New York City using 311 and open data to track bike lane blockers

Bloor bike lane
CC BY 2.0 Lloyd Alter/ Bloor Street bike lane, Toronto, Saturday 12 November

Now this is impressive: In New York City, you can report people who block bike lanes with cars and trucks through the 311 system, and it all goes online. Furthermore, it even lets you know about enforcement, which is usually pretty lax; John Metcalfe of Citylab explains:

bike lanes blockedNYC Open Data/Screen capture

The city-produced map shows alleged lane violations occurring mostly in Manhattan and Brooklyn with a decent smattering in Queens. Red dots indicate situations where the police “responded to the complaint and took action to fix the condition,” according to NYC Open Data. Blue ones denote where police decided “action was not necessary,” where the offending vehicle had skedaddled before cops arrived, and complaints with insufficient info from tipsters.

Or, the police just didn’t bother. When I look at this morning’s map I see all of 6 enforcement actions in all of Manhattan, even though the First Avenue bike lane looks like a parking lot.

bike lane torontoLloyd Alter/ Bloor Street bike lane, Toronto, Saturday 12 November/CC BY 2.0

This is a wonderful idea that I would love to see where I live in Toronto, where they are measuring all the traffic in the bike lanes with such rigor right now. My experience in the new Bloor Street bike lane this past weekend indicates that like New York’s First Avenue, it would be tangled up in blue. But I cannot imagine the City and the Police would let it happen, since it would just demonstrate their indifference.

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