East Midtown Getting More Bike Lanes, One of Them Protected

07/06/2011 4:21 PM |

Currently: five traffic lanes, two parking lanes, and no bike lanes.
  • First Avenue currently: five traffic lanes, two parking lanes, and no bike lanes.

Midtown is sort of the last frontier in Manhattan bike lane deployment—the pedestrian-filled Broadway lane notwithstanding. Eighth Avenue has one, except where it needs one most (between 40th and 42nd streets), and First and Second avenue’s lanes stop in the low 30s and 20s, respectively. But the latter two are being extended right now.

Transportation Nation reports that the Department of Transportation started construction yesterday on extensions to First Avenue’s protected bike lane and Second Avenue’s shared bike lane. First Avenue’s existing parking-protected bike lane, which begins a Houston Street and ends at 34th Street, is being extended to 49th Street just north of the UN. A shared bike lane is being painted on First Avenue another eight blocks north to 57th Street.

Over on Second Avenue, bike lanes alternate from protected to shared and back again several times between 34th Street and Houston Street. A new shared lane is being painted along Second Avenue between 34th Street and 59th Street. Both of theses long-overdue improvements—hopefully preliminary steps towards properly buffered lanes—help to compensate for the abysmal state of the East River waterfront bike lane (which, to even call a bike lane is very generous).