Eyes on the Street: First Signs of Amsterdam Avenue’s Protected Bike Lane

This isn’t Amsterdam, but it is a protected bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue. Photo: Lisa Sladkus

Exciting news to conclude this Bike to Work Day: NYC DOT has striped 24 blocks of the Amsterdam Avenue protected bike lane, from 72nd Street to 96th Street.

Once it’s finished, the segment DOT is building this year will run up to 110th Street. It’s a much-needed and long-desired northbound complement to the southbound protected lane on Columbus Avenue.

Amsterdam Avenue has been a treacherous speedway for years, and the redesign — which repurposed a lane of car traffic and will include concrete pedestrian islands — will no doubt save lives.

Upper West Side advocates — including Lisa Sladkus, who sent in these photos — worked for years to make this project a reality. The first community board vote for a protected lane on Amsterdam was way back in 2009. But it wasn’t until this February that a specific redesign cleared the obstructionist leadership of the board’s transportation committee.

Congrats and a big thank you to everyone who helped make it happen.



  • Kyle

    Amazing, I rode on it today!

  • JK

    This took an army, the village wasn’t enough. Cheers and gratitude in particular to Lisa S., Ken C., Mark G., T.A.’s Thomas and about a hundred other people who gave up countless nights with friends and family to go to an endless number of soul draining CB 7 meetings. You guys are my heroes! Though, we will know we have truly won when it doesn’t take heroes to win common sense bike lanes.

  • JL

    Thank you to all who were involved in making this happen. The UWS has an embarrassment of riches compared to the UES for North and South travel. Good luck to the UES’ers and bike advocates.

  • Jules1

    Thank you and congratulations to all who made this possible!

  • walks bikes drives

    I rode up it on Wednesday. There were a huge number of obstructions in it, such as buses blocking it between 72 and 73rd, as well as cars parked along the curb. I think it is still in that “which one do we follow?” phase where people aren’t sure where to park just yet. There were some areas where DOT wasn’t even able to paint because of parked cars.

    Also, at 96 street, the latter half of the east parking lane is being turned into a right turn only lane and the other three lanes have straight arrows painted. But it can’t be completed because there are two dumpsters in the way, which also do a wonderful job of blocking turning drivers’ view of the crosswalk until they are at the crosswalk.

  • Vooch

    we are winning. our ranks are growing by the thousands every day. 6 glorious victories this year;

    Pulaski Bridge
    Amsterdam PBL 110th to 72nd
    2nd Ave PBL 105th to 68th
    6th Ave PBL 8th to 34th
    Queens Blvd 2nd of 3 sections
    Citibike expansion Astoria, Brooklyn, Manhatttan 86th to 110th

    These are major events and will continue to build support for even more !

  • thomas040

    thanks for summarizing that.

  • Vooch

    a PBL network is slowly growing despite the cranks. if the 15 mile annual pace for expansion continues, in 3 years the useful PBL network will have doubled.

    I’m thinking growth in ridership will outpace growth in PBL lane miles. NYC currently only has disjointed bits of PBL Connecting the dots into a real network might see a tripling of current daily trips of 450,000 to as many as 1,500,000 by 2020.

    Both the UWS and UES will see trips skyrocket with the addition of a paired PBL plus expansion of Citbike to 110th by September. Imagine how many people will ditch cabs & the train once they discover riding to work is simple, fast, and perceived to be safe.

    From 86th street to 46th in Midtown is a easy 15 minute bike ride.

    I predict the UES will grow from 12,000 cycling trips to 24,000 perhaps 30,000 in 15 months. Similar growth rates for UWS.

    cycling will soon be a normal activity for millions of New Yorkers.

  • Andrew

    Spotted yesterday, on Amsterdam in the upper 80’s or lower 90’s: Andrew Albert(!) and a TEA explaining to a random DOT employee why bike lanes are the work of the devil. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to stick around and listen closely or respond.

  • Vooch

    next Time photo !

  • Lisa Sladkus

    Thanks all. It’s hard to believe that it’s been seven years since our original resolution made it through the Community Board. This victory happened because of the determined, smart, and hard-working grassroots organizers like Willow, Ollie, Tom, Luke and more. You guys just rock. I’m so glad you had the staying power and made this a reality.

  • BBnet3000

    10th Ave next?

  • Vooch

    think the immediate next goals are

    6th PBL extend from 33rd to 60th
    5th PBL 8th to 60th
    close the existing PBL gaps throughout Manhattan

    adding 5th and 6th would really connect people with Midtown job centers. 5th/6th already have more than 10% cyclist:car ratio

  • BBnet3000

    Columbus Circle and Central Park West would be nice too.

  • Vooch

    Columbus Circle – time for round 2 expanding human space – indeed

  • Maggie

    River to river lanes on 72nd street would be outstanding. Given the circus at CB8 where an elderly driver crushed an elderly resident with a car in a crosswalk, then CB8 ignored it and threw a shitfit over accepting paint for cyclists, I hope DOT and Gale Brewer regroup and come back with the common sense plan to run a crosstown lane on 72nd. It seems like the machers at these boards have no shame.

    Looking forward to north of 96th and south of 72nd as well. What’s DOT’s timing to build out to 110th? Mark Levine has been hugely supportive. Hopefully this won’t be delayed long.

  • Vooch

    72nd River to River PBL going to be a multi year struggle. It might be better to simply let volumes naturally increase such that the right lane on 72nfvis simply occupied by swarms of bikes. bike traffic on 72nd will likely double by September with Citbike north of 86th & Amsterdam/2nd Ave PBLs.

    At some ratio cars to bikes, a PBL is no longer necessary.

    Pethaps better to advocate for closing the PBL gaps plus extending Amsterdamm & Columbus north to Columbia & CCNY. Extending the PBLs to CCNY could be a game changer in terms of volume and political support. Both institutions have tens of thiusands of potential cyclists just waiting for PBLs