Manhattan CB2 Weighs Protected Bike Path for Eighth Avenue


A typical street plan in DOT’s proposal for Eighth Avenue.

The transportation committee of Manhattan Community Board 2 will meet tonight to consider a proposal for a protected bike path on Eighth Avenue. If built, the cycle track would join the Ninth Avenue bike lane as the city’s primary on-grid Class I bicycle facilities.

It seems not everyone embraces the prospect of improving pedestrian and bike safety. In notifying the neighborhood about the meeting, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s office referred to the project as a "drastic design change." The hyperbole obscures the fact that the number of travel lanes will not be affected, though it is true that cyclists would have a "drastically" safer route if, as proposed, the current buffered bike lane were swapped with the lane of parked cars.

You can tell CB2 you support a safer bike network at tonight’s meeting: 6:00 p.m. at the NYU Silver Building, 32 Waverly Place, Room 509.

  • I love the concept of a buffered bike lane morphing into a cycle track with no net loss to motor vehicle traffic!

    You may want to change “the city’s only Class I bicycle facilities” to “the city’s primary on-grid Class I bicycle facility” or something like that.

  • Ben Fried

    Thanks BO.

  • Ian D

    Thanks for the coverage.

    Just a clarification – we at Board 2 only get to comment on the West Village section of the cycletrack, from Bank to 14th St. The Chelsea portion is the purview of CB4, who will be meeting on this issue (and the northward expansion of the Ninth Ave. cycletrack) on June 18 (add it to your calendars):

    JUNE 18 – Transportation Planning
    6:30 p.m.
    Holland House, 351 W. 42nd St. (b. 8th / 9th), Piano Room
    […]
    3. DOT Presentation – Pedestrian Safety Improvement & Bike Lane Extension on Ninth Avenue (23rd -31st Streets and Eighth Avenue (Bank-23rd Street)
    […]

  • Jacob

    It would be helpful if both of these meetings were added to the events calendar. Also, does anyone know if DOT has a presentation available for this project?

  • I thought it was terrific news when we had an openly lesbian woman ascend to the position of Council Speaker, but she has been little but a thorn in the side of cyclists–she tries to limit the number of pedicabs, institute a parade rule targeting group rides like Critical Mass, and now this!

  • Mark Walker

    In defense of CQ, she did get congestion pricing through the city council. I’m not making excuses for her other shortcomings, just giving the full picture.

  • mike

    This would be fantastic.

  • AT

    We need one of these to run all the way up/down avenues on the east side. When is that happening, anyone?

  • So true, AT. But so far DoT has been limiting these projects to roadways with “excess capacity,” and I don’t think there are any of those on the East Side under the standards of measurement the DoT is using. The alternative is an expensive upgrading, revamping, and gap-filling of the the East Side Greenway to make it comparable to the West Side Greenway.

  • Philip

    A protected bike lane. In other words the bike lane will be along the curb and the cars will park alongside the bike lane. I saw it in action in Budapest. So simple. So brilliant and it works!!! All bike lanes in NYC where it can be done should be done this way. Just recently I saw that Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn recently was reconstructed and new bike lanes were put in. They had an opportunity to do it right and they didn’t sorry to say. I wish this idea could take traction. I’m 63 now and not so agile anymore as I once was wending in and out and around cars parked in a bike lane. . .

  • I so totally don’t understand the diagram. What are the orange things?

  • Ian D

    Sean (#11):

    Orange things = parked cars. I guess they got colored orange in the presentation to indicate that they are a hazard!

    Bike lane is on the bottom of the drawing (it goes northbound on Eighth Ave.), alongside the western sidewalk.

  • Hi BicyclesOnly (#9), completing the East Side Greenway strikes me as a necessary and separate project from installing protected bike corridors on the East Side avenues, rather than an alternative. Hasn’t the plan been all along to complete the Greenway? Also, a New York City cycling transit infrastructure requires IMO both the off-street greenways (which are sort of our highways) and on-street lanes to connect to specific destination points within the city.

  • mfs

    Urbanis: There is not going to be a waterside greenway route between 42nd street and 60th street any time in the next five to ten years, and so people are going to be riding on first and second aves anyways as part of that east side ride.

  • drose

    mfs,

    Josh Benson from the DOT commented during his City Room chat at nytimes.com a few weeks ago that the temporary roadway built during the FDR repairs a few years back will be used as the missing link for the East Side Greenway. So five to ten years may be a bit too pessimistic, even though Benson gave no time frame for the conversion.

  • I do not view the Greenway as an adequate alternative to an arterial network of on-street bike paths. If the north-south elements of that network included a West side route (8th/CPW & 9th/Columbus?) and an East Side route(5th & Madison, or both sides of Park?), in addition to a car-free Central Park Loop, I would be more than satisfied. But I don’t think the bicycling community has the clout (nor has the Bloomberg administration the interest or the will) to get on-grid paths installed on the East Side during the next 10 years. So I would push for upgrading the East Side Greenway as something to carry us through the next decade.

    As for the gap in the East Side Greenway south of the Q’bo, Benson’s responses runs contrary to all of the written information I have found which states that the temporary FDR roadway will not be used to fill in this gap. It would be great to get some clarification from Benson and a time frame. (And until we do, it bears mention that the stretch of York Ave./Sutton Place from the planned southern terminus of the Esplanade at 59th St. down to 52nd St. probably does have some excess capacity–so DoT should consider installing a cycle track there before the Solow building residents move in and try to block it).

  • Listen .I can feel your concern but lets look at my new bike trunk

  • A bike that carries things in Manhattan

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