Archive for Transportation

Times Square Bike Lane

bike-laneAt the Seventh Avenue bike lane at Times Square, the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) has now built a part that is raised. Now the department is also constructing permanent pedestrian plazas and other enhancements to the street on Times Square. Right now though, the only part of the lane that is raised is between 45th and 46th Street. This acts as a detour for cyclists who want to use Broadway bike lane. It enables them to bypass pedestrian plazas.

According to the Department of Transport, this is just the beginning. The aim is ultimately to direct the cyclists to the eastern side of 7th. Between 46th and 47th Street, only sharrows (shared lane markings). Then, there will be a lane extension from 42nd to 46th Street. However, it seems that in NYC raised bike lanes are quite an anomaly, other than the block between Navy and Gold, by the Manhattan Bridge.

In general, cycling in New York has developed a reputation for being a somewhat dangerous activity. Nevertheless due to the difficulty and congestion of other modes of transport, it continues to be used as a popular way to get around, especially by delivery workers. Because they are known to be somewhat speedy movers, there have been many laws enacted to try to maintain driver safety over the years. For instance, in 2007 helmets became mandatory and five years thereafter it became law for “delivery cyclists to take a safety course and wear vests identifying themselves and their employers.”

Still, this issue is more related to motorbike street drivers rather than non-motor cyclists. Nonetheless, the introduction of split-phase signals – deemed by CB4 as being safer – brings with it a “doubling” of the improvement on streets that mostly received mixing zones.”

The evidence backs up CB 4’s assertion that split-phase signals are safer. Data from previous protected bike lane projects in Manhattan show that the reduction in injuries on streets that mostly received split-phase treatments was more than double the improvement on streets that mostly received mixing zones. (“C-B4 provides powerful and precise predictive analytics solutions in the simplest and most straightforward manner, going from data to predictions, recommendations and insights that can be understood and ACTED UPON by decision makers.”)

Blink and You’ll Miss it

manhattan-mapThe map of Manhattan that is. This eight-and-a-half map that dates back to 1811, drafted by John Randel Jr. to organize the future city.

Today it’s very washed out and one cannot see identify so well the “erratic character of the rural hilly island.” Between 1818 and 1820, Randel and his wife Matilda created a new map – the total antithesis of the original planned one of 1811. It is full of color and vibrancy, animated and easy to see the fascinating landscape.

This map – the Randel farm map – is today one of NYC’s “most beautiful and important – and one of the world’s most unusual,” measuring 50 feet long and 11 feet wide, it comprises 92 individual maps at a scale of 100 feet to one inch.

But most New Yorkers are not familiar with this piece of work at all. The maps are located at the office of the Manhattan Borough President. Occasionally they are looked at by an historian or surveyor. They have been digitized in recent times so that they can be looked at online but they’ve never been officially shown to the public.

….Until last week. On 17 October, the Open House New York showcased the maps in mylar covers, set on black-clothed tables and arrayed contiguously across a brightly sun-lit mezzanine at 1 Center Street, enabling New Yorkers to view them between 10am and 4pm.

This enabled New Yorkers to take a journey in a time travel back to the 19th century and see how their block used to be, topped with a marsh or the Hudson River waters….much has gone, but much remains.

Manhattan’s Mobile Movements

busManhattan is currently encountering a battle of the different mobile transportation options. This war began in San Francisco and has now migrated across state lines.

Price slashes were announced by Uber and Lyft, in an attempt to get more customers. It is therefore wise for those looking to get around Manhattan for cheap, to check up on current offers from the different companies.

It seems that right now, the three main competitors are: Gett, Uber Pool and Lyft Line. Prices average out at around $5-10 depending on when, where and how many people are in the vehicle at the same time.

Bussing Around the City, Via VIA!

busWhile it can be somewhat inefficient and time consuming to use the New York bus system, thanks to a new app called Via, there is now another option.  The user friendly app has been described as “a smarter way to get around New York,” and compared to other transportation services is cheaper, charging the traveler a mere $5 a ride.

When Via first got to New York (from Tel Aviv, Israel, where the app was launched) it was only in operation between the Upper East Side and Midtown between the morning and evening rush hours. Now it has extended its timing and its locations, from 6.45 am to 9 pm and between 32nd and 110th Streets. The first five rides cost a flat rate of $5 if the rides are pre-purchased (when they are not, the fee increases to $7).

While to date it has not been as successful as competitor Uber, this could be because it requires multiple passengers. Still, to date, many people need rides in these neighborhoods and thus the SUVs and vans that are offered through the service is doing quite well.

Taxi!

taxiNew York City’s taxi app Uber is currently on the lookout for 10 employees to join its team. The firm would like to hire: a marketing manager, operations and logistics manager, recruiter and four software engineers.

The firm is trying to “become an integral part of the transportation infrastructure of every city around the world. To help make this vision a reality, we’re rapidly growing our local engineering and operations teams right here in NYC.”

At the present time, Uber has approximately 60 employees in New York City (as well as a new office in Chelsea), rendering it a key player in the yellow taxi market.