Levine to DOT: The Time Is Now for Amsterdam Avenue Protected Bike Lane

City Council Member Mark Levine sent a letter today urging Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to put a protected bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue.

Council Member Mark Levine

Levine’s district encompasses much of the Upper West Side north of W. 95th Street. Calling on DOT to act, he pointed to unsafe conditions on Amsterdam, attendant wrong-way cycling on the Columbus Avenue southbound protected lane, and the pending arrival of Citi Bike.

Levine wrote:

This bike lane is especially timely considering the upcoming expansion of the Citi Bike program. Thirty-­nine Citi Bike docking stations are set to arrive in the area by the end of August. NYPD data also reveals that Amsterdam Avenue is one of the most dangerous streets in the neighborhood, second only to Broadway. This northbound street is frequently utilized by tourist buses and large trucks, in addition to the smaller vehicles that already use this vital artery. Many constituents who live in the area have reported feeling afraid when biking, citing the number of trucks, drivers, and people making deliveries. Unfortunately, the heavy vehicular traffic is causing many riders to ride against traffic, heading north on the southbound lane on Columbus Avenue, and further endangering riders and pedestrians.

Levine’s letter [PDF] follows an endorsement from local Council Member Helen Rosenthal and a Community Board 7 resolution asking DOT to “immediately” add “pedestrian refuges, curb extensions, signal timing, and a protected northbound bike lane” to Amsterdam — the board’s third such action in six years. Still, Mayor de Blasio’s DOT remains noncommittal.

Right now Amsterdam Avenue is getting a fresh coat of asphalt from 79th to 93rd street. As Ben Fried reported yesterday, unless DOT acts now, it will be too late to add a protected lane before Citi Bike comes to the Upper West Side in the fall, leaving a lot of new cyclists without a safe option for northbound travel in the neighborhood.

“I have been encouraged by the progress of the Department of Transportation in implementing various Vision Zero safety measures,” said Levine. “I now urge DOT to move expeditiously toward creating a northbound bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue, which is consistent with our shared commitment to making our streets safer for all.”

  • Reader

    A community board resolution. Letters from two City Council members. JSK would’ve killed for this kind of support and local buy-in. So why the hell is Trottenberg dragging her feet?

  • Wont somebody please think of all the doubler parkers? WHERE WILL THEY DOUBLE PARK?

  • DRDV

    In fact, we now have multiple stories (http://www.streetsblog.org/2015/07/28/tish-james-calls-on-dot-to-make-bike-lanes-standard-on-vision-zero-projects/) on the front page of SB of city officials begging Trottenberg to be more forward thinking on transportation. Sadly, Polly Trottenberg is no JSK.

  • Every additional drop of blood spilled along Amsterdam Avenue is blood on the hands of milquetoast bureaucrat Polly Trottenberg and her boss, motorist stooge Bill de Blasio. They’ve had their chance to fix these streets. They blew it.

  • Maggie

    I am so grateful to Mark Levine and Helen Rosenthal for speaking up on this. This bike lane has the strong support of the community too – it polled in favor by a 2 to 1 margin on West Side Rag. Please, please, DOT, get it together and put this infrastructure in without waiting till someone dies.

  • Emmily_Litella

    The good Commissioner’s karma ran over her dogma.

  • Kevin Love

    Preferably in Hell.

  • BBnet3000

    Trottenberg: NYC Won’t Be Dethroned as America’s “Best Biking City”

    It’s telling that Bicycling Magazine had a sharrow in the header of their story. They take cycling for utility by non-assertive riders even less seriously than NYC does.


  • J

    I just don’t get why everything at DOT is so secretive. A better DOT would come out and say “We hear you and were working on it, but blah blah blah.” This one is simply silent. Like in Albany, all the real decisions are made behind the scenes, which leads to a lack of trust in the government from all sides.

  • GTR

    I can’t even imagine the number of cyclist fatalities that will occur on Amsterdam Avenue once Citi Bike is installed. Cyclists should not be sharing the road with maniac drivers who use Amsterdam as a personal speedway. We need a protected bike lane NOW!

  • Maddening that Amsterdam is being resurfaced now and may have to just be torn up again to inevitably install the bike lane once DOT gets their act together.

  • David Vassar


    Just the prospect of reducing the visual blight of ubiquitous 4-wheeled fart bombs by itself is sufficient grounds for installing bike lanes. I hope our DOT commissioner, who I believe is basically pro-bicycle, will get over her reticence on this one.


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