Eyes on the Street: New Manhattan Bikeways in Progress

The extension of the First Avenue protected bike lane up to 72nd Street is nearly complete. Photo: Jacob-uptown/Flickr

Photo contributor extraordinaire Jacob-uptown has uploaded a new batch to the Streetsblog Flickr pool, taking us on a tour of the major new bikeways DOT is implementing in Manhattan.

The extension of the First Avenue bike lane from the Queensboro Bridge up to 72nd Street is nearly complete. It’s the first protected bike infrastructure on the Upper East Side — “very exciting progress,” Jacob says, but he notes that the connection from the bike route south of the bridge could be better:

There is a big gap between the sharrows on 1st Ave leading up to 57th, and the beginning of the protected lane on 61st. At 57th the sharrows simply end, with no indication that a much nicer facility is only a few blocks away.

More photos from Jacob after the jump.

On Eighth Avenue, the parking-protected bike lane has been mostly striped through Midtown. The floating parking lane isn't quite in effect yet. Photo: Jacob-uptown/Flickr

The Eighth Avenue protected bike lane looks like it’s on the cusp of rideability. When it’s finished, it will open the west side of Midtown to safe, protected cycling for the first time. A southbound pair on Ninth Avenue is also in the works. This is huge.

The Eighth Avenue route transitions to a buffered bike lane at 56th Street. Photo: Jacob-uptown

Jacob says the northern end of the Eighth Avenue lane looks like it will be a little hairy:

…this photo shows how the protection ends at 56th street, where the lane becomes a buffered bike lane for one block until 57th Street. At 57th Street, there is a bike box, where cyclists are supposed to cross to the east side of the street. From 57th to Columbus Circle, it appears that there will be either a bike lane or sharrows. In Columbus Circle, there is a small section of buffered bike lane and little else guiding cyclists through. It is this type of weak connection between facilities that is DOT’s biggest weakness right now. While the overall project is very well designed, this section fails to meet the 8-80 standard and poses a major obstacle to less experienced cyclists.

[Editor’s note: A few years ago, DOT installed a two-way, circumferential bike lane in Brooklyn’s Park Circle that seems like good template for upgrading bike access to and through Columbus Circle.]

This block of 29th Street just has sharrows, but for the most part, motorists seem to respect them. Photo: Jacob-uptown

Jacob says the new bike stencils on 29th Street are having a noticeable effect:

Sharrows definitely do not meet the 8-80 standard, but they have their place. For whatever reason, drivers actually show some repsect for sharrows, leaving a nice gap between parked cars and slow moving cars, where cyclists can easily get by. In this picture, the sharrows aren’t even finished, but they are pretty well respected.