Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In

Eyes on the Street: City Debuts ‘Double-Lane’ Protected Bike Lane on Four Blocks of Ninth Avenue

12:01 AM EDT on April 7, 2023

This is the future. As the city seeks to hit a sustainable transportation mode share of 80 percent by 2050, it’s testing out wider bike lanes that allow cyclists to pass one another. Photo: NYC DOT

City cyclists have more than a passing acquaintance with passing — and the Department of Transportation is finally catching up.

DOT crews laid down four blocks of "double-lane" protected bike lane on Ninth Avenue in Manhattan this week — debuting a "passing lane" design officials plan to rollout later this year at locations across the city.

DOT planners will study the four blocks of double-lane bike lanes — from 17th Street to 21st Street — to determine where else to install the treatment, officials said.

“Wider bike lanes can make cycling more comfortable and social, encouraging the amazing growth we’ve seen in cycling and e-micromobility use," Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said in a statement.

"DOT took advantage of a recent resurfacing of Manhattan’s Ninth Avenue to try out this first-of-its-kind ‘double-lane’ design before we incorporate similar wider bike lanes into projects beginning this year.”

City Hall teased new bike lane designs in a report on e-bike safety released in March. The "Charge Safe, Ride Safe" plan suggested that DOT was mulling wider bike lanes along with "passing zones, bicycle speed signal timing progressions, bike boulevards, improved curbside policies to reduce double parking, added bike parking for different uses, and cargo bike loading zones."

On Ninth Avenue, DOT replaced its original 2008 design — a single six-foot bike lane flanked by two feet buffers on either side — with a six-foot bike lane alongside a four-foot passing lane. The design retained an eight-foot "door zone" buffer between the bike lane and parked cars:

DOT planners don't have to look hard for ideas for how to make room for the growth of two-wheeled travel. A report released in February by the National Association of City Transportation Officials laid out design guidelines for bike paths in the era of many micro-mobility devices — recommending wider lanes as well as “maneuverable space at intersections” and signage that “makes the best place to ride obvious.”

A typical bike requires three feet of passing space, while cargo bikes require 3.5 feet, according to NACTO’s guidelines.

DOT is promising wider bike lanes to make room for more — and faster vehicles. This conceptual design points the way forward. Image: National Association of City Transportation Officials
DOT is promising wider bike lanes to make room for more — and faster vehicles. This conceptual design points the way forward. Image: National Association of City Transportation Officials

Editor's note: The Department of Transportation informed Streetsblog after publication that city planners expanded the pilot from two blocks to four. This story has been updated accordingly.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

MTA: Don’t Ask Us How Much It’ll Cost to Keep This System Running Another 20 Years

Some costs were provided, but outside observers were baffled why the MTA neglected to say how much the repair and refresh part would cost.

October 4, 2023

Wednesday’s Headlines: Concerted Effort Edition

The Great Lawn will be closed to the public six weeks earlier than normal because of those damn rockers. Plus other news.

October 4, 2023

Broadway Vision: Watch 15 Years of Transformation in a Single Streetfilm

It's hard to see the big picture of just what has been accomplished between Times and Union squares. That's where Clarence Eckerson Jr. comes in.

October 4, 2023

What Do ‘Livable’ Streets Look Like in an Era of Driverless Cars?

In today's Brake podcast, Kea Wilson asks Bruce Appleyard what future livable streets have in a world of autonomous cars.

October 4, 2023

NYPD Steps Up Effort Against Illegal Mopeds, But Some Advocates Want a Different Approach

The NYPD seized some illegal wheels from delivery workers in the middle of their route on Wednesday, part of a stepped-up effort.

October 4, 2023
See all posts