Tonight: Speak Up for a Safe East River Greenway Bike Connection

Adding a two-way protected bike lane and striping lanes on a wide, expansive street? Might get some opposition from condo residents in Murray Hill tonight. Image: DOT
Adding a two-way protected bike lane and striping lanes on a wide, expansive street? Might get some opposition from condo residents in Murray Hill tonight. Image: DOT

Last week, Manhattan Community Board 6’s transportation committee voted in favor of a plan to make it safer to access the East River Greenway from bike lanes on First and Second Avenue. But implementation isn’t guaranteed yet. Supporters of the plan will need to make their voices heard at CB 6’s full board meeting tonight, where opposition is expected from residents of a condominium tower upset about a proposed two-way protected bike lane in front of their building.

The plan would put a bike path in place of a loading zone on 37th Street between First Avenue and FDR Drive. This area is currently used for drop-offs by residents of The Horizon, “an exceptional full service, white glove condominium,” according to a description on StreetEasy.

Drivers will still be able to use the loading zone on the south side of 37th Street, and access to parking garages on the north side of the street will remain. Although the committee debated the merits of putting the lane on the south side of the street, it eventually sided with DOT’s recommendation to place it on the north side, which would involve fewer street crossings for greenway-bound southbound cyclists.

“This particular design is a tremendous boost for bicycle accessibility to and from the East River Greenway, compared to the harrowing decisions that cyclists currently face,” said neighborhood bike advocate Brian Van Nieuwenhoven, who also serves as a New York Cycle Club board member and Transportation Alternatives volunteer. “I applaud NYC DOT for the creative design on this project.”

Van Nieuwenhoven urged more safety improvements, particularly at the Second Avenue entrance to the Queens Midtown Tunnel and the FDR Drive service road, but said this project would be a good first step.

Last week, the CB 6 transportation committee passed a resolution in support of the plan 7-3, with one abstention. The general board meeting starts tonight at 7 p.m. at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Alumni Hall B, 550 First Avenue. Members of the public will have three minutes each to speak, but must arrive before 7:15 p.m. to sign up for the public comment period. A vote on the project is expected later during the meeting.

  • BBnet3000

    “to make it safer to access the East River Greenway from bike lanes on First and Second Avenue”

    There is no bike lane on Second Avenue.

  • UN3030

    It’s neither the safest or the best option. And really hasn’t nothing to do with accessing the greenway which is a mess in this area anyway. It’s a redesign of a small street for nothing.

  • Nick Ober

    Not that I think it’s adequate…but Second Avenue at that point has an enhanced shared bike lane similar to the First Avenue arrangement between 48th Street and 59th Street.

  • Nick Ober

    It’s quite a scary arrangement during rush hour when the lane goes through one of two left turn lanes for the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.

  • Cold Shoaler

    So, sharrows, basically. I wouldn’t call it a bike lane.

  • Nick Ober

    Solid white line to the right but yeah…glorified sharrows.

  • Cold Shoaler

    “Glorified sharrows.” sums up far too much of NYC “bike lanes”. “Loading zone” covers a significant portion of the rest. I do still marvel at the quality of bike path snow removal this past winter. That tempers my cynicism a bit.

  • Steven Leslie

    I hope this passes as it would improve the safety of uptown access from Glick Park, the northern end of the East River esplanade, to the First Avenue bike lane. Both of these are heavily used and the First Avenue lane is well designed up to 49th Street. As everyone notes, downtown lanes are terrible on the East side, but that’s another issue. I wish Streetsblog would post these notices earlier. I would have attended this one and supported the plan.

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