West Side and Sunset Park Community Boards Advance Bike Lanes and Plazas

A capital reconstruction of this pedestrian plaza on Ninth Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets got a positive vote from Community Board 4's transportation committee last night. Photo: ##https://maps.google.com/?ll=40.7409,-74.004778&spn=0.001138,0.002194&t=m&z=19&layer=c&cbll=40.740901,-74.005287&panoid=1X83q0wsOVF3aQv6d6GAIA&cbp=13,357.48,,0,1.5##Google Maps##

Last night, two community boards in Sunset Park and Manhattan’s West Side voted to support bike lanes, bike parking and permanent pedestrian plazas. As a result, Sunset Park will be receiving shared lane markings on Fifth Avenue, the permanent reconstruction of a plaza at Ninth Avenue and 14th Street will move ahead, and bike lanes and on-street corrals are on track for the West Side of Manhattan.

In Sunset Park, Brooklyn Community Board 7 voted to support the extension of shared lane markings on Fifth Avenue from 23rd to 65th Streets. (On Fifth Avenue between 23rd and Dean Streets, there are already bike lane and sharrow markings.)

The proposal received a supportive transportation committee vote in July, but stalled after a 15-9-10 vote at the full board in October. CB 7’s first vice chair, Daniel Murphy, reintroduced the sharrows resolution last night, and it passed, 23-5, with seven abstentions.

“We always planned to reintroduce it, it was just a question of when,” Murphy said, adding that a few board members who opposed the plan in October switched to support it this time around. “We didn’t get angry. We got rational,” he said. Murphy said he doesn’t believe this will delay DOT’s ability to install the markings this spring. Streetsblog has asked DOT to confirm an implementation schedule.

In Manhattan, Community Board 4’s transportation committee passed a resolution in support of the permanent reconstruction of a 9,000 square-foot plaza on Ninth Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets. DOT will add street trees on the east side of the plaza; the committee is asking DOT to add greenery to the center of the space, as well.

The Ninth Avenue protected bike lane, which shrinks to a standard painted lane at this location before becoming a buffered lane on Hudson Street, is often full of double-parked cars and trucks. “They told us there is not enough space on the avenue to create a protected bike lane,” committee co-chair Christine Berthet said. “We’re definitely not happy about it.”

A median pedestrian island on Ninth Avenue at 15th Street will be removed and replaced with a curb extension. The design will include cobblestones to match the aesthetic of plaza spaces on Ninth Avenue as it approaches Gansevoort Street.

Further north on Ninth Avenue, the city’s first bike parking corrals next to a protected bike lane are moving forward after a unanimous 11-0 committee vote. Casa di Isacco restaurant will maintain a four-rack corral on Ninth between 39th and 40th Streets, Pomodoro restaurant will maintain a seven-rack corral on Ninth between 38th and 39th Streets, and Ora Thai Cuisine will maintain a seven-rack corral by a pedestrian island on Ninth between 35th and 36th Streets. All three locations replace floating parking spots between the bike lane and vehicle lanes, according to Streetsblog reader Detta Ahl, who attended the meeting.

A fourth bike corral, containing four racks, is planned for 21st Street at 8th Avenue, where it will provide corner daylighting and will be maintained by Organic Avenue. All four corrals will feature planters and flexible bollards. Blocks that will be getting corrals will have their existing sidewalk racks removed by DOT, at the request of the committee, which unanimously passed a resolution supporting bike corrals at all four locations.

The committee also heard a proposal from DOT to extend crosstown bike routes, which are a mix of on-street lanes and sharrows, west of 8th Avenue. Lanes on 39th and 40th Streets would extend to Ninth Avenue, and lane couplets on 43rd, 44th, 54th and 55th Streets would extend to 12th Avenue and the Hudson River Greenway. On 55th Street, a seldom-enforced rush-hour no parking zone will be converted to a no-standing zone to allow for a bike lane. All of these lanes received supportive votes from the committee.

A proposal to extend lanes on 48th and 51st Streets was voted down, 10-1. Committee members were concerned about the impact of water tunnel construction on those streets. Some were also unhappy with DOT’s proposal that cyclists accessing the greenway from westbound 51st Street use the sidewalk for one block of 12th Avenue to connect with the greenway entrance at 52nd Street.

“We felt it was totally premature to vote on that,” said Berthet, who would prefer that DOT remove parking on 12th Avenue instead of directing cyclists to the sidewalk. The issue will be delayed until one year before the completion of water tunnel construction work, at which point the committee will address it again.

  • Guest

    “They told us there is not enough space on the avenue to create a protected bike lane.”

    The goal of everyone involved with the livable streets movement should be to get this idea turned around. One day I’d like to see DOT say there is not enough space on the avenue to keep the car lanes.

  • J

    @3032a8f1c5e653683b0ffda8302b79d3:disqus Spot on. The idea that there is “not enough space” on a street that is 70 feet wide, between curbs, is absolutely ridiculous.

    The problem is a lack of creativity and an incredible lack of foresight at DOT. This location, between 14th & 16th on 9th Ave, is a critical link between the protected bike lane father north on 9th Ave and the future protected bike lane on Hudson St. This two block stretch of unprotected bike lane is currently very difficult to navigate, with lots of double parking and many turning conflicts. This is a location which screams for a protected bike lane. This is great opportunity to fix this issue with a good permanent design, an opportunity that comes around maybe once a generation for a street. Yet we’re getting it wrong, and it’ll take decades to permanently fix this bad judgement. Shameful cowardice.

  • Wonderful to see things head in this direction.  Cheers, here’s to safer streets for all of us- jack

  • Ben Kintisch

    The developments in the blog post are overwhelmingly positive. Not 100% positive but certainly good news for the most part. If we start with good we can work towards making it better.

  • J

    @Ben_Kintisch:disqus You’re absolutely right. There’s a lot of positive things that are happening. However, despite all the progress that has been made, the same general paradigm has held constant, which is that you can’t screw up traffic too badly, even if it means screwing everyone else. This attitude, which gives the greatest priority to the least efficient and least accessible form of transportation, is completely absurd and no amount of bike corrals is really going to change it.

    This is a policy problem, and no one is talking about it here. San Francisco and Portland are slowly chipping away at the old paradigm, but it has taken many years. New York hasn’t even begun the conversation.

  • Jeff

    Between all of these bike corrals going in on 9th Ave, and the impending influx of additional “corrals” for bike share in a few months, the curb space on 9th Ave is going to send a very visible, powerful message.

  • Ben Kintisch

    The developments in the blog post are overwhelmingly positive. Not 100% positive but certainly good news for the most part. If we start with good we can work towards making it better.


Brooklyn Community Board 6 Meeting on 9th Street Ped Safety and Bike Lanes, Park Slope One-Ways, Grand Army Plaza and Red Hook Bike Lanes

Last Thursday, Community Board 6’s transportation committee voted to approve bike lanes, traffic-calming and pedestrian safety plans for 9th Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn. A vocal contingent from 9th Street, some of whom are members of the Community Board, are trying to kill the plan. Come out to show your support for a bike lane […]

Meatpacking District Will Get a Makeover

A rendering of the proposed Gansevoort Plaza, looking southbound. Major public space improvements are on the drawing board for Lower Manhattan’s old Meat-Packing District. Ian Dutton, Houston Street bike safety organizer, professional airline pilot and Streetsblog reader has the report:  Last year, community groups came together as the Greater Gansevoort Urban Improvement Project to develop […]