Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In

This Midtown Block Now Has a Protected Bike Lane *and* a Wider Sidewalk

4:28 PM EDT on August 7, 2017

The wider pedestrian zone is separated from the bike lane by planters, and the bike lane is separated from motor vehicle traffic by inexpensive bollards and low-profile barriers. Photo: NYCFreeParking/Twitter

Midtown Manhattan avenues have a problem: The sidewalks aren't wide enough for all the people walking on them. People have to walk in the roadbed to get where they're going. On avenues with protected bike lanes, this means people on foot spill over into bikeways, rendering them all but impassable for cyclists.

Now there's a single Midtown block with a protected bike lane that also has a wider sidewalk. On Eighth Avenue between 42nd and 43rd streets, just north of Port Authority, DOT recently wrapped up a small project that could serve as a template for avenues all over Midtown and other crowded pedestrian areas.

Earlier this summer, the city replaced a parking lane on this block with a nine-foot-wide strip of colored gravel, adding 40 percent more space for people on foot. Planters line the expanded pedestrian space, separating it from the adjacent bikeway.

In the last few days, DOT has added inexpensive bollards and low-profile barriers to separate the bike lane from motor vehicle traffic, giving some heft to what had been a painted buffer.

Put it all together, and it's a promising approach to retrofitting Midtown blocks that have protected bike lanes but not enough room for pedestrians, as well as streets that need more room for both walking and biking. Repurposing a few lanes from parking and car traffic is all it would take to give the crowded Midtown pedestrian network some breathing room and create a more cohesive bike network in the densest part of the city.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Cyclist Killed After Being Doored Into Traffic on Unsafe Brooklyn Street in Already Violent Year

Broadway's danger is well known to DOT, which named it a Vision Zero Priority Corridor — yet the agency did nothing.

February 27, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines: Once and Forever, Congestion Pricing is a Good Thing Edition

Entitled Manhattanites who oppose the central business district toll are the most misguided, it turns out. Plus other news.

February 27, 2024

#StuckAtDOT: City Delays Suggest Safe Cycling Rule Changes are Dead

Department of Transportation has still not implemented city regulations that it said more than three years ago would improve safety — and one activist thinks the rules are dead.

February 27, 2024

MTA Ditches License Plate-Based Congestion Pricing Disability Exemption

Transit official won't grant congestion pricing disability exemptions any car with a disability license plate after all — opting for a case-by-case registration process instead.

February 26, 2024
See all posts