The Eighth Avenue bike lane in Manhattan is one of the longest and most trafficked on-grid bike paths in the city, starting down at Hudson and Dominick and continuing all the way up through the West Village and Chelsea to 23rd Street with a buffer or barrier (pictured), but a new Department of Transportation initiative should see it extended another 11 blocks up to 34th Street, a stretch that currently features an old-school painted lane with no buffer zone or parking lane separating motorists and cyclists. According to Streetsblog, a week from tomorrow Manhattan’s Community Board 4 will hear a DoT proposal for the protected bike lane extension, which will likely be approved, and could be in place by the end of the year.
That stretch isn’t too crazy, but it sets the stage for solving cyclist safety issues on the next part of Eighth Avenue, from 34th to 42nd and beyond, which is currently a crazy free-for-all of cabs, cheap buses, delivery trucks and pedestrians walking in the tiny bike lane when the sidewalks get overcrowded, all going to, from, or between Penn Station and Port Authority. It’s a herculean task, but one that’s absolutely necessary for creating a safe north-south bikeway in Manhattan. Presumably a parallel Ninth Avenue bike lane extension isn’t far off either, and similar plans for Second and First Avenues are in the works.