Next Week: DOT to Re-Present Plans for East Side Bike Lanes Up to 125th

After over a year of protests from residents and electeds clamoring for safer streets, next week DOT will present its proposal for extending the First and Second Avenue bike lanes north to 125th Street. The presentations will mark the second time around the community board circuit for bike-ped safety plans on those streets, which were approved by local CBs in 2010 but put on hold soon after.

Last November, Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito, backed by State Senator Jose Serrano and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, helped deliver 2,500 handwritten letters to City Hall asking for protected bike lanes up to 125th Street. Photo: Noah Kazis

Presentations will be made on Tuesday the 6th and Wednesday the 7th to the transportation committees of Community Boards 11 and 8, respectively. If you walk or bike on the East Side, these will be can’t-miss meetings. Votes in favor of the project next week would lead to construction next year.

Between 1998 and 2008, nearly 4,900 pedestrians and cyclists were injured or killed on First and Second between Houston and 125th, according to the New York State Department of Transportation. Almost three-fourths of the incidents occurred between 34th and 125th streets.

Some background: In 2010 the city unveiled a comprehensive plan for improved bus, pedestrian and cyclist facilities on First and Second from Houston to 125th Street, including protected bike lanes on Second between 100th and 125th, and on First between 34th and 49th and between 57th and 125th, with a buffered lane in the gap. CB 6, CB 8, and CB 11 all voted for redesigns including protected bike lanes that spring.

Residents and officials — particularly in East Harlem, with its high cyclist count and hazardous conditions for walking and biking — were incensed when they later learned that work north of 34th Street would be delayed indefinitely. This April, progress was accompanied by further uncertainty when DOT announced plans to extend bike lanes on First and Second up to 57th Street in 2011.

Now that it looks like the rest of the project is moving forward, it’s crucial that supporters make their voices heard — particularly in District 8, where the concept of reallocating street space can always be contentious. Times and locations for the meetings are here and here. We’ll have more next week.

  • AlexB

    As someone who frequently bikes over the Queensboro Bridge and through
    midtown Manhattan, the full length bike lanes will be extremely useful. 
    Even now, there are tons of cyclists going down 2nd Ave every morning
    and at times we almost have the critical mass required to take over the
    east most lane.  I have a wish I’d like to add to the design: Make the 1st Ave lane bidirectional
    between 60th and 55th, and add bike lanes on 54th and 55th, river to
    river.  This will make it much easier to go downtown from the bridge and
    to connect with all the other bike lanes, including the Hudson

    Currently, the only legal thing to do is to exit the bridge at 60th and
    1st, go up 1st to 61st and then down 2nd Ave.  This is dangerous as a
    lot of cars exit the bridge onto 61st and there is a ton of chaos on 2nd
    Ave at the foot of the bridge that could be avoided by being able to go
    southbound on 1st Ave for five blocks.

  • J

    Fantastic news! I wonder how far south they’ll go from 125th. Based on the plans presented in January 2010, the protected lanes could go all the way from around 99th – 125th on 2nd Ave, and from 62nd St up to 125th St on 1st Ave., I would hope that anything done on 1st Ave, north of 72nd, would account for the terrible conditions of the concrete roadbed there. It’s really hard to bike on that since it is full of cracks and crevices. Protection will be amazing amazing, but repairs are still needed so that bikes aren’t dodging cars and potholes at intersections.

  • Manhattan Lover

    People really need to show up to this and make sure the Murray Hill Neighborhood Troglodyte Association is made aware the degree to which their knee-jerk opposition to safe streets projects represents a minority view among their many and diverse neighbors all along the East side of Manhattan.

  • Ben from Bed Stuy

    This is great news. Unfortunately, despite the hundreds of hand written letters, it seems that safe bike infrastructure has been too slow in marching north to protect East Side New Yorkers.
    Let’s be sure as an activist community that we really work hard for the best possible, safest configuration. First and Second Avenues should be bike friendly and safe the entire route, not just where there is less potential for bike/car conflict.
    In fact, DOT should not shy away from making the bike lanes protected and as safe as possible, especially where the road is most busy with cars. People all over Manhattan deserve a safer place to ride bikes – even people of color north of 96th street!


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