NYC Gets Its First-Ever Physically-Separated Bike Path

The Department of Transportation revealed plans for New York City’s first-ever physically-separated bike lane, or "cycle track," at a Manhattan Community Board 4 meeting last night. The new bike path will run southbound on Ninth Avenue from W. 23rd to W. 16th Street in Manhattan. Unlike the typical Class II on-street bike lane in which cyclists mix with motor vehicle traffic, this new design will create an exclusive path for bicycles between the sidewalk and parked cars.

DOT’s plan also includes traffic signals for bicyclists, greenery-filled refuge areas for pedestrians, a new curbside parking plan, and signalized left-turn lanes for motor vehicles. "The left turn lane will be immediately adjacent to
the bike lane," DOT Bicycle Program Director Josh Benson explained to CB4 members. "As a cyclist you’ll know that if there’s a car next to you, that car is
turning left." Likewise, left-turning drivers’ view of cyclists will be completely unobscured.
The bike lane is 10-feet wide to accommodate street cleaning and emergency vehicles.


DOT planners consulted with Danish urban designer Jan Gehl on the plan, according to
Transportation Alternatives Deputy Director Noah Budnick. "They are drawing from international best-practice and being smart about talking to other engineers and planners who have implemented these types of designs," Budnick said. "They really thought holistically about everything that is going on on the street."

These types of physically-separated on-street bike lanes, increasingly referred to as "cycle tracks," are commonly found in bike-friendly cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Livable Streets advocates have long pushed DOT to experiment with this type of bike lane design in New York City. After Benson’s presentation, Community Board 4’s transportation committee voted to approve the DOT plan which is part of a larger pedestrian safety and public space initiative around the intersection of 9th Avenue and 14th Street.

The new bike lane design is a break from previously stated DOT policy.
In March, during discussion of a possible Houston Street bike lane, DOT
officials told Manhattan’s Community 2 that physically-separated bike lanes should only be installed on streets with a maximum of 8 intersections per mile to ensure fewer conflicts with turning vehicles.

A copy of the presentation DOT made at last night’s Community Board meeting can be found here.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Bike & Ped Improvements Slated for Manhattan Bridge Approach

|
DOT plans to build a physically-separated two-way bike lane on this one block stretch of Canal Street at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge. The project also includes pedestrian safety fixes. The Manhattan approach to the Manhattan Bridge, where Chinatown and the Lower East Side come together in a jumble, has long presented one of […]

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 […]

Plan for Grand Street Cycle Track Features New Design Treatment

|
DOT has unveiled plans for a Grand Street cycle track [PDF] that bear the fingerprints of Danish planner Jan Gehl. It would be Manhattan’s first cross-town protected bike path. Grand Street is narrower than Ninth Avenue, where the existing protected path runs. Whereas the Ninth Avenue cycle track uses signal timing to prevent conflicts between […]

David Byrne on Bicycling in NYC

|
Transportation Alternatives’ Noah Budnick and David Byrne prior to the Manhattan Borough President’s "Manhattan on the Move" conference, October 2006. Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne writes about his 30 years of cycling in New York City on his website.  Byrne is an avid bicyclist, and an alternative transportation advocate: I have been riding a […]

Is CB 8 Angling to Get Rid of Bike Lanes on 91st Street?

|
Almost six months after DOT installed "controversial" new cross-town bike lanes on the Upper East Side, Manhattan’s Community Board 8, which opposed the city’s plan for lanes on 91st Street, has formed a "91st Street Task Force." Of particular concern last year was the feared intrusion of cyclists into a section of 91st Street, between […]