Want Safer Connections to the East Side Greenway? Tell CB 6 on Monday
On Monday, the Manhattan Community Board 6 transportation committee is set to reconsider a plan to install a two-way protected bike lane on a block of East 37th Street, connecting First Avenue with the East River Greenway. The plan has run up against stiff opposition from residents of an adjacent condominium tower who don’t want a bike lane on the same side of the street as their building.
The proposal is key to a larger set of changes [PDF] that would create safer, more intuitive bike connections between on-street bike lanes and the East River Greenway. In June, the committee signed off of those changes, 7-3 with one abstention [PDF]. When the plan came to the full board later that month, opposition from condo residents nearly derailed the entire project, until the board approved a resolution supporting a bike path on the other side of 37th Street. That resolution passed 34-4, with one abstention [PDF].
But putting a path on the south side of the street would be a more dangerous configuration. Drivers coming off the southbound FDR Drive and proceeding onto 37th Street often make wide right turns, potentially putting cyclists at risk. Another issue is that the tunnel beneath the FDR connecting to Glick Park and the greenway is on the north side of the intersection. If cyclists use the south side of 37th Street, they would then have to cross two legs of the busy intersection, in conflict with turning cars, instead of just one leg without that type of conflict.
DOT expressed these reservations about a south side alignment to the community board and encouraged it to support routing the bike path on the north side of the street. Given the dangers of a south side bike lane, the agency is coming back to CB 6 to make the case for its plan on the north side.
“DOT will update CB 6 on a revision to implement a two-way path on the north side of 37th Street,” said a DOT spokesperson.
What do residents of The Horizon condominium tower have against the safer north side configuration? They’re focused on the ease of curbside pick-up and drop-off in front of their building, and they’re expected to attend the committee meeting and the following full board meeting in force, as they did in June.
The transportation committee meets on Monday, October 6, at 7 p.m. at NYU Langone Medical Center in room Coles 101, 550 First Avenue. The full board meeting is scheduled for October 8 at 7 p.m. at the same address, in Alumni Hall B.