Second Avenue Bike Lane Gap Won’t Be Filled Until Next Year

DOT won't fill in the last remaining gap of the Second Avenue bike lane between 43rd and 34th Streets until next year.
DOT won't fill in the last remaining gap of the Second Avenue bike lane between 43rd and 34th Streets until next year.

A little good news, a little bad news.

City transportation officials have finally set a date for closing the last gap on the popular Second Avenue  bike lane — only to reveal that the nine-block unprotected stretch between 43rd and 34th streets, where there are hundreds of crashes per year, won’t be fixed until 2020 at the earliest.

The Department of Transportation said it can’t start any earlier because of unspecified “construction in the area” being done by the Department of Design and Construction. The DOT has not presented any designs to the local community boards yet. The Department of Design and Construction didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The good news — that a completion date for the work has at least been set — came as officials celebrated finally completing the once-unprotected stretch of Second Avenue between 68th and 59th streets with safety improvements at the chaotic Manhattan end of the  Queensboro Bridge.

At a ceremony marking the fixes, Manhattan Council Member Keith Powers applauded the city’s work, but said now it’s even more imperative to close the last remaining hole in the Second Avenue bike lane after the 19th cyclist was just killed this bloody year.

“This closure will minimize the risk of injury for all who travel in the area. Given recent traffic-related fatalities, we must take urgent steps to protect pedestrians and cyclists alike,” said Powers. “Now, it is equally imperative to close the remaining gap in Second Avenue between 43rd and 34th streets.”

Next year can not come soon enough since both areas, especially near the Queensboro Bridge, are prone to injury-causing crashes. Since July 2017, there have been 636 total crashes, causing 26 injuries to cyclists and 45 to pedestrians, on Second Avenue between 43rd Street and 34th streets. In the same time frame, there have been 842 crashes, causing 18 injuries to cyclists and 30 to pedestrians, between 59th and 68th streets.

The fixed nine-block bike lane gap still has a major flaw: it isn’t fully protected because between 3 and 8 p.m. every day except Sunday, the eastern most lane of the roadway becomes a travel lane for cars headed to the 59th Street Bridge. As a result, many drivers try to park on what should be a protected by lane — forcing the NYPD to use sawhorses and police tape to keep cars out.

DOT told Streetsblog that it has no immediate plans to change the design.

  • GuestBx

    Good to hear, I still remember riding down 2nd Ave before the lanes. Used to prefer Lexington Ave back then because the traffic was slower.

    I will also add that the Willis Ave two-way parking protected bicycle lane in the Bronx was being installed as of a couple days ago. It’s basically a continuation of the 1st and 2nd Ave bicycle lane and a vital connection for those traveling into and out of the Bronx through East Harlem. It begins at the Willis Ave Bridge and terminates at the Hub.

  • crazytrainmatt

    They could restripe down to 37th tomorrow — it’s just a cookie cutter extension of exactly what has been done on the rest of the corridor. This alone would be a major immediate improvement because people could cut over to the east river greenway from this point.

    And the 59th St section is a huge improvement but they really need to set back the stop bars for traffic exiting the bridge to give some reaction time for bikes at the trailing end of the traffic wave. Getting stuck between the converging streams of traffic is a big risk.

  • Jacob

    And next time we build a protected bike lane, let’s not leave gaps that take a full decade to fill.

  • AMH
  • 8FH

    That part was fixed (there were two gaps). It’s not perfect, but it’s a heckuva lot better.

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