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Upper East Side Community Board Asks DOT for Crosstown Bike Lanes

Manhattan Community Board 8 passed a resolution Wednesday night asking DOT for crosstown bike lanes on the Upper East Side.

62nd Street approaching Second Avenue. Image: Google

Currently the only east-west pair in the neighborhood is on 90th Street and 91st Street. With biking in the neighborhood on the rise and the recent arrival of Citi Bike, it's increasingly obvious that's not enough.

At a "street scan" organized by Transportation Alternatives and Bike New York last month, volunteers scouted three other potential crosstown routes: 61st/62nd, 67th/68th, and 72nd Street.

The resolution passed by CB 8 (full text below) calls for fast implementation of a network of painted crosstown lanes and a long-term plan for crosstown lanes using "the safest appropriate design." It passed 32-6 with eight abstentions.

Michelle Birnbaum, a frequent opponent of street safety measures on the board, tried to substitute a weaker resolution that didn't specifically ask for bike lanes, but it mustered only four votes.

CB 8 Transportation Committee co-chair Scott Falk said the board has shed its reputation as a place where street redesigns don't stand a chance. "This was not a controversial topic," he said, "this was about safety."

Here's the full resolution CB 8 passed on Wednesday:

WHEREAS Community Board 8 Manhattan passed the following resolution by a vote of 38-1 in October 2009:

WHEREAS, Manhattan Community Board 8 is concerned about the safety of all people who use our streets and sidewalks, and
WHEREAS, protected bike lanes have brought measurable safety improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists in other neighborhoods in Manhattan,
WHEREAS, many members of the Upper East Side public, business community, and elected officials have all expressed support for protected bike lanes in petitions, surveys, letters and public testimony, and
WHEREAS, Manhattan Community Board 8 wishes to encourage safe, responsible cycling in to, to, and from this district,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Community Board 8M supports the DOT’s initiative to create protected bike lanes and requests that DOT prepare a study for a neighborhood bicycle network for Class 1 protected bike lanes (including information on projected impacts on pedestrian safety, bike safety, parking, truck traffic and neighborhood business) that would be subject to review and comment by Community Board 8M; and

WHEREAS the use of bicycles on the Upper East Side is increasing significantly; and

WHEREAS the City needs to significantly expand its public awareness efforts regarding bike safety and add resources to support greater bike safety in our community; and

WHEREAS there is a need for bicycle network connections to the Esplanade and Central Park, and across Central Park to the West Side, and a need for safe crosstown routes within our district;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Community Board 8 Manhattan asks the NYC Dept. of Transportation to propose a network of painted crosstown bicycle lanes on the Upper East Side, to be implemented in the short-term; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Community Board 8 Manhattan asks the NYC Dept. of Transportation to propose for longer-term implementation a network of crosstown bicycle routes on the Upper East Side, using the safest appropriate design.

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