After clearing Manhattan Community Board 6’s transportation committee, 13-1, CB 6’s full board voted on Wednesday to support a DOT proposal to improve bicycle safety near the Queensboro Bridge. CB 6, which covers the area south of 59th Street, joins Community Board 8, which voted to support the plan last month. With community board resolutions in hand, DOT could implement the project by the end of the year.
The plan would extend the First Avenue protected bike lane south from 61st Street to 59th Street, including a two-way section between 59th and 60th Streets, adding pedestrian refuge islands at 60th and 61st Streets. It also adds shared lanes on First Avenue from 56th Street to 59th Street and extends Second Avenue’s shared lanes by a block, from 59th Street to 58th Street. 59th Street between First and Second Avenues will receive shared lanes, as well as a short contra-flow bicycle lane for westbound cyclists.
On First Avenue, dual left-turn lanes at 57th and 59th Streets push the shared lane closer to the middle of the street. DOT had previously said that there was only enough room for a double-white stripe between the turn lanes and the shared lane, but CB 6 asked DOT to install flexible posts to cut down on the number of drivers looking to jump the queue of cars waiting to turn and improve safety for cyclists in the shared lane. As a result of the request, DOT is likely to install flexible posts on sections of the double-white line.
Community board input also resulted in separate signal phases to reduce conflicts between turning drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians at the intersection of 59th Street and First Avenue. CB 6 also asked for a bicycle traffic signal for cyclists turning left from the lane on 59th Street to Second Avenue, another feature that is likely to be included in the project’s implementation.
There was only one vote in opposition to the plan at Wednesday’s CB 6 meeting, although a complete tally is not available. At previous meetings, DOT said it could implement the plan by the end of the year.