State’s First Protected Bike Lane Debuts

Christopher Peak Photo Just over a dozen cyclists took a five-mile spin together on Long Wharf for an inaugural test run on Connecticut’s first protected bike lane.

Cyclists —  some in suits, some in spandex —  were there Friday morning to fête the two-way, off-street “cycletrack” that officially opened this week.

The path, which is protected from cars by a curb, stretches for a mile down Brewery Street, near IKEA, to Long Wharf Drive. After that, the path links up with another mile of on-street bike lane, protected by delineator tubes, to the Long Wharf Nature Preserve.

Mostly hardcore enthusiasts turned up for the inaugural ride, a loop from City Hall to City Point. The improvements also target New Haven’s “potential cyclists,” the huge contingent who’ve thought about hopping on a two-wheeler for a commute or leisure ride but haven’t yet.

“It’s one of the bike amenities most effective in getting the biggest group of potential cyclists – the ‘interested but concerned’ – to take to the road,” said Melinda Tuhus, the co-organizer of Bike to Work Day, which took place Friday.

And even if that group doesn’t leave the car at home, the protected bike lanes will at least remind drivers that they need to share the road, said Matthew Feiner, owner of Devil’s Gear Bike Shop a founder of the group Elm City Cycling. “It’s so visible and so dynamic. It’s more than just a bumper sticker that says, ‘Hey, watch out for bikes,’” he explained. “For a New England city to have this, it’s unprecedented.”

Enhancing the city’s bike infrastructure is an important part of the mayor’s overarching plan to reduce barriers to employment, said Doug Hausladen, the city’s transit chief.

The civil rights issue “was, at one point, ‘Where do I sit on the bus?’ Now, it’s ‘Where does my bus go? And who’s on the bus with me?’” he said.

Likewise, Hausladen said he believes biking is important for access, even though bikers are often stereotyped as richer, more educated and whiter. “People think of it as a recreational sport, but really, when you’re out there in the neighborhoods of New Haven, you see everyone on bikes,” he said. “You see people biking to work at 3 a.m. going over to Chabaso, on James Street, to bake your bread that you’re going to eat at Atticus, where the waiter cycled in and so did the owner. For us, really trying to protect commuting options is what the protection is all about.”

The state legislature paved the way for the New Haven cycletracks with an update to state law in 2015. But two years later, city planners are still wrangling with Hartford over speed limits. Because the protected bike lane changes the geometry of Long Wharf, the state agreed to reduce the speed limit to 25 miles per hour. But elsewhere, officials haven’t seen the same slowdowns they’ve requested, Hausladen said.

Still, the city’s not braking on its plans. Up ahead, cycletracks are planned for Forbes Avenue, over the Tomlinson Bridge, and on Edgewood Avenue from Forest Road to Park Street.

Over free coffee and bagels (sponsored by Cold Spring School) near City Hall Friday, Hausladen passed out Elm City Cycle Maps, while passers-by picked up stickers, leg straps and pamphlets about Elm City Cycling’s Bike Plan.

Shortly after 9 a.m., Hausladen strapped on a neon green helmet for a test run, a group of about 16 hopped on their bikes (and one on a recumbent tricycle) to trek through Wooster Square to the waterfront.

The group “corked” intersections —  sending one rider out into the roadway to halt traffic, while the rest of the pack crossed —  and pointed out hazards, like shattered glass and deep potholes.

When the cyclists let down their kickstands back on Church Street, a senior citizen shooed them forward. The woman said she used to love biking —  “Now, I ride this,” she gestured at her walker —  but she said she worried for the riders.

“Be careful riding bikes in New Haven,” she warned. “Cars here have no respect.”

“Ain’t that the truth?” Feiner said as she walked off.

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posted by: BetweenTwoRocks on May 19, 2017  2:25pm

This is the first I’ve heard on the (much-needed) cycletrack for Forbes Ave across the bridge. Is there any more information on this? Gonna make riding to Lighthouse Point so much better.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on May 19, 2017  3:05pm

Glass in the road and on the sidewalks is a huge problem around New Haven.
What can we do about these hazards?
I don’t see street sweeping machines very often doing the roads and I’ve never seen an effort to sweep the sidewalks.
It’s not an issue as much in the downtown as it is on Chapel Street, Grand Avenue, Forbes Aveune and along Quinnipiac Avenue.
The increasing attention to safety for bike lanes is encouraging, the City has to step up its road and sidewalk
maintenance as well.

posted by: LookOut on May 19, 2017  6:34pm

I echo @betweentworocks - this is the first I’ve heard about the Tomlinson Bridge plan.  Also, does anyone have detail on the timing of the Edgewood track?  That’s a super idea - would hate to see it delayed by the recent battles for $$ between the city and state.

posted by: Noteworthy on May 19, 2017  6:45pm

Deluxe Stupidity and Arrogance Notes:

1. We did not need a deluxe bike track. A single lane or lane and a half would have been fine.

2. Hausladen and the handful of bike nazis have dubbed themselves traffic engineers that put the lives of many more people at risk.

3. The cycle track is so wide that anybody parking at Long Wharf will be opening their doors directly in the path of approaching traffic.

4. The travel lanes are too narrow for a tractor trailer and car to safely pass each other without one or the other moving into the lane of others or moving into the parking spaces.

5. The food trucks extend into the travel lanes as well.

6. This was all by design sources tell me.

7. These political decisions by someone with wet dreams of being mayor some day are ignorant and unsafe. The small cadre of bikers who collectively demand their own “safe space” and embrace this stupidity while putting others at risk is selfish and bear equal blame for the problems and lawsuits that will come.

8. Shame on Hausladen. Somebody needs to put a leash on him before the same BS happens all over the place.

posted by: wendy1 on May 20, 2017  9:18am

A great trail that runs the length of Longwharf before you get to Citypoint neighborhood although at the paved end is a dirt path less than 3 feet wide lined by plants including poison ivy which goes a quarter mile to the citypoint campus of the Sound School which leads into a city street near Shell and Bones and the waterfront restaurants nearby.  If it weren’t for the poison ivy I could bike to my favorite restaurant in 10 minutes.

posted by: wendy1 on May 20, 2017  9:28am

Dear Noteworthy—-Bikes are all over NH.  Rich and poor ride all kinds of bikes.  We have several bike businesses in town that supply a healthy lifestyle and also jobs.  Many books have been written about bikes and I suggest you read one.  New Haven has a long history with bicycle invention and use.  There are thousands of bike brands and bikes can be beautiful as art objects.  I have books of bike art.  As an old lady it is less painful for me than walking and less polluting than driving.  I rue the day I have to give up my bike (elderly can have balance problems).  Cars are killing machines really….so try a bike…and BUY LOCAL please.

posted by: wiseman12797 on May 20, 2017  12:23pm

Sometimes I wish that Long Wharf had more land. (For building and redevelopment purposes) I envision Long Wharf Drive to be a strip where there’s lots to do, but with I-95 in the way there’s pretty much nothing me or anybody can do about it. The newly installed protected cycle track serves a good purpose for bicyclists, but what good purposes can Long Wharf serve to the people there and for them to keep coming back to the area?

posted by: JCFremont on May 21, 2017  1:47pm

Never had a problem riding my bike on Long Wharf before. Understand Storm damage took out much of the path, biggest problem was getting to Long Wharf, I have to be very careful in the last industrial area left in New Haven on the east harbor area, but for years the pot holes on Water and East Streets one needed a mountain bike. Another Question are in the past thirty years has there been a train on the Forbes Avenue crossings? Has the rail line on the draw bridge ever been used, are there any planes to do so? If not how about paving it over? Until they find a way to find an easy way to link the Farmington Canal route to the water the Long Wharf trail will be underused. Seems there is a lot of room that can finding a rout rather then finding the route behind the post office.

posted by: t4nk on May 21, 2017  3:41pm

More posts, it seems like spots are already marked for them, towards the memorial end of the lane would help keep cars from parking in it.  I just saw two cars parked in the bike lane this afternoon.  Traffic was driving pretty slow through the area now that it is a tighter space for cars.

posted by: Frank Columbo on May 22, 2017  3:45am

Noteworthy for Mayor!

Mr. Hausladen just keep your Buffered Bike Lanes out of our and any apartment abundant neighborhoods.
They will degrade the Quality of Life because there are not enough reserved parking spaces at complexes at the Friendship Co-Op, the Smoothie Factory complex ect. I have commented enough on this matter and I will not get into specifics again, however I want to shout out about how the residents of Olive Street, deliberately kept in the dark about the “Pop-Up” BB Lane, by Doug H, United and Prevented this hostile take over!!!!

I caught him spewing alternative facts about Olive Street speeding. Around March or April last year the NH Independent quoted him saying that his Olive St, traffic study revealed that most drivers were in compliance with the posted 25 MPH limit. 

Hmmmm… this was about 3-4 months after Wooster Square resident Dolores Dogolo was killed crossing Olive st. I have to wonder if DH was told to say that by ????? because the official NH police report determined that driver Patricia Cofrancesco’s minimum rate of speed was a convenient 24.7 MPH yet curiously Never calculated a maximum rate of speed. Perhaps Sgt. Rose Dell can weigh in on this fact.

Fast forward to April 2016 when he does a complete 180 and now acknowledges Olive Street speeding because it’s advantageous to do so-he has a 1million dollar grant to utilize and was imposing a May Pop Up Bike Lane on Olive ST. and had the gall to exploit Dolores Dogolo’s death to advance his obsessive bike agenda.

Wendy1- Cars are killing machines and pollute. Guess you won’t be addressing the annual United Auto Workers convention any time soon. An industry that provides millions of jobs, not just factory jobs but in LOCAL communities such as dealerships, and repair shops. Cars are now being manufactured to be less polluting.

I applaud your philanthropy and engage in it myself, however some of your comments re this matter seem rather tunnel vision.

posted by: William Kurtz on May 22, 2017  6:00am

Deluxe stupidity and arrogance notes:

1. Bikes are a way to travel. Space for bikes doesn’t take over travel lanes; it creates space for travel.

2. Bike lanes in no way “make many more people unsafe.” This is a ridiculous assertion.

This is a great first step but still, much more needs to be done. It needs to be done more quickly and more comprehensively throughout the region if Connecticut cities are going to hold on to any shreds of their economic viability. To answer JCFremont’s question, ECC and others argued for years to close down or fix the rail crossing on Forbes Avenue but the Providence and Worcester Railroad claimed it was still needed. Several trains a week used it to access the port area. I am not sure whether that is still the case. After a long campaign, P&R installed a rubber flange filler in the rail grooves which made it safer to cross, but that area remains risky.

posted by: Noteworthy on May 22, 2017  8:57am

Kurtz - dont be blind. Its not “bike lanes” that make others unsafe. It is the idiotic requirement of Hausladen that the travel lanes be ridiculously narrow so that two vehicles can barely pass each other and parkers open doors into traffic. This was done to provide an overly generous two lane bike lane for the few andf the connected. This decision is arrogant, short sighted and creates a hazard where there was none.

posted by: BetweenTwoRocks on May 22, 2017  10:15am

Why do car drivers despise bicyclists so much? The entire city and state is covered in paved roads for your emission-spewing vehicles. There are ugly surface lots everywhere and several behemoths of parking garages for your precious cars. But if we get a couple of protected bike lanes it’s the end of the world?!

What an egregious offense, to encourage people to use a form of transportation that doesn’t destroy roads or contribute to global warming but instead connects us to our communities and makes us healthier.

The horror, the horror.

posted by: robn on May 22, 2017  1:41pm

Car Door Note

Any car parker who opens their door without first checking in their rear view mirror is an idiot; possibly endangering the life of cyclists and also asking for another car to tear their door/arm off.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on May 22, 2017  5:07pm

Noteworthy,
Excluding the two-way protected cycle track portion of the roadway, Long Wharf Drive is now about the same width as Chapel Street is as it passes by Wooster Square.

It might seem like common sense to you that all streets - not just highways - should have ample space for traveling cars, parking, break down shoulders, guard rails, bright lighting, generous turning radii, car door opening buffers, etc. It was thought that this kind of space allocation was necessary to ensure safety, efficiency, and convenience for drivers. This was the thinking throughout much of the 20th century, and this thinking was built into many of the standard traffic engineering design manuals created to guide the construction of new highways, and retrofitting of existing streets and roadway networks throughout the country.

There has been a growing body of scholarly and scientific research over the last 40 years, however, that has shown convincingly that the kind of traffic planning and roadway design that dominated engineering in the 20th century results in more dangerous driving conditions, induces traffic congestion, and creates a pretty bleak public realm. For a fiscal conservative, I’m surprised that you’re in favor of such generous roadway infrastructure for drivers, because public spending on roadway expansion, extension, and maintenance has an abysmal return on investment and is a contributor to long-term debt obligations for government.

We are in a moment of transition from planning solely for automobiles to planning for multi-modal travel. People will need to start getting used to infrastructure and roadway design that encourages slower, more careful driving and sharing city streets with other users.

posted by: Bill Saunders on May 22, 2017  8:48pm

Robn,

I would be less worried about idiots and more concerned with the haze of ‘mass distraction’ that will ultimately doom our species as it reaches for the cellphone…

posted by: Noteworthy on May 22, 2017  9:00pm

Hopkins: This is always the problem with you people. You take whats posted and completely exaggerate it. Chapel Street doesnt have a thimble of the truck traffic Long Wharf does. That a non-engineer would demand that a narrow residential street that few trucks by comparison traverse be the template for Ling Wharf is idiotic.  The double cycle track couldnt be one foot or 18 inches less wide in order to insure safe travels for all is lame rational.

Robn: People sometimes do dumb things. But why set them up? Was that your thinking when the lady walked into traffic on Olive and was killed?

posted by: RobotShlomo on May 22, 2017  9:03pm

<blockquote>What an egregious offense, to encourage people to use a form of transportation that doesn’t destroy roads or contribute to global warming but instead connects us to our communities and makes us healthier.<blockquote>

He said, as he typed on his phone with circuit boards filled with toxic chemicals such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic, with coal fired powered servers, built in a Foxconn factory by slave labor in China, the world’s largest polluter.  The auto industry is actually do more than you think to save the planet.

http://www.bbcamerica.com/shows/top-gear/video-extras/james-tests-honda-clarity

And if you have anything remotely made of carbon fiber on your bike or if it is made of carbon fiber, then there’s two words you should be saying to the auto industry; THANK YOU.

posted by: robn on May 22, 2017  9:57pm

ROBO

The average family of four uses 125,000,000 BTUs of gasoline annually.

In the same amount of time, each of their iPhones uses 3412 BTUs.

posted by: robn on May 22, 2017  10:04pm

My name is Dolores Dogolo Notes:

My thinking is that the last time I saw someone driving 24.07 mph on a New Haven street was like….never.

posted by: robn on May 22, 2017  10:07pm

BS,

My response to you is…hang on…mind if I take this?

posted by: Frank Columbo on May 23, 2017  2:47am

How many of those featured in this event are using the protected lane to get to work? Or was this just recreational?

Automobiles are not being rendered obsolete any time soon.  My office destination is not suitable for biking so I travel by car. Recreational destinations within our beautiful Nutmeg state are also not feasible by cycling.

The auto industry employs millions nationally and locally.  Mr. Hausladen how does the Chamber of Commerce feel about your cycle obsession?  Do you really want to market New Haven as anti-auto?

Are visitors arriving from Tweed New Haven airport going to cycle into New Haven with luggage in tow?

posted by: robn on May 23, 2017  6:37am

FRANK,

I think you’re looking at it the wrong way. More people within the core of the city riding bikes means fewer cars on the road and therefore more accommodations for tourism or those who feel that they are too far out for cycling and who can’t take transit. You can gain this achievement in a simple way; just be nice to cyclists.

posted by: BetweenTwoRocks on May 23, 2017  9:28am

I guess what RobotShlomo is trying to say, is that if you contribute at all to anything negative about the environment, you might as well just pollute the hell out of the Earth as quickly as possible. Might as well buy an old Hummer and just idle it every day, right? After all, I am typing this on a computer and motherboards are made in terrible conditions in China, and since I’m clearly a monster, there’s no need to try to do a little better by riding a bike.

I find this sort of false equivalency hilarious and a childish argument. Every little bit helps. Anything you can do to reduce your carbon footprint helps.

I can’t believe there are people out there trying to stop OTHER people from reducing their carbon footprint based on these BS arguments because of…. well, why? What’s your motivation, Robot? Just quietly seething that you still have to drive a car to work?

posted by: RobotShlomo on May 23, 2017  12:08pm

Between, I’ve seen you ask why do people hate “millennials”, take a good look at what you’ve just written, and now picture it being said by someone with an ironic handle bar mustache and drinking a kale smoothie, who then tells you “it’s not soccer it’s futbol, drinking PBR makes me feel in touch with the working man, and I don’t watch TV because it’s a waste of time, oh by the way I just watched season one of The Wire on Netflix, it’s not TV because it’s streaming so that’s different, you wouldn’t understand”. This whole condescending attitude of “my poop doesn’t stink, and I’m going to tell you how much it doesn’t stink because I’m such a morally superior person than you are”, is what people can’t stand about Millennials. It doesn’t sway people to your side of the argument.

If you want to make your bicycle your main mode of transportation, then fine. Go for it. More power to you. However you have to realize that for some people it doesn’t work, and telling them how horrible a human being they are and how much better you are than them, isn’t helping anyone see your side of things. Don’t act like your poop doesn’t stink, because I’m sure there’s plenty of stuff that makes you look like a GIGANTIC hypocrite. I don’t seethe because I have to still have to drive. The one thing I hate about driving is the congestion, and the more people who want to use bikes equals more open road for me. And for the record if I could I’d drive 1961 Mercedes SLS as daily driver.

As Denis Leary once said, park that bus on the side of the pretentiousness turnpike, okay pal.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on May 23, 2017  1:36pm

Noteworthy, the project meets professional highway design (AASHTO Green Book) standards; if it didn’t it would have been ineligible for state and federal funding.

Reducing travel lane width slows vehicles. Vehicles moving more slowly are less likely to be involved in crashes. When they are, they cause less damage to other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists (you may have been taught in high school physics that an object’s force is proportional to the square of its velocity).

Changing road designs require changes in driver behavior, which can be particularly difficult for older drivers (FWIW, I’m 63). But streets have to be designed to work for all users, not just drivers.

posted by: wendy1 on May 23, 2017  4:09pm

Cars, bikes. trains, and planes…...we all pollute and I dont feel superior to non-bikers.  I just hate my car (which makes me feel guilty.)  I recommend TEN BILLION by Emmott if you really want to feel crushed.  With all my reading I have learned there is no guilt-free investment or product or lifestyle.  Our own bodies create pollution.  Futurists like Howard Kunstler predict it will all catch up with us in an unfortunate way however we are a “weedy species” (David Quamman) and some will survive to live off whatever land is left and it turns out New England ain’t bad for that.

posted by: Cove'd on May 23, 2017  4:43pm

well said Kevin McCarthy.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on May 23, 2017  4:48pm

Noteworthy,
The City’s designation for Long Wharf Drive is a “Local Road”, while its designation for Chapel Street in Wooster Square is “Major Road”.
http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/CityPlan/pdfs/Maps/Street_Map.pdf

For best practices of street design, see here:
https://newhavenurbanism.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/street-design-guidelines.pdf

The street width, driving, and parking lane design of Long Wharf Drive (one 10 foot wide travel lane in either direction, and 8 foot wide parallel on-street parking lanes) is designed for an Average Daily Traffic (ADT) of 15,000 vehicles driving 25-30 mph. The actual ADT of Long Wharf Drive is 10,500 vehicles per day.

We shouldn’t design our street solely around the bulkiest vehicle types. While fire trucks, ambulances, tractor trailers, and other large vehicles should be accommodated in our street designs, we need to design around the average vehicle, which is much smaller, otherwise we get lots of negative outcomes in terms of safety.
https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/91EEECA4-BA20-4F9A-A982-B72FE4E327C7/0/EmergencyResponseandStreetDesign.pdf

https://www.cnu.org/sites/default/files/Best-Practices-Emergency-Access-in-Healthy-Streets.pdf

posted by: new havener on May 23, 2017  11:48pm

BetweenTwoRocks asked “Why do car drivers despise bicyclists so much?”...well, here’s my answer…it’s that one unknown guy, that always seems to be the one riding third abreast out in the travel lane on Prospect St, WhitneyAve, and Ridge Rd, that forces drivers to break, wait, and pass, and when he perceives you to be too close for his liking, has no problem flipping the bird and yelling. That one guy ruins it for all the rest. He’s never going to be in the Tour de France, he’s never going to win.

posted by: Noteworthy on May 24, 2017  8:26am

Hopkins:

Long Wharf has a preponderance of 18 wheel trucks. One may want to design for smaller vehicles but the reality is there is a lot of trucks. And the food trucks parked along the road infringe on the narrow travel lane. HAZARD is written all over it where there was none and where a thoughtful design adding as little as a foot of space would have been wise. Wisdom however, when it comes to “safe streets” and the bike nazis is never around.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on May 24, 2017  9:55am

Noteworthy,
I had underestimated the width of Long Wharf Drives travel lanes - they are actually 11 and 12 feet wide, so the roadway is wider than Chapel Street, though the rest of the comment still pertains.