Last night, Manhattan Community Board 6 threatened to stall bikeway improvements connecting the East River Greenway with Murray Hill, because a group of condo owners opposed one piece of it. But a last-minute compromise seems to have cleared the way for the project.
The plan [PDF] would improve the surface of the East River Greenway near Glick Park, add shared lane markings to crosstown streets, and convert a block of the First Avenue bike lane to a two-way path. It would also add a two-way bike lane on one block of 37th Street to connect First Avenue with the East River Greenway.
At last night’s meeting, residents of The Horizon condominium tower testified against the 37th Street path because it would remove a loading zone on the north side of the street, immediately outside their building. Supporters of the plan were outnumbered. Intimidated by the opposition, a CB 6 member offered a resolution to send the issue back to committee, where it would have to wait until the community board resumed meetings in September.
Things looked bleak until the end of the meeting, when board members began to discuss a compromise: moving the path to the south side of the street.
During committee meetings, DOT said it could implement a two-way bike lane on either the north or south sides, but that it would much rather install a north side path. By putting the path on the north side, cyclists heading southbound on the new two-way block between 37th and 38th Streets would only have to cross one leg of the intersection of First Avenue and 37th Street in order to continue on the greenway. This would mean fewer conflicts with drivers.
“They encouraged us to do the north side,” said transportation committee chair Molly Hollister.
But opposition from condo owners made the board hesitant to endorse that solution, and a south-side path with a more complicated crossing for greenway-bound cyclists won out. The board took a voice vote on the resolution, with only one member in opposition.
A DOT spokesperson said, “We are still reviewing the feedback we received from the Board and look forward to working with them further on this project.”