Eyes on the Street: Filling the Gap in the Second Avenue Protected Bike Lane

Crews stripe a new parking lane alongside the existing bike lane on Second Avenue at 21st Street. Photo: Stephen Miller

Two months after a presentation to Manhattan Community Board 6′s transportation committee, and less than one month after the full board voted to support the plan, DOT crews were on Second Avenue today painting new stripes to convert the buffered bike lane in Kips Bay to the parking-protected variety.

Between 23rd and 14th Streets, Second Avenue had four lanes of car traffic sandwiched by a buffered bike lane on the left and a curbside bus lane on the right. Now, the left lane of car traffic has been converted to parking, better protecting southbound cyclists. The new configuration links other segments of protected bikeway on Second Avenue, creating a continuous stretch between 34th Street and 2nd Street.

According to DOT’s seasonally-adjusted counts, weekday motor vehicle traffic between 14th and 15th Streets dropped significantly from 2011 to 2013: Traffic volumes are down 11.8 percent during the morning rush, 23.1 percent midday, and 15.3 percent during the evening’s busiest hour. The agency predicted that converting a general traffic lane to parking would not significantly affect traffic flow on this section of the avenue.

The existing buffered bike lane has been a hotbed of double parking. Like other parking-protected bike lanes, this new stretch will probably see a bit of a learning curve: Some drivers early this afternoon, looking at the new parking signs, decided to park in the bike lane instead of the newly-striped floating lane right next to them.