November 9


Photos/Observations of Traffic from New York City

By Mike Spack

November 9, 2011

New York City Traffic Painted Bumpouts Bike Lanes

IMG_0249A few weeks ago Jane and I were lucky enough to spend a long weekend on Manhatten (thanks to our folks for watching our kids!).  Go to flickr (here) for a bunch of photos I took of intersections and bike/pedestrian treatments (and yes I deserve some grief for being a geeky traffic engineer).  I would have liked these photos when I was working on the painted bumpouts in Pine Island, MN – feel free to use them.

Several traffic observations:

  • Holy cow that's a lot of bike/ped vehicle traffic mixing.  New Yorkers eek every ounce out of the system by jaywalking, merging late, running yellow lights.
  • We only saw one fender bender.  I thought our cabbie was going to get us into a couple just getting to our hotel from JFK.
  • The signal systems are tiny.  They must be a lot cheaper than the systems in Minnesota.
  • Signal controllers look quite old and I heard the clunking of a mechanical controller.  The system is so saturated, I really don't know if operations could be much improved with updated signal controller technology.
  • A lot of innovative treatments (see photos) to improve life for bikes and peds.
  • We used the subway a lot and loved it.  Amazing how crowded they were even on a weekend.
  • Should have warn a pedometer.  We were on our feet for 10+ hours a day.
  • And yes, I walked all of the way across the Brooklyn Bridge and back (I don't know how any civil engineer could skip that).
  • Kind of hard to talk about congestion in Minnesota now that I've experienced New York City.
  • Non-traffic but worth noting – The 9/11 Memorial was amazingly well done.


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Mike Spack

My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.

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