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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