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The New New Broadway: More Pedestrian Space, Redesigned Bike Lane

Broadway from 42nd to 35th Streets will get more pedestrian space, eliminate one lane of motor vehicle traffic and change the bike lane from a protected lane to a buffered lane. Above: the current configuration. Below: DOT's proposal. Image: ##http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/2012-10-22-broadway-blvd-35-42.pdf##DOT##

The protected bike and pedestrian space on Broadway between 42nd and 35th Streets will be redesigned in 2013 to give more space to pedestrians, removing a motor vehicle lane. The alterations will also change the bike lane from a protected route often used by pedestrians as a de facto sidewalk extension to a buffered lane between curbside parking and moving cars.

Because Broadway carries fewer motor vehicles than it used to, thanks to the elimination of through traffic at Times Square and Herald Square, DOT is reducing the number of motor vehicle lanes on this section of the street from two to one. Cyclists riding in the buffered bike lane probably won't have to worry much about speeding cars, since traffic on Broadway has been calmed significantly. But instead of pedestrians ambling in the protected bike lane, cyclists may have to contend with more double-parked vehicles blocking the way.

In its presentation to Manhattan Community Board 5's transportation committee last month, DOT dismissed the option of moving the bike lane from the curb to the other side of the pedestrian spaces so it could remain protected by a row of parked cars, as on Broadway between 57th and 47th Streets. DOT said it was not considering this option because the buffer between the parked cars and the bike lane, when combined with the required fire zone, would significantly reduce the amount of space available for tables, chairs, and other public amenities.

The change does not affect other sections of Broadway that have been redesigned from Columbus Circle to Union Square. It was unanimously supported by CB 5's transportation committee on October 22, and it will go before the full board tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Xavier High School, 30 West 16th Street.

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