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Midtown Bike Lanes Win Strong Endorsements From Two Community Boards

5:27 PM EDT on April 13, 2012

Manhattan's newest pair of crosstown bike lanes, on 29th and 30th Streets, are set to be striped after strong votes of support from two Midtown community boards. The lanes already exist west of Eighth Avenue, where they were painted in the wake of the death of cyclist Marilyn Dershowitz. With the support of local residents, the lanes will now extend east to First Avenue.

The 29th and 30th Street lanes will provide a rare continuous path almost all the way across Manhattan. Many crosstown lanes are interrupted by parks, superblocks, or one-way streets that require detours.

That said, the route won't offer a full bike lane for the whole distance. Sharrows will replace the bike lane on 30th between Seventh and Sixth Avenues, Madison and Park, and Third and Second, according to a pair of DOT presentations. On 29th, cyclists will ride in a shared lane on the blocks between Third Avenue and Madison Avenue.

The plan is expected to bolster safety on streets in need of improvements. East of Lexington, for example, 29th and 30th Streets were more dangerous for pedestrians than 85 percent of all Manhattan streets, according to DOT's severity-weighted index of traffic injuries.

Last night, Manhattan Community Board 5 voted 38 to 0 in favor of the plan, with one abstention, said transportation committee chair Raju Mann. The office of Community Board 6, which represents the area east of Lexington Avenue, said it could not yet provide the total from their vote, but Mann said it was similarly lopsided.

DOT also plans to remove parking spaces on 29th and 30th Streets to make room for new turning lanes.

"CB5 worked with DOT to ensure that there was extensive outreach to the business and residents in the area," said Mann. "After modifications were made to the proposal to improve access to loading and parking the Board is very supportive of the creation of a new river to river bike lane on 29th and 30th Street and the important improvements to traffic flow and pedestrian safety that are a part of this project."

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