CB4 Committee Supports Eighth Avenue Cycle Track

8th_ave_path.jpg

Last night, the transportation committee of Manhattan Community Board 4 voted 8-2 in support of extending the protected bike lane on Eighth Avenue, now under construction below W. 14th Street, north to 23rd. Wiley Norvell of Transportation Alternatives sends this account.

The meeting turnout was high, with roughly 40 people speaking 2-1 in favor of the proposed protected bike lane. There were a lot of cyclists, most of them Chelsea residents. Joshua David of Friends of the Highline, Mike Epstein representing Google, as well as Ian Dutton and Shirley Secunda from CB2 all helped set a good, supportive tone early on. The issue of gay (or-anti) gay street design, which got some mention in the press last month, was dismissed early one by one speaker as a "lavender herring" and never came up again.

Of the 10-15 people speaking against the project, about five spoke as if this was a referendum on cycling, railing against bikers as public enemy #1 (thank you Hunter College). There were a few speaking on process, and criticizing the DOT for inadequate public outreach in drafting the design. And several spoke about specific needs, like loading zones on particular blocks and banning left turns on some west-bound streets to preserve metered parking for businesses.

The overall tone of the meeting was respectful and upbeat, and hopefully it carries over to the full board meeting, where we’ll need everyone who spoke last night (and more) to come out again and speak for the project.

The recommendation came with conditions, including education and outreach to cyclists and businesses and consideration for commercial parking and loading zone needs. The committee also wants all signals to be accessible to street users with physical impairments.

The plan will go to the full board — where the project was previously rejected, based, at least in part, on the anti-gay argument — on December 3. 

Image: NYC DOT 

  • LOL @ the phrase “lavender herring”.

  • the need for this is much greater on the east side where we don’t have a greenway. what is the stumbling block for a cycle track on 1rst and 2nd avenues?

  • Marty Barfowitz

    What’s the stumbling block to Livable Streets improvements on 1st and 2nd Avenue? Why, that would be Community Board 8.

  • Mike

    wooDave, my guess is part of the problem on 1st and 2nd Aves is that they are slated for bus rapid transit someday, and I’m not sure anyone knows how that would work together with a protected bike lane. Would bikes and buses share the same space? Or two separate spaces? It’s a lot tricker to implement.

  • Barnard

    Good point, Mike.

    Have you seen Paris’ Mobilien bus rapid transit? It’s a high quality BRT system, and the lanes are designed for exclusive use by bike/bus/taxi. From what I’ve heard, the lanes are wide enough for the buses to comfortably pass cyclists, the buses have two horns–one regular car horn and a special “bike” horn that sounds like a bell to notify cyclists before passing–and the bus drivers get special training to safely operate around cyclists. I’ve heard it’s great and the lanes are very well used by cyclists.

    Of course, Streetfilms has a movie!
    http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/mobilien/

    How about that on the East Side?

  • I think that protected bike lanes should always be two-way. 9th for example: so much space is wasted for one way lane ad a buffer! It could easily be a two way lane, like by the west side hwy. They would have to put up some traffic signs warning drivers it’s two ways obviously.

  • J

    Mike, the BRT lane would be on the right side of the street, and the protected bike lane would be on the left. The problem is that the Avenues would go from 5 travel lanes, with parking on both sides to 3 travel lanes, with parking on only one side of the street and a small amount of loading on the other side. I think if the community board requested this, then DOT would implement it, but it doesn’t look like DOT is trying to ram stuff down the community’s throats if they can avoid it. It also doesn’t seem that the east side leaders are pushing for this. The west side, however, has been pushing for these types of improvements for years. Naturally, they will be the first areas to actually see them implemented. Hence the 8th & 9th Ave cycle tracks, which seem poised to be extended up through Hells kitchen to the UWS.

    Obviously, you can’t make everyone happy, and it’s often difficult to tell who exactly represents the community. If you want the east side to have livable streets, get involved with your community board. Go to meetings. Start a group, like the one in Inwood that is pushing for the Dyckman cycle track.

  • I actually think a bike path on 1st Ave would be better off on the right side, because there are *so* many fewer intersections on that side (especially in the 20s, 30s and 40s). There wouldn’t need to be nearly as many protected, signalized turn opportunities if the path were on the right side, and therefore bikes and pedestrians would have longer green lights.

    Same thing with a potential uptown path on CPW — if you put the bike path next to the park, it has far fewer intersections with cross traffic.

  • Sholom Brody

    Here is the Lavander Herring commenter:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lK1aWdyWJSA
    Here is another commenter:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3Vds0nvnBc
    And one angry commenter:

  • Brad

    Is it just me or all the bike lanes are pretty much on the West side of the city? What’s up with that?

  • urban designer

    ******************************

    NO MORE BIKE LANES IN NYC !!!!!

    – bike lanes, barriers, dividers, etc. are a waste of money and space.
    – the problem is bikers want to have their cake and eat it too.
    – they want bike lanes, but they also want to ride with traffic.
    – they also want to be FREE from obeying traffic regulations.

    ******************************

    THE FUTURE:

    Pedestrians / Buses / Streetcars / SUBWAYS / elevated Magna-Mono-Rail

    THE PAST:

    Bikes are the past. Bikes are the past. Bikes are the past.
    Bikes are the past. Bikes are the past. Bikes are the past.

    ******************************

    “IF” bike lanes are forced upon the good citizens of NYC –
    – and “IF” the bicyclists want OUR respect ….
    then the bicyclists MUST follow the rules of the road.
    Until they do … they DO NOT deserve a bike lane!

    1) Bicyclists MUST stop at redlights.
    2) Bicyclists MUST yield to pedestrians.
    3) Bicyclists MUST obey oneway streets.
    4, 5, 6, ) Etc., Etc., Etc.

    ******************************
    ******************************

    Bicyclists must also:

    7) PAY TRANSPORTATION and INFRASTRUCTURE TAX
    8) LICENSE AND REGISTRATION FEES
    9) WEAR HELMETS AT ALL TIMES
    10) HAVE FRONT AND REAR LIGHTS
    11) Have a BELL but use ONLY in an EMERGENCY
    12) CARRY “PROOF” OF INSURANCE
    13,14,15) ETC ETC ETC

    ******************************
    ******************************

    In addition:

    16) Bicyclists MUST signal when turning and stopping
    17) Bicyclists MUST ride with both hands on the wheel
    ….. (unless they are signaling a turn)
    18) Bicyclists MUST NOT read or talk on their cells while moving
    19, 20, 21) ETC, ETC, ETC

    ******************************
    ******************************

    Check out the latest Bike Lane Folly in Little Italy, Chinatown and SoHo:
    http://www.myfoxny.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=7887058&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=3.2.1
    http://sohopolitics.blogspot.com/2008/11/mean-streets-of-soho.html
    http://thevillager.com/villager_290/thenewgrand.html

    *****************************

    Transportation priority in the city should be:

    1. Essential Services (garbage/sweepers/emergencey vehicles)
    2. Pedestrians (safe sidewalks free of bikes and dog leashes)
    3. Buses and/or Streetcars (dedicated lanes)
    4. Commercial Vehicles (dedicated parking and NO double parking)
    5. Bikes (Messenger ONLY)
    6. Pedi-Cabs
    7. Yellow Cabs (Taxi’s)
    8. Medians (for Greenstreets projects)
    9. Personal vehicles (with VERY HIGH PARKING FEES)
    10. Pedestrians (they deserve another mention before bikes)
    11. Bikes (for personal transportation)
    12. Bikes (for recreation)
    13. Pedestrians (they deserve another [3rd] mention)

    *****************************

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