DOT and Citi Bike Celebrate Sixth Avenue Bikeway and #WomenWhoBike

Dozens of people participated in a bike ride today to celebrate Women’s Bike Month and the return of a protected bike lane on Sixth Avenue. Photos: NYC DOT
Dozens of people participated in a bike ride today to celebrate Women’s Bike Month and the return of a protected bike lane on Sixth Avenue. Photos: NYC DOT

DOT and Citi Bike marked the return of a protected bike lane to Sixth Avenue today with a ribbon-cutting and celebratory ride. The event also served to highlight Women’s Bike Month and a Motivate campaign to encourage women in NYC to ride bikes.

The new Sixth Avenue bikeway runs from Eighth Street to 33rd Street, the same street where mayor Ed Koch installed a protected bike lane in 1980 before ripping it out a few months later.

“As an enthusiastic Citi Bike rider, I want women to know that Citi Bike is a safe, affordable, and healthy transit option,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg in a statement. “With such a big gender gap among cyclists, we believe that bike-share and over 1,000 miles of bike lanes around the city will be among the keys to getting more women to ride.”

Studies by Hunter College and NYU’s Rudin Center, both from 2014, showed that around 75 percent of Citi Bike users were men, but that women were more likely to ride where streets are made safer for biking, according to a Citi Bike/DOT press release.


Trottenberg was joined this morning by Jay Walder — CEO of Motivate, which operates Citi Bike — as well as Transportation Alternatives Deputy Director Caroline Samponaro, Tri-State Transportation Campaign Executive Director Veronica Vanterpool, Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Meera Joshi and dozens of others to inaugurate the lane and promote a month-long slate of events intended to get more women on bikes.

“Our research finds that twice as many women are riding in protected bike lanes on redesigned streets like Manhattan’s Eighth and Ninth avenues, compared to the unprotected lanes we see on streets like Fifth Avenue,” said Samponaro. “With a continued investment in Citi Bike and protected bike lanes, we will see the number of women riding continue to grow, which is a great thing for the city’s transportation network.”

More photos from today’s press conference and ride are here.


  • Jeff

    Can anyone help find photos of the Ed Koch protected bike lanes? Or even anecdotes from those who were around to ride them? I’ve never been able to find much myself but have been curious about the specifics of the design.

  • They were separated from traffic by a concrete curb and had the words “bike lane” stenciled in them. Not sure what happened at intersections. Here is a not-very-helpful picture of Ed Koch riding in one at the ribbon-cutting:

    It was before my time, but I’ve heard they were blocked by vendors and pedestrians a lot — more than today’s Midtown bike lanes.

  • ahwr

    From the nytimes article “Bike Lane Bruises Some Feelings on Its Way Uptown; ‘It Slows Me Down’ A Problem of Adapting” aug 22 1980

    If you are a subscriber and have access to their archive there were some other stories about it that you might enjoy reading. Also you might like this talk with Koch about it.

  • Brad Aaron

    In his 1984 memoir, Koch told the now-famous story of how, in 1980, governor Hugh Carey goaded him into removing the lanes.

    As they rode in a limousine with President Jimmy Carter and lieutenant gov Mario Cuomo, Koch wrote, Carey “began again with the bike lanes”:

    “He said to me, ‘You gotta get rid of the bike lanes. They are terrible.’

    I said to him, Look, they probably are terrible. We’re gonna give them a chance and keep them until spring. If the ridership doesn’t increase, we’ll pull them up.’

    Carey said, “If you don’t pull them up now, I won’t give you the money to pull them up.'”

    The lanes lasted “about two months,” according to Koch.

    I know there were other issues, but imagine the lives saved and injuries that never would have happened if Koch had stood his ground.

  • Jeff

    This is the best image of them I’ve seen yet, thanks!

  • JudenChino

    Holy shit they had protected lanes in midtown back then.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    They look wide enough for riding side by side or safe passing if the vendors stayed out of them.

  • Vooch

    Those were Wild West days of cycling. Sixth Avenue was for racing cabs and using express buses as salmon posts. Traffic lights were considered suggestions on sixth.

    Joe R was there in the thick of it. I was a mere commuter then. He was the elité of the elite – a bike messenger

  • So wish I could have ridden along to cover it, but alas baby duty! 🙂

  • AnoNYC

    The city needs to plan/present an entire citywide protected bicycle lane network, approve it, and implement it in one shot. Until we get a network that takes people places, with low stress, the entire way; we won’t have a more diverse bicycling community.

    And what’s up with the new texture in the recently painted (or repainted) bike lanes. Feels more grippy I think.

  • J

    Imagine if this actually connected to other protected bike lanes! Also, how many other cities need to implement protected intersections for DOT to try this widely successful Dutch design?

  • SnowEcho

    the new texture in recently painted green bike lanes is to prevent fading and extending the life of the markings, is what i hear.

  • SnowEcho

    agree that the disjointed network won’t encourage a more diverse bicycling community – one of the biggest issues the moms in WE Bike’s moms on wheels group say about the bicycle network is lack of continuity – it often leaving riders high and dry while they are mid-route. so not ideal. imagine walking to your destination, coming to the end of a sidewalk and having to navigate cars zooming down a huge corridor. it’s frustrating and stressful – and completely unnecessary.

  • SnowEcho

    yeah protected intersections is really the next step after protected bike lanes. large intersections with no medians or any other raised barrier – and with too-short count-down clocks that only work for an able-bodied adult, completely ignoring kids and seniors – currently do nothing to protect the vulnerable transiting them. again, stressful and potentially dangerous – and for what?


TA, Manhattan Pols Urge DOT to Commit to Fully Redesigning Fifth and Sixth

Last month DOT announced its intent to add a protected bike lane along 19 blocks of Sixth Avenue. A coalition of advocates, business groups, community board representatives, and elected officials think the city can do better. At a press conference next to the Flatiron Building this morning, they called on DOT to redesign the entire length of Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. In a […]

The 2013 NYC Streetsies, Part 1

The Streetsie votes are in and it’s time to hand out virtual hardware. But first, a friendly reminder that Streetsblog needs your support. Reader donations are what Streetsblog runs on. Contribute to our year-end pledge drive and you’ll help produce reporting and commentary that makes a difference, so that when this time rolls around next year, […]

One City, By Bike: Bill de Blasio’s Bike Network

This is part three of a five-part series by former NYC DOT policy director Jon Orcutt about the de Blasio administration’s opportunities to expand and improve cycling in New York. Read part one and part two. Applied to cycling, Mayor de Blasio’s “two cities” campaign theme would argue that the safety and accessibility benefits conveyed by bike lanes in […]

This Week: Upgrading the Chrystie Street Bike Lane

There’s no shortage of livable streets events this week. Preparations for Citi Bike expansion continue with presentations and planning workshops in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and street revamps are on the agenda for the Upper West Side, DUMBO, and Brownsville. In one intriguing development, the Manhattan Community Board 3 transportation committee is expected to take up […]