Eyes on the Street: DOT Preps Park Row for New Bike Connection and Sidewalk Expansion

The project will improve Brooklyn Bridge access and create safe, convenient options for bike trips that pass under the bridge in Lower Manhattan.

A bi-directional bikeway and added sidewalk space are coming to Park Row in Chinatown, restoring public access after years of post-9/11 restrictions. Photos: Noel Hidalgo
A bi-directional bikeway and added sidewalk space are coming to Park Row in Chinatown, restoring public access after years of post-9/11 restrictions. Photos: Noel Hidalgo

Work has started on the new bikeway and sidewalk expansion on Park Row in Chinatown.

After 9/11, NYPD prohibited general motor vehicle traffic on Park Row, which is close to the agency’s headquarters at 1 Police Plaza. NYPD checkpoints made it inhospitable for walking and biking.

For years local residents and businesses have called on the city to loosen restrictions on public access. Last summer there was finally a breakthrough as DOT announced plans for a two-way bike lane and 10,000 square feet of painted sidewalk space between Worth Street and Frankfort Street [PDF].

With temperatures (slowly) rising, DOT crews are getting started on this year’s bike projects, and it looks like the Park Row redesign will be among the first batch. Noel Hidalgo has been tracking the early progress on Twitter.

Here’s a look at the old markings getting removed yesterday:

And here’s some prep work from earlier today:

When complete, the project will be a major improvement for north-south bike trips passing under the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as a boon for bridge access from Chinatown. Some tour bus companies may be allowed to use the street, but private vehicle traffic will otherwise remain prohibited.

Rendering of the completed project, via City Hall, showing the bike lane lined with NYPD vehicles.
Rendering of the completed project, via City Hall, showing the bike lane lined with NYPD vehicles.
park_row_frankfort
The Park Row bikeway will connect to the Brooklyn Bridge via a two-way segment on Frankfort Street. Image: NYC DOT
Painted bike lanes on Frankfort and Dover will connect southbound cyclists from Park Row to Lower Manhattan and the waterfront. Image: NYC DOT
Painted bike lanes on Frankfort and Dover will connect southbound cyclists from Park Row to Lower Manhattan and the waterfront. Image: NYC DOT
  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    If you normally cycle over the Brooklyn Bridge, this is a good way to try out the Manhattan Bridge in the afternoon if the pedestrian deck is too crowded. Take this from Park Row right next to the Brooklyn Bridge, then make a right on East Broadway, left on Eldridge, left on Canal and you’re there (entrance at Canal and Forsyth).

  • This is good news, of course.

    (Though the idea that the police can just unilaterally close streets on a permanent basis shows how out-of-whack the power is between that department and the civilian government.)

  • AnoNYC

    Glad to see that the street still prohibits private automobile thru-traffic.

    This would actually be a good place for the city to experiment with remotely retractable bollards that could be activated by city vehicles.

  • ohnonononono

    It was just an extension of the mentality that lead to the creation of 1 Police Plaza in the first place. Park Row was once a bustling business district that extended from Broadway to Chinatown, but urban renewal created the dead zone that was easy to claim as being simply NYPD’s own personal driveway.

  • Samuelitooooo

    Looks like the separation will be 100% paint. No physical separation.
    I don’t know about you, but looks like to me an invitation to “park as you please”. I’ve lost my trust in NYPD after all the times they park on bike lanes, sidewalks, bus lanes too — and ticket cyclists as if they’re the biggest danger.
    This is a good plan, which entirely separates bicycle riders from motor vehicles. But I fear NYPD will just poop all over DOT’s idea and intention by ignoring the paint. Physical separation can be integrated without changing this plan at all, really.

  • AMH

    This will be an amazing downtown bike connection. Provided that NYPD doesn’t park all over it, of course.

  • Next up: the Bowery. Then Third Avenue.

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