Tonight: DOT to Unveil Plans for Bike Lanes on 29th and 30th Streets

Marilyn Dershowitz was fatally struck by the driver of a USPS truck on W. 29th St. in July. Will planned bike lanes offer adequate protection for crosstown cyclists? Photo: ##http://www.dnainfo.com/20110702/chelsea-hells-kitchen/marilyn-dershowitz-sisterinlaw-of-alan-dershowitz-killed-by-mail-truck-while-cycling##DNAinfo##

Cyclists looking for a safer route between protected bike lanes on Eighth and Ninth Avenues and the Hudson River Greenway could soon see a measure of relief. Tonight, DOT will meet with the transportation committee of Community Board 4 to discuss plans for dedicated lanes on 29th and 30th Streets.

Currently, cyclists traveling east-west between 17th and 43rd have few options that don’t include jockeying with car and truck traffic on wide streets.

“There are concerns about the large USPS trucks,” says Christine Berthet of the Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen Coalition for Pedestrian Safety. In July, cyclist Marilyn Dershowitz was killed by a postal truck driver while riding underneath a building overhang that straddles W. 29th between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, a stretch dominated by USPS vehicles. Following the Dershowitz crash — a hit-and-run; no charges filed — Berthet noted that a neighborhood advisory committee has “proposed a number of east-west connections” to DOT. “Unless these bike paths are protected,” said Berthet, “nothing will prevent another tragedy like this one.”

How much help Class II lanes would provide remains to be seen. DOT declined to release design details prior to the meeting. To find out what’s in store, and to speak up for giving cyclists the means to travel crosstown without risking their lives, head to the Holland House, Piano Room, 351 W. 42nd Street, this evening at 6:30.

  • Bike Commuter

    It may not be possible in the USPS tunnel between 9th and 10th Avenues, but DOT should truly consider a parking protected bike lane between 8th and 9th.  That one block is very wide and the south side of the street borders a fenced off area of grass and trees.  No residents would be able to complain about a bike lane on “their” street inconveniencing their ability to park right in front of their homes.  The street is a speedway as it is, with cars rushing from 8th Avenue.  Moving cars over and narrowing the street would be one simple fix that would slow down cars and trucks before they get to 9th.

    It may be just one small section, but it would certainly prevent cars from gaining a lot of speed and shooting across the intersection.  It would also perhaps prevent cars from then having to jockey for position as they navigate that tunnel.  Cars wouldn’t have to merge in the darkness because they’d already be in a more predictable line.

    I know DOT likes to think big when it comes to separated, protected bike lanes, but perhaps this is a situation in which thinking small will yield the best results.

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