Bike the Big Apple

New York City does a great job of making continuous bike routes. Where bike lanes won't fit, they use shared lane pavement markings.

I’m back from New York City.  As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to take my Dahon, but use my Burley trailer and Schwinn Dutch conversion to get to and from the Milwaukee airport. That whole thing worked out quite well.  I enjoyed not having to break down the Dahon on the Milwaukee ends of my itinerary.

In this post I will simply  detail what I observed on my route from the airport to the hotel.  In future posts, I will discuss some of the new non-traditional bike facilities in New York City has been constructing in much more detail.  Friday I will have some NYC cyclechic images to share. 

These sculptures were all made from bicycle parts. They were installed by Recycle a Bicycle along the Waterfront Path.

The weather on my arrival in New York left a bit to be desired.  It varied between drizzle and downpour for my ride from LaGuardia to my hotel in SoHo. But since I was able to ride on some unique bicycle facilities, I took my time and stopped for photos so I did not miss the details. 

NYC carries the bike lane through most intersections with chevrons. Since most crashes happen at intersections, this can't hurt.

I was pleasantly surprised that getting out of and into LaGuardia was pretty easy, if not exactly bike friendly, but once on the local street grid in Queens I was greeted with the 20th Street bike lanes. I stayed on 20th all the way to the Waterfront Trail which parallels the river and Shore Blvd.   Then I headed over to Vernon Blvd., which has a buffered bike lane similar to our Water Street con figuration. I choose a route that took me over the Pulaski bridge.  It has a narrow shared use path on one side, but it works.  It also has a few nice overlooks where you can stop and sit. 

Once in Brooklyn, I headed down Franklin to the Kent Ave colored bike lanes.  These bike lanes are also separated from the motor vehicle travel lanes by parked cars.  And for one segment of the road, they were more of a two-way path.  Then it was over the fabulous Williamsburg Bridge and into Manhattan.  

The comination of wayfinding signs and pavement markings made it super easy for me to follow the bike routes without a bike map.

Other than the innovative facilities, what struck me about my route from the airport to Manhattan, was how continuous it was.  Bike lanes transitioned into shared lane pavement markings, which transitioned into trails. They even carry the bike lanes through intersections with chevrons. The wayfinding signs were also very helpful.  All these little details combined with non-standard facilities like colored bike lanes and separated bike lanes have been enough to tempt lots of New Yorkers to try riding bikes. 

I don’t have time to get into more detail here, but there will be additional future posts here about the New York trip.  The sun did come out while I was there Wednesday, so I managed to get some brighter images of these wonderful and innovative bicycle facilities.  I can’t wait to share them here, but I’ve got to get some sleep. 

Even with the rain and fog, there was a nice view along the Waterfront Trail.

Of course I had to ride over the Pulaski bridge.

If you click on the image to enlarge it and look closely at the signage and the stencil art, you can see the emphasis is on pedestrians and bicyclists sharing this narrow side path.

Colored bike lanes, bike boxes, parked cars between the motor vehicle travel lane, this street has so much innovative stuff going on it is hard to believe it is in the United States.

I have read that the Williamsburg bridge is the most heavily used bicycle and pedestrian bridge in the United States. I don't know if that is true, or Big Apple Bravado, but it doesn't seem fair that the Hoan Bridge can't compete for that title.

About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 15 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

7 thoughts on “Bike the Big Apple

  1. Very impressive. I’ve been to NYC twice, in 2003 and 2004. Very few of these bike lanes had existed at that time, in fact the only cyclists one really saw in New York were couriers. We walked the Brooklyn Bridge and there were almost no cyclists on it back then. It’s great to see the progress they’ve made.

  2. So Dave was Vernon Blvd paved? When I was there in mid Sept the street was all torn up to be repaved up by the Queens bridge. The Brooklyn bridge is also heavily traveled with bikes and mostly tourists. My bud witnessed a ped and cyclist collision due to a tourist just moving into the bike lane with a camera and 2 cyclists colliding into the ped. Is that one pic of the stencils you are trying to show the Manhattan Bridge? A friend and I walked over 4 bridges although he doesn’t count the Pulaski a real bridge. Sounds like a great trip. NYC is a great place to visit.

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