Eyes on the Street: The Snow Clearance Double Standard

Heavily traveled car lanes are always a priority for snow clearance after a winter storm. The same can't be said for important links in the bike network.

Saturday’s snowfall wasn’t much of an obstacle for motorists on Columbus Avenue. But long after the car lanes were clear and dry, the protected bike lane was a sheet of white.

The cyclist in the above pic, taken at 104th Street, was one of many who chose to ride in motorized traffic instead of the snowy bike lane. Though it’s been a decade since DOT added protected bikeways to its toolkit, the city still can’t manage to consistently clear them of snow and ice. If the city fails to plow a bike lane before an extended cold snap like the one gripping New York right now, that segment of the bike network could be out of commission for days or weeks.

For the Sanitation Department, the cost of keeping the lanes passable should be minimal. “A pick-up truck with a rotating drum broom sweeper could easily average 10 miles an hour and clear all of Manhattan protected lanes in a half-day,” writes our tipster.

Making matters worse, there’s no surefire way to tell where Sanitation and DOT have cleared the bike lanes before you head out. While NYC publishes real-time GPS data so drivers can keep tabs on DSNY plows, people who bike and walk are left to guess what conditions they’ll face after a winter storm.


Eyes on the Street: The Case of the Missing Bike Lanes

The streets have been repaved. Lane striping, crosswalks, and stop bars have been added back. But there’s something missing from two streets in DOT’s bike network: bike lanes. In Williamsburg, Driggs Avenue has been repaved — but you would never know it’s a key bike connection from the Williamsburg Bridge. The street has all its stripes back except […]

Eyes on the Street: An Early Look at the Lafayette Protected Bike Lane

Crews have been making good progress on the Lafayette Street redesign [PDF], the first protected bike lane project installed by the de Blasio administration. As of yesterday, the striping work had progressed from Spring Street up past 4th Street, where Philip Winn of Project for Public Spaces snapped these photos. The Lafayette Street project will […]

Eyes on the Street: New Bike Lanes Around Union Square

DOT began installing new bike lanes leading to and around Union Square this week. The project — which will eventually include a two-way protected lane around the park’s eastern and northern edges — is not nearly complete, but fresh paint along Fourth Avenue between 12th and 15th heralds bigger changes on the way. In addition […]