Manhattan CB 3 Asks DOT for Protected Bikeway on Chrystie Street

In a unanimous 35-0 vote last night, Manhattan Community Board 3, which covers Chinatown and the Lower East Side, asked DOT to study a two-way protected bikeway for Chrystie Street, an important link to the Manhattan Bridge bike path.

This doesn’t cut it, says CB 3. Photo: Justin Pollock

The vote follows months of dialogue between bike advocates and community groups, and comes on the heels of a unanimous vote supporting the plan by the CB 3 transportation committee earlier this month.

The plan, which would replace faded bike lanes with a protected bikeway alongside Sara D. Roosevelt Park, is receiving consideration now because the bumpy street is scheduled for milling and paving, offering an opportunity to refresh its layout. “We are looking to resurface the road this year, so we will come back to the community once a design is put together,” DOT Manhattan Liaison Colleen Chattergoon said at the transportation committee meeting.

“The community board has spoken,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron spokesperson Danny Weisfeld, “and it’s important for the DOT to follow up on the request.”

The last major changes on Chrystie Street came in 2008, when DOT striped bike lanes as part of an effort to improve access to the Manhattan Bridge bike path. In 2010, protected bike lanes opened on First and Second Avenues. Second Avenue feeds directly into southbound Chrystie Street.

Bicycling levels have increased rapidly since then, but Chrystie Street remains a mess. “Current conditions on Chrystie Street all but guarantee hazards for cyclists and drivers alike,” the board said in its resolution [PDF]. “Chrystie Street’s road design has not been adjusted for seven years.”

On Second Avenue, cyclists heading to Chrystie have to jump across several lanes of traffic to get in position on the west side of the street. That could be eliminated with this plan, which would place the Chrystie bikeway on the east side of the street.

A two-way bike lane should also make it safer to walk on Christie. The street’s sidewalks are crowded with people, including large numbers of children and seniors, so CB 3 is asking for pedestrian refuge islands. The request has gained the support of the Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition.

Transportation Alternatives volunteer Dave “Paco” Abraham thanked Squadron for working with advocates to advance the proposal. “This project could improve pedestrian crossings, park access, and provide a protected bike lane,” he said. “Sometimes you’re lucky to see just one of those things happen.”