Community Board Panel OK’s More Protected Bike Lanes in Midtown
A Manhattan community board panel has backed a city plan for protected bike lanes on 52nd and 55th streets.
The CB5 transportation committee supported the proposal on Monday night after Department of Transportation officials formally presented its plan [PDF] for paired east-west lanes similar to those on 26th and 29th street, which have proven popular for cyclists.
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.
The CB5 committee vote follows a similar vote by neighboring CB6 earlier this month, also in favor of the lanes.
According to DOT, almost 1,000 cyclists use 55th Street now as a crosstown route every 12 hours, so agency officials argued that the protected lane was needed simply to keep up with demand. The agency also spoke of a gender imperative, as women cyclists are far more likely to choose that form of transportation if a roadway has a protected bike lane.
The agency also touted the overall safety record of roadways with such protection for cyclists: 15-percent drop in crashes with injuries, plus a 21-percent drop in pedestrian injuries.
Nonetheless, some members of the committee called for stepped-up enforcement of cyclists.
While this was a win overall, it was so sad – as it always is – to hear the committee devote significant time to a discussion of licensing cyclists and registering bikes. I think back…
— Ryan Smith (@smithry00) March 26, 2019
The vote comes as many other community boards fight DOT street safety efforts. Community Board 9 in West Harlem, for instance, has opposed a safety redesign of Amsterdam Avenue for two years. The board is holding a press conference today amid outrage after a pedestrian was killed on the still-unsafe strip on Friday night.