Between 52nd Street and 43rd Street the new bike lane will only have a “low profile tuff curb” for protection during off-peak hours. Image: DOT
DOT has a plan for a protected bike lane on 16 blocks of Second Avenue that will test out a new configuration, where the only protection is a row of short, yellow plastic “tuff curbs.” The project shrinks the protected bike lane gap on the avenue in Midtown but still exposes cyclists to fast-moving motor vehicles on the heavily-trafficked approach to the Queens Midtown Tunnel. DOT presented the plan last night to the Manhattan Community Board 6 transportation committee, which endorsed it with one abstention and no votes against.
The project calls for a bike lane between 59th Street and 43rd Street [PDF], leaving several blocks approaching the Queens Midtown Tunnel with no changes. Between 59th and 52nd Street, the bike lane would be protected with parked cars. But from 52nd Street to 43rd Street the protection afforded by a parking lane will not be in effect during peak hours.
From 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. parking and commercial loading zones will give way to motor vehicle traffic along that nine block stretch. Additionally, between 48th Street and 43rd Street, there will be moving traffic next to the bike lane from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. To deter motorists from entering the bike lane along those blocks, DOT plans to install “low profile tuff curbs” — yellow plastic bumps.
Since 2010, motorists have killed one cyclist and four pedestrians in the project area, including 79-year-old Teresa Martinelli, who was killed at 58th Street just last week.
The absence of round-the-clock parking lanes will weaken pedestrian safety measures as well. The parking protected section will have pedestrian islands and dedicated turn signals at some intersections, so pedestrians and turning drivers don’t have simultaneous “go” signals. Below 52nd Street, the rush hour lane traffic lanes preclude those measures. Instead, the plan calls for painted curb extensions on side streets to induce motorists to make tighter, safer turns (see above).