Streams

Newark Gets Its Very First Bike Lane

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 10:19 AM

(Photo via Newark Department of Engineering)

Newark, New Jersey now boasts 277,000 residents and one bike lane. Six more green textured bike paths are set to open by the end of 2012.

The inaugural lane runs eight proud blocks through downtown, roughly half a mile along Washington Street. The official city statement explains: "The route runs by Rutgers-Newark, the Newark Museum, the Newark Public Library, and Washington Park."

Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey, paid for the design work and the city covered the construction costs of $100,000.

Mayor Cory Booker issued an car-metaphor as encouragement to cyclists. "I commend the Department of Engineering and Rutgers-Newark on this partnership, and urge residents to put the pedal to the metal on Washington Street." We assume he means bike pedal.

Newark has invested in other traffic and public spaces redevelopment recently, but not many bike additions. Park expansion has received over $40 million  in the past several years, and Newark just launched a $27 million plan for streetscaping, road re-surfacing, traffic calming, and traffic signal installations.

As we've reported previously, pedestrian deaths are correlated with lower income neighborhoods, making Newark is particularly dangerous for pedestrians. Lack of safety-conscious shared street design is part of the reason. So are lack of non-car transport options.

Cycling will, hopefully, get a little safer with these new lanes.

If you live in Newark, here's where the new lanes are coming next:

  • Mt. Prospect Avenue between City Line and Heller Parkway
  • Irvine Turner Boulevard between Clinton Avenue and Springfield Avenue
  • Jones Street between Springfield Avenue and South Orange Avenue
  • Norfolk Street between South Orange Avenue and West Market Street
  • Clifton Avenue between Orange Street and Victoria Avenue
  • First Street between West Market Street and Sussex Avenue

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Comments [7]

Andy B from Jersey

Mike,

NYCDoT also has nothing more but hypothetical reasoning to support their claims that left side bike lanes are safer either! The NACTO 1st edition guide to bike facility design has no supporting data or peer reviewed research to support these safety claims either.

I contend that they DO NOT work fine and create confusion as to where cyclist are to ride with or without bike lanes. I also contend that left side lanes also encourage illegal contraflow riding which is epidemic in NYC and creates obvious hazards.

Also, the terminus of this bike lane at Broad Street has some very serious turning conflicts with two lanes of motor vehicles turning left onto Broad St. Also, if one wants to go straight onto Bride Street bicyclist now find themselves on the wrong side of the road facing oncoming traffic.

All of this traffic confusion could have easily been avoided if the bike lane was on the right side of the road where 80 years of traffic convention would logically put it.

Why do we need to put the world on its head to "safely" accommodate bicyclists?!?!

Jul. 24 2012 02:33 AM
Mike

Andy B,
As far as I can tell, your comments are mainly about the disconnect between State vehicle & traffic law and the design of the left-side bike lane, along with a couple of anecdotal reasons why you personally do not prefer the left-side design.

NYC has been using left-side bike lanes extensively for years and they work fine. Unless you have some fresh data to add I'm not sure why it's worth critiquing.

Jul. 23 2012 01:14 PM
Andy B from Jersey

There is no empirical evidence demonstrating the claimed safety benefits of left side bike lanes but agencies and consultants continue to push them. Many local Newark bicycle advocates were not too impressed with the placement of this bike lane either. This is because:

- Violates the basic rule / NJ law that bikes must stay as far to the right as is practicable.

- What do cyclists do where the lane begins / ends? Stay left cross over right?

- Is it now illegal to ride on the right side of the road? (Actually, by state law it is not but who knows every city ordinance?)

- It's harder for drivers pulling out of parking spaces to see cyclists coming down the road in the lane.

- My observations have been that passing drivers tend to get closer to bicyclists on their left compared to when they pass cyclists on their right as they can better see how close they are to the bicyclists without hitting them. This is contradictory to the claims by some that drivers will give bicyclists more room with the bicyclists just off to their left.

I like everything about the lane but its on the wrong side of the road. I'll be getting a closer look in about 1 hour.

Jul. 17 2012 08:56 AM
tim

Good news! Although, it isn't Newark's first. There are 3 blocks of bike lane on 1st between Market and the I-280 entrance, and there is a bike lane over the bridge that crosses I-280 bridge on Clifton Ave, by the corner of Branchbrook Park. So we're 3 and counting!!!

Jul. 13 2012 02:52 PM
Alex Goldmark

Interesting. The City told us it was the first. Hmmm.

Jul. 12 2012 01:32 PM
D

it's not the first bike lane in newark, but it is the first green-painted one. there's one or two others. here's one: http://goo.gl/maps/UbSx

Jul. 12 2012 12:20 PM
Montway Auto Transport

Green lanes for green transport!
It is a great initiative and hopefully more cities will embrace it and keep building more bike lanes!
Imagine that one day there will be covered and heated bike paths for the winter season!

Jul. 11 2012 11:00 AM

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