Will de Blasio’s Bike Lane Network Keep Pace With Citi Bike Expansion?

Will Mayor de Blasio fix huge infrastructure gaps in the bike lane network as Citi Bike expands? Image: Transportation Alternatives. Click for full-size version.
Will Mayor de Blasio fill huge gaps in the bike lane network, especially in western Queens and Manhattan above 59th Street, as Citi Bike expands? Map: Transportation Alternatives. Click to enlarge.

A City Council hearing on bike infrastructure is about to get underway this afternoon, where council members will “focus on ways to improve” NYC bike infrastructure, according to a press release from Ydanis Rodriguez, the transportation chair.

One issue that Transportation Alternatives will be highlighting at the hearing is the mismatch between the existing bike network and the upcoming expansion of NYC’s bike-share service area. This morning, TA released a map of the current and future Citi Bike zone, overlaid with a map of current bike lanes. With the bike-share coverage area set to double in size in the next two years, the de Blasio administration has much to do if it intends to keep up.

From the TA press release:

Unfortunately, there are not enough safe places to ride in many of the areas where bike share is set to expand. To make matters more serious, very little new cycling infrastructure is currently planned, in spite of demand for more bike lanes and active requests from communities around the five boroughs. In fact, the administration has only committed to 50 miles of new bike lanes annually, with only five miles of protected lanes.

Also today, DOT is expected to announce a program to improve bike access on bridges. Trottenberg told WNYC that the “Bikes on Bridges” campaign will concentrate on the 16 Harlem River crossings that connect Manhattan and the Bronx.

Transportation Alternatives has been working with local partners in the area to identify where bridge access needs to be safer for biking and walking, and former DOT policy director Jon Orcutt has recommended using the Harlem River bridges as the backbone of a safer bike network Uptown and in the Bronx.

Hopefully council members will ask DOT about lag times between street repavings and restripings, which has left cyclists in some neighborhoods wondering when bike lanes will return.

  • BBnet3000

    Its already way behind unless you consider the current situation in Midtown remotely acceptable. Those lines on the map above include sharrows on high traffic, major avenues. Who is actually comfortable riding like that?

    Its not like Midtown is the largest single destination in the United States or anything, so no big deal skipping it.

  • qrt145

    Not that it changes the main point, but the map shown is out of date regarding the Columbus Avenue bike lane. It now goes all the way from 110th to 59th St (most of it parking-protected), minus a few blocks near the intersection with Broadway, if I remember correctly.

  • vnm

    TransAlt should do a five-borough spot-check survey to see what percentage of bike lanes that are said to exist in the official bike map (and in the jpeg in this post) are actually visible on the streets. I think there are a lot of instances (maybe 30%?) where bike lanes that exist as lines on the map do not exist as lines on pavement.

    Before we talk about expanding bike lanes, I’d like to see “existing” bike lanes exist.

  • Alex

    It’s also missing all of the new lanes that came from Queens CB 2’s workshop, like 11th St in LIC.

  • MatthewEH

    Nope. The lane presently disappears at 69th street, and while there’s a sharrow for a bit south of that, it’s not much help with negotiating the upcoming Lincoln Square intersections.

  • qrt145

    In other words, what I wrote. Most of the 50 blocks are parking protected, there are a few blocks of sharrows, and a few blocks of nothing.

  • Agree. Chrystie Street southbound is gone. It should be taken off the official DOT bike map. And it’s not alone.

  • MatthewEH

    I was disagreeing with the “all the way” characterization. The lane is complete and pretty much great from 110th to 69th. From 69th to 59th the facility might as well not exist; it’s just hardly worth discussing, much less mapping.

    It’s not as though the lane disappears around Lincoln Square, but picks up again at, say, 63rd Street. It simply doesn’t appear again until 9th Avenue.

  • JK

    Hear hear! Add to the growing list of Ghost Lanes, Lafayette Street between Broome and Worth Streets.

  • Me

    Exactly, calling 2nd ave in the 40s and upper 30s as having a bike lane is ludicrous.

  • “Unfortunately, there are not enough safe places to ride in many of the areas where bike share is set to expand.”

    I once again cringe at the equating of bike-laned streets with safe places to ride. I love our bike lanes, and I don’t want to lose them. But I never want to see them portrayed as a requirement for safe riding. In fact most streets are already safe places to ride. Bike lanes make them saf*ER*.

    We’ll never have bike lanes on all streets or even on a majority of streets. So, if we want to promote the truth that bike-riding is a great way to get around the City, with the aim of inducing more people to take up riding, then it’s a very bad idea to say that people can ride safely only where there is a bike lane. This assertion is empirically false; and it’s bad strategically, in that it actually warns people away from casual riding.

  • qrt145

    Fair enough. I’ve only taken it a couple of times this year and my memory of the southern end is fuzzy, but I do remember that the area near Lincoln Square was quite disagreeable. 🙂

  • qrt145

    Also Frederick Douglass Blvd., between 110th and 121st St is nearly invisible.

  • Jonathan R

    I agree with you 100% (a rare thing!).

    Also, if you haven’t noticed, quality bicycle infrastructure is unevenly distributed around the city, and tends to wind up in rich neighborhoods. I’m afraid that combining the “shortage of safe places to ride” idea with this fact is an excellent way to make thrifty bicycle travel into something that “only rich people do.”

    Or worse, to plant the idea that rich people are somehow more deserving of safe bicycle infrastructure than poor people.

  • princeps_mundi

    7th Ave in Sunset Park

  • BikeTexter

    To answer the headline question… in a word, no. Not if the first year of his administration is any indication of what to expect.

  • BBnet3000

    Even with the lane painted I prefer 6th Ave, which is more residential, has lower traffic, and has pavement that’s in good shape and not all warbly.

  • Ian Turner

    Indeed. the 119th St. lane was never repainted after the last paving job.

  • IlIlIl

    Calling most of 2nd Ave’s bike lane a bike lane is a joke.

    It is good from like 30-20th and then it is a mix of pedestrians who don’t look stepping into the lane, cars who are missing their turn diving across from the middle lane often without lights, and people who are out collecting bottles and cans who use it as a highway upon which to cart their overfull haul. And below Houston? Are you kidding me? What a shit show. When a car or tour bus isn’t in the lane something has spilled into it or there is a series of chunks missing.

    I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a ‘safe’ bike path in Manhattan. Even the Hudson Greenway is fraught with danger of jogger and pedestrian inattention.

  • vnm

    Ditto Walton Avenue in the Bronx. It’s completely gone without a trace for much of its length.

  • JudenChino

    Fuck. Chrystie Street is really important if you’re heading downtown from 2nd ave. Do they expect everyone to make a left at Houston and then take Allen? It was a shit bike lane anyway but it still provided some safety. Oh right, this is Christie street where they allow the bike lane to disappear but have no problems with T-Intersection red light bike stings there, which is 3 blocks away from where a handful of Chinese residents have been killed by trucks/cars with impunity over the past 2 months.

  • J_12

    lanes without any physical separation often serve as passing or parking lanes for motor vehicles, which causes the markings to wear down very quickly (not to mention potholes and damage to the road surface.)

  • stairbob

    I’m sure TransAlt would love for you to volunteer to head up that effort.


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