Community Board 1 Endorses Tribeca Bike Routes

Sharrows, like those on Second Avenue, will be added to Sixth Avenue from Walker Street to W. Broadway. Photo: DOT

By a vote of 29-4-1, Manhattan Community Board 1 last night endorsed a DOT plan to add bike lanes and sharrows on north-south streets in Tribeca [PDF].

DOT plans a combination of buffered bike lanes and shared lanes on Church Street, West Broadway, Sixth Avenue, and Varick Street. The proposal does not call for any protected bike lanes.

DOT altered a facet of the original plan, presented to the board in July, that would have routed cyclists onto a Varick Street sidewalk, next to Albert Capsouto Park, where the street is paved with cobblestones. Instead, a 30-inch wide granite strip will be installed on the Varick roadbed between Canal and Laight Streets.

Other pedestrian safety measures include new signal timing patterns at Varick and West Broadway and a curb extension where Church Street and Sixth Avenue diverge, says Charles Komanoff, who attended the meeting.

“Those three changes together made the plan much more palatable, and signaled that DOT was not heavy-handed, was not authoritarian, but had fully engaged with the community board,” says Komanoff, a Tribeca resident who lobbied for the DOT plan. “This was said by several [board members] immediately prior to the vote.”

Komanoff credits board chair Catherine McVay Hughes and member Peter Braus, who chairs the board’s Tribeca Committee, with moving the plan forward and guiding discussion beyond “bikes vs. drivers vs. walkers.”

“CB 1’s territory is obviously a key domain for Citi Bike,” says Komanoff, “and you could feel it in the air, that there is more bicycle use now by the people who were in the room last night than there was three months ago.” He says the board didn’t bite when one member proposed to amend the resolution to include language encouraging increased bike law enforcement.

“Members of the board and the community as a whole are moving beyond that tired debate, and they are accepting and to some extent embracing the fact of significant bicycle use in Lower Manhattan.”

The bike lanes and sharrows could be complete by the end of this year, and the granite strip on Varick Street is expected to be installed in 2014.

 

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