Manhattan CB 7 Wants Protected Bike Lanes for Columbus Circle

The board passed a resolution asking DOT to separate bikes and motorized traffic in the circle, which would plug a hole in the city's bike network and make it safer for walking.

This Columbus Circle sneckdown hints at the excess asphalt that could be repurposed for walking and biking. Photo: Alex Knight/Twitter
This Columbus Circle sneckdown hints at the excess asphalt that could be repurposed for walking and biking. Photo: Alex Knight/Twitter

Manhattan Community Board 7 wants DOT to make it safer to walk and bike through Columbus Circle.

In May, the board’s transportation committee passed a resolution calling for protected bike lanes in the large traffic circle at the southwest corner of Central Park. The full board approved the resolution last night.

Columbus Circle connects to protected bike lanes on Broadway and Eighth Avenue to the south, and to a painted northbound lane on Central Park West. But only a short segment of the circle itself, between Broadway and the park, has bike lanes.

The circle has a lot of excess asphalt, and its markings are fading, making it hazardous for people walking and biking, as well as motorists and their passengers. Since 2009, 49 people have been injured in traffic crashes in Columbus Circle, according to city data. Ten of the victims were walking, 18 were riding bikes, and 21 were in motor vehicles.

The resolution asks DOT to “install a dedicated path for cyclists through Columbus Circle that would ensure their safe passage (1) north from the 8th Avenue bicycle lane to the Central Park West bicycle lane and (2) south from Broadway to the bicycle lane on Broadway south of the Circle.”

It continues: “Such path would clearly separate cyclists from vehicles, ideally with physical barriers to prevent the mixing of cyclists and vehicles. In designing this protected path, the DOT should be mindful of the safety of pedestrians and the efficient movement of vehicles through the Circle.”

The resolution passed the full board with 42 votes in favor and one abstention.

Last month, Transportation Alternatives volunteer Willow Stelzer, who is working on the TransAlt campaign for a safer Broadway, told Streetsblog community boards 4 and 5 will also be addressing the biking and walking environment in Columbus Circle.

  • Vooch

    Great idea !

    here is drawing of a plan and some commentary from 1960s to expand pedestrian space in Columbus Circle https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5addb6b6df550d4dd6c5cea14d7977ba033dd802060dd8350eabdd283c97f820.jpg

  • KeNYC2030

    Very cool. What is the title/date of that book?

  • Jeff

    Never Built New York? I have this on my coffee table!

  • Vooch

    indeed

    my favorite image from the book is the Robert Moses before & after plan of Washington Square and how much MORE greenery the square would have by running Fifth Avenue through https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3c60ff116969d75f7531208b763756878816498bf30c7d4af48df87cc7c93537.jpg

  • NYCdenizen

    It’s nice to see a competent Community Board for once.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    “Never Built New York” by Sam Lubell, Greg Goldin 2016 . Amazon looks the way to go.

  • KeNYC2030

    Thanks.

  • Elizabeth F

    Don’t forget, Columbus circle also connects the southbound route through Central Park with southbound Broadway and other streets. Yes, you have to walk your bike a “block” from the Central Park road to Columbus Circle proper. But it’s still better than the alternatives.

  • J

    Also, this is a good time to start talking about connecting the northbound 8th Ave protected lane to the northbound protected lane on Amsterdam, via Broadway. Broadway appears to have excess capacity, so it should be pretty easy to do. Thus, the protected lane should good all the way around the circle.

  • AMH

    It’s crazy how difficult it is to access Broadway from the park.

  • AMH

    Great to see this getting attention from the CB. The circle could be a nice park but it’s so isolated from the surrounding area. Accessing it involves circuitous paths and delays from multiple light cycles. Is there any reason for it to be three lanes wide?

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Should probably also consider giving Central Park West a PPW treatment. Never seems that busy and has crappy 5′ lanes today.

  • J

    Definitely! Should be a no brainer, especially in the southern section where there is gobs of extra capacity and few places where cars could turn across the bike lane. The transit shelter is also a parking lane. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7cf90e8ebab569e74971c64d6694f7224051266e9a38fc13b88fec7de25d0690.png

  • Samuelitooooo

    I like that picture with the sneckdowns.

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When it snows on Columbus Circle, street space that could be repurposed for walking and biking is revealed. Photo: Alex Knight/Twitter

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