Even Below 34th Street, Gaps Appear in Plan for Protected Bike Lanes

Second_Avenue_Curbside_Bike_Lane.pngNew plans call for an un-protected curbside lane on nine blocks of Second Avenue. Image: NYCDOT

Yesterday brought another disappointing development in the city's plan to re-design First and Second Avenues. While upgraded bike routes are still guaranteed below 34th Street -- a far cry from what was presented to the public -- even that portion will not be a continuous protected route.

A new map of the project [PDF], which DOT presented at last night's Community Board 11 meeting, shows that between 14th and 23rd Streets, Second Avenue is only slated to receive a normal curbside lane. For nine blocks, cyclists will have to navigate a zone where a single illegally-parked car can thrust them into fast-moving traffic.

We have a request in with DOT and the mayor's office about why these blocks aren't getting a protected lane. 

Earlier this week, when we asked the press shops for DOT and the mayor's office about the overall scaling back of the East Side plans, we only received a response from DOT. A spokesperson said that the hold-up is caused by time constraints on construction work, and the need to accommodate construction of the Second Avenue subway.

Here's their full statement:

Work on First and Second Avenues is being phased to complete as much transit work as possible this construction season. The project's first phase will enhance pedestrian safety along the corridor and increase the citywide total of parking-protected lanes by one-third while also enhancing existing bike lanes north of 72nd Street on 1st Avenue. 

We will look to make even more bike network improvements when we start the second phase of construction next year.

The omission of protected lanes along nine blocks of Second Avenue, however, is a clear indication that other factors, like preserving space for rush-hour traffic, are at work. Sometime between DOT's presentation to Community Board 6 on April 5, and the mayor's official unveiling of the project on Monday, the Bloomberg administration's commitment to continuous protected bike routes for the East Side faltered.