Eyes on the Street: The Emergent Sixth Avenue Bikeway

Work has started on the Sixth Avenue bikeway. The pic in the above tweet is at Sixth and 18th Street. The photo below, sent to us by a reader, was taken at 16th Street.

Sixth Avenue is one of the most biked streets in the city but until now cyclists have had to make do with a narrow painted bike lane next to heavy motor vehicle traffic. DOT revealed its plan for phase one of the Sixth Avenue bikeway in late 2015, after years of advocacy led by Transportation Alternatives.

In January DOT announced that phase one would extend between Eighth Street and 33rd Street, six blocks longer than the original plan to begin the redesign at 14th Street. The revised plan also included some concrete pedestrian islands, which were not a feature of the original proposal.

DOT has said it may extend the lane south to Canal Street next year, with a northward expansion to follow at an undetermined date.

Photo: Jason Fertel
  • Vooch

    cycled this during peak Rush hour today – joyous, gobs of cyclists commuting to work, cycling politely and slowly in great big packs. One citibike gal was riding in pink high heels and looked perfectly poised. “blowing” by gridlocked motor traffic at a stately 8 MPH has its own rewards. ??

    now on to a Fifth ave PBL and extend Sixth PBL to central park

  • Nathan Rosenquist

    There’s more reason for it to go all the way from Canal to Central Park than for it to not. After all, it already has four motor lanes that go that entire distance. Painting just a single stretch makes no sense.

  • Simon Phearson

    But traffic is like toothpaste, y’see. You can’t squeeze it all at once, you have to start at the bottom and squeeze as you go up. Or something.

  • BBnet3000

    Hopefully it’s not done too cheaply. To see what I mean look at how the protected lane on Lafayette clashes with the high level of left-turning movements at Houston St with no separate space or signal. Is this something that extra $50 million the City Council was offering could have avoided?

  • BrandonWC

    The plan includes split phase lights for bikes/left turning cars at 14th and 23rd St

  • Emmily_Litella

    Well that only took 36 years!

  • J

    Indeed, this is why People for Bikes is launching the Big Jump project, to get cities to actually build bike lane networks, not just bike lanes. According to the press release:
    “Everyone agrees that connected, high-comfort bikeway networks can make bicycling an ordinary part of life for many more people. But U.S. cities have a very difficult time connecting them. There always seems to be a block or two where auto parking would need to be relocated, or where an expensive stoplight or retaining wall would need to be installed. When obstacles like these arise, push comes to shove — and bike transportation often gets shoved aside.”


    Slate just ran an article saying pretty much the exact same thing:

  • Elizabeth F

    It will be a great day for pedestrians when this is finished, they will get a new expanded sidewalk. Just like 8th Ave.

  • Greg Costikyan

    Hah. I biked this route regularly to work for 10 years, without bike lanes at all for most of the time. You kids these days, you’re gettin’ soft. You don’t know what it’s like to be caught between a panel truck and some oblivious surburbanite gaily throwing a door open in your path. I dunno, NY ain’t what it used to be.

  • Patricia Spangler

    <<o. ???????????????????????????????????????????????????:::::::!bc455p:….,…

  • Brad Aaron

    The bike lane is a few hours old.

  • It’s incredible to think that a common sense facility like this, that has proved tremendously successful and popular on a variety of Manhattan’s most heavily trafficked avenues, still requires such a heavy lift from the advocacy and political communities. I rode up the few blocks of this lane last night and the benefits are joyfully self evident. Here’s hoping that the day comes soon when design changes like this can be rolled out on a mass scale to all of Manhattan’s major avenues, and not just in disjointed chunks over the course of years. And this lane won’t be finished until it stretches from Vesey Street to (a permanently car-free) Central Park.

  • Vooch

    “Painting just a single stretch makes no sense” – unless you believe motor vehicles are the absolute highest priority


DOT crews installing a new barrier-protected bike lane on Bruckner Boulevard between Bryant Avenue and Faile Street. Photo: Twitter/NYC DOT

DOT Closes Short Bike Lane Gap on Bruckner Blvd — Next Phase Scheduled for 2021

DOT crews have started to fill in a dangerous three-block gap in the bikeway on Bruckner Boulevard in the South Bronx, creating a more continuous link to Concrete Plant Park. The ultimate goal is a direct, uninterrupted bike route on Bruckner Boulevard connecting to Manhattan and Randall's Island via 138th Street, but under the agency's current timetable Bronxites will have to wait several years for that.