Eyes on the Street: First Avenue Protected Bike Lane Extends Uptown

First Avenue at 88th Street. Concrete pedestrian islands and tree pits have already been installed, and the bike lane has been striped.

Our most recent progress report on the protected bike lanes for East Harlem and the Upper East Side came last October, when crews installed the bike lane and pedestrian refuges on Second Avenue between 100th Street and 125th Street. Last year also saw the construction of a protected bike lane on First Avenue between the Queensboro Bridge and 72nd Street. Now, long-time reader Jacob sends in photos of the latest extension on First Avenue, which will stretch up to 125th Street.

This is a major safety upgrade that East Harlem residents and Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito fought hard for the past few years. When complete, crossing distances will be shorter for people walking across the avenue, and biking will feel much safer than it did with the old buffered lane, which was frequently obstructed by double-parkers.

Elsewhere, adjustments to pedestrian and bike space on Broadway between Times Square and Herald Square are underway. When this stretch was first redesigned about five years ago, a protected bike lane was sandwiched between the sidewalk and a floating plaza space, which wasn’t the smoothest arrangement for either pedestrians or cyclists. The design tweaks, which got a thumbs up by Community Board 5 last fall, narrow Broadway from two general travel lanes to one, while replacing the plaza-adjacent protected bike lane with a buffered bike lane on the other side of the street. It also widens the plaza space to 20 feet and connects it to the sidewalk. While cyclists now ride between parked cars and motor vehicles, traffic is light and tends not to move at high speeds.

Broadway at 36th Street. The bike lane has been moved to the west side of the street to reduce conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists