Still No Guarantee That East Side Bike Lanes Will Be Completed Next Year

Earlier today, Kate Hinds at Transportation Nation asked Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan about the status of extending the East Side bike lanes north of 34th Street. She received an open-ended but not-so-encouraging response:

KH: You said in the summer it wouldn’t happen in 2010; is it on the table for 2011?

JSK:  Not at the moment. No. Our plans are our plans and we continue to work with communities about what’s the right set of tools and what works best, tailored to meet community needs.

Read the full exchange here.

I’m not sure Sadik-Khan’s response changes much about what we already know. The commissioner’s answer is discouraging for New Yorkers hoping for a quick commitment to extending the East Side lanes next year, but does not rule out construction in 2011. This has been the state of affairs since June, when completion of the East Side safety improvements entered limbo. The DOT press office confirmed that a final determination about building the rest of the East Side bike lanes in 2011 has not yet been reached.

Last week, a group of East Side electeds joined Transportation Alternatives to deliver 2,500 handwritten letters to the Mayor’s Office asking that the bike lanes be extended up to 125th Street. At the rally, TA director Paul Steely White said the city would have to commit to the project within six weeks to be on track for a 2011 completion date. So, there are still five weeks to go before we should expect a definitive answer.

It’s also worth noting that the commissioner’s answer was given off-the-cuff at a press event about a new DOT safety education program, part of the city’s new campaign to raise awareness of the 30 mph speed limit. We’ll have more about that program later this afternoon.

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