With CB 8 Vote, East Side Bikeway Ready to Run From Houston to 125th

Photo: DNAInfo
The Second Avenue bike lane in the East Village. Photo: ##http://www.dnainfo.com/20100816/lower-east-side-east-village/east-village-stores-that-cater-cabbies-bitter-about-new-bike-lanes##DNAInfo##

Last night, the full board of Manhattan Community Board 8 voted in favor of building a protected bike lane on First Avenue between 60th Street and 96th Street.

Once construction is finished, the lane will be one segment of a complete street running from Houston to 125th with Select Bus Service, protected bike lanes and pedestrian refuge islands (though the cyclist protection and pedestrian islands disappear near the Queensboro Bridge). On the Upper East Side, the Second Avenue lane will be on hold until subway construction is complete, but the First Avenue lane could be in place as early as this fall. In East Harlem, construction will start on Second Avenue next spring.

CB 8 approved the project by a vote of 20-11-1. That total masks the closeness of the vote, however. According to community board member Scott Falk, with two people left to vote the total stood at 16-13-1. Since resolutions need more than half of all voters to support them to pass, had both those two people voted no, the resolution would have failed. Neither did, though, and once the resolution had passed, two nays switched their votes to join the winning side.

The biggest issue was how the bike lane would affect local businesses’ ability to make deliveries, said Falk. “This was going to force triple parking, as they put it.” That argument was ultimately defeated by an appeal to the life-saving effects of protected bike lanes. Said Falk, “This isn’t about bicycles. It’s about safety by design.”

  • Anonymous

    I used to commute from UES to FiDi.  On my way home, after 60th street/the bridge, the cars would FLY! 

    It’d be like, all of a sudden, the cars could move and so they would, easily hitting 45 + mph (and in the few times I drove through the area, guilty as charged, I would speed as well, because, you could).  

    This truly is a safety issue.  There is more than enough capacity to handle a protected lane from 60th to 80th.  This will save lives and improve health.  And sorry, it may add 30 seconds to a cab ride through the area, but, that’s a small price for an improved quality of life for residents in the area.

    People forget that these are densely populated residential areas.  And we shouldn’t encourage race-tracks/highways through our neighborhoods.

    Way to be CB8!

  • Long-Time Observer

    Congratulations to Scott Falk and all the advocates who pushed this issue along.

    Congrats also to CB8. This board has  really come a long way in the last four or five years. They deserve a serious pat on the back.

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/07/19/cb8-shoots-down-upper-east-side-crosstown-bike-route-plan/

  • Daphna

    Noah, You made a slight error in the following sentence:  “Since resolutions need more than half of all voters to support them to
    pass, had even one of those two people voted no, the resolution would
    have failed”.  Had BOTH those people voted no, it would have failed, but not if just one voted no.

  • Daphna

    This will not quite be a continuous protected bike lane on First Avenue.  From 49th – 56th it is a shared lane which is no protection at all.  From 56th – 60th there is nothing at all for bikes.

    Second Avenue is worse because there is a shared lane all the way from 34th – 56th, then nothing between 56th and 100th because it is all on hold due to the subway, and then a protected lane from 100th – 125th.

    Despite all these missing pieces, I am still very excited.  I hope and expect biking volumes to go way up!

    However, I predict that First Avenue will be used as a bi-directional bike lane once it is in since there will be nothing comparable on Second Avenue.  This is natural because cyclists will want to go on a road where there is a safe place for them.  I am going to be happy to see lots of cyclists out there, bi-directional or not!  At least they will be riding and I can not fault them for wanting to go where it is safe.

  • Daphna

    This will not quite be a continuous protected bike lane on First Avenue.  From 49th – 56th it is a shared lane which is no protection at all.  From 56th – 60th there is nothing at all for bikes.

    Second Avenue is worse because there is a shared lane all the way from 34th – 56th, then nothing between 56th and 100th because it is all on hold due to the subway, and then a protected lane from 100th – 125th.

    Despite all these missing pieces, I am still very excited.  I hope and expect biking volumes to go way up!

    However, I predict that First Avenue will be used as a bi-directional bike lane once it is in since there will be nothing comparable on Second Avenue.  This is natural because cyclists will want to go on a road where there is a safe place for them.  I am going to be happy to see lots of cyclists out there, bi-directional or not!  At least they will be riding and I can not fault them for wanting to go where it is safe.

  • J

    This is huge news! With a protected bikeway on both sides of midtown, it is only a matter of time before they are connected through midtown. UES was a bike desert for a long time, with lots of aggressive traffic and nothing for bikes. I would avoid biking there as much as possible, and I bike everywhere. With a protected bike lane covering most of the nabe, I would definitely be much more likely to head in that direction.

  • Glenn

    I’m sure some folks can trace back efforts on the East Side even further, but when I addressed CB8 Transportation Committee back in February 2006, the reaction to the concept of striping even unprotected bike lanes was extremely negative. All anyone wanted to talk about was how dangerous commercial cyclists were, missing the larger idea of how designing streets for safety benefited all users. CB8 has evolved and the advocacy effort has been nothing short of amazing. But the killer app is that the concept is proven to produce strong safety benefits in study after study. Bloomberg and JSK deserve major praise for taking the plunge in running experiments, collecting data, listening to all stakeholders and not just well-connected insiders.

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  • This… is amazing. (And no, Bloomberg and JSK deserve no credit – the CBs had to yell at NYCDOT to extend the bike lanes north.) This segment of the East Side has a lot of room for cars, and it’s good to make sure more people take other modes. Harlem’s air quality isn’t exactly the best in the world.

    It’s good even if the lanes aren’t protected all the way from 125th to Houston. Bike lanes are not like light rail lines, which have to exist the entire way to be useful. They’re more like freeways or dedicated bus lanes or high-speed rail: bikes (or cars, or buses, or trains) can go on higher-end infrastructure where it exists and switch to lower-end infrastructure through the gaps. Of course high-end infrastructure all the way is the best, but even this interim solution is pretty good.

    Now if only they make 1st and 2nd two-way again…

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