NYC Three-way street project highlights interactions between road users

Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians fight it out on one junction in the Big Apple

by Dave Atkinson   June 21, 2011  

Three-way street posters

Thanks to road.cc user slow-cyclo who put us on to this excellent video showing the interactions between different road users on one intersection in New York. The video is part of a master's thesis by NYC-based Ron Gabriel, and Ron has highlighted the interactions between different modes of transport to better illustrate what's happening at the junction.

"By summer 2010, the expansion of bike lanes exposed a clash of long-standing bad habits — such as pedestrians jaywalking, cyclists running red lights, and motorists plowing through crosswalks", says Ron on his blog. "The old habits exacerbate attempts to expand ways to use our streets; existing disfunction makes change more difficult."

The end result of this is a system that for the most part looks pretty chaotic. Certainly none of the three transport groups – motorist, cyclists and pedestrians – cover themselves in glory, with cyclists running red lights and dodging through walkers crossing the street, drivers behaving aggressively and pedestrians jaywalking, which is of course illegal in NYC.

The comments on Ron's blog make for interesting reading too. Whereas some are amazed that more people aren't killed, others point out that the video highlights the perception of danger – ie people in close proximity – rather than danger itself. But it's certainly a very interesting look at a poor piece of intersection design; if you want to see the other end of the scale then it's worth reading David Hembrow's response to Ron's blog, highlighting the work the Dutch have done to avoid conflict between modes.

6 user comments

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It looks like a trailer for a new computer game: Grand Theft Tosspot. Actually, it would be better on a touch screen device, so maybe Angry Berks.

posted by handlebarcam [527 posts]
21st June 2011 - 11:51

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Ah, fame at last! Cool

Shut up legs

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posted by slow-cyclo [74 posts]
21st June 2011 - 12:31

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One thing that strikes me about comparing NYC to the Dutch solution is space. NYC, and many other cities, do not have space for dedicated cycleways, double layer roundabouts and so on.

The only place in the UK I have seen anything like this is Milton Keynes. I'd be interested to see if there are any regular users who can describe what it's like there given the UK's habit of smashing glass, graffitti, shoping trolleys etc.

Not knocking the Dutch I'm just jealous! Plain Face

posted by Minty [25 posts]
21st June 2011 - 13:23

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The only cyclists not jealous of the dutch - are dutch cyclists!

posted by mad_scot_rider [519 posts]
22nd June 2011 - 9:01

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just hypnotised by it all, jaw droping stuff, fantastic project.

antonio

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posted by antonio [899 posts]
22nd June 2011 - 9:30

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Minty wrote:

The only place in the UK I have seen anything like this is Milton Keynes. I'd be interested to see if there are any regular users who can describe what it's like there given the UK's habit of smashing glass, graffitti, shoping trolleys etc.
Plain Face

That pretty much sums it up I'm afraid.
It's a fantastic idea but as with most things the mindless idiots spoil it for all.
I even know of a guy at work who rides on the redways (cycle paths in MK speak) with a broom to clear glass away!
A real shame.

posted by JohnBuc [57 posts]
22nd June 2011 - 12:32

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