Rendering of the Broadway bike lane by Beekman Ave in Sleepy Hollow
12 Nov 2018
Dear Mayor Wray and Trustees of Sleepy Hollow, NY:
I'm following up on the feedback provided during my June 19th presentation to the Board of Trustees about the Route 9 Active Transportation study.
The Mayor rightly mentioned how curbside parking can protect people walking. Let's examine how this concept applies to the section of Broadway from the High School driveway to Bedford Rd, segment by segment.
1) High School driveway to Korean Church driveway: no sidewalk exists. If a sidewalk is created, it will likely be atop the retention pond berm, far away from the street.
2) At the Korean Church: the sidewalk is elevated, with a planting strip and retaining wall between it and the street
3) From the Korean Church to Tornello's: there's a planting strip with trees between the street and sidewalk
4) At Tornello's and the Horseman Diner: there is no parking along this stretch and the sidewalk is right next to moving cars and trucks
So, the upshot is people walking along segments 1 - 3 don't need parked cars for protection, while in segment 4 implementing a bike lane would create protection.
I was surprised that my wise colleague Jeff Speck would pit two disadvantaged groups (people who walk and people who bike) against each other. So I dropped him a line.
He mentioned "this is the one bit of Walkable City that I now regret a bit." Jeff continued, "sometimes a bike lane is a better choice than a parking lane for a main street." Regarding protection, he concluded, "a properly-designed bike lane can be good enough."
Jeff's new book, Walkable City Rules, includes a bike lane on the cover and some "rules" about the benefits and implementation of bike infrastructure. (Ken, I have a copy of this book for you.)
Months of Con Ed construction has eliminated parking between Beekman Ave and College St. Sometimes the whole day. Sometimes the whole night.
This situation has inadvertently provided a real world parking study for us. During the construction, everybody figured out other places to put their private vehicles. The same will happen once the bike lane is implemented.
Here's a 4 minute video about how a 2-way protected bike lane in Brooklyn made people feel safe cycling, improved things for people walking and reduced speeding. This is pretty close to what the Route 9 study is advancing in Sleepy Hollow.
This 50 second video discusses the Depeyster to Beekman stretch and includes a rendering of what the bike lane can look like. https://vimeo.com/276265921
The Netherlands, as you know, is serious about safe, clean, community oriented transportation. This 11 minute video about Nijmegen is a pretty good summary of how to do things right.
At the 3:46 mark is a segment showing how earlier public policies clogged their city with cars in the 1970's. That's where we are now policy wise.
Then Nijmegen began implementing better public polices and got dramatically better results. That's what we need to do going forward.
We can implement better transit (in collaboration with the County), better walking, better cycling infrastructure and de-prioritize access for motor vehicles. In our public spaces, cars should be guests, not the masters. More housing density in downtown will be useful too.
This is necessary for our Village to thrive, as well as for our planet to survive.
A response during the June 19 presentation mentioned people biking not obeying laws. I'm a strong advocate for people behaving politely. At the same time, it's important to keep things in perspective.
There's order and there's safety. People walking and cycling rudely are annoying. People driving rudely are dangerous, causing 242 injuries and 2 fatalities over the past 10 years in Sleepy Hollow.
We have a significant problem of people driving who speed, don't yield at crosswalks, park in crosswalks and park on sidewalks.
Here's a series of photos about that last issue: https://biketarrytown.org/sleepy-hollow-cars-blocking-sidewalks/
Failure to yield to pedestrians is rampant. Tarrytown is becoming a bright spot in this regard. TPD issued 60 summonses for this violation last year, up dramatically from 9 in 2016. Chief Barbelet mentioned he's aiming to beat White Plains this year.
For reference, WPPD gave 323 such tickets in 2017. Sleepy Hollow produced 2 in 2016 and 3 in 2017.
Subsequent to the presentation, we added three additional drawings to our recommendations document.
The link for our recommendations is still: https://biketarrytown.org/broadway-for-everybody/route-9-sleepy-hollow-committee-recommendations.pdf
Please be in touch if you have more questions or comments about the Route 9 study or other transportation policy matters.