10th Ave. Bike Lane Peddled to Positive Results

A rendering of what the northbound bike lane, which would run from W. 30th to W. 42nd Sts., could look like. | Image courtesy of Hudson Yards / Hell’s Kitchen Alliance

BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC | A proposal for a protected bike lane on 10th Ave., from W. 30th to 42nd Sts., has taken a step forward.

The Hudson Yards / Hell’s Kitchen Alliance formally requested support from Community Board 4 (CB4), at the Mar. 26 meeting of their Transportation Planning Committee (TPC).

Patricia Gouris, the Alliance’s planning and development manager, presented details about the northbound bike lane (seven feet across) to the TPC. There would be a three-foot buffer, and then some type of protection between the bike lane and traffic, such as parking, bike parking, or plantings, she explained to the packed room at CB4’s offices on W. 42nd St.

Currently, 10th Ave. has six lanes that are about 11 feet. To make room for the bike lane, there would be five lanes of 10 feet, Gouris said.

The committee welcomed the plan.

“This is thrilling,” said TPC member Andrea Bernard. “I’ve been waiting for a bike lane on 10th Ave. for a very long time — in conjunction with the protected lanes that would be on 37th and 38th.”

Indeed, much of the brief discussion focused on connecting the bike lane to other proposed crosstown bike lanes, and whether it could be extended up to W. 55th St. in Hell’s Kitchen or down to W. 23rd St. in Chelsea.

Gouris noted that the Alliance — a business improvement district that runs from W. 30th to 42nd Sts. from Ninth to 11th Aves. — can’t request the bike lane going further north or south, as it is not within its district.

Committee member Paul Devlin said he was concerned that cyclists “all of a sudden go from unprotected to protected to unprotected again.” He said it should be noted in the TPC’s letter to the full board of CB4 “that we want to see it in conjunction with intersections of other crosstown bike lanes as a priority.”

Patricia Gouris, a planning manager for the Hudson Yards / Hell’s Kitchen Alliance, presented details about a proposed protected bike lane on 10th Ave. | Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

In January, the committee threw its support behind the city’s plan for crosstown protected bike lanes on 26th and 29th Sts. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is slated to install protected crosstown bike lanes on 52nd and 55th Sts., and is considering a pair through the Times Square area, Streetsblog reported. The city is also proposing a two-way bike lane bike on 13th St. as part of the L train shutdown plan.

The TPC voted to support the Alliance’s proposal, which was scheduled to be heard at CB4’s April 4 full board meeting.

“This is the new normal,” Christine Berthet, TPC’s co-chair, said later by phone. “To us, it is making it consistent with other bike lanes. We want all those crosstowns to connect to this protected bike lane.”

She added, “You have all these beautiful bike lanes going north-south, and then you don’t have anything going east-west. It’s a major, major deficiency.”

Berthet said that the board was somewhat aware of the Alliance’s bike lane plan — it had commissioned a large study called the Streetscape Improvement Plan — but Monday night was first time the Alliance had presented and given details.

Gouris, the planning manager, said later by phone that the Alliance had decided to do a comprehensive study of the district to see areas in most need of improvement. More green space and bike lanes were on its radar.

“We knew there was a lack of bike access in the district and asked them to look at it,” she said, noting they hired Sam Schwartz and Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects for the plan.

The bike lane would be seven feet across, with a three-foot buffer as well as some type of protection between it and traffic. | Image courtesy of Hudson Yards / Hell’s Kitchen Alliance

As 10th Ave. is the main north-south corridor, it was an obvious candidate, and Gouris said she has been using the Streetscape Improvement Plan, which was finalized last year, as a guideline.

“I’ve been using it as a jumping board to pursue projects,” said Gouris, who has been with the Alliance for about a year.

After the full board meeting, both CB4 and Gouris will follow up with the DOT, she said.

“It will take a few years to happen,” she said. “We want to see what kind of reception we get from DOT to see how hard we should pursue this.”

After two cyclists — Dan Hanegby and Michael Mamoukakis — were hit by charter buses and killed last summer, the committee wrote the DOT in October asking for protected bike lanes on W. 37th and 38th Sts.

“We need to get to a higher level of safety to get everyone comfortable with this mode of transportation,” said Berthet, who is also a member of the pedestrian advocacy group CHEKPEDS (Clinton Hell’s Kitchen Coalition for Pedestrian Safety).

Berthet said she has not heard back from the city about the 37th and 38th Sts. bike lanes, and the DOT did not respond to this publication’s questions about them.

The TPC was concerned about connecting the proposed protected bike lane to others, like crosstown lanes, in the area. | Image courtesy of Hudson Yards / Hell’s Kitchen Alliance

Also at the Monday meeting, Berthet demonstrated how to use CHEKPEDS’ upgraded web-based app called Crash Mapper. First rolled out early last year, it now has additional functions, such as rankings — letting New Yorkers compare what is going on in their neighborhood, for instance, cyclists and pedestrian injuries, to other areas.

A Crash Mapper custom search on 10th Ave. between W. 14th and 59th Sts. showed that there were two fatalities — one cyclist, one pedestrian — between December 2013 and December 2017.

“It gives you a lot of ways to slice the data,” she said later by phone, noting it can then be brought to elected officials or a city agency like the DOT.

Tenth Ave. would go from its current six lanes to five to make space for the bike lane. | Image courtesy of Hudson Yards / Hell’s Kitchen Alliance

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *