This Week: Completing Safer Streets for the East and West Sides

2010 has seen a big expansion in the mileage of protected bike lanes in New York City, including the new paths on Columbus Avenue and First and Second Avenues. Each of those lanes is a down payment on full corridors for safer biking and walking. On the East Side, the city’s original plans, which worked their way through public review and garnered favorable community board votes, included protected lanes for the Upper East Side and East Harlem up to 125th Street; they were only built from Houston to 34th. Across the park, Community Board 7 asked DOT for plans for a pair of protected lanes on Amsterdam and Columbus, and so far one mile on Columbus has been built.

This week offers a chance to push both of these corridors to completion. On the Upper West Side, livable streets supporters will be playing defense, as the Community Board 7 transportation committee revisits the Columbus Avenue lane tonight. On Wednesday, join Transportation Alternatives to rally at City Hall for a completed East Side bike lane.

Also of note this week are a City Council hearing discussing easing alternate side parking rules and a pair of interesting panel discussions Wednesday night.

  • Tonight: The new protected bike lane on Columbus Avenue is expected to be the subject of debate at tonight’s meeting of Manhattan Community Board 7. Since this 20-block lane, which was narrowly approved this June, represents the first step in what could a pair of protected lanes on the rest of Columbus and on Amsterdam, a strong show of support for what’s in place is particularly important. 7:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday: City Council’s Transportation Committee takes up three bills to make alternate side parking easier for New York City car owners. One bill would cap the number of alternate side parking days at two per week for residential streets, a second would allow the city’s cleanest streets to be swept less often, and a third would suspend alternate side parking restrictions immediately after a particular block has been swept. 10:00 a.m.
  • Wednesday: When plans for First and Second Avenue were presented to the public and approved by local community boards, they included bike lanes from Houston to 125th Street — most which would have been physically protected. But the protected bike lanes only got installed below 34th Street. Rally on the steps of City Hall to make Mayor Bloomberg keep his promise to the East Side. 12:00 p.m.
  • Also Wednesday: The Municipal Arts Society hosts its annual Jane Jacobs Forum. This year the topic is “The Walkable (and Rollable) City,” a discussion of pedestrian life in New York City for those on two feet or using a wheelchair or stroller. 6:30 p.m.
  • Also Wednesday: Roberta Brandes Gratz and Richard Sennett discuss the legacies of Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses in today’s New York, particularly in the context of an economic recession. 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday: The Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s annual benefit honors Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and the Empire State Transportation Alliance. 6:00 p.m.

Keep an eye on the calendar for updated listings. Got an event we should know about? Drop us a line.


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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