positive effect.
Researchers found that although the installation of a cycle track led to more collisions, they also increased the bike mode share, which decreased the overall crash rate, reduced single-occupancy motor vehicle trips, improved health, air-quality, congestion, and so on. (I will update post with link to the study ASAP).
I am impressed that NYC is taking this bold step. I hope it spurs Portland (and other cities) to do the same.