QBB Bike Access Improvements Advance to CB 6 Full Board With 13-1 Vote

A DOT proposal that would extend protected bike lanes and add shared lane markings to First Avenue and 59th Street received a 13-1 supportive vote from Manhattan Community Board 6’s transportation committee last night, moving improved bike access at the Queensboro Bridge one step closer to reality after three committee meetings on the topic.

The plan would add a two-way protected bike lane and dedicated bike traffic signal at First Avenue and 59th Street. Image: ##http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/2013-05-06-queensboro-connection-mn-cb6.pdf##DOT##

The project will extend the start of the protected bike lane on First Avenue south by two blocks. From 61st Street to 60th Street, the lane will be northbound-only, and a two-way protected lane will be installed beneath the Queensboro Bridge, between 60th Street and 59th Street. On 59th Street, cyclists would receive new shared lane markings. After westbound drivers exit 59th Street to the Queensboro Bridge, westbound cyclists would continue with a contra-flow bike lane.

On First Avenue, shared lane markings would be extended from 56th Street to 59th Street; on Second Avenue, they would be extended from 59th Street to 58th Street.

Last night’s resolution asks DOT to add flexible posts along left-turn lanes on First Avenue at 57th and 59th Streets, to prevent drivers from skipping the queue and cutting across the path of cyclists in the shared lane. It also requests a bicycle traffic signal for cyclists turning left from the contra-flow lane on 59th Street to Second Avenue, as well as more signage and markings on First Avenue where the shared lane shifts as left turn lanes appear at 57th and 59th Streets.

DOT did not object to the requests, but it’s no guarantee that those elements will be included in the final plan. Last month, DOT said that the lane widths on First Avenue were too narrow to allow for installation of flexible posts.

The plan now advances to CB 6’s full board meeting on June 12. Community Board 8, which covers the area north of 59th Street, has already voted to support the proposal. DOT has said that it would implement the changes by the end of the year if it receives supportive votes from both community boards.