Eyes on the Street: What’s Up With the 8th Ave Bike Lane at Penn Station?

Photo: Tri-State Transportation Campaign

Yesterday the Tri-State Transportation Campaign tweeted this photo of the new Eighth Avenue bike lane alignment between 31st Street and 33rd Street. On this stretch, there’s no longer physical protection for cyclists, and motorists can double-park in the bike lane. What gives?

It turns out this is not about clearing room for NYPD’s rush-hour parking lot on Eighth Avenue. DOT says this is a temporary measure during Moynihan Station construction, which involves the adjacent Farley Post Office. Phase 1 of the project is currently underway, extending the Penn Station Amtrak concourse so passengers can access it via new entrances.

The protected bike lane will be restored when construction wraps up, but Moynihan is a huge project that’s expected to take several years to complete. DOT did not provide a timetable for the restoration of the protected lane.

Is the buffered lane the best that can be done for these blocks that link up with critical commuter transit hubs, for what figures to be a very long-term construction project?

  • DOT has done a fantastic job of keeping the separated bike lane on Kent Avenue going during construction at the Domino Sugar factory, another project that will take years. I’d love to see something between no separation and this example that keeps out parked cars while still allowing for access by official construction vehicles.

  • J

    This Kent St design is great and should be standard. High-quality facilities are maintained during construction for cars facilities and should be maintained for bicycle facilities as well.

  • Cold Shoaler

    Was there physical protection before? I don’t think they’ve actually changed anything but the road striping here. The bike lane is buffered by a Citi Bike station for the southern half of this block. Once you’re north of the signalized crosswalk (where 32nd would be) the bike lane jogs over to the right, where there used to be a striped buffer, to make room for two or three curbside parking spaces. Seriously. It then comes back over to the curb just before the intersection with 33rd. It’s such an idiotic configuration, it would make me laugh, but for the hazard it represents. Maybe DOT is experimenting with chicanes to control the speed of bike traffic?

  • jooltman

    Construction means that in addition to the already overwhelming traffic around Moynihan Station, there will be lots of heavy machinery and materials moving through this area; Cyclists need much more protection than this bizarre zigzag affords.

  • BBnet3000

    The bike lane is more useful than Moynihan station.

  • there was indeed a protected bike lane there (i live three blocks away). and it does suck that there isn’t one now. it’s a gnarly ride up 8th anyway because pedestrians in midtown, cart vendors, and delivery guys (and OF COURSE COP CARS) are a constant threat/blocking force/total fucking nightmare.

  • stairbob

    I rode there on Friday. I didn’t find it so bad. That’s a spot where there’s a left turn lane anyway, so a cyclist needs to be vigilant and move to the right to avoid conflicts with turning motorists. I suppose there is some extra hazard due to the possibility of people trying to park in those spots, but I don’t see it as a particularly bad hardship.

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