West Side Protected Lanes Get Thumbs Up From CB 4

Bike traffic on the Eighth Avenue protected bike lane. Photo: BicyclesOnly/Flickr

By a vote of 26 to 10 Wednesday night, Manhattan Community Board 4 endorsed DOT plans to extend the protected bike lanes on Eighth and Ninth Avenue from 34th Street to 59th Street. The bike lanes will improve safety for all users on some of Midtown’s most chaotic streets, which pass by Penn Station, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and the Lincoln Tunnel entrance.

Though there were objections from a couple of businesses when the CB 4 transportation committee discussed the project last month, last night only one person testified about the lanes.”I’m just someone who got injured and started biking to heal the injury,” said Detta Ahl. “I found it was a good way to get around the city. I want to get around the city safely.”

Ahl also pointed out that the redesigned streets will improve safety for pedestrians and motorists as well as cyclists; further south on Eighth Avenue, a similar redesign reduced traffic injuries for all street users by 35 percent.

On the community board, opponents of the bike lane focused on what they saw as bad behavior by cyclists. Calls for additional education and enforcement of traffic laws earned loud applause.

Construction will take place in two phases next year. The lanes will be extended to 42nd Street in the spring and to 59th Street in the fall.