West Side Cycle Track Hits A Pothole

CDM Smith City traffic commissioners held off on clearing the way for the proposed west side two-way bike track along Edgewood from Forest Road to Park Street until they hear that the neighborhood’s alders are on board.

The $1.2 million largely state-funded dedicated cycle track along Edgewood Avenue, which would be the largest in the state, calls for creating a two-mile long, two-way cycle track from Forest Road to Park Street.

The plan had received unanimous approval from the City Plan Commission last month. Now the approval of the traffic commissioners is also required before the city can build it.

That’s because the plan calls for creating the cycle track includes improvements to pedestrian crossings and intersections, new signals specifically for bike traffic, and fixing a problem intersection at Winthrop and Edgewood avenues.

City transit chief Doug Hausladen presented to the proposal to commissioners at their regular monthly meeting last week at 1 Union Ave., seeking a vote of approval. It wasn’t forthcoming. Commissioners decided to wait a month to take a vote.

The project originated back in 2007 with traffic-calming remedies proposed for the schools along Edgewood, and has had extensive community vetting since.

Still the commissioners seemed peeved that the complex plan was being presented to them as a fait accompli. As Commissioner Stephen Garcia put it, “This the final plan?”

“Pretty close,” Hausladen replied.

Additional grants have been applied for and “we’re in the final state environmental review for that and [new] signals,” Hausladen added.

CDM Smith Commissioner Greg Smith expressed concern that the plan calls for traffic to be reduced to one lane on Edgewood near Amistad Academy. He suggested that might cause a problem during kid drop-off and pick-up times.

Hausladen replied that he continues to work with the school’s principal on implementing a bus transportation plan. Hausladen conceded at certain times, it well might be slow going for motorists at that point on Edgewood with the new cycle track. (Some neighbors have been asking the city to slow down traffic in that area, fearing for kids’ lives.)

Lengthy discussion ensued about who loses parking and who doesn’t along the route.

“Most of the houses there [at the west end of the project] have garages and driveways,” said Commissioner Donald Walker. “What happens near Troup” School?

“East of Winthrop the parking won’t get touched. There’s a lot of multi-family homes, and they need their on-street parking,” Hausladen replied.

Commissioners said they hesitate to approve without further study.

“You have all the alder support for this?” Commissioner Stephen Garcia asked.

Hausladen answered that he had not had time to get letters of support from all the alders in the affected wards, which include the Dwight, Edgewood, West River areas.

“We’re getting those next month. We can table until next month, with the alders,” he suggested.

The commissioners took him up on his offer.

Commissioner Diaz moved to table the cycle-track “until we have sufficient [alder] input.” The commissioners voted in agreement.

Contacted after the meeting, Westville Alder Adam Marchand noted that he has already publicly declared his support of the plan. Marchand said he first made sure that the design didn’t interfere with pick-up and drop-off at Edgewood School and that the details didn’t create new problems at the reconfigured end of the grassy Edgewood median “mall.”

“It looks pretty darn good right now,” Marchand said. “I’m excited about the project. For me it was always a question of execution.”

Edgewood Alder Evette Hamilton said she, too, supports the project in general, though she wants to be brought up to date on the final details so she can inform constituents. “We need traffic to slow down on Edgewood Avenue. We see accidents and near-misses” too often.

Paul Bass contributed reporting.

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posted by: BenBerkowitz on July 17, 2017  1:32pm

Please please please do not delay this any longer Board of Alders.  This is a necessary means of safety for many of us.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 17, 2017  2:03pm

This is the first time Hausladen has admitted Edgewood will go down to a single lane in front of the schools. This will cause huge delays, not small ones for anybody trying to pass through. Those buses will tie up traffic on all the side streets, along Edgewood and be a nightmare.

All so a handful of people can bike from nowhere to nowhere in deluxe style.

posted by: bnmuller on July 17, 2017  2:14pm

In response to Noteworthy: As someone who drives that portion of Edgewood every workday during rush hour, and I live just around the corner. There’s definitely not enough traffic to warrant two lanes in that portion.. the only time I need two lanes is when cars are illegally parked in the driving lane.

posted by: BetweenTwoRocks on July 17, 2017  2:16pm

I bike down Edgewood every day to work. From my house. I guess that counts as “nowhere to nowhere.”

As Jonathan Hopkins has stated, Edgewood Ave was designed for way, way more traffic than is currently on there. I bike on it all the time and it’s practically abandoned half the time. But god forbid we remove a lane near a school and inconvenience people for 30 whole minutes, we must make sure we have as many roads as humanly possible to make sure people can continue to speed dangerously around these neighborhoods, putting pedestrians and cyclists at risk.

It’s amazing that we can’t have ONE SINGLE BIKE LANE in New Haven without drivers complaining. Can you imagine the horror of having to take literally ANY OTHER ROAD DOWNTOWN.

Don’t let those cyclists tell you what to do. You’re better than Legion Avenue and George Street. You deserve ALL THE ROADS.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on July 17, 2017  2:39pm

Noteworthy,
1)Had you been at the meetings you would know that this is not the case. 2) there is currently only one travel lane in each direction in front of Edgewood. 3) one has to stop when school buses stop and maintain the same speed as them by law, so why would a single lane make a difference?

I know you fundamentally believe that biking is a niche interest group trying to get a 1up on other commuters so I won’t try to engage you in a reasonable debate beyond those three points.

The roads are travelled by cars because we have designed them for cars. Design them for bikes and people and you will see them walked and biked.

posted by: LookOut on July 17, 2017  2:44pm

Please stop the delays….Come on Doug - get the letters.

posted by: HewNaven on July 17, 2017  3:21pm

If you haven’t already jumped on the personal-motor-vehicle-hauling-your-lazy-butt-to-work trend, then you’re still a poor loser on a bicycle with no job and nothing to do, whose only purpose is to slow my commute down. Don’t you know I can speed from Westville to Downtown in 8 minutes! How dare you add an extra minute! Outrage worthy of a checklist!!

posted by: anonymous on July 17, 2017  3:25pm

After Seville added a network of cycle tracks like these, the average number of bikes used daily in the city rose from just over 6,000 to more than 70,000, in the span of a few years.  Many other cities have documented a similar impact in the year after they added a cycle track.  I think Ben is right about the road being designed for cars, so we get car traffic (though right now, except right at rush hour, the two wide lanes of Edgewood Avenue are often eerily empty for the entire length between Winthrop and downtown). Make the street more pleasant, and a lot more people will walk and bike there.

posted by: Seth Poole on July 17, 2017  4:01pm

I am with Evette Hamilton on this.  We need traffic calming measures along Edgewood Avenue and mostly near the playground.  Pat Dillon has brought this to the state level for seemingly more than a decade and was consistently told that the money wasn’t there.  Now, of all times, the money is there?  I find this difficult to believe.  Ultimately, I need to know if my street parking spaces are mine, or if they will be seized through imminent domain in favor of a bicycle track.

posted by: William Kurtz on July 17, 2017  4:17pm

It’s ridiculous that this is still ‘waiting for approval’. The wheel isn’t being reinvented here; this kind of design is used in hundreds of cities around the U.S. and the world. Some with bigger streets, some with smaller streets, some with comparably-sized streets. It’s a thoroughly vetted design in line with modern standards. It’s been in the works since 2007?!? New York City built something like 400 miles of bike lanes during the six years that Janette Sadik-Khan was traffic commissioner. New Haven can’t build two?

posted by: BenBerkowitz on July 17, 2017  4:20pm

HewNaven FTW!!!

posted by: Tim Holahan on July 17, 2017  4:33pm

My wife rides her bike on Edgewood from our house to her job downtown every day.

Weather permitting, I bike to work with our three-year-old daughter in a child seat, dropping her at daycare first. I wouldn’t ride if I thought I was putting my daughter in serious danger, but there’s no doubt that we will be safer, and that people who are afraid to ride now will be willing to do so, in a protected bike lane.

In addition, the pedestrian infrastructure improvements that this plan includes will make the neighborhoods safer and more pleasant for residents and visitors, whether or not they own a car. It’s hard for me to imagine that any alderman in touch with his or her community would oppose it.

posted by: wiseman12797 on July 17, 2017  4:33pm

I think part of the plan is to have more people ride bikes than to drive their own cars. On a street where it’s a one way and there’s two lanes of traffic, plus a few schools and playgrounds on that particular stretch of road traffic calming is very vital in that case. To the point where it’s mainly about the children’s safety, but also about drivers not speeding in a residential neighborhood where there’s tons of kids around. Better to be safe than to be sorry…

posted by: Westville voter on July 17, 2017  5:00pm

The concerns the traffic commissioners raise are legitimate and must be addressed. The area around Amistad Academy is a major problem. At present, for 30-45 minutes around the beginning and end of the school day, parked buses occupy one traffic lane. If the other lane becomes a bike lane, the street will be impassible during those times, which are busy times. This is not acceptable. It’s not even safe. If Hausladen thinks a simple conversation with the BOE will solve this, good luck with that. Been there, tried that. Incidentally, the snarling, self-righteous contempt some of the bike fanatics have exhibited in their comments here is part of the reason that many, myself included, have gone from being interested in this project to opposing it outright. The car owners aren’t the ones being uncivil and entitled in this discussion. If the city is going to invest in doing this, it has to be done right. This plan isn’t there yet. My advice to the pro-bike crowd: change your attitude and listen for a change. Not everyone who raises hard questions is a car-loving, bike-hating curmudgeon, though you are doing everything you can to make it so.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 17, 2017  5:17pm

Hausladen replied that he continues to work with the school’s principal on implementing a bus transportation plan. Hausladen conceded at certain times, it well might be slow going for motorists at that point on Edgewood with the new cycle track. (Some neighbors have been asking the city to slow down traffic in that area, fearing for kids’ lives.)

Again I should have knew,Take Back New Haven Doug Hausladen is behind this.Car owners,You better get ready to turn your car keys over to the All-Powerful totalitarian Bicycle Lobby which runs New Haven..

We are the bicycle lobby. We are coming for your parking

The bicycle lobby is everywhere. When you see a sale sign come down in your neighborhood and a U-Haul pull up, don’t think this is merely a young millennial couple who just paid five times the market value you did to buy the same sized house. That is the kind of thinking the experienced lobby groups want you to think.Those young people with one eye full of dreams and the other full of worry are none other than sleeper cells set on bringing about a calamitous revolution against your neighborhood’s character.Where once you were able to comfortably drive 45 miles per hour in a residential neighborhood full of children, we desire to shrink your street width and force you to drive according to fascist moral code known as the “speed limit.”

http://www.citypages.com/arts/we-are-the-bicycle-lobby-we-are-coming-for-your-parking/422843924

posted by: Noteworthy on July 17, 2017  5:32pm

BN Muller:

Edgewood is significantly wider than it needs to be from Forest Road to Winthrop. I drive along there every single day. From there on is much trickier and dicier. People double park - you have two schools that twice a day feeds huge traffic into that area including the side roads. When the weather is good, people forget what it’s like when there’s lots of snow on the ground and the city doesn’t plow to the curb nor do the people move their cars. The lanes get much narrower than they are now. Even so, when there is only one lane and the buses come - nightmare city. No way around it. It won’t be something minor.

Between Two Rocks:

You don’t bike to anywhere going down Edgewood unless you work in the dorms at Yale or the convenience store at Orchard. The cycle track will take you nowhere nor does it to connect to anywhere but Lower Westville. You can still peddle to your heart’s content without a two lane deluxe cycle track costing millions.

Ben:

Using your logic, we could design cow paths and then we’d have more cows too. Come on - we will never agree because streets are designed for wheeled travel whether it’s by bike or car. Cross walks and side walks are designed for walking. There is nothing that stops anybody from walking from Westville to downtown. As for bikers - you can bike just fine all the way to downtown without a designated bike path. I travel this route at least once a day. I never see more than a bike or two, this morning I saw a single runner - ironically, running in the middle of one of the two lanes. That there are more cars than bikes is not because we don’t have bike lanes. It’s because we like to drive and do. You can say this isn’t being done to accommodate the small biking community - but if it walks like a duck, it is a duck. Quack Quack.

New Haven:

It is not about slowing my commute by a minute or two. It will be far longer. If my family and profession didn’t require it, I might bike to work too. But they don’t.

posted by: Mark Oppenheimer on July 17, 2017  8:18pm

I’d like to speak to the anti-cycling, or cycling-skeptical people on this thread (e.g. Noteworthy and WestvilleVoter; as for ThreeFifths, I can’t tell if you are being serious or satirical). This city, like most American cities, is built 100% for cars. Every street is built for cars. Federal and state dollars have for about a century been poured into car infrastructure. Now, New Haven is trying to experiment with ONE, SINGLE protected bike lane and you guys complain about the “bicycle lobby.” I think you need to pull back and realize how absurd that is. Don’t worry—America will still revolve around the automobile for a long time (and hey, I have two of them). Why can’t you just say, “Yeah, let’s see what happens if one street becomes bike-friendly for a couple miles—maybe it’ll be great”? Is that so hard?

posted by: denny says on July 17, 2017  8:25pm

Those plastic white poles meant to separate the bikes from the cars will be shattered in a couple of weeks and the entire stretch of Edgewood will look terrible.

posted by: cupojoe on July 17, 2017  10:33pm

The plan looks ok, but I think you need an overpass for the people walking on sideway on the island between Edgewood in and Edgewood out? There isn’t a light or a yield sign or anything!!! Who will have the right of way?  I walk this route every day and I can tell you it’s bad enough dodging bikes on the street, now I have to worry about them in the middle of my sidewalk? By that point I’m back on my phone reading Oppenheimer or taking a selfie because I look good when I’m crossing that part of Edgewood. I’d be dead before one of those tractor trailer tub contraptions that parents have to drive their kids to daycare hit me. No thank you. I need an overpass!!!

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on July 17, 2017  10:49pm

Westville Voter and Noteworthy,
I think that the school buses are a legitimate concern. Another concern are the two westbound CTransit bus stops along Edgewood Avenue between Yale Avenue and Alden Avenue. If you look at the proposed rendering of that section (second image from the bottom in the article), you can see that buses will no longer be able to pull over into the parking lane to pick up and let off riders. Buses will need to stop in the travel lane and riders will need to cross the cycle track to board. Having said that, it’s only two bus stops, and there will be a buffer area between the travel lane and parking lane where the delineator tubes will be placed.

It’s also important for any person that advocates for something to avoid becoming an ideologue, and that includes proponents of this bike lane. I hope people can have honest discussions about this topic that doesn’t devolve into the types of divisiveness that defines much of our current political climate. I tend to agree with Mark Oppenheimer on this subject, and think its the right perspective to have when it comes to transportation planning issues. Now its also possible to agree with Mark’s point and still see problems with the specific Edgewood Avenue proposal.

As for this proposal being a multi-million dollar bike lane - that’s disingenuous. The budget is just over $1 Million and most of that is going into sidewalk improvements, pedestrian crossing improvements, and signalization to make Edgewood Avenue’s sidewalks wheelchair accessible. The bike lanes are just some paint and plastic tubes - not exactly a budget buster.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on July 17, 2017  10:53pm

Also, is it worth derailing a major infrastructure project because of some school bus timing and placement issues? It appears that Amistad Academy’s parking lots and drop-off areas are separated into two designated areas. One is in front of the school along Edgewood Avenue, while the other is on the other side facing Chapel though setback from the street. I think one is used for the elementary school while the other is used for the middle school portion of the school. Is it really impossible to coordinate it so that all the buses can be off Edgewood Avenue and in the designated drop-off areas during pick up and drop-off times? Or does it just take a little planning and coordinating?

posted by: Wyvernish on July 17, 2017  11:52pm

Depending on where I am going, I can travel from my home in Westville in my car toward downtown locations on Goffe Street, Whalley Avenue, Edgewood Avenue, George Street, or Legion Avenue. That’s quite a few options, and Edgewood is one of the least efficient because it dead ends at the Yale campus. When I am bicycling, Edgewood improves because it has less automobile traffic and has a safer scale. The proposed cycle track will improve the safety profile and encourage more bike riding, which is less expensive in operational costs and has a lower environmental impact and is associated worldwide with healthier urban living.

For those who might object to some of the tone or characterizations coming from those who bicycle, I hope that I have respectfully presented a reasoned and reasonable perspective from someone who drives and bicycles. I like that New Haven is relatively flat and compact enough for bicycle transportation to be a viable option. I like that transportation policy is evolving to better recognize and accommodate needs in shifting proportions.

posted by: robn on July 18, 2017  6:46am

Was crossing at a crosswalk near an Orange Street market, early on a weekend. Some a-hole in a minivan was coming toward me at prob 40mph. I gave him the palm down wave (slow down) he sped up and gave me the finger as he passed. Two well meaning but misguided city employees in a truck slowed down and said, ” it’s only a crosswalk,” meaning that I shouldn’t put my life at risk by challenging drivers. Only it’s not just a crosswalk; it’s my neighborhood, and I didn’t put my life at risk, the minivan driver did.
New Haven needs a BIG attitude adjustment. NW and 3/5 included.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 18, 2017  8:22am

posted by: robn on July 18, 2017 6:46am

New Haven needs a BIG attitude adjustment. NW and 3/5 included.

Give me a break.Bicyclists Are Taking Over The Streets.The Bicycle lobby who are against cars have lied continually to get their own way and will twist the facts to get what they want.What has Take back New Haven Doug Hausladen who will be mayor one day done for car owners?How about step up law enforcement on Bicyclists who break the law.

posted by: BetweenTwoRocks on July 18, 2017  9:19am

I like how I said I bike to work on Edgewood and Noteworthy called me a liar.

Gee, I don’t know why I don’t act more civil towards these children?

I work at the School of Architecture. I take Edgewood Avenue to work and Elm Street home in the evening. Plenty of people use Edgewood Avenue to get downtown to bike—it’s a far better alternative than braving Whaley Ave or Legion Ave. It’s more or less the only option going eastwards towards downtown.

I don’t TRY to dismiss car drivers’ concerns, I understand that the school will be a bit of a mess, but the sheer ridiculousness of some of these people complaining about a single lane on a single road in a city full of roads designed for drivers is totally insane and drives me up a wall. Cow Paths?! Come on. It’s pure madness arguing with these people.

The Alders, however, do support this project, and I imagine it’s going to go forward regardless of the irrational opposition of NHI comments.

I was arguing with someone on reddit about this, and they said “Well a bike lane would be fine as long as it’s totally segregated and doesn’t restrict any car traffic at all.” In other words, totally impossible. And it sums up the entire attitude of the anti-cycle trackers: If you inconvenience anybody at all, no progress can be made. That is not a way to run a city or to build a place worth living in. You are a stick in the mud meant only to stagnate progress.

Young people want to live in vibrant cities where they can bike to work rather than drive. They want to have local markets to shop at. They want to have bars and restaurants and things to do.

And yet every little thing, someone comes out and says “oh wah but what about me, I have to drive to work, this isn’t fair.”

It’s okay to admit that a plan has flaws but still try to move forward on a plan.

posted by: Ben Howell on July 18, 2017  3:57pm

I agree w/ you BetweenTwoRocks. It seems clear that if we want people to bike safely (not all people, but some people & arguably more people) we need to make a safer way to do it on the major ways people get around the city. Getting into downtown from the Westside is clearly a major axis by which people access downtown. I don’t even live on the West side of town, but it seems clear that having a way *other* than Whalley or Legion to get from West side to downtown safely makes sense. It doesn’t even take away a lesser utilized West-to-East road, it modifies & enhances it.

I would agree that issues around Amistad & bus traffic need to be addressed & modeled before the cycle-track goes in, but that hardly seems like a deal breaker.

I also honestly believe Hausladen has the best interest of the city in mind, despite nay-sayers among the peanut gallery, and there is an argument made for equity & social justice in promoting a more bike friendly city. Sorry, 3/5’s but not all bicyclists are evil gentrifiers.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 18, 2017  4:52pm

Between Two Rocks Among Others:

You people just don’t get it. I don’t like the cycle track for two reasons: It’s a waste of money and it creates problems where no problems existed before.

There are zero impediments to you biking anywhere in this city. This is a little city. This is not Seville. It’s not NYC. It’s freaking New Haven. What drives me crazy is to have this small cadre of elites, who can’t seem capable of riding a bike without a deluxe cycle track that will then cause problems for others and at great expense. If you people can’t figure out how to ride a bike on a semi vacant street without protection, I don’t know what to tell you about how to get through life. There is nothing about this cycle track that solves anything.

If Hausladen wants to do something for bikers and make it safer - get rid of the parking on Orange Street in East Rock and put in a double cycle track there. Oh wait, that’s his neighborhood and that wouldn’t go over so well - even though there are more bikers there than anywhere. He’d rather attack outposts like Long Wharf and Edgewood.

I will favor one thing: Start putting an excise tax on bicycles. Might as well get on the train.

posted by: Ben Howell on July 18, 2017  7:21pm

@Noteworthy “You people just don’t get it. I don’t like the cycle track for two reasons: It’s a waste of money and it creates problems where no problems existed before.

There are zero impediments to you biking anywhere in this city.”

I’m not sure I fully understand your unvarnished ire at cyclists. Important to the discussion are the following facts:

1) Not all cyclists are upper middle class yuppies. Bicycling, especially bicycling for commuting purposes, runs the gamut of demographics.

2) It is *not* true that there are zero impediments to cycling in New Haven. Having in lived & bicycled in several cities in America, my personal experience is that cycling is more difficult than in other cities with *more* impediments. It can always be made safer.

Regardless, if the cycle track creates some problems & costs some $$, that all-in-all is OK if the net benefit to the city is worth it. Luckily, in a democracy, we can have our voices heard to judge & weigh these priorities for our city. Also, especially given the amount of subsidized infrastructure that our city (and country) have put in for automobiles (and all the consequences that come with a car dominant & dependent culture) it seems reasonable to build subsidized infrastructure for other modes of transportation.

posted by: TheMadcap on July 18, 2017  7:25pm

“It’s a waste of money and it creates problems where no problems existed before.”

Hokay. Bye felicia

posted by: BetweenTwoRocks on July 18, 2017  10:41pm

Actually, there are plenty of impediments to biking now. Most of my friends won’t even bike on the streets of New Haven because they’re afraid of drivers. I’d say at least 50% of my cyclist friends have a story about someone hitting them in a car. So yeah, a protected bike lane would be an enormous benefit to all of those people who currently don’t feel comfortable riding because of the insanely aggressive driving.

Also, Orange Lane already has a bike lane. East Rock is doing fine. But Edgewood/Dwight/Westville? We have a bike sharrow and people still almost hit me on nearly-empty Edgewood for seemingly no reason.

It’s so silly that you can be upset about losing one lane on one road in a city full of roads.

Also, not sure what you heard, but Hausladen doesn’t live anywhere near East Rock. But given you’ve been mostly just makings things up, it’s cool. I guess we shouldn’t aspire to be a better city, we should accept our fate as “not NYC” and never have bike lanes or bike shares or anything else and accept that this is just a place for people from the surburbs to drive their cars.

Lame.

posted by: wiseman12797 on July 19, 2017  6:10am

The only problem about this is that the buses will have no space to stop to pick up people and to drop them off. It might be better if the city buses had their own lane. The bus stops should also be improved as well. Like, Maybe on one side of the street it could be a travel lane for regular vehicles, and “a parking lane.” Then on the other side there could be a protected bike lane protected by a median with plants or little trees, and then have the bus lane on the far right on the other side of the median. Just an idea I had in mind.

posted by: anonymous on July 19, 2017  10:22am

Noteworthy:

1. The city is bigger than Orange Street. Stand at Church and Chapel, or Whalley Ave, or even the Tomlinson Bridge for an hour and look at the hundreds of people who are riding a bike, who mostly appear to be men and boys of color. Seems very unlikely that people who bike in New Haven are a “small cadre of elites.”

2. The City of New Haven has a density of 7,000 people per square mile (much higher than that if you just look at central neighborhoods), and the New Haven metropolitan area has 900,000 people. Seville has a population density of 13,000 per square mile, and the urban area has 1 million people. Doesn’t seem much different.

posted by: Tim Holahan on July 19, 2017  11:47am

1. Many people drive too fast in New Haven.
2. Many people drive recklessly in New Haven.
3. There are too many pedestrian injuries and deaths in our city.
4. It would be a good thing for the city if something could be done to get drivers to stay closer to the speed limit and drive less recklessly.

Noteworthy, as a veteran, responsible New Haven driver, is it possible you disagree with any of these statements?

If you accept the truth of at least #1 and #2 (and I’ve never met a New Haven driver who didn’t), in your more compassionate moments you must see that those facts are impediments to biking on the streets.

Putting myself and my three-year-old daughter in the way of whoever decides to get behind the wheel on a given morning, without a steel cage and airbags to protect us, is sometimes a difficult decision. Statistically, I know we’re unlikely to come to harm, but it’s a lot easier to hope for the best in our car. Some people have told me I’m crazy to do it.

Many New Haveners are afraid to bike downtown because of the way some people drive. This project doesn’t remove that impediment completely, but it reduces it, and it makes it more likely that people who can will choose to bike to work, something that’s good for them, frees up parking downtown, and reduces the city’s carbon footprint.

Westville Voter, this comment thread demonstrates that there’s passion on both sides of the issue, but I think it’s unfair to say that most of us on the “pro” side aren’t listening. The issues raised are legitimate and are being addressed. It’s in no one’s interest to stop the flow of traffic; we just want that flow to be safer and more diverse.

posted by: Westville Nutmeg on July 19, 2017  12:01pm

I live in Westville and I drive down Edgewood to work.  For years I’ve held my breath as I’ve watched cars blow past crossing guards with their stop signs raised.  It happens at Edgewood School, it happens at Troup School, it happens at Amistad Academy.  I warn my children every morning not to rely on the crossing guard as they cross each day, but instead to look for themselves before they step out.  Too many times I’ve had to hold them back from a speeding car trying to make it past the guard before she’s out in the street, and it truly frightens me.  Edgewood Avenue needs traffic calming measures.

As a driver, I also know there are alternative routes through town, any number of which do not have schools along the route, including the state highways that should serve as the traffic arteries for the commuters.  Any brief delays this bicycle track causes will “nudge” some drivers to use those routes instead, routes that are more suitable to the out-of-town commuter traffic, and that will make the school crossings and residential neighborhoods safer for all.

This cycle track won’t get everyone out of their cars, but it will tempt more to try it, myself included.  Inspired by the cyclists I’ve watched over the years, and by the promise of this bicycle track, I’ve tried commuting by bicycle this month for the first time.  My door-to-door commute took just a couple minutes longer than my daily drive, and I’ve seen a true cross-section of New Haven out on its bikes.  I’ve even encountered people cycling to the New Haven train station for jobs down the coast.  A safe bike trail will increase the likelihood of more residents using it, and it should be a core element of a robust, multi-modal transportation system.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on July 19, 2017  1:54pm

Noteworthy,
I tried to give you a lifeline in my previous comment, but you’ve gone off the deep end with your most recent post. You’re the ideologue in this discussion - blinded by your own experiences and unwilling to build consensus. Also, the fact that Doug Hausladen lives in the Hill and not East Rock (he was previously the Downtown alder and lived at the corner of Crown and Park for several years) isn’t the only thing that Between Two Rocks has been right about in this comment thread.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 19, 2017  4:05pm

posted by: Tim Holahan on July 19, 2017 11:47am

1. Many people drive too fast in New Haven.
2. Many people drive recklessly in New Haven.
3. There are too many pedestrian injuries and deaths in our city.
4. It would be a good thing for the city if something could be done to get drivers to stay closer to the speed limit and drive less recklessly.

How about the cyclist who run red lights,Stop signs and cut cars off.Ride on side walks.How about the cyclists who hold on to the back of trucks for a ride.Years ago I was reading about a guy who got smashed by a cyclist racing through a red light as I was crossing at a Walking signal. I have a broken left foot, broken right clavicle, and a fractured skull. No memory of the accident or a half hour before, or 4 hours after. I will be out of work for 8 weeks and my hospital bills are already up to 10k . Because cyclists don’t have to have liability insurance and the guy has no real money or assets,He said I am now left to cover the aftermath.Also to those of you who say just drivers hate cyclists. pedestrIans do to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

posted by: William Kurtz on July 19, 2017  8:25pm

3/5,

“Years ago I was reading about a guy who got smashed by a cyclist racing
through a red light as I was crossing at a Walking signal. I have a broken
left foot, broken right clavicle, and a fractured skull. No memory of the
accident or a half hour before, or 4 hours after. I will be out of work for
8 weeks and my hospital bills are already up to 10k . Because cyclists don’t
have to have liability insurance and the guy has no real money or assets,He
said I am now left to cover the aftermath.Also to those of you who say just
drivers hate cyclists. pedestrIans do to.”

What does that even mean? I defy anyone to make sense of that word salad. Were you crossing at a walking signal? Or reading about someone who was? Who has the broken foot clavicle, and skull? Does the fact that this happened “years ago” suggest anything to you? I could pull a story from my personal network of acquaintances from the last two weeks of someone struck and injured by a car.

And as for this: <blockquote</i>“You better get ready to turn your car keys over to the All-Powerful totalitarian Bicycle Lobby which runs New Haven..”</blockquote>
I can tell you that if the bicycle lobby was “all-powerful” and “totalitarian” we wouldn’t still be arguing over a single bicycle lane.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 20, 2017  8:07am

posted by: William Kurtz on July 19, 2017 8:25pm
What does that even mean?

It means that cyclist who break motor vehicle laws get a pat on the back.Motorists get tickets.Last I looked cyclist come under motor vehicle laws.Are you saying cyclist should not follow motor vehicle laws?

Midtown Cyclists Routinely Break Law, Study Finds.

An expanded study of bicycle behavior in Midtown Manhattan has found that “a large number of cyclists routinely disobey many traffic laws.” Thirty-seven percent rode through red lights, while 28.7 percent paused to look — then ran the light. More than 10 percent rode against traffic, and fully two-thirds were riding without a helmet, a requirement for delivery workers and children under 14.Those were some of the less-than-stellar observations made in the research study [text, pdf] by Peter S. Tuckel, professor of sociology, and William Milczarski, professor of urban planning, both at Hunter College.

I have seen this here in New Haven with cyclist

And as for this: <blockquote</i>“You better get ready to turn your car keys over to the All-Powerful totalitarian Bicycle Lobby which runs New Haven..”</blockquote>
I can tell you that if the bicycle lobby was “all-powerful” and “totalitarian” we wouldn’t still be arguing over a single bicycle lane.

Give it another three years and you will see the power of the all-powerful totalitarian bicycle lobby.

posted by: William Kurtz on July 20, 2017  8:19am

3/5,

What I meant was, “what does your paragraph full of half copied-and-pasted nonsense, with its lack of attribution and its point-of-view shifts mean?” Not what’s your point, which is that the all-powerful totalitarian bicycle lobby is responsible for all of the evils in the world—except the ones that the gentrification vampires have caused.

And as for this:

An expanded study of bicycle behavior in Midtown Manhattan has found that “a large number of cyclists routinely disobey many traffic laws.” Thirty-seven percent rode through red lights, while 28.7 percent paused to look — then ran the light. More than 10 percent rode against traffic, and fully two-thirds were riding without a helmet, a requirement for delivery workers and children under 14.Those were some of the less-than-stellar observations made in the research study [text, pdf] by Peter S. Tuckel, professor of sociology, and William Milczarski, professor of urban planning, both at Hunter College.

Give me a break.

One methodological drawback: The observations were not a random sampling of all city cyclists. However, Professors Tuckel and Milczarski said the cyclists observed represented a broad cross-section of them.

The students were instructed to choose cyclists they observed within a given location on a random basis without employing subjective criteria, and they were told to remain as inconspicuous as possible. The students observed cyclists at intersections, at traffic lights and on bike lanes, and the observations were made on both weekdays and weekends and at peak and off-peak times.

A first-year statistics student can see the weakness in the structure of this survey.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on July 20, 2017  10:10am

3/5’s + Noteworthy,
What are your emails? I’d like to share with you a photo I took this morning on my walk into work? If you don’t feel comfortable posting it here you can email me ben at SeeClickFix com. The photo might just change your opinion about who all this will benefit. Or maybe it won’t…but I think you’ll want to see it nevertheless.

posted by: Westville voter on July 20, 2017  7:21pm

People are welcome to go off on tangents and call each other names, but the reality is that there are serious problems with this proposal that need to be addressed and should have been addressed long before now. If this bike track produces automotive gridlock, those who drive (still the vast, vast majority) will be rightfully outraged. Their responses will be far more vicious than the bike advocates could ever imagine. If this project fails, it will be the first and last such project in New Haven. Despite my skepticism, I don’t want that to be the case. All of this could have been avoided if Hausladen et al had done their jobs and sought broader input at the beginning of the process, rather than at the end. The mess around Amistad is entirely foreseeable. Either Hausladen did not do his homework, or he just doesn’t care. Either way, these defects cannot simply be dismissed or belittled. I would remind the bike advocates that you are asking others, who are still the majority, to make sacrifices for you. You need to check your self-righteous entitlement at the door and try to persuade rather than insult those who ask hard questions. You need to make friends. Instead, you seem determined to make enemies.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on July 20, 2017  7:55pm

Westville voter, the meetings were well attended by hundreds of people and there were many adjustments made to the plan throughout. Show up to the meetings next time. There was at least one held in each neighborhood effected.

If traffic is bad you can take Whaley or Frontage designed to be through roads not neighborhood streets or a park road. They are all yours.

posted by: Westville voter on July 20, 2017  9:13pm

Ben,  At the meeting in my neighborhood, the plan was presented as a finished product which had zero neighborhood input. Neighbors went ballistic because no consideration whatsoever had been given to the negative impacts the plan would have on their homes and businesses. The pro-bike crowd responded with astonishingly hateful, childish ad homonym attacks on the neighbors for having the audacity not to submit happily to the sacred plan. Eventually minor changes were made, but many enemies were also made, not because neighbors oppose bikes as a mode of transportation, but because we will not have an arrogant, entitled, uncivil minority dictating how we live. Why didn’t Hausladen et al do their homework and talk to the neighbors, who are all long-term, taxpaying citizens, before trying to cram this mess down our throats? The answer is simple. The bike advocate minority comes first. Hausladen et al only listen to them. The rest of us don’t merit consideration. Now we have round two. The traffic commission points out inevitable gridlock, which any competent planner would have foreseen and addressed. As I’ve said before, I was not initially opposed to this, but bad planning and behavior by the bike advocates changed my mind.  Those who have advocated for this have done irreparable harm to their cause by treating their neighbors with astonishing contempt. For this to work, the bike advocates need to shelve their arrogance and entitlement and treat others with respect. We are the majority, and many of us have invested more time and money in New Haven than the bike advocates. Unless there is a radical change in attitude and behavior, this will fail.

posted by: newhavenishome on July 20, 2017  10:16pm

Agree entirely with Westville Voter. I am completely turned off by the hostility shown to those who have rightfully questioned this plan. Furthermore, the New Haven bike crowd is NOT diverse as they like to claim. They do not represent the many elderly folk that rely on motorized transportation to bring them to doctors appts. They do not represent the single parent trying to get to work on time and to make it home before the kids. They do not care about the affect to school zones. They do not care how ugly the track will be to those that live on Edgewood Ave. The bike crowd is made up of single trendy folk, or those with small children that fit neatly into a bike seat. Frankly, it sickens me that this funding is being used to support such a limited group of folks that are on average in a much better place socially and economically than most of New Havens citizens. How could the St of CT actually even afford to do this right now in their current financial state? If anyone knows the answer to that question, please share! I am part of the majority that does not support this project. I probably should have thrown tantrums and hurled insults like the bike crowd until i got my way.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on July 20, 2017  11:31pm

Whoops! I made a mistake in my first comment. Initially the preliminary plan for the bike lane proposed to remove on-street parking on the north side of Edgewood Avenue between Yale Avenue and Alden Avenue. But there were critiques of that plan so the city went back to the drawing board and redesigned that portion of the bike lanes so that NO on-street parking was removed. I forgot about that. So my comment about the buses is no longer true - buses will continue to be able to pull off into the parking lane to pick up and let off passengers. The rendering in question that shows no north side on-street parking (second to last image in the article) is farther up Edgewood Avenue after the Q Bus has already turned onto Alden Avenue and where no on-street parking lane currently exists anyway.

So, it appears that the school bus issue is really the only major problem, but again Amistad School was designed with two off-street drop-off and pick up areas. One is along the Edgewood Avenue and the other is on the Chapel Street side off Day Street and Cofield Way. If school buses are using the travel lanes along Edgewood Avenue then it would appear that they are not properly using the off-street drop-off lanes and should start doing so instead of using travel lanes.

I have tried to enter into honest discussion several times, and have had a difficult time getting responses, so Noteworthy, Westville Voter, or newhavenishome please respond to my attempts at engaging with the issue either here is this comment forum, or in the comments of this article:
https://newhavenurbanism.org/new-haven-planning/multimodal-transportation-planning/edgewood-avenue/

posted by: TheMadcap on July 20, 2017  11:33pm

Neighbors went ballistic because no consideration whatsoever had been given to the negative impacts the plan would have on their homes and businesses.”


Which is…...
Anyways though I think the next step is to turn one of the remaining lanes into a dedicated bus lane just for more indignant outrage from people who need to go 45mph in the city

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on July 20, 2017  11:39pm

I’ve posted this before, but maybe this time I can get a response. The current lane widths, and configuration of parking and driving lanes along Edgewood Avenue has a design capacity to accommodate and average of 20,000 vehicles per day. However, only around 4,400 cars actually use Edgewood Avenue on a daily basis. What should be done in response to this fact?

A) Do nothing. Keep it exactly the way it is - speeding, double parking, 100% for automobiles - forever and ever. Also, the State is broke, so we shouldn’t spend any money on anything ever again.
B) Do something. Well what are the options? Parking and travel lane can be reduced and reconfigured to accommodate a number of things, like:

1) Turn parallel on-street parking into perpendicular parking spaces. Think Norton Street between Whalley Avenue and Goffe Street. It would more than double the amount of on-street parking and make it easier to park, though visibility is an issue.
2) Create a dedicated bus-only lane for the Q-bus. That might reduce travel times, improve safety for riders exiting and entering buses, and encourage more ridership.
3) Widen sidewalks and planting strips.
Or 4) Create a protected two-way cycle track along the entire length of Edgewood Avenue through half a dozen neighborhoods and by half a dozen schools serving all ages.

What’s so bad about deciding to do SOMETHING with Edgewood Avenue and having that something be dedicated cycling infrastructure? Sure, doing nothing is an option, or other types of investments, but why not bike lanes?

Let’s also not forget that a substantial piece - arguably the most important and central part - of the Edgewood Avenue project is making sidewalk intersections and crossings safe, ADA accessible, and clearly marked and signalized for wheel chairs and pedestrians. The bike lanes are just a little paint and plastic tubes. The funding is coming from the State’s Community Connectivity Program, which likely would not fund #1 and 3 above.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on July 20, 2017  11:45pm

Sorry, one more post! That rendering I kept referring to shows the intersection of Alden and Edgewood, so there would be one bus stop along the Q Route that would need to stop in the travel lane, but perhaps that stop can be moved to just around the corner on Alden thus removing any potential conflict.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on July 21, 2017  8:25am

Westville Voter,
That is my neighborhood too. Has been for most of my 38 years. Before that it was my father’s neighborhood since 1950. I was at the meeting. That was not what happened and the plan HAS changed since the meeting.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on July 21, 2017  8:32am

@Paul B,
Maybe we could drop the name calling of ‘nuts’ and ‘brats’ from the post. It’s destroying what should be a civil conversation.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on July 21, 2017  8:40am

@JonathanHopkins, am I wrong that both Troup and Amistad have pull in pull out driveways for the buses? Isn’t the bus on street issue just a coordination problem addressable by NHPS?

Also, my understanding is that Edgewood is getting a current problem solved with this plan by a ton of parking added on Yale. I’m sure someone pointed that out above.

posted by: robn on July 21, 2017  9:05am

On the subject of so called “vocal minorities”...there are about 1B automobiles in the world and about 2B bicycles….
hmmmm

posted by: anonymous on July 21, 2017  10:21am

The concept of “gridlock” on Edgewood Avenue is pretty laughable to people who have been walking on that street every day for many years/decades. Except for a few minutes at rush hour where you might average one car per block, there are often a total of about 3 cars on the entire 3-mile stretch of it. 

The city has collected extensive traffic monitoring showing that many of these drivers are going about 40 miles an hour, enough to run over and kill a large group of pedestrians.  Perhaps some of the commenters here get around entirely by car, and are frustrated when they have to go 20 miles per hour (which is the speed limit in many cities around the world, because it eliminates most pedestrian deaths) instead of 40. If I had that viewpoint, then I might share their frustration.  Luckily, as the public meetings showed, the vast majority of residents actually do walk and bike the streets regularly.

It’s great to see the plan moving forward, and that most of the money is being spent on new crosswalks, slower streets, and other pedestrian safety improvements.  If the street is made more pleasant, you’ll see a lot more walkers and bikers on the street, and it will be a huge benefit to all of the small businesses in the area.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 21, 2017  12:13pm

1. Tim: I agree with all your four points. The cycle track will do nothing to address any of them.

2. Ben: Your arrogance is only matched by your disdain for motorists who by choice or work/family demands must drive around New Haven. It must be nice to have your bike posse and political connections to demand and get what you want at the expense of others.

Don’t care about your pictures. It’s a snapshot in time. Don’t even know what they purport to show. By the way, this plan was rammed and jammed. The outcome was predetermined. I’ve been to many public hearings over the years. The fix is always in; the outcome always sure and the public’s voice is always ignored - unless you’re part of the fix.

3. Mark: This is not an experiment in one street. There is the visual, trash and safety mess that is now Long Wharf. This is number 2 - more will come. As for an experiment - what kind of test is this when you spend more than a million dollars, with more grants being sought and where the bike traffic is so minimal and ends at a one way street? There are others streets where significant bike traffic already exists.

4. Orange Street - there is a bike lane. It is not the deluxe variety and it didn’t cost more than a million dollars. Put that in Edgewood - no problem. If it’s good enough for the much busier Orange, how in hell is that not good enough on Edgewood?

5. Between: If half your friends can’t bike in a little city like New Haven out of fear of cars I’m not sure how they function in the world. That would preclude biking in nearly every city and town. Wow.

6. Hopkins: I’m neither interested in a lifeline or in building consensus where the consensus wastes valuable taxpayer dollars on a useless demonstration project that solves nothing, satisfies nobody but the elites and special interests. Want a bike lane? Paint it on the street - no problem.

7. Faux Safety - This is not about safety. It’s about special interests pretending its safety to make it palpable.

posted by: newhavenishome on July 21, 2017  1:45pm

Hopkins-Thanks for the info.
I would love to see that data that supports the NEED for a track on Edgewood. Are there more biking/walking accidents and casualties on Edgewood than on other comparable streets? Are there more motor vehicle accidents than on other comparable streets? I would venture to guess the answer is no.  This state is in a major financial crisis. The connectivity program that is funding this project is funded by taxpayers. A cycle track is not essential. I’d rather see people keep jobs, and services remain in tact.
Out of curiosity, how will trash pickup be affected? Will public works drag the toters from the sidewalk through the cycle track and then return them? Are the tubes spaced far enough apart for that? Also, what happens to the tubes in a snow storm? Do they get plowed over? I was working the night of the ONE meeting regarding this issue in my neighborhood, so i am asking now.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on July 21, 2017  5:14pm

Noteworthy,
The Orange Street bike lanes were New Haven’s first and represent an early attempt by the city to better facilitate and encourage biking along a corridor that was already a popular cycling route at the time (2004). Orange Street is similar in many ways to Edgewood Avenue, including in how it developed over time, it’s lane configuration, traffic levels, width, and current function in their respective neighborhood. So it likely could get a similar treatment as Orange Street. The one-way portion of Edgewood between Park and Winthrop would need to be converted to two-way of course, which is an interesting idea.

At four feet wide, however, the Orange Street bike lanes are very narrow and cyclist risk being doored by parked cars while traveling within the lane. So yes, while they function reasonably well, they fall short of generally accepted standards for bike lane designs that have been developed more recently. This Edgewood Avenue proposal offers an opportunity to design cycling infrastructure that is up to current standards of design, which have evolved enormously in a short time. Like what happens on Orange Street with its conventional bike lanes, when Edgewood narrows down as it approaches Downtown, the bike lanes would go away and need to be replaced with sharrows. Even this modest proposal wouldn’t reduce the overall cost much, though, since the majority of the project consists of sidewalk, intersection, and crosswalk improvements for wheelchairs and pedestrians.

Also, the interim condition of having the city’s proposed design terminating at Park Street isn’t so bad because cyclists can take Howe to Elm Street and the green bike lane within a couple blocks.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on July 21, 2017  5:15pm

Noteworthy,
I don’t have a posse and I walk or take the bus more than I bike because I live and work on a bus line and biking without a protected lane makes me more stressed than pedestrian commuting. I also am a vehicle owner and agree that it’s convenient to have in our region for many things. But I don’t feel I need to get downtown faster in the AM in a car and wouldn’t mind getting downtown slower on he days when I drove.

Which part of my post is arrogant? The part where I use my real name?

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on July 21, 2017  5:58pm

newhavenishome,
Since you seem genuinely interested in this matter, I would suggest that you try to contact city officials in the Transportation and Engineering Departments of the City or set-up an informal meeting to talk briefly about the project, look at drawings, and ask questions. You can also look into these issues yourself by checking out (online) how protected two-way cycle tracks in San Francisco, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Washington, DC, and Montreal work. Or check out this design guide: https://nacto.org/publication/urban-bikeway-design-guide/

Edgewood has few motor vehicle accidents relative to a major roadway like the Boulevard, Whalley Avenue or a Downtown street near highways.That is largely because there is much less car traffic on Edgewood than on those other streets. However, Edgewood is designed to carry far more traffic than what actually uses it, so there is excess roadway space. Edgewood also connects several places (Downtown, Yale, Dwight, Edgewood, West River, Lower Westville, and Upper Westville, including a major city park - Edgewood Park, and several schools). This confluence of characteristics (low traffic, excess roadway space, length through several city neighborhoods, etc.) that make Edgewood attractive for this type of infrastructure investment.

“This state is in a major financial crisis.”

Fair enough. I hope you are consistent in critiquing other public expenditures as well and not just singling out cycling and pedestrian infrastructure investments.

“Out of curiosity, how will trash pickup be affected? Will public works drag the toters from the sidewalk through the cycle track and then return them? Are the tubes spaced far enough apart for that?”

I suspect so, but this is a good question. And yes, the plastic tubes are far apart (go check out the Long Wharf cycle track).

“Also, what happens to the tubes in a snow storm? Do they get plowed over?”

I asked this at a meeting. Apparently they can easily be removed with a special tool.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 23, 2017  11:12am

Just because there are “generally accepted” ways of constructing cycle tracks doesn’t mean that one size fits all - that the deluxe version is what’s built regardless of the need to do so. Put it where the traffic and cyclists are - where the risk is much greater and the existing street can handle the deluxe version. Otherwise, know what? Orange works well, not reasonably well. I’m on Orange every day, several times a day - it is rare that I don’t see drivers and cyclists sharing the road and being careful for each other.

Do bikers run the risk of being doored? Sure - and at Long Wharf car drivers run the risk of being run over. Thanks Hausladen. P.S. Clean up the freaking trash. It’s a garbage dump.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on July 23, 2017  2:54pm

@Noteworthy,

The trucks on Long Wharf have formed an association and are contracting with Town Green SSD to start cleaning the trash on Long a Wharf as I understand it. I agree that it’s bad, but it is starting to get better. I’ve also noticed more people looking out for Edgewood these days and picking up as they go.

As I walked into work Thursday AM I did a bike/car ratio count in between Kensington and Dwight. The ratio was 1/7 bike to car in the 21 vehicles that passed me in those 5 blocks at 8:15 AM. Also, at Winchester there was a dad running next to his kid who was learning to ride in the street to Summer camp( in the future bike lane) This is on a street that does not support bike safety currently. The bikes are there already, the cars barely are relative to other through streets and imagine what it would be like if there was supported bike infrastructure.

I get that you pass up and down Orange Street everyday in your car. I walk, bike or bus everyday down the street in question and this effects my commute but evidently not yours…so why do you care so much?