Behold the Worst-Plowed Bike Lane in New York

Somewhere under all that snow and ice is a bike lane.
Somewhere under all that snow and ice is a bike lane.

It’s been three days since Stella dropped its wintry precipitation on the city, but the protected bike lane on Grand Street in Manhattan remains unusable beneath three-foot mounds of snow.

The Department of Sanitation identifies Grand Street as a “critical” corridor for snow removal, but that doesn’t extend to the bike lane. While DSNY crews cleared snow from other bike lanes, Grand Street is entirely untouched except for where Citi Bike crews have shoveled out bike-share stations. Most other protected bike lanes are wider than Grand Street, but the city does have vehicles to clear snow from narrower paths.

Streetsblog asked DSNY about the strategy for clearing snow from Grand Street and other bike lanes. This was their response:

Bike lanes are generally cleared after snow and ice has been removed from streets and roads.

When the temperatures drop as they have with this current storm, the Department takes additional steps to remove snow and ice from City streets by piling and hauling it away. As we receive warmer temperatures, Sanitation deploys smaller vehicles such as haulsters and skid steers to attempt to clear bike lanes. This has been made much more difficult by the icy nature of the mounds.

For now, the Grand Street bike lane remains snowbound, hardening into an icy mess that’s impossible to bike on.

grand street1
Looking west from Crosby Street. Photo: David Meyer
  • Reader

    “Bike lanes are generally cleared after snow and ice has been removed from streets and roads.”

    Um, bike lanes are “streets and roads” for people on bikes.

  • Vooch

    my observation is the PBLs that do. get plowed are those that DOS uses to drive down to clean trash cans

  • Brad Aaron

    Did not get photos but the Eighth Ave lane south of Columbus Circle was in bad shape this morning, complete with snowed-under Citi Bike docks.

    Still snow banks on every corner. After you make your way through or around those you have to walk around honking box-blocking a-holes “fuming” that they’re stuck in parade traffic. Because the St. Patrick’s Day parade has only been a thing since the 1700s. Gridlock from 72nd Street south, on both sides of the park.

    At least no one paid a congestion charge.

  • John C.

    The ironic thing is that sharrow lanes (being on the street) are the only bike ways consistently cleared. DOS just doesn’t care – they need to establish, plan and get proper equipment to treat bike lanes as same priority as streets. DOT slightly better taking care of bridges

  • AnoNYC

    The Bruckner Expressway drawbridge was still terrible last time I checked.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I went down Second Avenue to the Manhattan Bridge rather than down Broadway and over on Grand, based in part on this post.

    But the Chryste Street bi-directional bike lane was also blocked.

  • Anon resident

    Lets not forget there is the Lower East Side Bid/Partnership, and they are allegedly suppose to take care of the streets when it comes to snow removal.


Paint It Green: The Grand Street Protected Bike Lane Is Almost Back

The Grand Street protected bike lane is on its way back after three years out of commission during construction of the Third Water Tunnel, the biggest capital project in New York City history. The Department of Design and Construction has repaved Grand between Lafayette Street and the Bowery, and preliminary markings for the bike lane are […]