East 106th Street Road Diet and Bike Lanes Head to Manhattan CB 11

DOT is proposing a road diet for East 106th Street. CB 11's transportation committee could vote on it as soon as next month. Image: DOT
DOT is proposing a road diet for East 106th Street. CB 11’s transportation committee could vote on it as soon as next month. Image: DOT

Running between Fifth Avenue and FDR Drive, 106th Street in East Harlem should provide a key bike connection between Central Park and Randall’s Island. NYC DOT is proposing a road diet and painted bike lanes [PDF] to improve safety on the street, and Community Board 11’s transportation committee could vote on the plan soon.

At 60 feet wide, 106th Street currently has two car lanes in each direction, even though one lane each way could handle the existing traffic. The connection to the Randall’s Island bike-pedestrian bridge at 103rd Street is also tricky to navigate. This is especially important since 106th Street is the most direct connection between Central Park and Randall’s Island, due to the prevalence of large super-blocks in East Harlem.

The present design contributes to the disproportionate share of traffic violence on East 106th Street. There were two  pedestrian fatalities in separate crashes in 2005, and a cyclist was killed at the intersection with Park Avenue in 2000, according to CrashStat. It ranks in the top third of Manhattan’s most dangerous streets, according to NYC DOT.

DOT is proposing a classic four-to-three lane road diet, converting the existing four car lanes to two car lanes, bike lanes, and a center median with left-turn lanes. At Second and Third Avenues, median islands would make intersections safer for pedestrians by turning one 60-foot crossing to two 25-foot segments.

Between Fifth and Madison Avenues, the plan eliminates the center median and the bike lanes, which give way to sharrows in order to maintain angled parking on 106th Street for the Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center.

Trying to get between Central Park and Randall's Island? East 106th Street is the only real option. Image: DOT
Trying to get between Central Park and Randall’s Island? East 106th Street is the only real option. Image: DOT

The plan includes a painted curb extension on the northeast corner of First Avenue and E. 102nd Street, with a new bike lane on 102nd Street leading to the Randall’s Island bridge.

The agency presented the plan to CB 11’s transportation committee on April 1 and held a walk-through on Monday morning. The tour attracted about 25 people, according to CB 11 assistant District Manager Angel Mescain-Archer. He said that “there may have been concerns about loss of parking or bus stops, but DOT clarified that this plan would have no effect on either.”

The walking tour could result in one change: Where 106th Street meets the FDR Drive service road, DOT is proposing a striped two-way bike lane on the east side of the service road to connect to 105th Street, where cyclists can access the bridge to Randall’s Island. The M106 bus also follows this route. “We witnessed several buses navigating that turn and it was very clear that there simply is not enough room to safely accommodate the turning bus and the bike lanes,” Mescain-Archer said.

Mescain-Archer said a slightly modified version of the plan is likely to be presented to the board’s transportation committee again. Its next meeting is scheduled for May 6.

  • J

    #VisionZeroReductionInParking

    Good project, but it could be much better if there was any will to rethink parking.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    Whenever I see this area, I think of the East River Greenway past E 125th Street. Why is it going to take another 4 years just to extend it to W 145th Street? Is it because that segment needs a new seawall and pilings? More FDR construction?

    http://www.startsandfits.com/images/MWG_map.jpg

  • SteveVaccaro

    What a great project. I particularly like the FDR service road connector. Thank you DoT!

  • R

    Totally agree. Vision Zero can’t happen if cyclists are still in danger of getting doored.

    DOT and the mayor need to get bold with their bike lane designs.

  • Ben Kintisch

    R,
    I agree with you. To help facilitate safe cycling and steady growth in cycling rates, let’s go for better infrastructure. A two-way parking protected lane the length of E. 106 would make the same connection work even better. Better infra gets us to Vision Zero faster.

  • Sean Kelliher

    Thank you for mentioning this. Reforming parking seems to be the key to freeing up space that can be used to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists (as well as make the city’s economy more vibrant). Although, sadly, there doesn’t seem to be much if any political will at DOT or the Mayor’s Office to do so.

    I’m amazed when I walk around my office in midtown, how much space is given away to placard parking. It’s insane. They use their reserved space and then clog almost all of the loading zones, no standing zones, and commercial parking zones. Even in my pretty residential neighborhood almost every inch of curbside is a parking lot. Regular people use the legal parking spots. Placard holders use the fire lanes, crosswalks, and no parking zones.

  • MattyCiii

    11′ lane widths are associated with motorists feeling comfortable driving at 45 mph.

    Is the NYC speed limit 45 mph?

    If not, why not make the car lanes 10′ wide and give the extra foot to the bike lanes?

  • Maggie

    I often wonder about this too. Is there anything more recent on the missing segments along the Harlem River waterfront than the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway Master Plan from November 2004? It’s got the most detail I’ve seen on what’s missing and why between 1st Ave at 125th Street and 163rd west of FDB, including this piece:

    “West 145th Street to West 150th Street is leased by the City to the private Esplanade Gardens Housing, which currently uses the waterfront for parking and garbage dumpsters. Plans should be made to meet…. to discuss….”

    For the target dates it lists: 2008 for paths from 145th to 150th and from 139th to 142nd St, and 2016 (or when bridge reconstruction finishes) to begin creating a park from 125th to 138th – any updates available?

  • Gentleman

    Because it’s a bus route and buses are wider than passenger cars.

  • Daphna

    Buses can fit in the 10′ wide lanes. 10′ lanes were used on Columbus Avenue but when there is space, DOT tends to opt for the 11′ lanes. I think the 11′ lanes are misguided and that 10′ should become the norm.

  • Daphna

    This is a great plan. Does anyone know if the Transportation Committee of Manhattan Community Board 11 passed a resolution in favor? Did it go before the full board of CB11?

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