Monday, August 18, 2008

Flatiron "Triangles" Shows Lack Of DOT Coordination, And Your Bike Lane Just Got F'd (Floral'd)!


Planter and loose gravel on bike lane.


Crossing 25th Street, I don't think so.


Slabs.

I have been willing to give the new Flatiron "Triangles" project the benefit of a doubt. After all, the idea of taking traffic space and transforming it to human space is a great idea. The planters are nice. The tarring and gravelling of the asphalt is an improvement. And, there is nothing wrong with the slab rocks that act as benches. However, the entire project shows both a lack of planning and a lack of coordination on the part of the DOT.

First, the design of the project with no fencing and only slabs of rock and planters to keep people (mainly clueless tourists) from wandering into traffic is a dangerous, if not a potentially fatal mistake. Additionally, there is no way for pedestrians to exit the top part of the middle triangle (near 25th street). Although there is only one tempting lane to cross going East at 25th street, it is a blind curve and traffic crossing to Broadway is coming down that street.

Second, while beige gravel tarred to asphalt is better than asphalt alone, I doubt that this solution will hold up to heavy traffic. The gravel is already all over the place.

Finally, to underscore the dis-functionality of DOT planning on this one, all you have to do is look at the freshly minted green bike lane. Your bike like to Broadway just got f'd- floral'd that is! The new bike lane on Broadway is now blocked by big planters. I'm not sure how much it cost for the labor, paint, and planning of the bike lane, but apparently they had a change of heart rather quickly.

So, in short, we need some serious reworking of this Triangles project. While the flowers are pretty and the idea is a winner, in essence, one death trap intersection has been traded for another, and has thrown this and many other New Yorkers for a loop.

5 comments:

  1. FYI, the flatiron public space experiment is just that. the DOT is testing this idea out as inexpensively as possible to look at feasibility. Granted, putting planters in bike lanes is a pretty foolish mistake, but in general, the initiative is a huge step in the right direction.

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  2. Andrew-
    Yet again you make assumptions and comments that are completely incorrect. The creation of the triangles takes time, it cannot be done over night, it must be done in phases. You made the same assumption about the triangles only being black asphalt and that turned out pretty wrong and you never retracted or corrected your statement. The planters that are in the bike lane were moved there while they were laying down the gravel, they are not in the bike lane permanently. Does that really make sense why would they do that? As you can see in the photo, the area next to the planter is being prepped to have the gravel put down.

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  3. I work right next to this. The real danger is that they removed the light at 24th & 5th and replaced it with a blinking red. Now when you want to cross 24th, you have to creep out past the cars parked on both sides, make sure nobody's coming (because they will not stop or even slow down for that blinking red) and then skitter across the road hoping not die.

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  4. I have to agree with 8:56am anon. It appears that you are looking to jump down the city's / DOT's throat well before you put it together. As if you have a grudge already. Understanding that you are effectively publishing articles, you really should correct yourself when you are wrong.

    They are doing the same project btwn 34 and 42nd on Broadway today, with the planters. B/c they are filling these planters today, they effectively shutdown the bike lane. I dont think it is confusing for tourists, at least until the sand wears off. If anything, people arent using these spaces as much b/c they dont think it is for pedestrians but for bikes. Either way, a great idea and should be expanded to other areas too.

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  5. I agree with Anon at 8/19 8:56am also.

    I've been extremely pleased with the progress the DOT has made so far. This flatiron public space, while clearly still needs work, is a vast improvement over the huge vehicular mess that existed before. If you want to look at a finished plaza, take a look at the one on 14th st and 9th ave.

    It seems like the author has something against the DOT. Rather than point out the positives, he prefers to make incorrect statements and assumptions (and never takes the time to correct them). That said, keep up the good work with blog.

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