Gary Toth in NYC

In this new StreetFilm, PPS’ Senior Director of Transportation Initiatives, Gary Toth explains Floating Parking and Bike Buffer Zones.  This new, contested street feature confers many benefits- and not just for cyclists.

In fact, floating parking and bike lanes can actually change the way a street is experienced. They slow traffic and make the sidewalk more livable.  And floating parking does this in a way that doesn’t involve a lot of tax payer dollars to build infrastructure. These are low-cost interventions that can turn a street into a community place.

“Floating Parking” & Bike Buffer Zone in Separated Bike Lanes from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

In floating parking, cars are not parked directly against the curb but against stripes which buffer the parked cars from the bike lane. This buffer zone protects cyclists from getting “doored”- from running into opening car doors- and also protects motorists from stepping out of the car and into the way of an oncoming bike. This configuration is different from what we’ve come to expect from roads around the country.

Many of today’s most common road features seemed radical when they were first introduced. In this Streetfilm, Toth mentioned how people were shocked when the first-ever grade separated interchange was introduced in 1919.  It was called “extravagant” and no one could imagine a highway feature that blocked horses and buggies from entering highways!  Today, grade-separated interchanges have become a fixture in the American landscape.

While debate continues over bike lanes in New York City, we think its important not to make the discussion about dividing people into “pro-cyclist” or “anti-car” groups- it’s about how can we best support our communities with great streets. The best streets are the ones that serve and reflect their community, often bringing competing user groups together.