Tonight: See DOT’s Plan for the Second Avenue Bike Lane Approaching the QBoro

The DOT design is expected to include parking protection, but not during rush hour, when cyclists need it most.

Without anything to keep cars out, the Midtown section of the Second Avenue bike lane often looks like this during rush hour. Photo: Macartney Morris
Without anything to keep cars out, the Midtown section of the Second Avenue bike lane often looks like this during rush hour. Photo: Macartney Morris

Tonight, DOT will present a plan to close the gap in the Second Avenue bike lane approaching the Queensboro Bridge to Manhattan Community Board 6. Like the Second Avenue bike lane in Midtown, however, DOT’s design leaves some stretches of this bike lane without physical protection during rush hour, when cyclists need it most.

The segment north of the Queensboro Bridge is one of two remaining gaps in the Second Avenue bike lane, which DOT has been incrementally since 2010. The other gap is near the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, from 42nd Street to 34th Street. Until these gaps are closed, the only north-south protected bike route on the East Side remains incomplete.

Last summer, DOT filled in an 18-block stretch of the Second Avenue bike lane in Midtown, with one glaring omission: During rush hour, most of those blocks aren’t protected.

When traffic is most intense, the parking lane next to the bikeway is a travel lane for motor vehicles. So there’s nothing to keep drivers out of the Second Avenue bike lane between 52nd Street and 43rd Street in the morning and between 48th Street and 43rd Street in the afternoon until 7 p.m. Without the parking lane providing separation, delivery vehicles obstruct the bike lane, as Astoria resident Macartney Morris has documented.

In 2016, DOT said it planned to install “low-profile tuff curbs” — plastic barriers — along the bike lane to keep motorists out when the parking lane isn’t in effect. But when the bike lane went in the next summer, the tuff curbs were nowhere to be found. DOT said they had to be nixed “due to safety and accessibility concerns raised during additional design review and product testing.”

Some or all of the new nine-block bike lane segment will function the same way, exposed to traffic and illegal parking during rush hour, according to a source who’s been briefed on the plan.

Tonight’s meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the NYU School of Dentistry, 433 First Avenue.

A second presentation to Community Board 8, which includes almost all of the project area, is scheduled for next Monday. Advocates will focus on that meeting to make their case for better protection.

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DOT Will Fill in Most of the Second Avenue Bike Lane Gap in Midtown

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DOT will present plans this spring to fill most, but not all, of the remaining gaps in the north-south protected bike lanes on the East Side of Manhattan. Significantly, DOT intends to create a physically protected bike lane on Second Avenue between 59th Street and 43rd Street. Combined with the bike lane extension coming to the Upper East Side […]