Eyes on the Street: The Shrinking Second Avenue Bike Lane Gap

From 59th Street to 43rd Street there's now a green curbside bike lane on Second Avenue (tuff curbs to come). The remaining gaps in the bike lane are near the Queensboro Bridge and Queens-Midtown Tunnel.

Fresh green paint at 45th Street. Photo: David Meyer
Fresh green paint at 45th Street. Photo: David Meyer

DOT’s project to shrink the Midtown gap in the Second Avenue bike lane is nearly complete.

When finished, Second Avenue between 59th Street and 43rd Street will have a protected bike lane [PDF]. That will leave gaps between 68th and 59th, and between 43rd and 34th.

The markings are down, separating the bike lane from moving traffic with a parking lane along much of the new segment, and DOT crews have painted the lane green. All that’s missing are the plastic “tuff curbs” to keep cars out of the bike lane during hours when parking and commercial loading between 52nd Street and 43rd Street is restricted.

Drivers seem to be acclimating and learning to avoid parking in the bike lane, but Second Avenue, like the rest of NYC, is not immune to the cops-in-bike-lanes problem:


It’s been more than seven years since the city first announced plans to build protected bike lanes on First and Second avenues. Today there’s still no uninterrupted southbound bike route on the East Side, but after an extended period of fitful progress, this 16-block project brings a continuous north-south pair of protected bike lanes connecting Manhattan to the Bronx and Queens close to completion.

The remaining sections of Second Avenue without protected lanes are also the blocks with the heaviest auto traffic: the approaches to the Queensboro Bridge and the Queens-Midtown Tunnel. The city has hesitated to claim space from car traffic in those areas, but it knows how to design protected bike lanes at high-traffic intersections with lots of turning vehicles.

Thousands of people already bike each day on Second Avenue, despite it being one of the most dangerous streets in Manhattan. Once people know they can use protected bike lanes to travel the length of the East Side, many more would probably choose to do so.

  • J

    It’s comical how much DOT promoted the continuous northbound protected bike lane from Brooklyn to the Bronx. They’d be mocked if they built a new subway than only ran northbound.

    DOT: still putting cars movement over safety and connectivity. Still no getting the concept of a network. Still no modern plan for bike infrastructure.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    And that route (Allen/1st) isn’t totally continuous anyway, even setting aside the awful mixing zones and construction blockage at 8th St.

  • Isaak.rosenblum

    Get rid off the bikes in NYC. Morons? on bicycles don’t belong in Manhattan they don’t care about the traffic rules and regulations and don’t pay for insurance. We drivers do.

  • u mad?

  • AnoNYC

    There’s still a gap on 1st Ave in Harlem just south of E 124th St too. Instead of running a protected lane along the sidewalk, they placed the painted bicycle lane between the turning and moving lanes. A lot of conflict there.

  • AnoNYC

    Nice to see, and I hope that Streetsblog conducts a full review of the tuff curbs at the end of the nice weather season.

    I’m really curious how they’re going to hold up.

  • Alex Gonzalez

    Sure all of you are perfect law abiding citizens aren’t you? Just perfect now if that were only true?!

  • Steven Craig

    Enough already. Traffic has never been wors

  • dpecs

    Welcome to StreetsBlog, I guess?

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Why do you want to take away people’s freedom of choice when it comes to transportation?

  • AMH

    Get rid of the cars in NYC. Morons? in cars don’t belong in Manhattan–they don’t care about the traffic rules and regulations and don’t pay for the misery they cause.

  • 8FH

    Relative levels of lawbreaking among road users have been studied. Cyclists do not break road rules at a relatively greater rate. And when rules are broken, drivers’ infractions carry a greater risk of property damage, injury and death. Often, exclusive pedestrians and drivers judge cyclists as lawless because they do not consider rule breaking by drivers and pedestrians to be abnormal, and so do not notice it. Speeding, illegal turns, failure to yield, double parking, pedestrians crossing against the light, etc. are all endemic, as is light running by cyclists.

  • Steven Craig

    I don’t want to take away choice only review the costs of those choices.
    Further traffic laws are laws.
    Ignore them by choice then pay the penalty
    The nypd seems to have been told to stand down and for the most part ignore violations. Keeping the stats better?

  • Isak

    Cars are necessary and important for NYC to function. Morons on bicycles are like cockroaches, annoying pests??

  • Steven Craig

    Please spare the propaganda. When was the last time you saw a car going the wrong way on the street or on the sidewalk?
    More disturbing is that when the violation occurs in front of the nypd most times they ignore creating a contempt for the law
    Compare to the traps set to issue tickets in locations such as 60th and first avenue for cars.
    Time for licences for all who use the roads and enforcement.

  • 8FH

    Once again, you’re full of crap. Salmoning is fairly rare, and I never said the manner of traffic violation was the same across road users, only the prevalence. (though both cyclists and peds ignore red lights) You are of course ignoring the fairly universal speeding by motorists, and their constant and dangerous failure to yield. Did you know that drivers are required to yield to cyclists in mixing zone turn lanes where there are protected bike lanes?
    Most drivers seem not to, despite the yield arrows on the pavement. And why is it acceptable for drivers to plow through turns forcing pedestrians to stop or jump back when they have right of way? And lawbreaking by motorists is unquestionably more dangerous than lawbreaking by other groups, both looking at news stories and city data.

    The NYPD tickets cyclists at a relatively higher rate than motorists, both based on proportion of road users and on dangerousness of behavior. If you have ANY evidence to the contrary, I’d like to see it.

    Time for licences for all who use the internet and enforcement. Ridiculous, right? That’s because there’s very little chance of anyone physically harming anyone else by using the internet. Same thing for cyclists and pedestrians, who are unlikely to harm other road users. It is immoral and probably illegal to take away the fundamental right to travel just to appease jerks like you, without any safety purpose.

  • Steven Craig

    Yes, being hit by a 150 pound bike plus rider causes no damage, right ? Your response and its hysterics illustrates the cult of entitlement that many cyclists embrace. Time to enforce the law and extend licensing to anyone who operates a vehicle on our streets and clearly arrest anyone who does so on our public sidewalks.

  • 8FH
  • Steven Craig

    Self serving stats as most bike violations and even accidents are not recorded because no registration or insurance. Still why should bikes not be held accountable accountable? Very few cars drive on the sidewalks and against traffic flow.

  • AMH
  • 8FH

    Why would injuries not be recorded just because a cyclist doesn’t have insurance or registration? Very few cyclists speed. Very few double park (super dangerous for cyclists). Very few use their cell phones while riding. Why are you fixated on these few, not usually dangerous infractions?

  • Steven Craig

    You must live in a different city or perhaps universe. Bottom line use the streets with a vehicle obey the law. We have a right to demand enforcement

  • 8FH

    You don’t speed? You don’t barge through intersections when you don’t have the right of way? You don’t drive distracted? You don’t park improperly? How about drivers learn to obey the law and stop killing people?

    We have a right to demand that jerks like you stop being filthy hypocrites (just like you clearly have the right to keep on spewing hateful bullcrap on a site dedicated to the safety and comfort of the groups you despise.)

    And as I said earlier, the NYPD already disproportionately tickets cyclists. In the 9th Precinct, for instance, 10% of summonses are given to cyclists, but cyclists make up much less than 10% of vehicles.

  • Steven Craig

    Have to believe you are joking and having the readers on.
    Laws are not suggestions for cyclists or motorists. They need to be enforced.

  • 8FH

    You claimed that cyclists were especially bad law breakers after I said they weren’t, without anything to back up your assertions. You then kept moving the goalposts. I provided facts and figures showing that drivers are more dangerous in their lawbreaking, that cyclists are ticketed more, proportionally in at least one district, and you gave bs explanations that hold no water about why we shouldn’t pay attention to the only figures available. Now you’re putting words in my mouth.

    I can only assume that you’re a troll.

  • Steven Craig

    Just obey the law.
    At least motor vehicles pay for registration and insurance. If legally operated even the drivers are licenced.
    Let’s ask the same of cyclists.

  • Bernard Finucane

    Troll thread! Remember, disrupting the conversation is part of the point.

  • lilly the cat

    Get on the bike yourself and stop moaning ?

  • TakeAwaytheBlinders

    Why is this not extended from 42nd to 33rd???? I got hit but a van while stopped at a red light on 38th the other day


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