Eyes on the Street: Concrete Progress on Eighth Ave Protected Bike Lane

Photo: Doug Gordon

Doug Gordon of Brooklyn Spoke fame sends these shots of another milestone in the extension of the Eighth Avenue protected bike lane: The pedestrian islands are going in. These pools of pure unspoiled concrete were spied at the intersection of 35th Street.

Watching this NYC DOT safety project take shape in the heart of Midtown, a favorite quote from livable streets guru Jan Gehl comes to mind: “How nice is it to wake up every morning and know that your city is a little bit better than it was the day before.”

Photo: Doug Gordon
  • J

    This is where NYC has every other city in North America beat. These pedestrian islands, installed as part of most protected bike lanes, are not just token gestures, they seriously reduce crossing distances, typically by at least 19′, as is the case in the photo above. No other North American city, not Montreal, Portland, DC, Chicago, Vancouver, or San Francisco builds bike lanes like this.

  • Gehl Penalosa

    I’m not complaining. This stuff is great. But I do think that these protected bike lanes on the avenues need to be two-way. The demand is clearly there for two-way bike travel on these lanes and there clearly isn’t enough enforcement to stop them from being used as such. So, why not design for the demand and get the teething process over with.

  • vnm

    @1710088c8cbc01cb86b4170c68ddda71:disqus  I’d take that. But it might actually be pretty complicated.  That’s why I’d be just as happy with a parallel southbound protected lane on Ninth or Seventh.

  • HamTech87

    @1710088c8cbc01cb86b4170c68ddda71:disqus I have to second the motion for 2-way paths on the avenues.  Just got back from Montreal where that’s standard and just plain sensible.

  • HamTech87

    So when is BikeShare rolling out???

  • Walk Eagle Rock

    Just curious, how do New Yorkers like the width of these protected bike lanes? They seem a little bit too narrow, especially when taking into account how dense NYC is with so many peds and that the lanes are also apparently used by joggers, walkers, stroller pushers? I’m certainly not a VC, just wondering how the width is working out.

  • Anonymous

    @deca4040bd14919b1f1b6b1f3611a4fd:disqus, to this NYC bike commuter, the lanes are too narrow.  
    I’m still for putting a car lane width bike lane in the center of Avenues, permeable to cars that need to change lanes (in order to prepare for a turn off the avenue, e.g.).  Someone always says that’s crazy, but NYC DOT has already put permeable, center bike lanes in several spots in NYC and they work fine.  See 55th St. approaching 7th Ave, 30th St. approaching 9th Ave, and the west side of the split 1st Ave approaching 42nd St.

    Example:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/10798592@N08/1414440531/in/photostream

  • Hilda

    On my ride up 8th yesterday, there were exactly two blocks between 34th and 47th where I could use the bike lane. Although this was about the same ratio when 2nd Ave was first put in, so looking forward to the changes as people get used to it.
    The 9th Avenue lane is still a big blank area where vehicles try to fit three lanes into less than two. Cannot wait for that to get finished. Thursday I saw 8 lanes of traffic at 45th street and 9th Avenue, and vehicles were sitting there for 4-5 minutes at least, not able to move because it was such gridlock. I had to pick up my bike and walk down the sidewalk for two blocks as I could not get through. 
    I don’t feel these are too narrow if you go the right speed; just because you can go fast (20 mph or so) doesn’t mean you should

  • Redbike9

    Two-way on 8th Av really does make sense; maybe other aves too. Like it or not, that’s how folks are currently using the 8th Av bike lane. One clear benefit: increasing the presence of bicycles in this bike lane will help deter from pedestrians using the bike lane as an extension of the sidewalk, as they currently do. Yep, a wider sidewalk would be nice too, but we’re talking about a bike lane.

  • J

    I’m not sure about the whole 2-way thing. Having lived in Montreal for a few years, I find that the 2-way lanes there are a bit tricky at intersections, because they involve too many conflicts. Drivers turning across the bike lanes have to look for bicycles going 2 different directions, plus pedestrians, which is quite challenging, especially if there are heavily turn volumes, or heavy bike and ped volumes. This is the case in downtown Montreal and on 8th Ave as well. Even respectful drivers can end up hitting cyclists, because it is difficult to look in 2 directions at the same time.

  • fj

    Yes, it’s nice it’s being fixed up and made safer but also, all the concrete and ‘heavy fortification’ from cars, trucks, and buses, is a clear indication of the extremely heavy toll these horribly designed vehicles exact from our lives and the environment that supports us as lots more ‘soft places’ would be a lot nicer. 

    The way we do transportation is real stupid — based on really bad designs — and it’s kind of amazing how people do things the difficult way and get used to it and think it’s really great.

  • Keep it one-way to preserve the green wave. It’s also a capacity issue.

  • does anyone know why the “islands” that separated the bike lane on the southern part of 8th avenue, near 12th, jane, horatio streets have been removed, trees and all, and the areas paved flat again??