Category Archives: commuting

Petition for subway alternatives during F/G closures

The MTA has closed the Manhattan-bound 15th St and Fort Hamilton stops on the F and G line until May. Details are here.

In this freezing weather, residents of those neighborhoods should have better options than trekking to 7th Ave or riding the subway backwards in order transfer to an express-line train. Click here to sign councilman Brad Lander’s petition to extend the B68 bus past Bartel Pritchard Square until the stations are providing full service again.

As a former Windsor Terrace resident, thank you to everyone for signing!

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Filed under Brooklyn, commuting, M.T.A.

google bike maps?

or google SWIM maps.

I always take the Brooklyn Bridge to work, but after a frustratingly tourist-soaked commute yesterday, I’m trying to find a good route from the Manhattan Bridge. Well, google maps helped me find one…right up the East River.

It’s beta alright. I’ll stick with ridethecity.com.

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Filed under bikes, Brooklyn Bridge, commuting

how many police cars does it take to fill a whole block of bike lane?

8, I just discovered.

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Filed under bikes, commuting

umbrella brigade?

I just saw a parade-like procession of people brandishing umbrellas. They were at W 10th St and the west side highway. They were singing something that sounded like “When the Saints Go Marching In.” What does that mean? What were they doing? Please let me know.

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these boots: a dialogue

Walking to the subway this morning, wearing a skirt and my sensible rain boots:

Nice Young Italian Man With Glossy Black Hair Holding Coffee Cup: Hey, why are you wearing those boots today?

[I turn.]

Man: It’s a hot day. You got to wear sandals, let your little* toes out, have some sun…

Me: But what if it rains?**

Man: If it rains? [Throws his arms wide open; grins.] I’ll carry you!

*I’m not sure he actually called my toes “little.” My toes, anyway, are actually quite long and well jointed, though he could not have known that, as I was wearing rain boots.

**There is a 40% chance of rain today. After years of having wet, soggy, socks, or of ruining nice work shoes, I bought a pair of rain boots in June. It has changed my life.

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Filed under Brooklyn, commuting

the transit authority that must not be named

IMG_6408

a really well done piece of brooklyn subway art. and while waiting…and waiting…and waiting for the F train in the morning, it feels oh-so-true.

here is how this art was rendered:

mta art

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Filed under commuting, M.T.A.

trunk thumping

I was cruising down the bike path on Henry Street this evening, on my way home from work, when I had to stop because two cars were blocking the street. One was stopped in the road, the other was diagonal, as if trying to go around the first, with its rear end taking up the whole bike lane. Rude, but it happens.

Another biker didn’t have quite the same take on things. He rammed his wheel into the back of the car in the bike line. “What the hell is the MATTER with you people?!” he shouted, a little hysterically. When the driver protested, he said, “I didn’t scratch your car–I barely touched it. This is bullshit. You’re in the BIKE LANE.” Another dude banged his fist on the trunk of the first car for good measure.

Now, look, people. It sucks when drivers plop themselves down in the middle of our lane, especially when there’s no way to get around them. But is this helping in any way? No. It is seriously, seriously not.

I’m all for giving a driver a good thump–and a good yelling–when they do something really stupid, like cut you off and make you go skidding off the road so that your chain falls off and jams in your frame (yes, I’m talking to you, lady in the tan SUV driving down 3rd street over the Gowanus this past Sunday morning). Um, sorry. Where was I?

Right: If we want drivers to take bikers seriously in this city, if we want them to actually respect us and our lane (and not just hate us) then there are other ways of doing things. Like, just say “You’re blocking the bike lane.” Ohhh New Yorkers.

This morning, riding to work, I started noting all the various things that were blocking my lane. There were some pedestrians, a jogger, a taxi picking up passengers (that’s fine, I guess), a taxi just sitting there with no driver in sight (not fine), delivery truck guys wheeling their towers of beer, garbage trucks, construction and construction vehicles… It’s a long list. I also find that homeless people with carts tend to think that bike lanes are designed specially for them and their piled-high goods.

When I was in college, I would take long rides out through semi-rural New England to clear my head, to get away from it all. I’ve always loved biking, and that’s what it always used to be for me: a way to escape, to relax, to explore new places. I could think more clearly on a bike than anywhere else.

Biking here is something else all together. I have trouble actually thinking anything through. I get angry quickly when cars cut me off or block my way–when, for instance, as I’m tring to bike through an intersection, a car quickly pulls in front of me to make a left turn, then stops, blocking my way, as cars are backed up on the cross street anyway. Negotiating the streets takes my full focus, even if I don’t realize it.

Thoughtless, inconsiderate drivers, who don’t take bikes into consideration, who don’t realize that this is a way that people get around in this city, are a problem. But we need to handle our road rage wisely. If bikers allow ourselves to fly off the handle at any old thing, then why can’t pedestrians–why can’t drivers? And NY bikers break enough rules as it is.

This rant/lecture is getting long, but having just been in Sweden–where I got a city bike to cruise around Stockholm–the flaring emotions on the NY streets are more jarring to me than usual. Seeing for myself that there really are other ways to handle city biking…

Well, we’re a long way from Scandinavian bike culture. But scream-offs aren’t going to help us get any closer.

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Filed under bikes, commuting