Eyes on the Street: Outlines Appear for Seaman Avenue Bike Lane, Sharrows

DOT is replacing two 4-foot bike lanes on Seaman Avenue with one 5-foot bike lane and sharrows. Photos: Brad Aaron
DOT is replacing two 4-foot bike lanes on Seaman Avenue with one 5-foot bike lane and sharrows because, according to DOT, the street isn’t wide enough for two standard-width bike lanes. Photos: Brad Aaron

Preliminary markings for a bike lane and sharrows appeared on Seaman Avenue in Inwood yesterday, nearly two years after DOT resurfaced the street.

Seaman Avenue runs from Dyckman/200th Street to W. 218th Street. The only north-south through street in Inwood west of Broadway, Seaman serves as a bike connection between the Hudson River Greenway and the Bronx, in addition to being a key neighborhood biking corridor.

Seaman is also a cut-through for Bronx and Westchester motorists looking to avoid the toll on the Henry Hudson Bridge. It has a few speed humps, and it’s within the Inwood Slow Zone, but those measures do little to keep drivers from speeding past the apartment buildings, parks, schools, and churches that line Seaman from end to end. The 34th Precinct, which issued just 266 speeding tickets in 2015, is a non-factor when it comes to slowing drivers down. Double-parking is probably more common than speeding and seems to get even less attention, enforcement-wise.

All things considered, Seaman Avenue seemed ripe for a change. The street’s old 4-foot wide bike lanes were removed when DOT repaved in the summer of 2014, and were not replaced when the city put down new crosswalks and other markings. DOT informed Community Board 12 last September of its plans to install a northbound 5-foot bike lane and replace the southbound bike lane with sharrows. Though Seaman will retain two lanes for parked vehicles, DOT says it isn’t wide enough to have bike lanes in both directions.

Last year DOT told Streetsblog the agency will monitor the new configuration to see if adjustments are necessary. If DOT is ever willing to challenge the status quo, Seaman could become a much better street for biking and walking, with a protected bikeway next to Inwood Hill Park.

The new design will do nothing to keep double-parked drivers from making Seaman more dangerous for biking and walking.
That’s a park on the right, and a school on the left. By preserving the status quo, DOT passed up an opportunity to keep double-parked drivers from making Seaman more dangerous for biking and walking.
  • J

    With few cross streets, Seaman Ave seem a good location for a 2-way protected bike lane on one side of the street.

  • BBnet3000

    Why are the sharrows in the door zone rather than in the center of the lane? We were so excited when the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide came out, too bad nobody actually read it. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts.

    Also, did they consult the Community Board before removing the bike lane as per Local Law 61 (2011)? I don’t see any exception in the law for lanes not meeting whatever standard they are now using.

  • SSkate

    Seeing as the 2016 DOT bike map shows a bikelane on Seaman, this is good news.

  • Brad Aaron

    Yes, and good thing it’s bike “lane,” singular.

  • BBnet3000

    It shows it as a thick blue line though, when it should actually be a split blue/purple line.

    Not sure why it disappears completely between Isham and W 214th. Just another discontinuous bike route I guess.

  • Bobberooni

    Get a grip… the only significant change to Seaman Ave has been the installation of speed bumps — which are very effective. Changing the paint is window dressing. Do you really think that people will stop double parking because of it?

    Now that the traffic is slowed down, biking is just not such a problem — with or without bike lanes. Bike lanes can even be counter-productive, when they encourage entitled driver behavior: “Hey, get in the bike lane!” (meaning, get out of my way) Never mind that there are three cars PARKED in the bike lane. Sharrows are better in this case.

    Double parking is now the number one thing detracting from biker quality of life on Seaman Ave. I doubt that changing the paint will have any effect on this.

    In any case, Seaman Ave is one of the safest roads I bike on. Effort would be better spent on what happens between Seaman Ave and Van Cortland Park. Let’s start with a decent bridge crossing into Marble Hill. Then work on Bailey Ave — or extend the Putnam Trail to 225 St.

  • Brad Aaron

    Did you read the post before commenting?

  • Mike

    I miss JSK 🙁

  • BSPABNY

    I agree, a 2-way protected bike lane on the west side of Seaman, connecting to a 2-way protected bike lane on the north side of W 218th, is the way to go. An alternative might be to use the west side of Payson Avenue for the southern few blocks.

    I dream of a Hudson River Greenway connection through Inwood Hill Park, connecting to a path through Columbia U Athletic Complex, and finally a new bike/ped bridge across Spuyten Duyvil. Then I wake up as I’m sideswiped while crossing the Broadway Bridge…

  • AMH

    Would Move NY toll the Broadway bridge? That needs to happen.

  • BBnet3000

    No, its for entering the CBD, not for entering Manhattan.

  • JamesR

    Just take the Henry Hudson Bridge path. Yes, it’s narrow, yes, it’s way out of the way, but you have less chance of ending up beneath a livery cab than you do running the gauntlet at the Broadway Bridge.

  • iSkyscraper

    I was happy to see the markings recently appear, although the fact it took TWO YEARS for this to happen shows the kind of attention Inwood ranks at the DOT.

    The real transportation issue with Seaman, of course, is not bike lanes but the May to September car-based traffic disaster known as La Marina that Parks, DOT and NYPD are all complicit in allowing, despite its total and complete illegality. Money talks, and the result is an unusable Seaman Ave on Fri, Sat and Sun all summer long.

    https://dyckmanmarina.wordpress.com/category/traffic/

    It’s really kind of insane that city laws simply do not apply in Inwood, but after four years of chaos residents have simply given up. We’ll take our meek one-way bike lane and use it in the off-season, thanks.

  • iSkyscraper

    Broadway Bridge is nearly 6 lanes wide and only need be four. There is plenty of room for proper bike lanes there if anyone cared to install them. But this is not CB7, so don’t hold your breath.

  • Not happy it is just one way. Maybe Broadway can have on southboubd? Anybody listening?

  • Brad Aaron

    You’ll take your Vision Zero Brand sharrows and be happy to get them.

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