LES Bike-Ped Improvements Sail Through Manhattan CB 3

LES_bike_routes.jpgNew bike lanes leading to and from the Williamsburg Bridge encountered almost no opposition from Manhattan Community Board 3.

Two weeks after NYCDOT revealed a package of pedestrian and cyclist improvements for the Lower East Side, the full membership of Community Board 3 voted overwhelmingly to approve the plans. 

There was only one "no" vote against the proposals last night, said Transportation Alternatives’ Caroline Samponaro. "There were three strong two-minute speeches in favor," she added, "and no one spoke opposed." 

The plans will paint new curbside bike lanes on Stanton, Rivington, and Suffolk Streets, defining routes on low-traffic side streets to help cyclists avoid Delancey Street as they get on and off the Williamsburg Bridge. The board also voted in favor of a planted median on the wide and barren Bowery. Implementation of both projects is scheduled for May.

What’s next for the Lower East Side? Samponaro said that a top TA priority is to ensure that plans for First and Second Avenues — "the single biggest investment in biking in New York City, ever" — are implemented effectively. So is helping cyclists deal with dangerous, traffic-ridden Delancey Street, which these improvements don’t address. That will happen "in part by letting folks know about alternative routes and also by supporting those who are trying to create a safe connection" along Delancey itself, she said.

  • JK

    Congrats to CB 3 and TA organizers! Great stuff. (Hey, Carolyn — no knock on 1st and 2nd Ave lanes but don’t forget the Hudson River Greenway when you consider “the single biggest investment in biking in New York City, ever” That was both expensive and a huge bike boon, and it’s really underused given how poorly connected it is to the street grid.)

  • Rock! Can someone please fix the Rivington-Bowery-Prince Shuffle? Those arrows make it look like you can go from Rivington to Prince, but you can’t because you have to make a right turn onto The Bowery and then a left onto Prince. There are other options for getting to Prince but DOT seems to be directing cyclists this way and it’s no good.

    What about a bike lane on Broome? Except for the cobbled section east of Chrystie, it looks great and goes all the way to Hudson.

  • Dan – what’s the better solution to get to Prince? I spoke up at the meeting that I was worried that Bowery is not currently a very safe place for bikes and needs attention, but I can’t really come up with a better route, just better treatments for Bowery.

    As far as Broome, it doesn’t *actually* go through to Hudson – the Holland Tunnel entrance interrupts Broome at Varick. And I’d be worried about Broome because it tends to be backed up by aggressive and occasionally-violent Holland Tunnel-bound drivers who often show very little regard for traffic laws. Yes, even worse than average NYC drivers!

  • flp

    can anyone say “houston street?” oh right, that got nixed despite being part of the master bike plan for 10 years. dammit!

  • Agreed. Houston Street really is ‘the better solution.’ Not only does it go river to river but it would provide a relatively easy, and obvious, route to the Willy B via Suffolk St.– and it does all that without sending cyclists through parks, down cobblestoned streets, or negotiating the Rivington-Bowery-Prince Shuffle. We need bike lanes that actually go places.

  • Mike

    Aggressive bike-focused traffic calming of Bowery between Rivington and Prince could make a huge difference. This would include a short protected northbound bike path segment on Bowery (either adjacent to the median or at either side of the street) combined with intersection treatments that make it clear when bikes should cross and proceed northbound.

    All this takes is political will — it would be cheap and simple to implement.

  • Houston is also very wide and overbuilt. It needs the traffic calming provided by bike lanes.

  • Even after the major reconstruction of Houston Street which took away one east bound lane and doubled the width of sidewalks on the south side, west of Broadway, there are still seven lanes of traffic. How could there not be room for a protected bike lane?

  • LN

    I spoke at several community board meetings in favor of the Houston Street lane. So did car owners, merchants and other bikers, everyone wanted it – it made sense to everyone.

    It was ‘planned’ by DOT for 10 years. It was a designated bike route for all of those 10 years. It was also a fatal route for many cyclists and pedestrians and calming it with a bike lane and ped improvements was the subject of and mentioned at many press conferences, ghostbike dedications, street stenciling actions, streetsfilms, news articles, streetsblog and other blog posts.

    In the end, no one could/would make a protected bike lane on Houston a reality. I still try to avoid the new Houston Street speedway although this recently paved direct route certainly entices many riders. I still cringe when I see cyclists riding on Houston and families crossing it.


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