The New York City Department of Transportation can make a breakthrough in improving conditions for bicycling and fill a huge missing link in the City's bicycle network by installing a bike lane on the three miles of 8th Avenue from 14th Street to Columbus Circle. An 8th Avenue bike lane is supported by Community Board Four (Chelsea, Clinton, Hell's Kitchen), Community Board Five (Midtown), T.A. and five hundred bicyclists who sent postcards of support to DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall.
It is not often that one, let alone two, New York City community boards support the installation of a new bike lane, especially on a major street like 8th Avenue. Community board support for new lanes is tepid, especially in neighborhoods where sidewalk cycling is a serious problem. So the DOT should look at this strong support from Community Boards Four and Five as a rare opportunity. In March, Community Board Four wrote to DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione:
"We urge you and your colleagues to conduct the study and data collection necessary to facilitate the re-striping of Eighth Avenue to accommodate the bicycle lane recommended in the New York City Bicycle Master Plan."
And in July, Community Board Five passed a resolution (28-0, with one abstention) supporting the proposed 8th Avenue bike lane.
Filling the Bike Lane Gap
An 8th Avenue bike lane from 14th Street to Columbus will fill a gaping hole in the on-street network. It will create a continuous eight-mile long on-street lane in the center of Manhattan connecting the existing bike lanes on Hudson Street (from Dominick to 14th Street) and Central Park West/Frederick Douglass Boulevard (from 63rd Street to 121st Street).
A new bike lane on 8th Avenue will embolden less experienced cyclists who rely solely on the Hudson River Greenway to make the transition to city streets. It will also provide a safer alternative to the sub-standard 6th Avenue bike lane. The new bike lane will help tame traffic, make 8th Avenue safer for bicycling and the traveling public and reduce sidewalk cycling.
Write to DOT Commissioner Weinshall and urge the agency to install a bike lane on 8th Avenue!
Iris Weinshall, Commissioner