All Eyes on DOT After CB 7 Endorses Amsterdam Ave Protected Bike Lane

Will the third time be the charm? Manhattan Community Board 7 has overwhelmingly voted — again — to ask the city for a northbound protected bike lane as part of a redesign of Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side. DOT will have to move forward on a redesign very soon to get a complement to the southbound protected bike lane on Columbus Avenue in place by the time Citi Bike debuts in the neighborhood, which is expected sometime later this year.

It's time to act, DOT. Photo: birdfarm/Flickr
It’s time for DOT to act. Photo: birdfarm/Flickr

Last night, in a 34-5 vote with one abstention, the full board passed a resolution calling on DOT to “immediately” install safety improvements including “pedestrian refuges, curb extensions, signal timing, and a protected northbound bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue.” If for some reason DOT determines that a northbound bike lane isn’t feasible on Amsterdam, CB 7 is asking the agency to install a northbound lane elsewhere in the neighborhood [PDF].

The CB 7 transportation committee unanimously endorsed the request last month.

Last night’s vote was actually the board’s third request for a northbound protected bike lane. CB 7 first asked DOT to design protected bike lanes for Amsterdam in 2009. But during years of haggling with CB 7 transportation committee leadership over the installation of a protected bike lane on Columbus Avenue, plans for Amsterdam stalled. The community board approved another resolution at the end of 2013 asking DOT to “study” a protected bike lane for Amsterdam, a vote that prompted no visible action from the agency.

The pressure on DOT to act from local advocates, officials, and now the community board is intensifying. Council Member Helen Rosenthal endorsed a protected bike lane on Amsterdam in April, and now the board has said loud and clear that a protected bike lane on Amsterdam is a priority.

One board member worried last night that a protected bike lane on Amsterdam could cause traffic congestion, according to people at the meeting. Another objected to the strong wording of the resolution, which went above and beyond the 2013 resolution, requesting immediate action by DOT. In the end, an overwhelming majority of the board, including transportation committee co-chairs Andrew Albert and Dan Zweig, voted for the resolution.

“I think most people see Citi Bike coming. When people say, ‘How do we go north on the Upper West Side?’ we have to have an answer,” said transportation committee member Howard Yaruss. “You have to have a place for them to go.”

Streetsblog has asked DOT when it will come forward with a redesign for Amsterdam Avenue. We have yet to receive a response.

Update 3:25 p.m.: DOT says it is continuing to review possible safety enhancements along Amsterdam Avenue.

  • J

    DOT has been SO cautious to not step on the toes of community boards, but here is a project where they don’t have to be. THey have the green light! THey’ve had the green light for 6 years! If they can’t get a protected lane in quickly here, than I doubt they’ll make much progress anywhere else.

  • BBnet3000

    It’s about time to start keeping a death count for places where CBs have asked for protected lanes and they have gone years without being installed. Amsterdam, the gap on 1st Ave, and Chrystie just to name three.

    Meanwhile we’ve wasting months of staff time wrangling with unfriendly CBs over pointless sharrow schemes that will accomplish next to nothing. It would be comical if it didn’t result in a city in which cycling is uncomfortable and where so many people die on the streets.

  • r

    Great news. So I guess this means DOT will install wide parking lanes as soon as they can.

  • AlexWithAK

    It’s the Trottenberg way!

  • Jonathan R

    So if tomorrow morning a truck runs me over on East Tremont Ave & Webster Ave in the Bronx, far away from any proposed protected bicycle lane, advocates like you will shrug your shoulders, and be OK with that, because there’s no planned bike lane on the table? Why should it matter whether the local board has discussed having a bike lane?

    Streets everywhere in the city need bike lanes, and better sidewalks.

  • Niles

    They already announced earlier this year that they were going to do a “road diet” on Amsterdam, mentioned in the same sentance as protected lanes elsewhere.

  • r

    Yes, that sounds like a perfectly reasonable interpretation of what he said.

  • Steve

    That announcement was for a road diet for Amsterdam Avenue in *Washington Heights/Inwood*.

  • Tyson White

    What about the rest of Columbus Av? What about Columbus Circle? Will we have to wait another 8 years to be able to get through Columbus Circle without being cut off by cars? Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn is safe, time to do the same at Columbus Cir

  • roguebagel

    This is great, wonderful work by everyone involved. I’m optimistic DOT will put in the changes.

  • Enjoy your new double-wide car parking lanes, Upper West Siders! Mua-ha-ha-hah.

  • Joe Enoch

    I’m so jealous. Just moved from UWS to UES. Good work! I still can’t wait to ride north on it, though.

  • Amsterdam-Velo

    They organise guided bike tours at the windmill park Zaanse Schans and around very close to Amsterdam


This Week: Speak Up for Safer Walking and Biking on Amsterdam

Tomorrow, Manhattan Community Board 7 will vote on DOT’s plan for a protected bike lanes and pedestrian islands on Amsterdam Avenue from 72nd Street to 110th Street. Calming traffic on wide, one-way Amsterdam while providing a sorely needed northbound pair to the southbound Columbus Avenue bike lane has been a long time coming. Neighborhood residents have been […]