Manhattan CB 8 Committee Asks DOT for Crosstown UES Bike Lanes

Momentum continues to grow for creating crosstown bike lanes on the Upper East Side.

In an 11-1 vote with one abstention, the Manhattan Community Board 8 transportation committee passed a resolution last night requesting crosstown bike lane plans from NYC DOT. The full community board will vote on the resolution on November 18.

Currently, the Upper East Side has only one crosstown bike route, painted lanes along E. 90th and E. 91st streets. At a “street scan” earlier this month, volunteers with Transportation Alternatives and Bike New York scouted potential crosstown routes to add to the network. Many of them were in attendance last night.

The resolution calls on DOT to create two plans for the community board to review. The first plan would consist of painted crosstown lanes that can be added immediately. The second calls for a network of crosstown bike lanes along the safest appropriate routes, according to A. Scott Falk, the transportation committee co-chair.

Bike improvements usually meet some resistance at CB 8, but not this time. Falk remembers how contentious the arrival of Citi Bike was at the community board, with many arguing against the installation of bike-share stations. So he headed into Wednesday night’s meeting not expecting a resolution to pass in the committee.

“To my surprise, there was no opposition from the public,” Falk said. “Even among the board no one was saying there shouldn’t be any bike lanes. It was definitely a productive discussion and the tone was overwhelmingly positive.”

At the street scan earlier this month, about 30 volunteers surveyed three potential crosstown bike routes: E. 61st Street/E. 62nd Street, E. 67th Street/E. 68th Street, and E. 72nd Street, which is a two-way street. Transportation Alternatives and Bike New York will send a report to local City Council members and DOT based on the survey.

A resolution requesting crosstown bike lanes from the full board later this month will increase the pressure on DOT to act.

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