Eighth Avenue Protected Bike Lane Slated for 11-Block Extension

eighth_avenue_packed.jpgThe Eighth Avenue protected bike lane is up for an 11-block extension from 23rd Street to 34th Street. Photo: BicyclesOnly/Flickr
A reader sent along this item spied on the DOT events calendar for next week. On Wednesday the 16th, at Manhattan Community Board 4...

DOT will present a proposal to extend the Eighth Avenue Bike Path from West 23rd Street to West 34th Street. The project will create safer pedestrian crossings, reduce speeding and calm traffic, maintain existing auto capacity and create a safe, protected cycling path.

So by the end of this year, there should be four north-south protected bike routes extending up to 34th Street, each at least 20 blocks long -- on First, Second, Eighth, and Ninth Avenues. The first protected segment north of 60th Street, on Columbus Avenue, is on the way too. Each of these bikeway segments will become exponentially more useful and attract many more New Yorkers once they're extended to create cohesive corridors, running through Midtown, connecting Upper and Lower Manhattan.

It would be a big mistake to assume that a complete network of protected bikeways is inevitable. After today's news that protected bike routes along the whole East Side are no sure thing, I think there are two major questions to consider. One is whether Mayor Bloomberg has the will to complete these corridors in the next three years. And the second is whether advocates can mobilize well enough to make his decision an easy one.