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Brad Hoylman

6 Manhattan Electeds Ask DOT for Complete Streets on Fifth and Sixth Ave

11:50 AM EST on December 4, 2015

DOT has put out a plan to add a protected bike lane on Sixth Avenue from 14th Street to 33rd Street [PDF], and Manhattan electeds want more. A letter from State Senator Brad Hoylman and five other representatives calls for a more thorough complete street redesign along all of Sixth Avenue and Fifth Avenue from Greenwich Village to Central Park.

In addition to Hoylman, Assembly members Deborah Glick and Richard Gottfried, City Council members Dan Garodnick and Corey Johnson, and Borough President Gale Brewer signed on to the letter to DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione, calling on the department “to take necessary steps to study and implement Complete Streets infrastructure on Fifth and Sixth Avenues as swiftly as possible.”

Members of both Community Board 4 and Community Board 5 have asked DOT for a bolder design in its Sixth Avenue plan. Since green lights were lengthened on Sixth Avenue in Midtown in conjunction with the pedestrianization of several blocks of Broadway a few years ago (signal time was basically reallocated from Broadway to Sixth, increasing average vehicle speeds [PDF]), it should be possible to repurpose a full traffic lane relatively painlessly. But the current plan does not include raised concrete pedestrian refuges, wider sidewalks, or bus lanes, and the bike lane is not as spacious as it should be:

Image: NYC DOT
Image: NYC DOT
A rendering from DOT's November proposal for a protected bike lane on Sixth Avenue. The plan now includes raised pedestrian medians. Image: NYC DOT

DOT also has yet to commit to redesigning Fifth Avenue. So far the agency's timetable calls for a second phase protected bike lane segment on Sixth between Canal Street and 14th Street in 2017, but only a study of Fifth Avenue and the rest of Sixth Avenue up to Central Park. The elected officials want a commitment to redesign more of the avenues.

“Redesigning the entire Fifth and Sixth Avenue corridors -- south of Central Park down to the Village -- as Complete Streets will improve safety for all road users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorized vehicles,” the letter says.

Update: A DOT spokesperson says that the department is listening to the concerns of elected officials and will take the letter into account when considering next steps: "We thank the elected officials for their correspondence and continued support on the project that DOT is currently developing on 6th Avenue, between 14th Street and 33rd Street. We are aware of the current petition and campaign for 5th and 6th Avenues and will review the next steps for both corridors."

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