Eyes on the Street: Bike-Ped Improvements on 6 1/2 and Eighth Avenues

Work is almost complete at this corner of 56th Street and "6 1/2 Avenue." Photo: @BornAgainBikist

Safer streets are taking shape in Midtown, with work underway to create new paths through the heart of the city for pedestrians and cyclists alike.

Crosswalks and street signs are in place for one of the Department of Transportation’s most original projects, a pedestrian thoroughfare designated as 6 1/2 Avenue. Thanks to a 1980s zoning provision, a series of mid-block passageways cut a path through Midtown office towers, providing a popular shortcut through the busy area. Under DOT’s plan, a series of six passageways will get the city’s official imprimatur as a pedestrian path, along with mid-block stop signs, crosswalks and neckdowns. Reader @BornAgainBikist sends us the above shot of the “corner” of 56th Street and 6 1/2 Avenue, where many improvements are already in place, including a street sign for the new path. Elsewhere, markings are down to show construction workers where to put new crosswalks.

Pedestrian refuge islands haven't been installed yet, but for cyclists, the Eighth Avenue bike lane extension is looking pretty good. Photo: @J_Uptown

And the extension of the protected bike lanes on Eighth and Ninth Avenues, which will bring proven safety gains for all users north to Columbus Circle, continues apace. Last month, a photo from Jacob_uptown showed some of the striping on the Eighth Avenue extension in place, but not yet in effect. The future bike lane was, at the time, filled with parked cars and delivery trucks.

In an update sent over Twitter, Jacob shows the almost-completed lane working just as intended, with a cyclist comfortably separated from traffic near 44th Street. “Best 8th Ave #bikenyc commute ever,” he wrote. On Ninth Avenue, he said, the old lane markings have been removed all the way to 59th in preparation for the installation of the new design.