New Bike Lanes and Markings for the Lower East Side

DOT just finished striping new bike lanes and stencils along Grand Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side:

The buffered lanes begin at the intersection of Christie and Grand Streets and then, as the streets narrow they morph into non-buffered Class 2 lanes and Class 3 shared-lane markings, as pictured below. The new bike route reaches all the way to the edge of the FDR Expressway.


In addition to creating new bike lanes, DOT has also striped a new median down the middle of Grand Street. They do this to "channelize" and "calm" traffic using this street. This road diet is similar to the design that DOT did on Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn a few months back.

  • ddartley

    Here’s another thought that makes me uneasy about the “cyclists keep out of the way” nature of most bike lanes:

    On a lot of (most?) city streets, should cars really be going much faster than bikes anyway?

  • Ben

    Cars often don’t give you enough space when they pass, even with a wide curb lane.

    Setting aside space forces them to do so.

  • Cars are allowed to go up to 30mph in most areas of the city. That’s much faster than most cyclists going downhill with a tailwind…

    I’ve often thought that the east/west Streets should be 10-15 mph while the north/south Avenues should be 20-25mph.

  • crzwdjk

    ddartley: it depends. If you look at the fastest bikes, they go somewhere in the range of 17 to 25 mph, which is reasonable for cars. The slowest bikes, though, go 10-12 mph. You can’t reasonably expect cars to be going at that speed. In fact, you can’t even expect the faster cyclists to go at that speed.

  • Steve

    My take on the design of these bike lanes is that the dashed line on bicyclists’ side of the buffer indicates that bicyclists can enter and leave the bike lane as necessary to keep safe, while the solid line on the motorists’ side means “motorists keep out of bike lane.” This is consistent with the generally permissive nature of bicycle lane use in NYC, although if it is true it could be taken (incorrectly) to indicate that bicycle use in bicycle lanes defined by two solid white stripes is mandatory, rather than permissive. Thoughts?

  • AD

    Thanks for the update Jason. Glad to see these lanes getting striped.

  • sabina

    The striped median is on Grand Street, not on Essex Street.

    Madison Street on the LES also got a new bike lane.

  • Thanks Sabina. Fixed it.

  • mfs

    awesome- this is part of my commute to work!

  • AM

    the lane begins back in soho at west broadway not just at chrystie st.

    a striped bike lane is class 2, not class 1.

  • I noticed that the lane is really confusing at Chrystie when the buffered lane begins…If you are in the bike lane going west on Grand you are on the left side of the street. When Grand St. intersects with Chrystie, Grand becomes a two way street so you have to cross over to the right side of the street where the buffered bike lane is. There isn’t much time to do this, and it can be difficult during rush hour.

    Also, there are ALOT of large potholes in the bikelane on Grand especially if you are travelling East. I wonder if DOT plans on fixing these in addition to these new bike lanes?

    I think Steve is right about the dashed line on the bike lane – but it didn’t occur to me when I first saw them. I always assume that I can enter and exit a bike lane whenever I want.

  • crzwdjk

    The “class” classification is:
    Class 1 – completely separate from traffic, such as the West Side path
    Class 2 – on street separate lane
    Class 3 – a little green sign that says “bike route”.

  • Mordecai

    I just noticed a new bike lane on W 77th St! It’s buffered on the two-way portion between CPW and Columbus S of the Natural History Museum, and then a single stripe next to the parked cars on the one-way portion W of Columbus. Now if we could just get a N/S bike lane somewhere between CPW and the river…

  • This is excellent news – Grand St. was always so slow that I took my life in my hands and rode along the deadly Houston St. when I wanted to head to the Manh. Bridge. When I tried out Grand St. today – and took 70 photos – I could tool along while the cars dutifully piled up in their lane.

    And agreed: the transition at Chrystie is difficult. I’m not sure how the DOT Bicycle Planners envision cyclists handing it…

  • As part of the Houston St. Bike Lanes campaign, I rode down to Grand St. today and took pictures.

    View them here.

  • Ian — great pictures! Thanks for posting. I like to take Grand to Chrystie for the Manny B.


    I would continue forward along the double-yellow (carefully) and move to the right when I could (or stay on the double-yellow — that often works pretty well if you keep your eyes open. It’s also legal if you’re preparing to make a left turn (though I am not a lawyer)).

    (But in real life, I turn right on Christie, so I would probably have already moved out of the bike lane to make my right turn.)

  • David Chesler

    Does Class 2 encompass all of paint-separated, permeable-barrier-separated and curb-separated?

  • steveo:

    I think that as long as you know that transition is coming up at Christie, you can merge into the car-traffic (if it’s moving, even!) and take your place in the lane, and then slide over to the right side when the lane re-emerges. It’s a bit of a surprise if you don’t know it’s coming!

  • someguy

    David Chesler:
    I believe Class I includes any instance where a bike lane is physically separated from the rest of the roadway – so Class I lanes are actually referred to as PATHS, not lanes. Class 2 lanes, as far as I know, only refer to striped lanes. If there’s any physical separation from vehicles, it’s Class 1.

    But it’s less important to use these Class classifications (no pun intended) than to avoid confusion by using the more generally understood terms.

    So you have:
    Physically Separated Bike Path (aka Class 1)
    On-Street (Striped) Bike Lane (aka Class 2)
    On-Street Recommended/Signed Route (aka Class 3)

  • David Chesler

    It’s sure confusing me! But as long as folks are going to use the numbered system, I’d like to understand it.

    So do I now understand that the separation for Class 1 can be as little as a curb or a bollard, and as much as many yards of median (or woods, in the case of a rail-trail)?

    Does this numbered system cover ways that are prohibited to motor vehicles some of the time?

    Does it take into account other users? (A rail-trail near me is not plowed in the winter. This is a supposedly a feature, not a bug, because it’s a “multi-use” path and the primary users in the winter are cross-country skiers.)

  • This bike lane is reportedly under attack.

  • This morning I noticed that some of the stencils look like they have been tampered with. Like somebody tried to remove them! I will take pictures tomorrow morning.

  • The carheads are sensing the impending constriction of their way of life. This is their way of fighting back.


New “Shared Lane” Bike Route Design Spotted in Manhattan

New York City’s Department of Transportation is quietly experimenting with a new design for Class III bike routes on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Streetsblog tipster Jason Varone photographed the new, not-yet-finished bike stencils on Clinton Street between Grand and Delancey this morning. Often referred to as "shared lanes," Class III routes are put down in places […]

New Bike Stencils Completed on the Lower East Side

As on Brookyn’s Fifth Avenue this weekend, it looks like DOT has finished installing the new Class III bike route stencils on Clinton and Delancey Streets. If you ride this route, let Streetsblog know what you think of these. Related: New "Shared Lane" Bike Route Design Spotted in Manhattan New Bike Markings on the Upper West Side City […]

Eyes on the Street: New Bike Lanes for the Willy-B

TA’s Wiley Norvell sent in these shots of new bike infrastructure on the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge. It includes a Class 2 bike lane and road diet for South 5th Street, a buffered Class 2 and road diet on South 5th Place, and sharrows and better lane markings for cars on South 4th […]