The Dreamy Infrastructure of NY

Walking around New York is getting easier, thanks to the folks at the NYDOT who have the audacity to reclaim streets for cyclists and pedestrians. Here’s a photo blog of some of the most heart-swelling highlights.

This is an entrance to Prospect Park from Park Slope. This used to be an arterial that gashed through the park. Now the arterial has been turned into a bicycle and pedestrian path for 22 hours/day (cars may use the road two hours a day, in peak directions only). Note the “DO NOT ENTER EXCEPT BIKES” signage. This would be a useful update to Humboldt Park (which like Prospect Park, was also designed by Frederick Law Olmsted). To further increase overall dreaminess, the street bordering Prospect Park (Prospect Park West) has a beautiful protected bike lane. See:

Dreamy. And here is that same lane from another angle:

Look at all that beautiful density.

Now, I know this isn’t exactly reclaimed infrastructure, but the below sidewalk is just nicely built. The wideness feels very grand. And with the buildings built so closely together, and the large numbers of beautiful people crowding the neighborhoods, there is something about a wide promenade that gives a pedestrian some refreshment from it all. We have similar promenades on Michigan Avenue, but they don’t extend to the neighborhoods. What would they do to a corridor like Broadway or Clark when the entertainment district takes off?

Back to giving more footage over to pedestrians. This is a curb bump-out. Fun! These bump-outs tighten the turning radius for cars (see the slowing cab on the left), causing them making turns at a reasonable speed. They also shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians at difficult intersections. With me is Jesse Mintz-Roth, who works at the New York City DOT in the safety group, seizing more space for purposes such as this. This bump out was made inexpensively, with bollards, paint and crushed stones gripped to the street with epoxy. Bike Uptown tried (unsuccessfully) to have something similar installed on Montrose when the City resurfaced it in July 2012.

This is the southern entrance to Prospect Park. Another great example of how different the neighborhood feels when you give pedestrians priority. This is the other end of the arterial that was closed to cars and then opened to people. Joyous!

This used to be a car travel lane, but look at the markings now: GIANT PEDESTRIAN symbols.

More car travel lanes turned over to a higher use: cycling. Check that sweet green lane.

And finally, a certifiably dreamy street-turned-to-parkspace. Look how natural this area looks- like an extension of the cafes’ outdoor seating. It used to be a street for exhaust and motors, but now it’s adding value to these businesses by drawing people and their purses to their front doors. This space, in Fort Greene, was also made with crushed stone and epoxy and scattered bistro chairs and umbrellas.

What stands out to you? What should we be creating in Uptown?

posted by Arline Welty

About bikeuptown46

I am currently the Communications Director for the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters which represents 33,000 union men and women in three states who swing a hammer for a living. I publsih a magazine, a couple of email newsletters and two websites. I also do videos, webinars, advertisng and public relations. As an avid cyclist I ride a three-wheeled trike 5 to 6 days per week 52 weeks per year which adds up to between 5,000 and 6,000 miles year-round, including daily commutes along Chicago's lakefront ... polar vortexes included. I have never missed a day of work because of Chicago's weather. I am an activist who serves humanitarian and political causes: To advocate for the Sudanese in Illinois who have fled Southern Sudan and Darfur is one of my most rewarding experiences. I work with my son Sean on Sudan presentations at churches and community groups with my Sudanese friends on the problems facing them in Darfur, South Sudan and the United States. My son Sean and I work together on the Abolition Institute which seeks to end slavery in the west African nation of Mauritania. My photography chronicles Chicago's lakefront through my daily rides. My photo website is I just self-published my first photo-book on the history of my Chicago neighborhood: Sweet Home Buena Park. I live about one-half mile north of Wrigley Field in the Buena Park neighborhood.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Smart Growth Roundup for the Week of September 3, 2012 «

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