In the Works: Better Bike Connections Between East Harlem and the Bronx

The two-way bike lane on First Avenue between 124th and 125th will be protected by a raised concrete barrier. Image: DOT
The two-way bike lane on First Avenue between 124th and 125th will be protected by a concrete barrier. Image: DOT

On Tuesday, DOT presented plans to Manhattan Community Board 11 for two short segments of two-way protected bike lanes to improve connections between East Harlem and the Willis Avenue and Triborough bridges [PDF].

Both bridges link the South Bronx and Upper Manhattan, but the current connections to the Manhattan bike network don’t work well.

DOT's plan for 124th Street requires cyclists to use crosswalks to get onto Second Avenue.
Where 124th Street meets Second Avenue, cyclists would use sidewalks and crosswalks to get onto Second Avenue. Image: DOT

To get to Second Avenue, cyclists coming from Willis Avenue are expected to use 125th Street, where they must contend with cars coming from six different directions at the intersection with the Triborough ramps. Similarly, no safe route exists for cyclists hoping to get from the northbound lane on First Avenue to either bridge.

Those conditions lead cyclists to seek safer routes that violate the letter of the law. According to DOT, 40 percent of cyclists on First Avenue between 125th and 124th travel against northbound traffic. In the last few years, cyclists have been injured at all four intersections of 125th and 124th with First and Second.

DOT’s plan calls for a barrier-protected two-way bike lane on First between 125th and 124th and a parking-protected two-way lane on 124th Street between First and Second. This will create safer connections for southbound cyclists from Willis Avenue and northbound cyclists heading to the Triborough, especially.

Cyclists prefer to travel against northbound traffic on First Avenue over risking their lives on 125th Street. Image: DOT
Cyclists heading to East Harlem from the Bronx prefer traveling against northbound traffic on First Avenue over risking their lives on 125th Street. Image: DOT
124_bikelane
The design for 124th Street between First and Second. Image: DOT

The project also includes a new mid-block pedestrian crossing on 124th Street between First and Second.

Conditions on the streets leading to most Harlem River bridges leave a lot to be desired for walking and biking. Following the lead of advocates, last year DOT launched an initiative to improve biking and walking access to the Harlem River bridges and held several public events to collect ideas.

The new bikeway segments will get a vote at the CB 11 transportation committee on March 1, and are expected to go to the full board on March 15.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    See image.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    the number of hard Working people who commute from above 96th to mid town on bikes Is staggering. DOT bike Counts miss these riders entirely. The Economics of cycling as normal transportation especially favours the backbone of NYC. This impriovement will greatly benefit tens of thiusabds of riders.

  • Reader

    Awesome plan! This will serve a lot of people. Well done, DOT!

    Anyone know the rationale for two 13′ parking lanes? Couldn’t they both – or one – be made a tad smaller? There has to be a way to accommodate double parking while making a bike lane big enough to account for future ridership growth.

  • Avi

    The Screenline count measures every crossing at 50th street. Aside from people working above 50th st, the DOT count is capturing them.

  • AMH

    Enormous lanes that encourage illegal double-parking also encourage speeding.

  • J

    Sweet plan! My only quibble is the meandering, confusing path that cyclists are forced to take to access the 2nd Ave path from 124th St. See image below.

  • Really? That’s a lot of commercial office space above 50th. Coming from 22nd to 45th, they’d miss my daily commutes, too.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    That can be fixed with an additional curb cut and moving the stop line back to where the bike lane ends.

  • BBnet3000

    There are definitely a few ways they could have provided access to the 2nd Ave lane without having people ride on the sidewalk.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    UES Is hotbed of employment – Restaurants, full Service buildings, schools, Massive Medical Industry.

    BTW – Screenline counts are useles. They undercount by 30-40%

  • AnoNYC

    This is great though the Bronx side needs a lot of work.

    Create a physically protected bicycle lane along Willis Ave to the Hub. It’s wide enough!

  • vnm

    This is excellent. I always look over my right shoulder when entering the existing lane, or just ride in the left-turn car lane, because it just doesn’t feel safe to blindly cut into it when cars are speeding crazy speeds to rush onto the bridge.

  • AnoNYC

    Does eastbound E 124th St even need a slip onto the RFK? Why not just close the eastbound E 124th slip and make that traffic take E 125th St if they want to reach the bridge. Westbound E 124th St could keep its slip for traffic coming from 1st Ave but push the stop lines to the bike path and move the island up, closing the gap.

    Why encourage automotive traffic to take East 124th St, which is predominantly residential, narrow and should not serve as an artery.

  • AnoNYC

    Another possible solution, but would probably require a traffic signal because of eastbound traffic from E 124th St opposite 2nd Ave.

  • AnoNYC

    The best way to prevent double parking is narrow lanes. People are not as likely to jam up a road if others cannot go around, especially a busy road.

    It happens, usually for quick drops, but it does discourage most.

  • chekpeds

    Fascinating: why do parked cars need 13′ ? and why foes a bus lane need to be so wide?

  • Jules1

    Best way to deal with double parking is to eliminate it: Make sure every block has enough loading zones and short-term parking available so that there is no reason to double-park.

  • AMH

    This was demonstrated on Mount Morris Park West, where the DOT narrowed the roadway dramatically and speeding was suddenly nonexistent. Drivers complained that they could no longer double-park, so the DOT widened the lane. Drivers go faster now, but at least it’s not the speedway it once was.

  • AnoNYC

    This was fixed. Lane extends along E 124th St to 2nd Ave now.

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