DOT Plans Four Pairs of Midtown Bike Lanes in Time for Bike-Share

Midtown cycling. Photo: Todd Mecklem via Flickr

Has any district in New York City ever seen the kind of bike infrastructure transformation coming to Midtown in 2012?

The heart of Manhattan — the biggest business district in the county — is getting dozens of bike-share stations. On one eight-block stretch of Broadway, there will be over 200 docks for the new public bikes. By the end of the summer, cyclists will be able to ride in protected lanes up and down Midtown on Eighth and Ninth Avenues, between 34th Street and Columbus Circle. In the past two years, a mix of protected and shared lanes have made cycling much safer on First and Second Avenues.

And now, to tie it all together, DOT has proposed four pairs of crosstown bike routes through Midtown, reports New York Magazine’s Justin Davidson:

Sometime this summer, around the launch of the city’s bike-share program, the Department of Transportation will start making the east-west ride more pleasant and less suicidal. Four new pairs of one-way bike routes between Eighth and First Avenues — on 39th and 40th, 43rd and 44th, 48th and 51st, and 54th and 55th Streets — could accomplish what even Robert Moses failed to provide: a safe and efficient way to cut across Manhattan.

Davidson notes the limitations of the plan — the lanes will shift back and forth between standard painted lanes and shared route markings, and they won’t yet extend to the Hudson — but as he says, “even such tiny, cheap, and flawed alterations can have a huge effect.”

We’ll have details on the plan, which is being presented to Manhattan Community Board 5′s transportation committee this evening, as they’re available.