Manhattan Community Board Backs DOT Plan for More Protected Bike Lanes

Advocates will host a ride on Thursday night before the MTA's L-train open house, too!

The city needs even more of these kinds of protected bike lanes, 13 groups demand in a letter to the city. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
The city needs even more of these kinds of protected bike lanes, 13 groups demand in a letter to the city. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

A Manhattan community board has strongly backed a protected crosstown bicycle route in Midtown, part of the city’s latest effort to improve east-west bike travel across the central business district of the city.

Community Board 6’s Transportation Committee voted unanimously on Monday to back a new set of paired protected lanes on 52nd and 55th streets, which had been presented by the Department of Transportation’s Senior Transportation Planner Acacia Dupierre earlier that night.

It is likely that the full board will back the proposal as well. The route would become an integral part of bike network, linking Manhattan’s four major north-south protected lanes. Acacia said the city has seen triple the number of cyclists, and reduced crashes, on its east-west lanes on 26th and 29th streets, which were installed last year. The lanes also came with changes to loading and no-standing zones on the congested core blocks, which improved curb turnover, reduced double parking, and preserved emergency access and dropoff space, Acacia added.

As on 26th/29th, most blocks of 52nd/55th have the width for a parking-protected bike lane on the south curb, an 11-foot travel lane, and an 8-foot loading or parking lane on the north curb. Notably, some intersections will have offset crossings, where painted bulbouts, bollards, or plastic delineators will push turning car traffic out toward the center of the street, so that as they complete their turns they see the bicycle traffic crossing in front of them. This configuration reduces speeds and improves visibility, protecting everyone.

“I like it,” said CB6 member Brian Van Nieuwenhoven, capturing the general enthusiasm for the proposal, which could be completed by the end of the summer.

CB6 has strongly supported traffic mitigation measures for the original L-train reconstruction plan, including the existing 12th and 13th Street bike lanes, but also 14th Street “busway” with improved frequencies and HOV restrictions on the Williamsburg Bridge.

Transportation Alternatives is leading a Bike Train along the 13th Street lane on Thursday at 5:30 p.m, meeting at First Avenue. The ride will end at 5:45 p.m. with a press conference prior to the MTA open house on the revised L train plan at 6 p.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe, 328 W. 14th St.

Rich Mintz is a nonprofit fundraising consultant, safe streets activist, and member of Manhattan Community Board 6.

  • Daphna

    The Transportation Committee of Manhattan Community Board 6 had their monthly meeting two days ago on Monday 3/4/19 evening and the protected crosstown bike lanes on 52nd and 55th Street were on the agenda. I could not attend. Thank you for the coverage Streetsblog. I am pleased to see a positive outcome. CB6 Transportation Committee is vastly improved with a chairperson who favors street safety as opposed to Fred, the previous chair, who opposed bike infrastructure and went to dishonest lengths to show DOT only negative community feedback about proposed plans instead of showing the true ratio of support versus opposition for street improvements.

  • Jeff

    I take it this will be a 26th/29th St-style cattle chute, as opposed to the would-be-awesome-with-better-protection-and-enforcement variety of lanes found on 12th/13th St?

  • redbike

    The reality in which I live: bike lanes on 12th and 13th Streets are neither protected nor enforced; just sayin’.

  • Jeff

    Agreed. But the dimensions are great.

  • crazytrainmatt

    I made it to the CB6 meeting but had to leave early and apparently they didn’t take public comments. These are progress but DOT needs to up their game:
    – Slide 13 shows taxi speeds didn’t change. Anyone want to press DOT for data on bike speeds through these cattle chutes?
    – DOT didn’t mention that drivers tend to park 1-2′ into the buffer zone on 26/29 (presumably worried about their mirrors and scratches), or that pedestrians tend to stand in the bike lane waiting for the light. Both problems are far worse than on the avenues.
    – Slide 10: “Preserved curb access for disability placards at 26th and 1st Ave” (this was in response to a public comment at CB6 last year). In reality, they dropped bike lane for last block to major bike artery, replaced it with no stopping zone that is packed with placard vehicles and dumpsters.
    – Slide 35 suggests a more protected intersection design than the short mixing zones on 26/29.
    – DOT promised bike lanes would be maintained during construction (slide 18 presented to CB5 Mar 16 2018), yet 29th between Park and Madison is always blocked by taxis in front of the hotel and further down the block permanently covered by a skyscraper construction site.
    – These would make great collector lanes for a PBL on 6th ave leading into central park, and eventually will connect to the east river greenway at 54th.

  • crazytrainmatt

    Yes

    I find myself preferring 12/13th when possible despite the parked cars

  • Erich Tinio

    They should impose city ordinance that pedestrians are not allowed to walk on bike lanes. This is another cause of accident too.

  • Mortal Wombat

    Here’s the presentation: https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/52-st-55-st-mar2019.pdf
    Slide 6 has a map that shows “Protected Bicycle Lane (Planned)” on 10th avenue and 11th avenue, from above 59th down to 34th and 52nd, respectively.
    Anyone know about those? A quick Google search didn’t turn up anything.

  • redbike

    The link you provided describes proposed crosstown bike lanes in Manhattan. I saw no mention of bike lanes on avenues.

    Specific to Manhattan’s 10th & 11th Avs, here’s Streetsblog’s coverage from about a year ago: https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2018/03/28/a-protected-bikeway-for-10th-avenue-gains-momentum-at-manhattan-cb-4/ Missing at that time (I’m unaware whether the omission has been corrected): specific treatment between 39th and 41st Streets where there’s heavy turning motor traffic entering the Lincoln Tunnel. I’m not raining on the bike-lane-on-10th-Av parade. This is similar to 8th Av between 40th and 43rd Streets, but without the intense pedestrian activity.

  • Mortal Wombat

    It’s in the map in the presentation. I understand it’s not the subject of the presentation or this post, but I’d never heard anything about it before.

    As I mentioned above, see the map on slide 6. Look at 10th & 11th avenues, from 59th Street and south. See the dots? The map legend says dotted lines mean “Protected Bicycle Lane | Planned”.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG