DOT Previews Big Plans at Greenway Summit

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The Ninth Avenue cycle track will be extended 10 blocks north to 33rd St.

Transportation Alternatives held its 3rd Annual Greenway Summit on Tuesday, where keynote speaker Jon Orcutt, Director of Policy for NYC DOT, outlined the city’s plans for expanding cycling infrastructure over the coming year. Here are the highlights, via the Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s Mobilizing the Region:

  • Adding bike lanes and pedestrian islands to Vernon Blvd. in Long Island City this summer.
  • Installing new bike lanes on Kent Ave in Williamsburg along the East River.
  • Improving the crossways over
    the FDR from the East River Greenway by keeping them cleaner and
    introducing traffic calming measures at the intersections.
  • Extending the 9th Avenue protected bike lane in Manhattan to 33rd St. (The lane currently ends at 23rd St.)
  • As part of a push to build 15 miles of protected bike lanes by 2010, installing a protected lane on 8th Ave. between Canal St. and 23rd St. in Manhattan.
  • Adding a bike lane connecting Van Cortlandt Park and the Broadway Bridge in spring 2009.
  • Constructing bike access to the Shore Parkway Greenway at 157th Ave near JFK Airport.

As DOT forges ahead with substantive bike-ped improvements, Orcutt pointed out that the department doesn’t operate in a vacuum. 

"In thanking the advocacy community for its support," MTR reports, "Orcutt added that
interagency cooperation was key to the continued advancement of cycling
infrastructure in New York."

Editor’s note: Items concerning the Navy Yard and Broadway Bridge have been corrected. 

Photo: bicyclesonly / Flickr 

  • Cool! I complained about the Broadway Bridge on a DOT bike survey a while back. Nice to see that they are going to do something about it.

    The current signage directs cyclists to walk their bikes on the sidewalk across the bridge. I just ride on the road, which is not so bad Southbound due to the wide shoulder, but riding Northbound in heavy traffic can be a little dicey without the shoulder.

    I see most cyclists ride across the bridge on the sidewalk (despite the fact that the walkway is narrow and used heavily by pedestrians).

  • md

    Some good stuff here. My dream is to see the Eastern Parkway greenway connected to Highland Park.

  • gecko

    Bravo! Makes a lot of sense since Penn Station is a major transit cachement.

  • Josh

    This seems like as good a place as any to post some comments about the 9th Avenue bike lane, which I just got a chance to use for the first time last night because I’m getting over the aftereffects of a bout of pneumonia. (Speaking of which – take it easy if you’re coming over that sort of thing. Lung illness wreaks havoc on your stamina.)

    Cons about the 9th Avenue bike lane:
    1) It’s narrow. I mean, there’s only so much space we can expect, sure, but there’s barely enough room for me to pass a slower rider going in the same direction, let alone if there are…
    2) People riding the wrong way. It’s very clearly marked with many many arrows as being a one-way bike lane going downtown (with traffic) but there are still people (mainly delivery guys) going the other direction. There are also…
    3) Pedestrians standing in the lane. What are you going to do, I guess, and in any case pedestrians are reasonably easy to avoid and will tend to get out of they way if they see cyclists, unlike…
    4) Cars that don’t respect the lane. Where it’s not physically separated, you have cars stopping in the lane either to park or getting ready to make left turns. Disappointing, although not surprising.

    Pros:

    1) It’s physically separated for a lot of its length, with separate signals and everything.
    2) It may be short, but it’s only a starting point, as we see based on the plans to extend this one and build another on 8th Avenue, and…
    3) It leads nicely into the Bleecker Street bike lane, which is in the process of being painted green. (N.B. It’s blocked off with police tape right now so that people don’t smear the paint, by the way, so for the moment Bleecker is very narrow from Hudson most of the way to 7th Avenue.)
    4) People seemed to be using it. Food deliveries going the wrong way are still better than nobody using the lane at all.

  • Robt.

    re: 9th avenue:
    Is it just me? Wouldn’t it make much more sense to first build an uptown-bound bikelane counterpart? It would encourage people to use the lane (ie: commute, do errands, etc.) if they didn’t have to risk death and/or dismemberment returning BACK up 8th or 10th avenue. Right now, the options are A. dismemberment or B. take sidestreets to the riverfront bikepath. (Duh, no wonder no one uses it) ** Let’s just rename it the “9th St. Bikepath to Dismemberment.” **

  • JK

    This is great stuff. The DOT, Parks and DCP deserve credit for their long term commitment to greenways as the backbones of the cycling network. DOT also deserves huge credit for putting “greenways” in the middle of the street grid with the 9th Ave cycle-track and a new generation of protected lanes. The DOT has vastly expanded the potential scope of the future greenway network. A next step is to get greenway paths built into future street rebuilds as part of “complete streets” and get city council to endorse those streets.

  • Ian D

    Robt. (#5):

    Just wondering if you saw bullet point #5 in the article. We’re going to be hearing about an 8th Ave. protected lane in the next few weeks. Not that 8th Ave. below 23rd is currently all that unsafe, but a state-of-the-art 9th Ave. treatment will certainly be a welcome improvement.

    What I’m waiting for? I’d like to see similar improvements being made to the east-side avenues that don’t yet have even a buffered lane — or, say, 6th Ave.

  • cw

    RE: JOSH

    is the 9th ave bike lane narrower than any of the other nonprotected bike lanes in the city?

  • Be

    They should extend the bike lane all the way up to to 125th st. ANd the should add one on First and Second Aves.

  • @Be #9, are you suggesting the 9th Ave protected bike lane run all the way to 125th St? I’m afraid that’s not entirely possible. After 59th St, 9th Ave becomes Columbus Ave and continues up to 110th St. Then it peters out as an avenue. I do think it would be wonderful to have a protected bike lane up to 110th St, though.

  • If we’re looking at creating more protected bike lanes, or simply buffered bike lanes, we sure could use one connecting 207th St in Inwood to the Metro-North Station on Fordham Road in the Bronx (less than 2 miles away). The traffic on Fordham Road is scary, particularly after the Grand Concourse and the work-arounds (due to one-ways, varying elevations, and the irregular grid) require the cyclist to go way out of her way. The transit connections along this route (A, 1, 4, B, D trains, and Metro-North Hudson and Harlem Lines) would really provide intermodal synergy.

  • Outer Boroughs

    I second #11.

    So, are the outer bouroughs getting protected bike lanes at some point, or are we, quite literally, chopped liver?

    Hey Lew from Brooklyn, are you still there, can you help us out?

  • And actually, if the (protected) bike lane I’m proposing were continued past Fordham Road Station, it could connect to the greenway at the Bronx and Pelham Parkway (which connects with the 2, 5, and 6 trains, and leads to Pelham Park). Imagine, a safe bike corridor that linked up Inwood Hill Park with Pelham Park, with rich transit connections all along the way!

  • Here is one outer-borough project:

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/04/10/brooklyn-cb1-approves-bike-path-in-place-of-parking/

    I think if you managed to get an outer-borough community board to endorse a proposal to remove traffic or parking lanes on any street in their district for a protected bike lane, the DOT would be happy to oblige.

    Urbanis, your 207th/Fordham Road proposal has a potential conflict with the planned “Select Bus” service:

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/03/25/nyc-to-launch-bus-rapid-transit-in-the-bronx/

    It’s not impossible, since some bus lanes in Paris are shared with bikes and taxis, but it would have to be very carefully done. A cyclist was killed recently in Paris because she wasn’t adequately informed that she was riding in a bus lane that wasn’t shared.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’ve come to like the Bike Boulevard idea. The local auto traffic keeps peds from flooding the bike lanes until there are enough bikes, then the local auto traffic could be removed.

    Perhaps Broadway and Park Avenue (MN) could be turned into two-way bike boulevards with lights timed for 18 mph.

    Maintaining motor vehicle access for local business while discouraging through traffic would blunt opposition — the possible opponents, the through traffic, would be widely dispersed. And I don’t think there is placard parking on either of those streets S of 59th, so it might not upset the people who really matter.

  • Hi Angus, you make a good point but I think it’s a potential conflict only if there’s a mandate to maintain current numbers of car lanes and parking spaces. It’s a rather broad road and could accommodate a livable streets makeover to include cyclists, buses/light rail, and cars.

  • uSkyscraper

    Would very much like to see the following – no reason it can’t be done once the above Bway Bridge-Van Cortland link goes in:

    – bike up existing west side Greenway to Dyckman

    – bike up existing but unsigned Greenway extension along waterfront to almost the northern tip of the ball fields along the river

    – cross the existing ped overpass over the rail tracks into the main part of Inwood Hill Park. (A bike ramp to replace the steps would be nice)

    – follow the existing wide, paved trail north under the HH Bridge and around the northern lip of Inwood Hill Park to W218 St. This is a wonderful bike trail but techincally bikes are banned by Parks in Inwood Hill Park. This requires a bureaucratic change only.

    – create a bike lane on W218 St to Broadway

    – over the Broadway Bridge on a new bike line to Pelham Bay park

    Can you imagine the number of riders that would enjoy such a trail from the Battery to Pelham Bay? Would be a great asset for all.

  • uSkyscraper

    Sorry, parks on the brain. I meant Van Cortlandt above, not Pelham Bay. Battery to Van Cortlandt.

  • @uSkyscraper #17, I second your proposal. We should talk to Maggie Clarke at http://www.ringgarden.org–maybe she has some suggestions about how to get these proposals working up the chain. I’ll also promote your idea on my blog.

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