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Leading the way: City kicks off program giving cyclists a head start at boro intersections

Let them ride: Transit gurus stood before the sign stating “cyclists use pedestrian signal” after they installed it in Boerum Hill as part of a pilot program that will allow bike riders to start pedaling through 19 Kings County intersections ahead of drivers.
Brooklyn Paper
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And they’re off!

Cyclists can now start pedaling through some Kings County intersections 10 seconds before the drivers next to them, city transit leaders announced this week at one of those junctures in Boerum Hill. The head start, which already exists for pedestrians at more than 2,000 crosswalks across the five boroughs, makes it safer for bike riders because it allows motorists to see them before they put pedal to metal, according to a local civic guru.

“It allows someone on a bike to get into a driver’s field of vision,” said Eric McClure, the head of Community Board 6’s Transportation Committee, who also runs the street-safety group StreetsPAC. “Just a significant improvement — gives pedestrians and bikers time before drivers head out.”

The Department of Transportation is installing “cyclists use pedestrian signal” signs at 19 Kings County intersections — including at Atlantic Avenue and Smith Street and along Fourth Avenue at Dean, 18th, 19th, 21st, 29th, 30th, 35th, 36th, 37th, 38th, 40th, 41st, 42nd, 43rd, 46th, 59th, 62nd, and 63rd streets — where the head starts, or so-called Leading Pedestrian Intervals, are already available to those traversing the pavement on foot. At these intersections, the walk signal for pedestrians appears seven-to-11-seconds before a red light turns green, allowing people to move before vehicle traffic starts driving in the same direction.

The Brooklyn signs giving cyclists that same advantage are among a total of 50 being rolled out at junctures across the city as part of a seven-month pilot program announced on Tuesday, during which Transportation Department bigwigs will collect data they will then use to formulate more permanent traffic-flow fixes, according to the head of the agency’s bicycle and pedestrian programs.

“We will be watching the results closely, and measuring the various impacts of the pilot to determine next steps,” said Sean Quinn.

And some statistics already prove a head start can save a life — a 2016 study found the number of fatalities dropped by more than half at intersections equipped with leading-pedestrian intervals, according to the Transportation Department, which still requires two-wheelers to yield to people on two feet in any crosswalk.

In 2017, 22 people suffered injuries in crashes at the Kings County intersections in the pilot program, five of whom were pedestrians or cyclists, according to data from the city’s Vision Zero initiative.

The Transportation Department is bringing the head starts for cyclists on Fourth Avenue as it begins to install long-awaited bike lanes on a Park Slope–to–Bay Ridge stretch of the road — from 65th Street to Atlantic Avenue in both directions — this spring.

And a local councilman — whose district includes many of the Fourth Avenue intersections where cyclists can start pedaling before motorists pump the gas, and is known to ride local streets on his own two-wheeler — cheered the launch of the program as the start of a process that he hopes will end with leading-pedestrian intervals for pedal pushers at crossings citywide.

“As an avid bike rider, I understand the dangers of bicycling in New York City, especially at intersecti­ons,” said Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D–Sunset Park), who in 2016 introduced now-stalled legislation to create similar head starts for bikers across the city. “This pilot program is a good step in the right direction. I look forward to hopefully having LPIs for bicyclists implemented permanently in New York City.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:47 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Bob from Downtown says:
A PEDESTRIAN QUESTION:

(1) Take the intersection of Atlantic at Smith as an example.

(2) People cross Smith walking on the north side of Atlantic, i.e., the sidewalk next to FedEx and the House of Detention.

(3) WHAT WILL THESE WALKERS SEE ON THE PEDESTRIAN COUNT DOWN CLOCK IN THE TEN SECONDS BEFORE THE SMITH LIGHT TURNS GREEN FOR AUTOS?

(4) Let's say the countdown clock shows 8 or 7. Won't pedestrians crossing Smith now be exposed to bikes coming across Atlantic now that the bikes have a the 10-second headstart?
March 30, 2018, 6:02 am
Astonished! from Real World! says:
Cyclists don't stop at the red lights to begin with, what difference will this make?
March 30, 2018, 7:34 am
Vision Zero from Zero Vision says:
Motorists don't stop at the red lights to begin with, what difference will this make?
You get a broad brush, and you get a broad brush, everybody gets a broad brush!
March 30, 2018, 8:03 am
zach from boerum hill says:
Vision Zero means zero vision means blind. De Blasio has zero vision, blind as a bat.
March 30, 2018, 8:14 am
Astonished! from Real World! says:
RARELY see a car not stop. OFTEN see a cyclist not stop.
March 30, 2018, 8:14 am
Vision Zero from Zero Vision says:
zach from boerum hill,

That's the point I am making. He's all talk no action and his vision zero program is a load of crap that does nothing for pedestrian/cyclist safety.
Oh look! There goes Astonished! from Real World! with those broad strokes again! I can play anecdote too:
RARELY see a cyclist not stop. OFTEN see a car not stop. This actually happened this morning.
It's safe to say Astonished! has never ridden a bike in NYC.
March 30, 2018, 8:23 am
—— DEBLASIO from ALL5BOROS says:
The mayor is an idiot. This idea is another dangerous maneuver. Bicycles go with the traffic. PERIOD.
March 30, 2018, 8:27 am
Astonished! from Real World! says:
Astonished! walks and is therefore able to observe both cars and bikes objectively.
March 30, 2018, 8:28 am
Vision Zero from Zero Vision says:
HA! Called it! I do all three.
It's funny how the people always shouting what cyclists need to do and not do have never actually ridden a bike here. This isn't directed just to Astonished! BTW.
March 30, 2018, 8:44 am
Astonished! from Real World! says:
But we've been sideswiped by them.
March 30, 2018, 8:46 am
Astonished! from Real World! says:
Stay off the sidewalks and wear visible clothing (that means not all black) while you're at it too!
March 30, 2018, 8:49 am
Vision Zero from Zero Vision says:
"But we've been sideswiped by them."
-Good thing it was a bicycle and not a dump truck.
"Stay off the sidewalks and wear visible clothing (that means not all black) while you're at it too!"
-I never ride on the sidewalk or against traffic, thank you! Clothing isn't the problem, it's lack of lights, I have about 15,000 lumens total when I ride at night. If you don't see me, it's because your face was buried in your phone.
March 30, 2018, 8:58 am
Astonished! from Real World! says:
Maybe you don't or do but many do and don't.
March 30, 2018, 9:01 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
The bodegas and delis selling flowers and devotion candles will benefit most from this.

Next up? The City council repeals the law of Unintended Consequences!
March 30, 2018, 9:07 am
Vision Zero from Zero Vision says:
Astonished!,

BROAD STROKES. I've made my point, maybe you do get it, maybe you don't.
March 30, 2018, 9:13 am
Vision Zero from Zero Vision says:
Rufus,
This does actually make cycling safer for cyclists. Anyone who has bicycled here knows the benefits of a policy like this. Don't be angry because a cyclist gets to proceed before you do, you're better than that.
March 30, 2018, 9:15 am
Tyler from pps says:
You can't expect anyone (drivers, cyclists or pedestrians) to magically act in the "best" way if the infrastructure doesn't match up to the behavior you'd like to see.

That was the case in "bicycle capitals" like Amsterdam and Copenhagen before cycling infrastructure was established.

If there is inadequate, undersized and/or badly design sidewalks and other pedestrian infrastructure -- you're just encouraging unpredictable and dangerous pedestrian behavior. Same for cycling and driving.

Take "road diets" for an example.... Overly wide, unmarked streets invite motorists to do all sorts of unpredicable things that are dangerous and clog up the flow of traffic. "Narrow" the street (like Ocean Avenue or 9th Street) and include rational turning bays, etc. and SURPRISE! traffic flows better and more safely in 1 lane in each direction rather than 1-1/2 lanes in each direction.
March 30, 2018, 9:17 am
Congestion, Pollution, Fossil Fuel from NYC says:
This will only cause more congestion, more pollution and consume more fossil fuel.

Vehicles be waiting longer means they'll be on the road longer and this equates to more vehicles on the road - more congestion, and longer idling at the stop lights and more vehicles on the road equates to more pollution and consumption of fossil fuel.

Dumb rule for a city that needs to reduce congestion, reduce pollution and reduce fossil fuel dependence.

Yea, this is Vision Zero as it lacks vision on the bigger picture.
March 30, 2018, 9:52 am
Vision Zero from Zero Vision says:
Congestion, Pollution, Fossil Fuel from NYC,

I mean c'mon man, it's in the second sentence:

"Cyclists can now start pedaling through some Kings County intersections 10 seconds before the drivers next to them"

You precious motorists will not be waiting longer. So self entitled that you didn't read past the headline.
March 30, 2018, 10:15 am
Tyler from pps says:
Congestion, Pollution, Fossil Fuel from NYC,

You probably also believe that more and bigger roads equals less congestion, right?
March 30, 2018, 10:45 am
maureen from cypress hills says:
Here's another stupid idea to make it more dangerous...Boil it down to this:
Poorly maintained roads hurt everyone. Avoiding potholes results in a swerving car/bike or someone walking in the wrong place.
Visibility IS affected by people not wearing the right clothing at night...drivers don't have super vision...add rain and visibility is key to safety
Bikes must obey the traffic regs
Pedestrians must obey the traffic regs
Drivers must obey the traffic regs...
If all 3 work together and stop blaming the other ones...safety will happen.
Forcing cars to do the same speed as a bike to make it safe only creates anger...frustrated..already bad drivers...will only get worse.
Stop the zero vision to accomplish the safety we all deserve.
March 30, 2018, 11:03 am
ty from pps says:
i can't wait for self driving bicycles
March 30, 2018, 11:54 am
Vero Zision from Sunset Park says:
Every member of my family has been struck by a cyclist failing to follow the rules of the rode, and getting away with not being responsible for the medical bills that were incurred. This changes nothing. Cyclists will continue to do whatever they want, but now they have carte blanche. Thanks for nothing.
March 30, 2018, 1:05 pm
Vision Zero from Zero Vision says:
I bet they are still alive and able to tell their story, unlike the 101 pedestrians killed in crashes in 2017 in NYC, of which a small amount received any punishment at all (Punishment averaging to a $500.00 fine). This is actual data, not an anecdote (that's probably made up for posturing).
March 30, 2018, 1:28 pm
Bob from Downtown says:
It keeps getting more dangerous out there.

In my downtown Brooklyn neighborhood the number of pedestrian/bicyclist crashes has nearly doubled in the last five years.

BIKE and PEDESTRIAN CRASHES, Precinct 84

2012 Crashes = 9 with 9 pedestrian and 2 bicyclist injuries
2013 Crashes = 8 with 8 pedestrian and 3 bicyclist injuries
2014 Crashes = 10 with 10 pedestrian and 2 bicyclist injuries
2015 Crashes = 9 with 9 pedestrian and 0 bicyclist injuries
2016 Crashes = 17 with 13 pedestrian and 6 bicyclist injuries

Source: NYC/DOT reports from 2012 to 2016
March 30, 2018, 1:34 pm
Vision Zero from Zero Vision says:
OMG Those statistics are horrifying! And not a single death just adds insult to injury.
March 30, 2018, 2:36 pm
Bob from Downtown says:
Citywide between 2012 and 2016 there were 1,552 pedestrian/bicycle crashes. 1,537 pedestrians were injured and 4 were killed. 197 bicyclists were injured and 2 were killed.
March 30, 2018, 3 pm
Tyler from pps says:
First of all... 1 to 4 is a QUADRUPLING. Talking about numbers doubling when you're looking at small numbers isn't very interesting.
March 30, 2018, 3:01 pm
Tyler from pps says:
NYPD Stats for 2016 in Brooklyn.

Crashes between Bicyclists and Pedestrians produced
* 84 pedestrian injuries
* 0 deaths
* 20 bicyclist injuries.

Crashes involving motor vehicles produced
* 3,549 pedestrian injuries (10 per day)
* 34 pedestrian deaths
* 1,827 bicyclist injuries (5 per day)
* 9 bicyclist deaths
March 30, 2018, 3:08 pm
Bob from Downtown says:
@Tyler

We have different value systems. I don't think it's good that either bicyclists or pedestrians are being injured.
March 30, 2018, 3:18 pm
Tyler from pps says:
That's very cute Bob.

I agree with that position, you might see that my 9:17am comment above supports that. Rational thinking, rather than "Oh gawd! Cyclists are hell bent on hurting us! And it's just getting worse!" (especially since the stats don't support that)
March 30, 2018, 3:32 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I feel that this has bad idea written all over it. If anything, cyclists should be following the traffic laws, not trying to get around them. This is why outside of places such as Streetsblog and Transportation Alternatives such ideas as this one are despised. Seriously, why should cyclists be allowed this head start? How about repealing the no right turn on red law for NYC? Just about everywhere else in this country motorists are allowed to make right turns on a red light as long as they made a complete stop unless there signs telling them not to yet that's not the case for here. Until then, cyclists shouldn't even be allowed to run red lights, though I still feel that they shouldn't. As for talking about those biking centers, I don't see why so many of you bike zealots don't just go move there if you like them so much, because the truth is that NYC is nothing like them especially being bigger in population than all of them combined. One other thing, just because bicycles don't cause a lot of accidents doesn't make them less dangerous, and saying this almost does remind me of how anti-Israel fanatics try to downplay the actions of Hamas in claiming that they don't kill as much the Israel Defense Force does in trying to paint them as the real terrorists without understanding what really happened. Overall, I'm really tired of bike zealots who try to play the innocent here especially with claiming that they have halos over them.
March 30, 2018, 3:43 pm
Tyler from pps says:
That was fun. Has anyone checked on the real Tal Barzilai lately? I think his mom probably took his computer privileges away.
March 30, 2018, 3:49 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Nice of you to site Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where the cyclists follow the rules, no one is racing thru the streets and zig zagging thru traffic.

We had a chance to define the étiquette of cycling in the city, but we chose anarchy instead. And yet they get more and more
privileges. What day this year is Bicycle enforcement day? Just one day a year.
March 30, 2018, 4 pm
Vero Zision from Sunset Park says:
I'm so glad my family's medical bills (quite extensive, in one case, due to a ruptured disc and a dislocated shoulder from a cyclist, thank you very much) are "anecdotes".

Cyclists are a danger, and until the police hold them responsible just like very other vehicle on the road, they're not deserving of any special treatment.
March 30, 2018, 4:07 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Hmmm.... How surprising, Rufus. It's almost like you intentionally missed the whole point I made when I referenced Amsterdam and Copenhagen.
March 30, 2018, 4:13 pm
Vision Zero from Zero Vision says:
Vero Zision from Sunset Park,

Yes, anecdotes are not data. Thanks for playing!
March 30, 2018, 4:22 pm
Vero Zision from Sunset Park says:
The facts are seven —— cyclists have injured seven members of my family (two, severely), and were not held accountable for their actions. Until you're held accountable, you're nothing but garbage. This just adds to the problem, and people like you know that.
March 30, 2018, 4:28 pm
Vision Zero from Zero Vision says:
That's rough. Your family is either very unlucky or not paying very much attention. I always pay attention when crossing the street even with the light, look both ways even when it's a one way. I don't text and walk, ever. Plus I never walk in the bike lane. I have never been hit by a cyclist, but have been hit a few times by motorists who didn't bother to look before they pulled out of space or lane change. My anecdotes are not data.
March 30, 2018, 4:45 pm
Big Jim from Prospect Park says:
Looks like we got ourselves a bad*** here with Vision Zero. *YAWN* "I never do anything wrong"-somehow, I doubt it. Please, spare us the holier-than-thou crap.
March 30, 2018, 4:48 pm
Vision Zero from Zero Vision says:
Hey Fat Jim from Prospect Park,

GFYS, nobody asked you. I follow the rules.
March 30, 2018, 4:54 pm
Frank from Furter says:
I really don't understand what you all are complaining about. These corners have advance green for pedestrians now. Nothing us being taken away from the vehicles that wasnt already. Bike riders have been using the advance green this just both recognizes and legalized what they were doing. Btw the pd are ticketing bikers for failure to yield to pedestrians too. It's really no big deal.
March 30, 2018, 8:30 pm
Bob from Downtown says:
FIXING A PROBLEM WITH THE SMITH/ATLANTIC TEST

I think there's a problem with the current test at Smith/Atlantic that has a simple solution.

DOT needs to reset the pedestrian countdown clocks for people crossing Smith so they expire 10 seconds BEFORE the cyclists on Smith get their go-ahead signal to cross Atlantic...that will give pedestrians plenty of time to clear the Smith bike path

Here's the problem right now:

(1) There are people walking on the south side of Atlantic heading east across Smith and the bike lane in the direction of the Barclays Center. The countdown clock for pedestrians is 12 seconds long

(2) Frequently there are cars, buses and trucks on Smith stopped for the red light on Atlantic. It's hard for pedestrians to look to their right around all the vehicles and see riders coming up to Atlantic in the bike lane

(3) If the pedestrians aren't all the way across Smith in 12 seconds it's likely they'll in the bike lane when the LPI go-ahead signal is showing for cyclists who are riding normally on Smith

(4) Moreover, it will be hard for cyclists to see some walkers until the last second because the line of vehicles on the riders' left will obscure their view. Slower-moving pedestrians, e.g., seniors or groups of people walking together, might suddenly appear in the bike lane
March 31, 2018, 9:30 am
Tyler from pps says:
Bob -- That was all constructive and spoke to the different ways various users experience the street. I'm a little confused. It's almost like you are recognizing that each person should be able to use the streets to go about their business and the city should be trying to improve this experience and make it safer for all, even if it means minor adjustments to the status quo for some.

That can't be right. I'm really confused.
March 31, 2018, 1:55 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I can’t stand cyclists, especially when they are black, hispanic, or asian. Vermin!
April 1, 2018, 8:38 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Another reason why I think this will be a bad idea is because of the intersecting street will still have a green light. This is really having them going into harm's way here. Then again, you can always blame the motorists even though the cyclist went on a red light. Seriously, I would find it better that cyclists just follow the traffic laws as well as have their bicycles subject to licensing, registration, and insurance just like all other vehicles do, but I know why they will never support it because this will not just make them part of the system, but they can also get tracked should they ever hit anyone when they used to get away with it.
April 2, 2018, 5:11 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
And the heavyweight champion of internet tough guys is still at it. Maybe put down the adderall and take a nap champ.
April 2, 2018, 6:22 pm
Vision Zero from Zero Vision says:
Little henry ford from Bay Ridge doesn't get any awards, he's just a punk who thinks he's a badass. They don't make awards for that, they just give you beat downs.
April 3, 2018, 8:11 am
Vision Zero from Zero Vision says:
You've been busy early this morning posting your idiotic BS under my name. I must have made a big impact on you if you spend your life chasing me on the internet. Grow up lil henry.
April 3, 2018, 9:50 am

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