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CB 4 Committee Endorses Protected Bike Lanes for 26th and 29th Streets

In DOT’s redesign, most blocks of 26th Street and 29th Street will get five-foot parking-protected bike lanes with a two-foot buffer. Image: DOT

The Manhattan Community Board 4 transportation committee unanimously endorsed DOT's plan for crosstown protected bikes lanes on 26th Street and 29th Street last night.

The redesign calls for a five-foot parking-protected bike lane with a two-foot buffer on most blocks, with variations where the street is wider or narrower [PDF]. It's one of four crosstown protected bike routes DOT is planning for the area between 14th Street and 59th Street. There are currently no significant on-street crosstown protected bike lanes north of Soho and south of Washington Heights.

Midtown clearly needs safer crosstown bike routes. Last summer, charter bus drivers killed Dan Hanegby and Michael Mamoukakis on West 26th Street and West 29th Street in the span of just a few weeks. Afterward, CB 4 called for crosstown protected bike lanes.

"This is a huge, huge deal for us," said Lisa Sladkus, a parent at the Avenues School at 10th Avenue and 26th Street, where Dan Hanegby was also a parent. "We're very excited about the plan."

Most but not all of 26th Street and 29th Street are slated for parking-protected bike lanes. Image: DOT
Most but not all of 26th Street and 29th Street are slated for parking-protected bike lanes. Image: DOT
Most but not all of 26th Street and 29th Street are slated for parking-protected bike lanes. Image: DOT

The primary point of contention was DOT's use of mixing zone designs at intersections where drivers turn across the path of passing cyclists. DOT has been piloting a different intersection treatment that slows turning drivers more and makes cyclists more easily visible to them, but did not include that in its plan.

DOT Bicycle Program Director Ted Wright argued that mixing zones would be safer on crosstown routes than avenues, because car traffic already moves slower and there's more pedestrian traffic to catch the eye of turning motorists. That didn't resonate with committee members, who urged DOT to provide some sort of painted delineation for cyclists through intersections and to reconsider the mixing zones once its study of bicycle intersection design wraps up later this year.

Image: NYC DOT
Image: NYC DOT
Image: NYC DOT

The project will be presented to community boards 5 and 6 in the following weeks, and DOT says implementation would be implemented in the spring and summer.

In addition, DOT is working on protected bike routes for 52nd Street and 55th Street and for a to-be-determined pair of crosstown streets in the Times Square area. Those would be designed and implemented over the course of this year and next. A two-way protected bike lane on 13th Street is also part of DOT's L train shutdown plan.

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