Eyes on the Street: Instant Bike Lane, Courtesy of NYPD and the Pope

Photo: Jared Rodriguez
Photo: Jared Rodriguez, www.HaverstrawLife.com. Click to enlarge.

Update: From reader Joe Enoch: “I got in that ‘lane’ this morning and a cop nearly knocked me off my bike a few feet later. He jumped in front of me and screamed at me to get out of the lane. There were no emergency vehicles, UN convoys or popes in sight.”

The papal visit is opening up streets all over Manhattan. Reader Jared Rodriguez sent this pic of 57th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, where an emergency lane staked with traffic cones became an impromptu bi-directional bikeway.

Goes to show that if you create a car-free lane, cyclists will gravitate to it. And see how easy it is to reallocate street space for car-free transport when the city wants to.

Brooklyn Spoke’s Doug Gordon is posting more shots of pope-related street reclamations on Twitter.

  • djx

    I would be very afraid to ride my bike in such a lane with police around – could easily see NYPD ticketing me or worse.

  • c2check

    The streets around here seem much more peaceful, if nothing else!
    2 general traffic lanes on 42nd (and 4-5 on the Aves) seems to cause a mess.

  • qrt145

    Yesterday I saw something like that on Sixth Avenue; the rightmost lane had been delimited with cones.

  • Nick Ober

    UN week has been miraculous for biking down Second Avenue in Midtown as well. Traffic is lighter overall and while cops are shunning cyclists from actually using the VIP lane, they placed the cones for it in the center of the second lane from the left so that a half bike lane is formed.

  • Nick Ober

    I’ll add though that UN week has been awful if you hope to bike up First Avenue around the UN. The protected bike lane ends at a road block just south of 42nd street where all car traffic has been directed towards the First Avenue tunnel. On a bike? Good luck. You can either take your life into your hands by biking through the tunnel or give up and hoof it. It wouldn’t kill the NYPD or DOT to cone off one of the tunnel lanes to create an express protected bike lane through the UN mess.

  • I biked through Times Square today. 7th Avenue was so empty that I was able to take a lane and not worry about it. Over on Broadway, tons of pedestrians were walking in the streets because there were so few private cars, just the occasional bus, livery car, taxi, or delivery van. This is essentially what NYC could be like with congestion pricing.

  • Joe Enoch

    WARNING! I got in that “lane” this morning and a cop nearly knocked me off my bike a few feet later. He jumped in front of me and screamed at me to get out of the lane. There were no emergency vehicles, U.N. convoys or popes in sight….

  • Joe Enoch

    The “or worse” nearly happened to me this morning. I would encourage people to stay out of the lane.

  • Matthias

    A had the same experience biking last night on the UES. 72nd St was a chokepoint, but once I got past there was no traffic and I could fly.

    Another benefit is that this distraction seems to be reducing general harassment in the rest of the city.

  • Matthias

    If only cyclists were treated like VIPs instead of lowlifes.

  • ganghiscon

    Many cyclists were riding outside the cones yesterday on 2nd Ave. I was eventually told to get onto the other side by two officers, though I still waited until it was safe to do so. None tried tackling me over it.

  • Alex

    I’ve attached a picture of W70th St that shows how full side streets look when they’re not 2/3 taken up by parked cars. There are so many possibilities when you think about how to reconfigure streets. I’m even thinking that there may be ways to actually increase parking strategically to decrease it on redesigned streets. It shouldn’t be free though.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8a2eb9abef7423ec6c45a3ffd929bb2b7fc3036b2113868b8e31a24ff7211a79.jpg

  • vnm

    It was exactly the same on Fifth, along the park and through Midtown. There was very light car traffic. I had a really great ride today. I hope Pope Francis comes back again and again!

  • walks bikes drives

    I ride through the upper east side on my commute, past a few of the posh hotels the dignitaries stay in. The only time I was ever stopped by police entering a closed road on bike was for Obama, but any time the sidewalk was still available for pedestrians, I have had no trouble passing through on bike.

  • walks bikes drives

    I have been amazed all evening about what the roads have been like above 72nd street (I haven’t seen south, except for the NYT photo of CPW). I actually had a great time sitting on a median bench on Broadway with my family, eating ice cream, as no more than 4 or 5 vehicles passed in each direction per light cycle. Normally, there are dozens. My commute home was simply the safest bike ride I have ever taken on city streets, well, ever, because of the light car traffic.

    And go figure, very few people decided to drive today and the city didn’t collapse! Shows that people actually can avoid driving and, as someone said below, why congestion pricing really is important and would work.

  • AnoNYC

    Imagine physically seperated bus only lanes too.

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