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

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