Ninth Avenue Bike Path Expands Northward

The Open Planning Project’s Lily Bernheimer snapped these shots of the Ninth Avenue separated bike path, now being extended from 23rd Street to 31st.


Plastic bollards separate bikes from car and truck traffic at W. 23rd.


Pedestrian island under construction at 29th.


The 31st Street island is already getting some use.


Bet you didn’t see this one coming.

  • J

    The sanitation truck in the last picture seems to indicate a problem of education. What efforts is DOT doing to work with other city agencies (DOS, TLC, NYPD, FDNY) to educate them about bike lanes. Some of the most frequent a flagrant abuse of bike lanes comes from the city itself and vehicles specifically regulated by the city (taxis and limousines). I’ve heard there was an education campaign to clear the 6th Ave bike lane in Midtown, but what is being done in general?

  • H.M.S. Pinafore

    What a waste of space. And yes, I’m a cyclist, and don’t own a car. I much preferred when 9th Avenue was wide open.

  • (N)

    Pinafore, I think you’re full of it. What did you prefer it open for, so you had more lanes to cross on foot?

    So anyway, debunking liars aside, does anyone know if/when we can expect to see this lane extended uptown?

  • H.M.S. Pinafore

    N, the new bike lanes are indeed great for pedestrians — they take full advantage of them, walking in the way of the cyclists; bnut they aren’t good for cyclists who are not out for a pleasure cruise but have to get somewhere fast.

    A buffered bike lane would be fine, but a separated bike lane is a nightmare for me, having to navigate in a narrow space around pedestrians and wrong-way deliverymen.

  • That stretch of Ninth Avenue has always been a nightmare both for cyclists and pedestrians. Anything that calms the traffic is welcome.

  • H.M.S. Pinafore

    Cap’n Transit, I think a buffered bike lane (such as we have on 8th between 14th and 23rd) would be a good idea on 9th. But the separated path is a big mistake, in my opinion.

    Sadik-Kahn is well-intentioned, but here, as in the case of the stupid new bike rack designs, none of which accept more than two bikes, she shows her ignorance of cyclists’ needs.

  • HMS, Pedestrians and wrong-way riding cyclists are the problem, as you admit, not the separated bike lane that might make them feel safer.

    Also, the 9th avenue bike lane has had few issues with pedestrian intrusion, unlike the Broadway bike lane which needs better pedestrian control enforcement.

  • J

    The point of the protected paths is to expand biking to new users. Any mature bicycling city, is so because bicycling is open to everyone from little kids to seniors. The protected bike lanes are for riding slowly. If you want to tear down the street, ride in traffic with no protection. If you want to ride safely, then you go slower and ride in the protected bike lanes.

    As more people, fewer pedestrians will walk in the bike lane. Having biked there many times in both the morning and evening commutes, I have had very few problems with people walking in that bike path. The Broadway lane may have some design flaws (although even that is getting better). The main problem is that this is wide enough for trucks to squeeze in. We need smaller street cleaners that can fit in 6 foot bike lanes.

  • J,

    You’re absolutely right. Separated lanes like these are perfect for those who are new to cycling and those who WANT to be safe. Young kids and anyone who doesn’t like to ride fast. That said, it’s perfectly safe to ride at a fast pace through these lanes provided you’re aware of your surroundings. I regularly ride at speeds of about 22mph through these lanes and have had NO problems except motor vehicles not paying attention to it.

  • I have to agree that these lanes are great to get new riders on the street who otherwise would not want to battle it out with the traffic. We just need to incorporate them into a larger network (could be done within 10 years) and then we will be cooking. The city is building lanes for all bike users, not for those that are use to matching traffic speed and splitting lanes to get from point A – B.

  • jmc

    If pedestrians are walking in the bike lane this generally means that sidewalks are not sufficient for them. Remember that bicyclists must always yield to pedestrians, it’s the LAW!

  • (N)

    You know, I kind of see the point the “h.m.s. pinafore” (originally a jab at political cronyism, coincidence?) is allegedly making. Looking at the protected lane on broadway between times and herald square, I see more peds than bikers in the lane. Despite this, safety takes priority over speed, and I, who have been commuting to work for a decade, will gladly take a protected lane.

    But again, I still bet this “pinafore” is a gas-guzzling troll.

  • H.M.S. Pinafore

    No, N, you’re quite wrong. I’m not a gas-guzzling troll. I’ve lived in the city all my life and have never owned a car.

    Most novice cyclists are afraid of getting hit from behind. The fact is, that a very small percentage of bike-car collisions occur that way; most happen at intersections. I don’t think that separated bike lanes, such as the one on 9th Avenue, are actually safer at intersections (although they are much more complicated).

  • Geck

    Separated bike lanes are the only way we can truly expand the number of bicyclists in this town. As more bikes use these lanes and they exist for a period of time, most pedestrian’s will learn to respect them. While it may be true that rear-end collisions are rare, riding in or near traffic is not for everyone. It takes some getting used to. I feel much more comfortable in separated lanes. I am sure inexperienced rides feel that much more strongly. I have heard from a number of people who say they will not ride in the City because the lanes are not separated from traffic as they generally are in Europe.
    Also, while the stray garbage truck may be a problem on 9th Ave., double parking in buffered lanes is totally out of control. Separated lanes are largely self-enforcing.

  • gecko

    Putting protected cycle tracks straight down the center of broad avenues may be more convenient with space-saving advantages and the reduction of conflicts during deliveries.

  • gecko

    . . . . On wide two-way streets median-placed cylce tracks would prevent mid block u-turns,; dangerously rampant on such major thorough fares as 9th Street in Brooklyn.

  • “u-turns dangerously rampant on such major thorough fares as 9th Street in Brooklyn”

    Usual hyperbolic statement. I live in PS and frequently bike. How often do I see a u-turn? Maybe twice a month.

    U-turns may be dangerous to cars, but as a biker, if I can’t see a U-turn happening and safely avoid such a car, I should not be biking.

  • gecko

    #17 chandru, “How often do I see a u-turn? Maybe twice a month.”

    You should get out more often.

  • beng722

    There is constant U-Turning on Jay Street between Tillary and Fulton in Brooklyn. The new bike lanes they’re painting there will do nothing to prevent this dangerous behavior. In fact, the u-turners (many of which seem to be dropping off city and state workers in those blocks) are using the new bike lanes to make their u-turns from. Not sure if the bike lanes, therefore, are really going to help the cyclists.

  • gecko

    #19 Beng722, Cycle tracks down the center of wide two-way streets will definitely stop u-turns since curb stones, bollards, etc. prevent cars from going across the medians.

    Slightly raised cycle tracks at the same height as pedestrian walkways should be even better.

  • gecko

    Cycle tracks, complete streets, and greatly improved safety for cyclists will be catalytic as New York will be when it goes 40-percent cycling to start setting the bar for serious urban transit worldwide.

  • beng722

    Yes, gecko, i think protected bike lanes down the center of wide aves/streets is the way to go. It will also decrease dramatically the amount of pedestrians in the current bike lanes.

    And I think HMS is right, pedestrians are taking advantage of the bike lanes and just assuming they are free to walk in them – they’re numbers are increasing. They completely took over the bike lane today on the bk bridge for the breast cancer/diabetes walk(s) and were hardly polite about it. The ‘bike lane’ along the west side highway was also full of these walkers even in stretches where there is a wide and beautiful walking path along the water just a couple of yards away. I don’t get it. As I bike, mostly as a commuter (yes, on Sunday), I’ve been struck lately with the lack of respect, really just plain disinterest I’m encountering from pedestrians in bike lanes.

  • E.Q.

    H.M.S. Pinafore: I agree with you about the 9th Ave. lane. When I walk or bike down Broadway though the new section of bikeway & pedestrian space between 42nd & 34th, I see the same thing – peds walking directly in the bike lane. Usually there is enough space to either walk in the new pedestrian space if they insist on avoiding the sidewalk or to just walk on the sidewalk, but a lot of people just want to walk in the bike lane. I stare at them and point to the white bike symbol on the green painted lane, but they don’t care. The same thing happens in the now older section of the 9th Ave. lane. Peds in the street (bike lane) just cause it’s fun. I don’t like being trapped in that lane. I’ve been reduced to tears biking in these separated lanes because of the obstructions threats I’ve received from both car drivers sitting in these lanes and from pedestrians. This design sucks and should be replaced with something cyclists can actually use. This isn’t about ‘going fast’, this is about just going and expecting the lane to be clear of assholes.

  • Chandru, I was sitting at my favorite coffee shop this am and watched more than one car flip the U-turn on 6th ave. I even “videoed” one on my phone. Big Excursion with opaque plastic covering a smashed out front passenger window. U-turns happen way to often and hopefully you wont have to get hit by someone doing it, to properly fear them.

  • Anon

    For the best U-turn viewing try West 72nd Street anywhere from Central Park West to the West Side Drive. I bike that several times a week and I see at least two U-turns per ride I make. Sometines I see one U-turn per block. There are parking police giving out tickets all along that route for meter parking, but no one ever pulls over a U-turner.

  • gecko

    10 AM Saturday 10/11/2008: Four (4) u-turns (at least) were witnessed on 9th Street traveling by bike from 4th Avenue and 9th Street straight up to Prospect Park.

  • D.L.

    As if the traffic wasn’t already bad enough on 9th Ave.! Now, it’s UNBEARABLE thanks to the new bike lane. And to those of you who will inevitably claim that the protected lane will encourage more people to abandon their multi-wheeled vehicles for two wheelers, please get a firmer grasp on reality–truck drivers and taxi drivers will most certainly not be converting to bicycles.

  • gecko

    #27 D.L., Right D.L., Let’s skew the local economy to support truck drivers and taxi drivers even more!


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