Service of Ingenuity
September 12th, 2016
Categories: City Living, Ingenuity, Traffic
I love New Yorkers. They think of ingenious ways of making the city work for them. Sometimes, though, they are thrown a curve ball for which even the most resourceful have trouble coming up with solutions.
First the resourceful. Just down from my office on 45th Street near Third Avenue is a bank of rental bikes locked into place. Pass it at lunch time and you’ll find citizens perching on and leaning against parked bicycles to eat, catch up on texts and emails, sip a soda, watch the world pass by or to simply sit in the shade in midtown during a break on a hot summer day. The price is right, there are others to chat with if you want—it works!
But it doesn’t always.
I’m a fairly street smart lifelong New Yorker and yet I still haven’t figured out a safe way to get in and out of the parking spaces cobbled out of avenues, such as First, to make it safe for bikers to travel next to the sidewalk. [I first wrote about the dangerous configuration in a post last October.] The photo below best illustrates the challenge.
I parked in one of these spots for the first time over the Labor Day weekend so there was little city traffic and yet my heart was in my throat as I backed in hoping that:
- I was quick enough not to be hit by impatient oncoming traffic.
- I was accurate enough when backing into the space perfectly on the first try and
- I wouldn’t hit a bicyclist.
When my passenger joined me he had to dash across the bicycle lane, [looking both ways as bicyclists ignore traffic rules], and into the avenue to the passenger door, open it, jump in and close it before the red light turned green for galloping oncoming traffic.
Pulling out into a pause in traffic with a sedan was another heart-stopper. I noticed most of the other cars parked there that day were SUVs. Try pulling out into parking-lot thick traffic filled with frustrated, angry drivers. One furious driver, just before I snapped the photo below, took off in the bike lane instead of waiting for someone to let him into First Avenue. He broke into traffic with the light, ahead of the cars waiting to enter the avenue on 50th Street. Clever perhaps but God help any pedestrian or bicyclist in his way. I don’t recommend this solution.
Have you noticed other resourceful ways city dwellers in New York or elsewhere have made creative use of what’s around them? Do you have suggestions for how to use these floating parking spots in safe ways?