Grayways

Grayways-21

“A great bike network is made up of great bike routes.” — League of American Bicyclists

Summary

Grayways is a proposal calling on the NYC Departments of Transportation and Parks & Recreation to designate 500 miles of bike routes connecting city parks.  See draft NYC Council bill and resolution.

Immediate beneficiaries include NYC’s 880,000 active adult cyclists and neighborhood food shops who’d see a surge in customers.  Over time, the network would be upgraded to induce a greater percentage of the public to use it.

Organizations in Support (17)

Bicycle Touring Club of North JerseyBlack Girls Do Bike: NYC, Ciclistas Latinoamericanos de New York, Empire Tri ClubFive Boro Bike Club, Huntington Bicycle Club, I Challenge Myself, InTandem Bike, Kids Ride Club, Long Island Randonneurs, Morris Area FreewheelersNew York Cycle Club, NYC VeloOutCyclingQNS Social Ride, Staten Island Bicycling Association, Team Red White & Blue

Route Characteristics 

The eighteen (18) proposed routes:

  • Aggregate NYC’s 1500 miles of bikeways and on-road bike lanes plus quiet residential streets and commercial areas that are empty on weekends (“industrial parks”)
  • Range from 20 to 45 miles in length.
  • Span the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
  • Avoid already overcrowded facilities like Central/Prospect Park Drives, Coney Island/FDR Boardwalks and Hudson Greenway.
  • Feature neighborhood food stops and points of interest.
  • Incorporate city playgrounds to provide rest stops at regular intervals.
  • Do not take parking spots, close streets nor involve the NYPD.

First Iteration

First iteration of the network can be implemented simply by hosting route GPS data on NYC.GOV websites.  This will immediately benefit the 880,000 NYC cyclists already comfortable riding in city traffic. [eg. Queens Boulevard]

As routes gain acceptance, they would be upgraded with safety improvements to induce demand across a greater percentage of city residents.

Portland Board of TransportationPortland Board of Transportation

Upgrades

On low stress roads, a standard bike lane reduces cyclist of risk of injury as much as a protected lane.  So a network comprised of low stress roads would be simpler to upgrade.

NYCDOT BIKE LANE SAFETYNew York City Department of Transportation.

Screen Shot 2022-06-27 at 11.35.14 PMAlta Planning + Design.

Resources and Precedents

UrbanTransport for London Strategic Cycling Analysis, Regional Plan Association Jamaica Bay Greenway, 1997 NYC Bicycle Master Plan, Brooklyn Greenway Initiative—Greenway AdventuresSan Francisco Slow StreetsNYC Council Intro 0291-2022 – CityWide Greenway Bill, 34th Avenue Open Street

Benefits

Extend Access to Green Space 

  • By regarding the act of travel as a recreational activity, the network would blur the boundaries between parks and their environs—the objective of Parks Without Borders.

OHB Rau StHamilton Beach

  • It would showcase the $130 million invested in the Community Parks Initiative and broaden the constituency for further improvements.
  • Adding recreational capacity outside Central/Prospect Park drives, Coney Island/FDR boardwalks and Hudson Greenway will reduce overcrowding during periods of peak use.

Central Park DriveNY Times

Nationally, twice as many people bike for recreation as transportation. This infers that projects which prioritize recreational use will draw twice as many users vs. those that facilitate commuting.

Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 9.47.25 AM.png“U.S. Bicycling Participation Benchmarking Study, 2015,” People for Bikes (p.22)

  • The NYSERDA-Urban Cycling Solutions NY Cycling Census, found that “a third of respondents currently use their bikes for tourism purposes and that most are very likely to.”

Benefit Underserved Constituencies

  • Extend opportunities for exercise and recreation to residents across NYC, particularly to communities with limited access to green space.
  • Bridge transportation deserts.  Reduce household spending on travel.

nyc-bike-map-2021MTA’s seven toll bridges—none of which support bike access.  Bike map NYCDOT.

Create Jobs, Develop Local Economies

Cycle tourism added $97 billion to the U.S. economy in 2017.  Per capita, that’s $248 million per year in NYC—but that doesn’t factor the City’s 1300 mile bike grid, 20 million bike share trips and that 10% of adult residents ride regularly.

  • Enhance home values.  Smart growth studies by National Association of Realtors correlate a 5-10% increase to a homes’ proximity to bikeways.
  • Bike shops rely on recreational cycling to generate the bulk of their profits.
  • A network of attractive routes and destinations and regular rest stops will draw cyclists from Long Island, Westchester, Connecticut and  New Jersey.

IMG_2519Brookville Park

Have a Positive Effect on Climate Change

  • Grow multi-modal trips by increasing catchment and capacity of neighborhood transit hubs.  Create the safe connectors for bike share providers to site facilities.

Warren J. WellsImage Warren J. Wells

Invest in Resilient Infrastructure

  • Supplement mass transit during periods of peak use—particularly with the advent of E-Bikes which can cut travel times in half.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 4.09.33 PMMarine Parkway Bridge.  Image John T. Chiarella

Routes

“There may be nothing more frustrating for a cyclist or advocate than a bike lane to nowhere—one that ends in a dangerous roadway, or at an intimidating intersection, or only exists for a block or two.” — League of American Bicyclists

Each of the 21 routes below comprise a map (red is outbound), GPS instructions, turn-by-turn directions (“cue sheet”) and a featured food stop. Total mileage of all routes is 626.5 miles.  Their average length is 29.8 miles.

Pelham Bay - BGDB

Bronx #1 – Pelham Bay, 28.1 miles – GPScue sheet, food stops – Barino’s Market, Bronx Brewery 

Alpe D'BronxBronx #2 – Van Cortlandt, 23.7 milesGPS, cue sheet, Kingsbridge Social Club

City IslandBronx #3 – City Island, 28.0 milesGPS, cue sheet, Johnny’s Reef, Tony’s Pier

Bronx South>NorthBronx #4 ABCHarlem> Yonkers, Soundview> Mt. VernonFerry Point> Pelham

Marine Park (1)Brooklyn #1 – Marine Park, 35.4 GPS, cue sheet, FalafaLafa

Shirley ChisholmBrooklyn #2 – Shirley Chisholm, 34.8 milesGPS, cue sheet

manhattan-beach (1)Brooklyn #3 – Manhattan Beach, 19.5 milesGPS, cue sheetBrighton Beach

Canarsie PierBrooklyn #4 – Canarsie Pier, 38.7 milesGPS, cue sheet, Spumoni Gardens

#1 - Jamaica Bay Loop Queens #1 – Rockaway Beach, 28.5 miles– GPScue sheet, Uma’s

IdlewildQueens #2 – Idlewild, 40.1 miles GPScue sheet, Jamaica Breeze

Francis Lewis 1.1Queens #3 – Francis Lewis, 34.3 milesGPS, cue sheet, Tony’s Beechhurst Deli

old-howard-beach (1)Queens #4 – Hamilton Beach, 36.3 milesGPS, cue sheet, New Park Pizza

Richmond HillQueens #5 – Richmond Hill, 34.0 milesGPS, cue sheet, Singh’s Roti

Floral ParkQueens #6 – Floral Park, 37.6 miles – GPScue sheetButtercooky Bakery

#4 - Staten Island LoopStaten Island #1 – Conference House, 41.7 miles – GPScue sheet, Artisan Baker’s Group

Screen Shot 2020-04-27 at 6.08.25 PM
Staten Island #1A – Silver Lake, 7.5 miles – GPScue sheet, Flagship Brewing

SI#2 Clay PitStaten Island #2 – Clay Pit (Dirt) 45.1 miles – GPScue sheet, Mona Lisa Pizza, Annadale Bakery

bocce_1 (1)Staten Island #3 – Bloomingdale, 35.5 miles – GPScue sheet, Pio’s Bagels, Ariemma’s Italian Deli

Richmond TownStaten Island #4 – Latourette, 38.3 miles – GPScue sheet

Upgrade Strategies

  • Designate sequences of low stress streets as bike boulevards and corridors.  Reorient signs and add leading pedestrian intervals (“LPI”) at signaled intersections to minimize stopping.  Alternately, permit cyclists traveling these routes to yield vs. stop.

imagesManual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (“MUTCD”)

  • Have DOT designate bicycle-pedestrian cut-throughs to (re)connect public roads.

246 Douglas From Staten Island #4 – Latourette, mile 5.7—cut-through from Douglas to Milden

  • Reroute through parks and parking lots to bypass high stress sections.

Rockaway Blvd BypassFrom Queens #5 – Richmond Hill, mile 19.1-22.5 routes through Aqueduct Raceway and Home Depot parking lots to bypass Rockaway Boulevard.

  • Where it isn’t feasible to designate bike boulevards full time, implement it weekends in a series of Borough President-sponsored ciclovías. Rotate the routes to provide variety and reduce blowback.  Feature local merchants and food events.

IEA 10 PT PLANCar-Free Sundays to lower dependence on imported oil.  International Energy Agency.

  • Have Parks & Recreation designate playgrounds as part of the network and commit to keeping their restrooms open.
  • Organize residents in outlying neighborhoods to bike-pool to work.

1400x-1Civic Bike Commuting Research Project (CiBiC) via Bloomberg.

Press

Inflation taking bite out of infrastructure projects, Spectrum News 1, 6/22

How Paris’ cycling success built a roadmap for others, Curbed, 1/20

Deaths Expose Chaos of Central Park Loop, NY Times, 9/28/14

A6235B/S04943B calls on MTA to expand bike access across its bridges, 6/21

Grayways—New Jersey> Staten Island

Elizabeth to WhitehallElizabeth to Whitehall, 11.1 miles – 1 hour, 17 minutes cycling vs. 1 hour, 3 minutes for NJ Transit and MTA subway

Bio

Neile Weissman has organized a thousand rides for New York Cycle Club and is its current Public Relations Director.  He also heads Complete George—two hundred organizations and communities calling for expanded bike capacity across the George Washington Bridge.

NW on Bike North-South County Trailway (Bronx-Westchester-Putnam). Image Alex Lektchinov.