Streetfilms Shorties: Celebrating the Columbus Avenue Bike Lane

For your viewing pleasure this weekend — Clarence filmed this short, exhilarating group ride down the brand new protected bike path on Columbus Avenue. New Yorkers won this mile of safer street after a down-to-the-wire Community Board 7 vote in favor of the plan.  A lot of hard work and organizing went into that vote, and this ride was a chance to celebrate.

  • Ben from Harlem

    Nice shortie, Clarence!
    I’m glad this short section has been installed. How much more is due to be completed? And is there going to be a paired lane going in the other direction on Amsterdam Avenue? I think that’s what many of us were hoping for…


  • The Community Board asked DoT to propose a plan for separated bike paths on both Columbus and Amsterdam, from 59th to 110 9the entire length of the community district). DoT came back with this one-mile segment. To make it grow, we’ve got to keep the pressure on … especially, on Deputy Mayor Goldsmith who doesn’t quite seem to be with the program.

    Please write him a letter (copy to Commissioner Sadik-Khan) thanking the city for this one-mile segment and asking when DoT will move forward with the rest of the what the Community Board asked for!

  • What, no “Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes” franchise on Columbus Avenue?

  • JK

    The Columbus lane is great! Congrats to Streets Renaissance and TA and all of its supporters. Let’s hope we get it expanded and get Amsterdam when people see how well it is working.

  • Glad to see it happening – I have only used the cycling lanes on the LES so far and to be honest they take some getting used to – esp at stop signs but finally some progress!

  • Severin

    Cool but it seems the taxi at the end of the video had a evil plan… I still think the “buffer zone” should be eliminated and just have a wider bike lane and no buffer. Or maybe color the buffer zone, I don’t like the white stripes. Or maybe physical buffer rather than painted buffer on the ground. Lovely nonetheless, someday LA will get this treatment… someday.

  • Marco

    That’s awesome. It looks so much less stressful and more human than the pre-bike lane setup.

  • BicyclesOnly


    I think the “mixing zones” (as DoT calls them) have utility, but motorists usually ignore the yield instructions that are supposed to apply upon entry into the zone (conveyed by the “yield teeth” and signage), and yield only (if at all) after positioning themselves in the cyclist ROW suggested by the sharrows and dashed lines, as if they were intersecting only pedestrian traffic rather than pedestrian + bike traffic.

    One possible solution is to put a stop sign where the motorists ENTER the mixing zone. That should give cyclists the ability to hold their ROW through the mixing zone. Once cycle traffic has passed through the zone, motorists can then proceed to the crosswalk, yield to any pedestrians, and then turn. To the extent MVs back up in the mixing zone due to pedestrian traffic in the crosswalk, cyclists should still be able to slip through the MV queue at the stop sign and pass the queue on the right.

    Until DoT implements a solution, cyclists can still use this approach–assertively moving right at or just before the start. Of the mixing zone, and passing turning vehicles on the right. There is a small striped buffer on the outer edge of the MV turning lane separating it from the through traffic lane that serves as a guide/space for through cyclists. The main danger using this approach is from MVs turning left illegally from the through traffic lane, but that doesn’t happen very often.

  • BicyclesOnly, I dont understand the concern. If a car reaches the mixing zone first, then they are supposed to enter it (assuming the bike wont be arriving for another few seconds). Any bike entering the area after the car needs to either wait or pass on the right.

  • jass,

    My concern is that a motorist will ride into the mixing zone and right up to the crosswalk without looking to see if cyclists are coming, cutting any cyclists off or hitting them. When there is no bike path, left-turning motorists almost always go straight up to the boundary of the crosswalk to wait for an opening in the ped traffic, without looking for bicycle thru traffic on their left. It is hardly surprising that many motorists do exactly the same thing even when there is a set of sharrows and dashed lines next to the crosswalk, in a mixing zone scenario.

    If I’m heading into the mixing zone and riding to the left, where the sharrows and the dashed lines would put me, and I see or sense on my right a motorist heading into the zone at more than 5MPH or so, I brake–regardless of whether I could reach the intercept point of my and the motorists’ paths first–because I don’t trust the motorist to yield to me.

    But by maintaining speed and moving right as I head into the mixing zone, in most cases, I can cleanly and without stopping either (a) merge in front of an incoming motorist, or if the motorist is abreast of me or a bit ahead of me (b) slow down a bit, let the motorist go first, and merge behind the motorist.

    When two or more cars accumulate in the mixing zone, waiting for pedestrians to clear the crosswalk, often they are so close to each other that a cyclists can’t slip safely between them. This is another scenario where the cyclist who gets right early, in advance of the mixing zone, should have no problem merging behind the queued MVs and passing them on the right without having to stop or significantly slow.

    It is not illegal to depart from the path at the curb sharrows and dashed lines in the mixing zones. Bikes are entitled to use any part of a mixing zone, and are not required to pass through the zone at the extreme left edge if it is not safe to do so. I base this on the explanations of the mixing zones given by the DoT representatives at various Community Board meetings, and title 34 of the Rules of the City of New York Section 4-12(p)(1).


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