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Double-Wide Bike Lanes Coming to 10th Ave in Hells Kitchen

Tenth Avenue is getting a bike lane size to match its name. 

File photo: DOT|

These double-wide bike lanes on Ninth Avenue are coming to 10th Avenue later this year.

Tenth Avenue is getting a bike lane size to match its name. 

Double-wide, 10-foot bike lanes are coming to nearly a dozen blocks of Manhattan’s 10th Avenue this year, providing more space to people traveling at different speeds as the city’s existing bike network has become strained by the rise in faster micro-mobility devices.

The Department of Transportation earlier announced its plan to install a protected bike lane between W. 14th and W. 52nd streets, covering almost two miles through Chelsea and Hells Kitchen, but the agency said on Wednesday it will expand the proposed northbound bicycle paths from eight feet to 10 feet on the upper section of the project. 

DOT's revamped plans for 10th Avenue include 10-foot-wide bike lanes instead of eight feet on 11 blocks. Graphic: DOT

DOT in April debuted the larger designs on four blocks of nearby Ninth Avenue, widening a single six-foot lane to 10 feet to accommodate a four-foot passing lane. 

The wider paths are an important step forward for 10th Avenue and for bike lane design standards, but it's still worth noting that around 80 percent of the road space will remain reserved for the movement and storage of automobiles in an area where only 15 percent of households own a car.

One local transportation advocate praised the move, saying the old way of building bike lanes is not sufficient to safely carry people on regular bikes alongside larger cargo and e-bikes. 

“You’re looking at the real estate and you say, ‘It kind of doesn’t work.’ We have too many uses with just one configuration,” said Christine Berthet, who co-chairs local Community Board 4’s Transportation Committee.  

The expansion will happen on 11 blocks north of W. 38th Street, while three blocks near the Lincoln Tunnel will remain at eight feet — between W. 40th and W. 41st, and between W. 42nd and W. 44th. 

That’s in part because DOT will install dedicated left-turning lanes with their own signals with leading pedestrian intervals (walk lights that give people on foot a head start) at W. 41st and W. 42nd streets to reduce conflicts with walkers and cyclists at those particularly busy intersections.

Tenth Avenue is a very wide street with four travel lanes and two parking lanes at the curb cutting through Manhattan’s grid, ranging from 60 feet to a whopping 70 feet in the lead up to the Lincoln Tunnel. 

DOT plans to cut a travel lane on the narrower sections and install the parking-protected bike lane along the curb, but has enough room on the 70-foot stretches to maintain all four existing car lanes, according to its plan officials first released late last year.  

The proposal also aims to shorten pedestrian crossings with pedestrian islands offset from the curb, that will either be painted or built out with concrete. The city will pour concrete on eight of the refuges between W. 40th and W. 51st streets, instead of just two as officials said last year, and officials will install 10 bike corrals at select islands to keep cars from blocking the space. 

Berthet said the city should also heed the community board’s requests to install flex posts in order to deter drivers from intruding on the pedestrian and bike spaces, a serious problem over on 11th Avenue, where inpatient drivers routinely hog the bike-only lanes to get around other cars.

“We’re a little nervous between W. 38th and W. 41st, where there are a lot of New Jersey drivers,” said Berthet. “They want to bypass the congestion and they do not hesitate to use the bike lane as a bypass.”

The agency originally wanted to start work on the 38-block 10th Avenue project this spring and wrap it up in the fall, but then pushed back the start of construction to this week, as amNewYork first reported.

Officials plan to paint the 14 blocks north of W. 38th in the coming months and then do the rest downtown to W. 14th next year.

DOT is still finalizing whether the southern 24 blocks will also get wider bike lanes, according to spokesman Vin Barone, the rep said they are exploring a "similar" design.

"We are reimagining 10th Avenue for a safer, more sustainable future. This project will deliver much-needed safety upgrades to the Hell’s Kitchen corridor and help support more efficient transportation options,” said DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez in a statement. “More people are cycling than ever before and by designing wider bike lanes we can keep encouraging this growth while providing more comfortable riding experiences."

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