Manhattan CB 8 Votes Against Basic Striped Crosstown Bike Lanes

At CB 8's request, DOT proposed alternative pairings (in blue) to those in its original proposal (in purple). Image: DOT
At CB 8’s request, DOT proposed a menu of six potential crosstown bike lane pairs. Image: DOT

Last night, by a vote of 25-19 with one abstention, Manhattan Community Board 8 voted against DOT’s plan for three pairs of painted crosstown bike lanes on the Upper East Side. Despite four months of deliberations, bike lane opponents managed to achieve their desired outcome last night, sending a strong signal that no bike lane design is too mild to avoid their wrath.

The board was considering a resolution passed by the CB 8 transportation committee in favor of crosstown lanes on 70th/71st, 77th/78th, and 84th/85th. Multiple meetings and several months of absurd wrangling over thermoplastic stripes preceded that vote.

The Upper East Side plan does not remove any parking or car lanes — it just puts lines on the ground to designate space for cycling.

To opponents, this basic safety measure is, for some reason, unsuitable for any street with a school, hospital, church, or other notable institution. Parents and administrators from schools on 84th and 85th Streets in particular have said the presence of bike lanes would, all evidence to the contrary, endanger their students.

People who attended last night’s meeting said turnout was especially strong from opponents of the 84th/85th Street bike lanes.

CB 8 Chair Jim Clynes tried to engineer a vote that would allow just one of the bike lane pairs to be voted down, asking for separate resolutions on different bike lane pairs. Transportation committee co-chair A. Scott Falk insisted on a vote on the original resolution that favored all three bike lane pairs.

When board member Lorraine Brown called a vote on the original resolution, the board narrowly sided against it — but only after Clynes attempted to take executive action and force separate votes.

Speaking to Streetsblog this morning, Falk said opponents just wanted to keep bike lanes off their own streets. “It was actually a classic illustration of NIMBYism at its best,” he said. “Literally having people turn out to say, ‘No no no don’t consider 80th, please put it where you decided to on 84th.’”

Unlike the other streets considered in the 80s, 84th and 85th connect to both Central Park and the East Side Esplanade. Moreover, had the committee gone with the 81st/82nd option, it would have bunched six crosstown bike lanes into a 13-block span. “That’s not a network, that’s just a little bracket,” Falk said.

Moving forward, Falk said he expects the transportation committee to take up all six of DOT’s proposed pairs once more, and vote on separate resolutions for each.

  • Vooch

    I routinely ride in the middle of the right lane on CPW. I ride a tad ‘ outside ‘ of center to force cars to move to other lane to pass me. I find it much more comfortable than being squeezed

  • walks bikes drives

    As Joe says below, the first change in timing was with the change from 30 to 25. But I still was able to make the Lexington Ave light if I got a quick start from Park. After the introduction of the LPI on Park Ave, I now have zero chance of making the Lexington light. Crosstown routes are not timed, so their timing in a practical sense is just a factor of the others, as Joe mentioned. I agree with calming, but I’m riding primarily as transportation, so if I slow down, I gotta leave earlier. I don’t want to leave earlier

  • walks bikes drives

    So then where is the benefit of the bike lane?

  • Vooch

    helps the Drivers since cyclists keep out of their lane

  • Vooch

    it’s like leaving earlier what 90 seconds ?

  • walks bikes drives

    So am I misunderstanding what you are saying about riding in the right lane? You mean the bike lane or the car lane?

  • Joe R.

    That’s kind of how I feel. I like to ride, but at 3AM on empty streets. If I’m riding for transportation at times when the streets are congested, that’s not remotely pleasant to me. As such, I just want to get where I’m going as rapidly as humanly possible.

  • Vooch

    the 12′ wide right ( multi modal ) lane

    if the 5′ wide exclusive to cyclists lane is blocked then I switch to riding the 12′ wide multi modal lane

  • walks bikes drives

    But what differentiates this from what drivers complain about is there is no inherent safety difference to us riding any faster.

  • walks bikes drives

    Yeah, same here, and I take the lane when I have to do it as well.

  • Joe R.

    Yes, exactly.

  • ahwr

    Chronotypes change as people age. Are you on a 24 hour day? If you are, you might be able to shift your schedule with proper management of light exposure, especially blue light.

  • Joe R.

    I’m on any kind of schedule I want to be generally, other than when I might need to be available for meetings. Truth is at this stage there’s no valid reason for me to go through the motions of being a day person. My work situation is reasonably stable. I can work the hours I want. If this latest gig keeps up another 6 or 7 years I can probably consider myself semi-retired. That won’t mean I stop working altogether, only that I’ll have the luxury to reject projects which don’t interest me.

    Funny you mentioned blue light. I sleep just fine with no shades in the middle of the day. Could be I had vampire ancestors. 🙂

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