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
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.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    We can thank Devin Gould among others who rallied a bunch of otherwise non-activists to speak in favour at the meeting. He somehow charmed a half dozen young & charming women to advocate.

    Young and Charming always wins over Old & Grumpy.

  • J

    NYC needs to look into creating networks of low-speed, low-volume local streets to create true segregation between bike and cars to allow crosstown travel. Simply painting lines is nowhere near enough, and I doubt many parents would allow their children to bike on most NYC streets that just have a painted bike lane. Add a few diverters or changes in direction to prevent cars from using streets as shortcuts, and you get much lower volumes. Add in a traffic calming, such as speed humps, chokers and chicanes, and you get bike-friendly speeds. Together, the low-speed, low-volume streets are ideal for biking in both directions, and you create a true crosstown bike network usable by children, without removing parking or eliminating local car access.

    http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2011/10/transformation-of-city-centre-street.html

    http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2012/04/100-segregation-of-bikes-and-cars.html

    http://bikeportland.org/2014/05/20/guest-article-envisioning-a-commercial-greenway-along-28th-avenue-106140

  • J

    Another view of a city center street designed for cycling, but permitting local car access.

  • Matthias

    “Cyclists can travel in any direction on any street.”

    THAT is key to a cycle-friendly city.

  • HamTech87

    are these expected to be protected or just paint in the vehicle lane?

  • thomas040

    generally this city is severely lacking cross town PROTECTED paths… i can only really think of 2; allen street (in parts) and grand street

  • Andrew

    Complete with sidewalks obstructed by cars.

  • J

    I believe you’re allowed to park there. The point is that the space permits cars to use it but is designed for safe and convenient cycling and walking for people of all ages.

    I’d choose this setup over crosstown streets in NYC every time.

  • Andrew

    Sorry, I’m going to have to disagree that allowing motorists to park on the sidewalk provides “safe and convenient…walking for people of all ages.”

  • J

    Fair enough. I wanted to show a street that prioritizes bikes, while still showing some parking. Maybe this is the best example, but speeds and volumes are dramatically lower than most crosstown streets in Manhattan, making it easy and safe to cross the street anywhere. My point is to challenge the notion that all streets must be through streets for cars. I also want to point out that token gestures such painted lines, which are routinely violated, don’t really address the problem of high speeds, high volumes, and no truly dedicated space for cycling.

    THis is another way of thinking about the problem so we can truly address it.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    bad photo of a great idea. Many NYC residential Streets especially many Manhattan crosstown Streets can easily become car lite. I suggest a good start would Be to advocate the opening of every street in from of a primary school to people from 0600-1800.

    No Parking, No Driving, just safe children in front of school

  • Jonathan R

    I have never seen a public school open at six a.m. Can you suggest one?

  • Alexander Vucelic

    the logic of 0600-1800 is that it strikes a balance Between the desire to provide free overnight parking for locals and protect ing our little children.

    0600 allows time for free overnight parkers to clear out in time for children and staff to start arriving.

    1800 allows for safe time when working parents pick up their children from after school programs. It would Be better if the time could Be extended to 2000, but the free overnight parkers would have a fit.

    Note, this is only for school days. Nearly 1/2 the year (~180 days) the street would remain free fire parking zones

  • Alexander Vucelic

    CB asked for painter asap (ie by next Spring) and include protected ‘soon’ thereafter (2017 ? 2018 ? 2020 ?)

    38-1 vote suggests there will be pressure on DOT to act

  • Matthias

    Not sure it’s a “sidewalk” as much as shared space at the edge of the street. There’s a wide curbless area. Overall it looks like a safe low-volume street that people would be comfortable walking on and crossing anywhere.

  • Matthias

    This is very encouraging. Meanwhile, Kansas is giving us some competition for anti-human vitriol.

    “If somebody riding a bicycle is more important than a single parking space on Walnut Street, I will not go along with it.”

    http://www.kansascyclist.com/news/2015/11/innovative-bike-lane-design-under-attack-in-ottawa/

  • Walter Crunch

    Midwest ignorance. RIght up there with midwest racism.

  • Walter Crunch

    You are looking at it through your american eyes.

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