CB Action Tomorrow: New Bike Routes for Harlem and Greenwich Village

adam_clayton_powell.jpgA buffered bike lane is slated to replace a traffic lane on Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard. Image: NYCDOT [PDF]

Two Manhattan community boards are meeting Tuesday evening to discuss new bike routes planned by DOT. If you’d like to support the proposals, and perhaps nudge DOT to beef up some of the provisions for cyclists, here are the details.

At 6:15, CB2’s Transportation Committee will consider two routes:
one linking the south end of the Fifth Avenue bike lane to the Grand
Street lane, creating a route from Midtown to the Manhattan Bridge, and
another linking the Hudson River Greenway with the crosstown routes on
9th and 10th Streets. A source informs us that parts of the proposals
rely heavily on sharrows instead of dedicated space, so you may want to
encourage alternatives that afford cyclists greater safety. This one
is happening at NYU’s Silver Building (32 Waverly Place, Room 411).

At 6:30, DOT will present plans for a buffered bike route on Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard [PDF] to CB10’s Transportation and Parks and Recreation committees. Head to the Oberia Dempsey Center (127 W. 127th Street) to learn more and give your feedback.

Also tomorrow night, DOT will present its Broadway pedestrian plan — officially called "Green Light for Midtown" — to CB7. The meeting starts at 7:00 at 250 W. 87th St. (at Broadway), on the second floor.

  • The image shows a total of 9 or buffer’…enough for another parking area or even a tight lane.

    What Im getting at, is if there space, people will use it (double parking)

  • My comment seems to have gotten burried on another page so I’ll repeat and expand a little on it here.

    As a resident of the South Village who is really tired of having to circle the park whenever I use Fifth Avenue to get home I’d much rather see bicycle access through the center of Washington Square Park. Wouldn’t it be lovely to add bike racks around the fountain so that cyclists can enjoy Washington Square just like everyone else?

    Bike lanes to access the Greenway should be a no-brainer especially if the MTA is doing away with the crosstown bus. We already have a lane on 9th Street, and partial lanes on Far West Christopher. If we’re going to lose the busses anyway then why not expand on the existing bike lanes?

  • J. Mork

    That’s another great thing about bicycles, Stacy — you can always dismount and become a pedestrian if you want to cut through a park where bike riding isn’t permitted.

  • Stacy,

    You can request bike racks from the city using the following online form:

    The following page has information about where the racks can be placed/requested:

    I have not requested any racks for my neighborhood yet, but I’m sure there are some other Streetsblog readers that have and may have information for you on the process.

    Best of luck,

    Also, why doesn’t the city propose putting the bike lane beside the sidewalk and placing a physical barrier between the parking lane and the bike lane. I’m sure the answer will be price, but it seems like the safer way to go. With a strip of curb, it doesn’t matter if people double park or drive recklessly, the bike lane will be protected by a row of parked cars and a strip of curb or grass.

  • chriswnw

    Wow, five feet of space to cycle on, right smack in the middle of the door zone. Urban planners apparently know nothing about riding bikes.

    There’s already a perfectly good bike route in place. It is known as a street.

  • Chris in Sacramento

    The diagram appears to show a bicyclist about to go over the handlebars after crashing into the curb to her left. And who said irony was dead?

  • P

    Vehicular cyclists are still flying the flag? Still? Even after city after city shows that improved facilities lead to high biking rates?

    You may feel comfortable riding in the middle of the street but it should be pretty obvious that you are heavily outnumbered by people who prefer to have a space on the street away from cars.

    This isn’t to say that this is the best possible facility but it stands to be a much more heavily used route than an unstriped street.

  • If you’re going to give cyclists 9′ why can’t it be next to the curb. ARRRGGG! I live on Henry street and love my green bike lane. The experience is way better than on Clinton street where I feel like I’m going to get doored or squished between moving traffic and a parked car. Moreover, placing bike facilities next to parking lanes just begs for double parking.

    DOT needs to develop a consistent language of bike facilities that is not cluttered and ugly like the current designs. Less marking of the street and more medians, planted and raised areas will do the job. Putting up bright colored signs and adding sharrows draws attention to cyclists but it also signals to neighborhoods that if you get a bike lane it will come with some ugly accessories. I know we’re just getting started, but we need to move toward more elegant solutions and away from temporary looking, but useful quick fixes. If getting a bike lane meant serious street improvements more people would want them in their neighborhoods.

    Signage in Amsterdam


    Signage in NYC


  • “Vehicular cyclists are still flying the flag?”

    There has been an influx, I think by way of usa.streetsblog.org (a great thing, otherwise). Bicycle boulevards and what-have-you may be perfectly pleasant in places where traffic is calmer and there is a social stigma against honking, but not so much right here right now. My main problem with taking a lane is being honked at ruins my morning, and I’m not interested in hardening myself to pretend it does not. In NYC we have had made much progress even with painted lanes and especially with physically separated ones, so if the road-taking cyclists elsewhere would please leave us to it…

  • J-Uptown

    Any news from these meetings?

  • Christian Decker asks; “Also, why doesn’t the city propose putting the bike lane beside the sidewalk and placing a physical barrier between the parking lane and the bike lane.”

    Sweeping and maintenance issues. Nuff said.

    It really is too bad that those expensive streets are inadequate for cyclists to ride on.

  • LN

    Yes I agree that there needs to be consistency in bike lanes. I just got back from Amsterdam. Bike lanes there are always brick red, and if integrated with the sidewalk or street they are also a different paving surface. They also include directional markers for bikes letting them know which one to follow to go in which driection, where to wait for a left or right turn, ect, painted directly on the lanes.

    And in New York, we need to add, directly on the bike lane something like “This lane for bikes only – no parking”

    I’ve heard from drivers that, especially at night, they can’t figure out where the bike lane is because its not clearly marked.

  • chriswnw

    “Vehicular cyclists are still flying the flag? Still? Even after city after city shows that improved facilities lead to high biking rates?

    You may feel comfortable riding in the middle of the street but it should be pretty obvious that you are heavily outnumbered by people who prefer to have a space on the street away from cars.”

    I don’t really place myself in the VC camp or the facilities camp. I think riders can integrate on city streets, but only if the streets are below a certain speed limit, namely 25 mph (or 35 if the lanes are sufficient wide). I’m fine with Portland’s bike boulevards, as they give a sufficient amount of space to accommodate riders of all styles and skill levels. I’m not okay with being confined to a 5-6 foot path, and being subjected to ticketing if I stray from it.

    My recipe for bike-friendliness:

    1. Reduce the speed limits for all in-city surface streets to 30 mph.
    2. If a city MUST have high traffic arterial roads, ensure that a low speed route runs roughly parallel to it. This would require connecting some disconnected residential streets in suburban areas, either with new sections of street or bike/ped cut-through paths.
    3. More bike/ped freeway and railroad crossings.
    4. Shared lane markings or “sharrows”.

  • chriswnw

    “In NYC we have had made much progress even with painted lanes and especially with physically separated ones, so if the road-taking cyclists elsewhere would please leave us to it…”

    I don’t know about NYC, but in Oregon, a state law stipulates that we MUST use the dedicated bike path when one is present. So at least here, such paths would interfere with our current manner of riding, as our failure to use them could get us ticketed.

  • J-Uptown

    Chris, you make some valid points, but NYC is a completely different beast, which you should consider when you make a comment.

    1) Cyclist are rarely ever ticketed for anything except riding on the sidewalks. It is quite common to see a cyclist riding the wrong way run a red light in front of a cop. They are instructed to ignore it. The concept of being confined anywhere is a complete joke here. You can ride anywhere but the sidewalks if you’re brave enough.

    2) The citywide speed limit is 30 mph, but that doesn’t help much when taxis just barely miss brazing your body and a pedestrian darts out from between two parked cars and a delivery truck is double parked in front of you. There is simply too much to be wary if for most people to ride in traffic here.

    3) When there is a buffer, most cyclists ride in the buffer, so it’s really a 9 foot bike lane. The main problem, though, is that trucks and cars double park there constantly.

    4) Finally, in Manhattan there are no low-volume North-South residential streets. Every street is an arterial with high volumes of traffic. Therefore, in many cases a bike lane is absolutely necessary, preferably a protected one. I am hoping that the city is claiming space for cyclists now with these buffered lanes, with the future intention of creating protected lane with that space. This is what they did on Eighth Ave, and I hope they do it on Seventh Ave in Harlem as well.

  • I agree with Christian Decker’s plan to put the bike lane next to the sidewalk, followed by a buffer, and then a parking lane. B/c in the diagram, how are cars supposed to get into the parking space? In addition, the bike lane next to the sidewalk would provide additional walking space if the sidewalk is too crowded.

  • Since it seems not obvious and a few here have misread the diagram – the 4 foot buffer in the diagram is not a physical barrier, it is just paint, it must be DOT’s way of representing it. So there is not a raised curb or anything like that.

  • Liz

    Regarding the proposal for Adam Clayton Powell: Normally I’d cheer for more bike lanes, but there’s already one on St. Nicholas Ave that’s always, always full of double-parked cars (especially in front of the police station on 123rd St). Meanwhile, car traffic still speeds, but cyclists are forced to weave in and out of it. Unless the NYPD decides to start ticketing the double-parkers, I can only imagine that a bike lane on ACP would have the same problems.

  • Boris

    I went to the CB2 meeting. The presenters from DOT were very professional and were very well prepared for dealing with the several irate “members of the community” usually present at these meetings. The presenters took every opportunity to say that no parking will be affected by the lanes; they must get a lot of flak for removing parking, although in this case many people pointed out they’d actually wouldn’t mind reduced parking or truck loading zones. On the other hand, it was clear that DOT isn’t going to change its plans simply due to community input.

    Parking-protected bike lanes were passed over in this project in favor of painted curbside lanes because the streets are too narrow. (A parking protected lane has to be extra wide because of the door zone). Running lanes through the park was excluded because bikes are not allowed in parks.

  • Mike

    “Running lanes through the park was excluded because bikes are not allowed in parks.”

    That can’t be the whole story. They just striped a bike path through City Hall Park to connect Warren Street to the Brooklyn Bridge. If they really wanted to, they could have done the same thing in Washington Square Park.


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