Broadway Bike Lane Connecting City Hall and Bowling Green Could Be Coming Soon

The city wants to add a bike lane along Broadway from City Hall to Bowling Green, shown in purple: Source: DOT
The city wants to add a bike lane along Broadway from City Hall to Bowling Green, shown in purple: Source: DOT

Lower Manhattan may soon get a new bike lane connecting City Hall to Bowling Green via Broadway — complementing a local civic group’s plan to “Amsterdam” most of the neighborhood that’s far more popular with pedestrians, cyclists and tourists than it is with drivers.

The Department of Transportation wants to nix a lane of traffic on Broadway between Barclay and Morris streets to make way for a dedicated bike path, in addition to other pedestrian improvements, like expanded sidewalks, improved signal times, and commercial loading zones. 

If taking out a main source of traffic for cars in the Financial District works like it did with the so-called “Miracle on 14th Street,” then leaders of the civic group are all for it.

“Much like the 14th Street busway, will it strangely have an inverted effect of reducing traffic in great way? I’m excited to see how this goes,” said Patrick Kennell, the founder of Financial District Neighborhood Association. “We think that some amount of car traffic and managed traffic is good, really more of a balancing act. I like the bike lanes, I think that’s great.”

In March, the group unveiled a European-styled plan, called “Make Way for Lower Manhattan,” to give more space to the many pedestrians and tourists that walk through lower manhattan’s narrow streets in order to help reduce automobile traffic — it calls for banning cars on several roadways to create an expanded Bowling Green and a plaza at the crowded end of the Brooklyn Bridge.

And now, the city is following the group’s lead by proposing the bike lane along the same route for the many cyclists who take Broadway from the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge down to the Financial District — more than 1 million Citi Bike trips have started or ended on Broadway or Whitehall St, and the city counted 1,241 cyclists on Broadway between Cortlandt St. and Liberty Street over the course of a single day, according to the Department of Transportation. Transportation Alternatives counted a fraction of the number of cars.

The city wants to add a bike lane along Broadway from City Hall to Bowling Green, shown in purple: Source: DOT
The city wants to add a bike lane along Broadway from City Hall to Bowling Green, shown in purple: Source: DOT

The proposal is a great start, but there’s still way more to do to make the Financial District even friendlier to pedestrians and cyclists, said Chelsea Yamada of Transportation Alternatives.

“The walkability components, several blocks of pedestrian extension in this particular plan is definitely a step in the right direction,” she said. “It’s definitely a good measure for pedestrians on Broadway but a lot more aggressive street redesigns could satisfy the neighborhood association’s demands. So much more to be done.”

Specifically on Broadway from Fulton to Wall Street and Exchange Place to Morris Street, there are now two travel lanes, a bus-only lane, and a loading/no standing lane. The city wants to give cyclists their own safe lane by taking out one of the travel lanes.

Existing design on Broadway. Source: DOT
Existing design on Broadway. Source: DOT
Proposed design on Broadway with a new bike lane. Source: DOT
Proposed design on Broadway with a new bike lane. Source: DOT

On John Street, the city wants to install a dedicated turn lane for drivers making a left to reduce the conflict with the high number of pedestrians, and improve signal timing to give pedestrians and cyclists extra time to cross the roadway. 

On Broadway between Barclay and and Vesey streets, DOT wants to install a bike lane on the side of the street closest to City Hall, create a two-stage queue box for cyclists turning left onto Broadway from Park Row, and create a dedicated curbside bus lane.

Proposed improvements for Broadway between Barclay and Vesey Streets. Source: DOT
Proposed improvements for Broadway between Barclay and Vesey Streets. Source: DOT

Additional improvements include:

  • Dedicated space for pedestrians and cyclists, and shortening the pedestrian crossings at the Wall Street station entrances and at Exchange Place.
  • A shared lane to guide cyclists on Broadway and Whitehall Street between Beaver and Pearl Streets
  • A connection to the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway by relocating two NYS Banking Dept. spots to a nearby block and removing four commercial parking spots on the west curb of Whitehall Street

Manhattan’s Community Board 1 is expected to vote on the proposal next month, according to amNY. DOT did not respond to requests for comment about when implementation will begin, how long it will take, or if the agency will push ahead with the plan anyway if the volunteer advisory panel votes it down. 

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