Tonight: Tell the Mayor NYC’s Busiest Avenues Need Protected Bike Lanes

Midtown remains a void in the protected bike lane network. To change that, volunteers will form the world's longest "human-protected bike lane."

Fifth Avenue at 48th Street: Lots of space for cars, cramped conditions on the margins for people walking and biking. Photo: Google Maps
Fifth Avenue at 48th Street: Lots of space for cars, cramped conditions on the margins for people walking and biking. Photo: Google Maps

While the de Blasio administration has expanded the city’s protected bike lane network, the heart of Midtown remains a void. Between 34th Street and Central Park, east of Eighth Avenue and west of Second Avenue, the only protected bike lane is the southbound route on Broadway.

Even as the city turns its attention to some Midtown avenues, creating a connected grid of safe bikeways seems like an afterthought. Last month, DOT presented a plan for Fifth Avenue in the Midtown core that included a second bus lane but no protected bike lane [PDF]. Through the first eight months of this year, drivers injured 15 people biking and 28 people walking on Fifth Avenue between Central Park and 26th Street, according to Vision Zero View.

Tonight, you can tell City Hall to make the city’s busiest streets safe for biking at what Transportation Alternatives is billing as the world’s longest “human-protected bike lane.” Volunteers will form up to shield bike riders from car traffic on Fifth Avenue. Their message: If the mayor won’t protect people biking on Fifth Avenue, they’ll do it themselves.

It’s TransAlt’s second demonstration on Fifth Avenue in as many years. Last August, 5,000 people on bikes rode from Central Park to Washington Square to call on the city to accelerate protected bike lane installation. TransAlt volunteers tried out a human-protected bike lane earlier this year to call attention to the lack of rush-hour protection on the Second Avenue bike lane.

To participate in today’s action, head to Fifth Avenue and 50th Street for a rally set to start at 6:15 p.m. The more people who show up tonight, the louder the message.


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

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

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.