Manhattan CB 7 Wants Protected Bike Lanes for Columbus Circle

The board passed a resolution asking DOT to separate bikes and motorized traffic in the circle, which would plug a hole in the city's bike network and make it safer for walking.

This Columbus Circle sneckdown hints at the excess asphalt that could be repurposed for walking and biking. Photo: Alex Knight/Twitter
This Columbus Circle sneckdown hints at the excess asphalt that could be repurposed for walking and biking. Photo: Alex Knight/Twitter

Manhattan Community Board 7 wants DOT to make it safer to walk and bike through Columbus Circle.

In May, the board’s transportation committee passed a resolution calling for protected bike lanes in the large traffic circle at the southwest corner of Central Park. The full board approved the resolution last night.

Columbus Circle connects to protected bike lanes on Broadway and Eighth Avenue to the south, and to a painted northbound lane on Central Park West. But only a short segment of the circle itself, between Broadway and the park, has bike lanes.

The circle has a lot of excess asphalt, and its markings are fading, making it hazardous for people walking and biking, as well as motorists and their passengers. Since 2009, 49 people have been injured in traffic crashes in Columbus Circle, according to city data. Ten of the victims were walking, 18 were riding bikes, and 21 were in motor vehicles.

The resolution asks DOT to “install a dedicated path for cyclists through Columbus Circle that would ensure their safe passage (1) north from the 8th Avenue bicycle lane to the Central Park West bicycle lane and (2) south from Broadway to the bicycle lane on Broadway south of the Circle.”

It continues: “Such path would clearly separate cyclists from vehicles, ideally with physical barriers to prevent the mixing of cyclists and vehicles. In designing this protected path, the DOT should be mindful of the safety of pedestrians and the efficient movement of vehicles through the Circle.”

The resolution passed the full board with 42 votes in favor and one abstention.

Last month, Transportation Alternatives volunteer Willow Stelzer, who is working on the TransAlt campaign for a safer Broadway, told Streetsblog community boards 4 and 5 will also be addressing the biking and walking environment in Columbus Circle.

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When it snows on Columbus Circle, street space that could be repurposed for walking and biking is revealed. Photo: Alex Knight/Twitter

This Week: Making Columbus Circle Safer for Biking and Walking

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Earlier this month Manhattan Community Board 7, on the Upper West Side, passed a resolution calling on DOT to install a protected bike lane in Columbus Circle, filling a critical void in the bike network. Tonight the CB 5 transportation committee, whose district borders Columbus Circle to the southeast, will consider its own resolution.
Columbus Circle is a big traffic free-for-all -- and a critical point in the Manhattan bike network. Photo: Google Maps

CB 7 Committee to DOT: Make Columbus Circle Safe for Biking

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The Manhattan Community Board 7 transportation committee has passed a resolution calling on DOT to make Columbus Circle safe for biking and walking. The traffic circle at the southwest corner of Central Park is a critical point for people biking between the Upper West Side and Midtown, but it's a major void in the bike network.