DOT Rolls Out the New Lower Manhattan Crosstown Bike Route

The street re-surfacing men and machinery were out in force in Soho last night. Houston Street Bike Safety Initiative Director Ian Dutton snapped this photo on Prince Street. Once the street is repaved, the Department of Transportation will stripe the hotly debated Prince and Bleecker Street bike lanes.

Lower Manhattan’s newest east-west bike route is an alternative to the physically-separated bike lane that activists have long been pushing for on deadly Houston Street. In a presentation to Community Board 2 in March, DOT made the case that parallel bike lanes on either side of Houston Street is the better choice. DOT says its parallel route plan is based on successful projects in Berkeley, California and the Bergen/Dean Street bike lanes that run alongside busy Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. After extended debate, CB2 approved DOT’s plan in April.

As a side benefit of the re-surfacing project, around 200 parking spaces will be eliminated to make way for the new bike lanes. Needless to say, the Soho Alliance will not be pleased.

Jan Gehl tried hard not to reveal any secrets during his Upper West Side Streets Renaissance presentation Tuesday night, but if you took a close look at his maps, it was apparent that Prince and Spring Streets have been part of his team’s study area. What are the odds that Gehl will recommend that Mayor Bloomberg try out a car-free weekend pilot project for Soho next year? Pretty high, I’m guessing. If that moves ahead, how would a pedestrianized Prince Street fit with the new bike lane plan? Perhaps we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves here.

Dutton says there will be a ribbon-cutting for the new Lower Manhattan bike route at the end of the month.

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  • flp

    STILL WE RIDE – on houston street!

  • shishi

    I did ped counts for the Life Survey and I would bet you’ll see a street closure rec. for weekends from Gehl.

  • ln

    Will they continue to call this zig zagging route certain to be immediately filled with double parked and illegally parked cars and trucks the “Alternative Houston Street Bike Route?”

    Everyone, the parkers, drivers, bikers, pedestrians, elected officials, community board wanted and wants a class 1 bike route straight across Houston Street. The only agency that doesnt want it is the DOT. Without the bike lane and with other planned DOT ‘improvements’ Houston Street will be a even more dangerous place to walk, bike and drive. Will the DOT put up signs that say bikes and pedestrians not allowed on Houston Street?

    We all deserve safe passage on Houston Street. Continue to demand it!!

  • ddartley

    Really, I’m amazed and pissed that that horrible Houston Street plan is still in place even under “the new DOT.”

    Why does the new DOT keep that dastardly plan? Is it, like some commenter recently astutely guessed about something else, bureaucratic inertia?

  • mkultra

    have you noticed that the concrete is already in the ground? what do you suggest they do at this point? completely change the design & contract and triple the project cost?

  • flp

    @mkultra – no, its not too late to change things (as you appear to be saying). all the complaints about the project stem from major LAST minute changes to the houston street plan the DOT made despite promises made nearly TEN years ago! as has been pointed out above, the DOT and ONLY the DOT opposed the original houston street bike lane, but they reneged on that and did it the while the houston street work was underway and before the prince/bleecker construction started. i recommend you do a little searching and background reading on “houston street bike lanes” on this blog to understand what is going on. it never is too late to put in place the bike lanes on houston street rather than prince/bleecker. all it takes at minimum is a few cans of paint.

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