QBB Bike Access Improvements Advance to CB 6 Full Board With 13-1 Vote

A DOT proposal that would extend protected bike lanes and add shared lane markings to First Avenue and 59th Street received a 13-1 supportive vote from Manhattan Community Board 6’s transportation committee last night, moving improved bike access at the Queensboro Bridge one step closer to reality after three committee meetings on the topic.

The plan would add a two-way protected bike lane and dedicated bike traffic signal at First Avenue and 59th Street. Image: ##http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/2013-05-06-queensboro-connection-mn-cb6.pdf##DOT##

The project will extend the start of the protected bike lane on First Avenue south by two blocks. From 61st Street to 60th Street, the lane will be northbound-only, and a two-way protected lane will be installed beneath the Queensboro Bridge, between 60th Street and 59th Street. On 59th Street, cyclists would receive new shared lane markings. After westbound drivers exit 59th Street to the Queensboro Bridge, westbound cyclists would continue with a contra-flow bike lane.

On First Avenue, shared lane markings would be extended from 56th Street to 59th Street; on Second Avenue, they would be extended from 59th Street to 58th Street.

Last night’s resolution asks DOT to add flexible posts along left-turn lanes on First Avenue at 57th and 59th Streets, to prevent drivers from skipping the queue and cutting across the path of cyclists in the shared lane. It also requests a bicycle traffic signal for cyclists turning left from the contra-flow lane on 59th Street to Second Avenue, as well as more signage and markings on First Avenue where the shared lane shifts as left turn lanes appear at 57th and 59th Streets.

DOT did not object to the requests, but it’s no guarantee that those elements will be included in the final plan. Last month, DOT said that the lane widths on First Avenue were too narrow to allow for installation of flexible posts.

The plan now advances to CB 6’s full board meeting on June 12. Community Board 8, which covers the area north of 59th Street, has already voted to support the proposal. DOT has said that it would implement the changes by the end of the year if it receives supportive votes from both community boards.

  • Anonymous

    i hope something is done soon because it would make trips downtown/uptown alot safer. In an ideal world, we’d have the money to complete the east river greenway but then again we don’t because we need a carousel in battery park. Or because new york gives more in federal dollars because other states need important things such as more interstate highways to nowhere to “create jobs.”

  • Worth noting how smoothly these improvements are moving through the community boards, in comparison to the earlier stages of the effort to build out the First and Second Avenue “complete streets” facility back in 2009-2011. One of the main reasons is that over the course of the campaign, a number of livable streets activists have made the personal sacrifice of applying to and participating in their community boards, where they routinely have to not only listen to people like Dorothy Rabinowitz, but actually persuade them to see things differently! Thank you! (Lord knows I don’t have the patience or political skills to do it.)

    Community Boards are going to be all the more important for the livable streets in the post-Bloomberg era. I hope lots of people reading this will apply/.

  • Community Board 8

    Below is an e-mail that Gibson Dunn attorney Jim Walden sent to Manhattan Community Board 8, offering to sue DOT to stop this project. Walden is the attorney who is (still) suing DOT over the redesign of Prospect Park West in Brooklyn. Some New York City attorneys are ambulance-chasers. Jim Walden is a bike lane-chaser.

    From: Walden, Jim [mailto:JWalden@gibsondunn.com]
    Sent: Monday, April 08, 2013 12:21 PM
    To: info@cb8m.com
    Cc: XXXXX
    Subject: Bike lane safety

    To the Chairs of the Transportation Committee:

    We represent two community groups opposed to the two-way, parking protected bike lane on Prospect Park West in Brooklyn. We were surprised to see DOT’s statements concerning the inherent safety of bike lanes, since recently it was forced by a judge in the PPW case to release data, which showed a significant increase in crashes after installation of the lane.

    If we can be helpful to you in your evaluation of the bike lane on UES, please let us know.

    Best regards,

    Jim

    Jim Walden

    GIBSON DUNN

    Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
    200 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10166-0193
    Tel +1 212.351.2300 • Fax +1 212.351.5300
    JWalden@gibsondunn.comhttp://www.gibsondunn.com

  • Anonymous

    Why do I never see it discussed that there is literally no way to ride
    southbound on the east side in the 60s and 70s (not sure bout 80s). I
    live on 1st Ave and it’s a treat riding NB in the protected lane on 1at
    but I can’t get home safely! You aren’t supposed to ride SB in the 1st
    ave lane (they even put up wrong way signs) yet 2nd ave is a deathtrap
    and so is York. Is any proposal in the works to deal with this???

  • Ex-driver

    The only alternative is the East River Greenway above 60th Street, and York/Sutton Place below 60th where it is less busy.

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Soon there will be a continuous northbound protected bike lane along the length of First Avenue, from Houston Street to the Harlem River. On Monday, the Manhattan Community Board 6 transportation committee voted for DOT’s plan to plug the critical gaps in physical protection near the United Nations and the approach to the Queensboro Bridge [PDF]. From 55th […]