Tonight: Speak Up for a Safe East River Greenway Bike Connection

Adding a two-way protected bike lane and striping lanes on a wide, expansive street? Might get some opposition from condo residents in Murray Hill tonight. Image: DOT

Adding a two-way protected bike lane and striping lanes on a wide, expansive street? Might get some opposition from condo residents in Murray Hill tonight. Image: DOT

Last week, Manhattan Community Board 6′s transportation committee voted in favor of a plan to make it safer to access the East River Greenway from bike lanes on First and Second Avenue. But implementation isn’t guaranteed yet. Supporters of the plan will need to make their voices heard at CB 6′s full board meeting tonight, where opposition is expected from residents of a condominium tower upset about a proposed two-way protected bike lane in front of their building.

The plan would put a bike path in place of a loading zone on 37th Street between First Avenue and FDR Drive. This area is currently used for drop-offs by residents of The Horizon, “an exceptional full service, white glove condominium,” according to a description on StreetEasy.

Drivers will still be able to use the loading zone on the south side of 37th Street, and access to parking garages on the north side of the street will remain. Although the committee debated the merits of putting the lane on the south side of the street, it eventually sided with DOT’s recommendation to place it on the north side, which would involve fewer street crossings for greenway-bound southbound cyclists.

“This particular design is a tremendous boost for bicycle accessibility to and from the East River Greenway, compared to the harrowing decisions that cyclists currently face,” said neighborhood bike advocate Brian Van Nieuwenhoven, who also serves as a New York Cycle Club board member and Transportation Alternatives volunteer. “I applaud NYC DOT for the creative design on this project.”

Van Nieuwenhoven urged more safety improvements, particularly at the Second Avenue entrance to the Queens Midtown Tunnel and the FDR Drive service road, but said this project would be a good first step.

Last week, the CB 6 transportation committee passed a resolution in support of the plan 7-3, with one abstention. The general board meeting starts tonight at 7 p.m. at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Alumni Hall B, 550 First Avenue. Members of the public will have three minutes each to speak, but must arrive before 7:15 p.m. to sign up for the public comment period. A vote on the project is expected later during the meeting.