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.

 

  • Why is NYCDOT proposing 10′ parking lanes on some parts of 6th Ave but 7′ parking lanes on other parts when that 10′ parking lane could be reduced to 7′ and have a buffered bike lane?

    Also, what makes that lane 6th Ave between Walker and Broadway an “enhanced” shared lane?

  • Anonymous

    The “enhancements” are signage overhead telling motorists not to attempt to pass cyclists in the shared lane, and a solid rather than broken white line delineating the shared lane from other traffic lanes, which is supposed to discourage cars from entering it unnecessarily.

  • Anonymous

    This is a step in the right direction. Wish it would go north of Tribeca. I was almost killed by an aggressive van driver on Varick yesterday while on a Citibike. It was so scary that I pulled over, called the “How’s My Driving” number, and reported the driver.

  • Interesting… I hadn’t seen these additions before.

  • Sean Kelliher

    I believe the photo depicted above is actually not a real photo but a mock-up from one of DOT’s presentations. Like a lot of material in their presentations, such as the slides for crosstown lanes in midtown that showed streets without a single car on them, this one sugar-coats reality too. The open curb space, freedom from dooring, no double parking, and ample space between vehicles and bicyclists in this slide are generally not seen.

    Generally, this route looks like a death wish: people riding in a narrow “tunnel” between parked and moving vehicles or farther out into the roadway with moving cars surrounding them, often dangerously close. I work near Second Avenue and witness this daily.

    Why DOT wants to replicate this scene downtown is beyond me. My guess is that these plans help elevate the agency’s lane count without costing too much political capital.

  • Clarke

    DOT, make it a solid jersey barrier and we have a deal.

  • Anonymous

    I ride 2nd Ave daily and rarely have a problem. When there is it is generally that someone isn’t paying attention as a cyclist, pedestrian, or driver(or any combo of the above). Bike lanes are great but with a population of self-involved people most of whom cannot be bothered to look before they turn or make a lane change or signal or stop it is pretty naive to pretend more bike lanes alone will solve all problems and prevent all accidents.

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