CB 7 Committee Asks DOT for Amsterdam Protected Bike Lane “Immediately”

On Tuesday, the Manhattan Community Board 7 transportation committee unanimously passed a resolution asking DOT to immediately install a protected bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue in the neighborhood.

Will DOT finally tame this street? Photo: Daniel/Flickr
Will DOT finally tame this street? Photo: Daniel/Flickr

DOT has built out a southbound protected bike lane on Columbus Avenue from 110th Street almost to Columbus Circle over the past five years, but the city has not created a parallel route for people biking uptown. With Citi Bike on track to arrive on the Upper West Side this summer, time is running out to build a safe northbound bike route in the neighborhood before a new wave of cyclists hit the streets.

The latest request for a northbound protected bike lane comes more than a year and a half after the board unanimously asked DOT to redesign Amsterdam Avenue. Elected officials and the community board are asking DOT to stop delaying. In April, Council Member Helen Rosenthal called on DOT to install a protected bike lane on Amsterdam.

“CB 7 called for immediate implementation of a northbound protected bike lane,” said committee member Howard Yaruss. The resolution now goes to the CB 7 full board on July 7.

Asked if it is going to come out with a proposal, DOT again told Streetsblog that it is reviewing possible safety enhancements on Amsterdam.

Tuesday’s meeting was marked by hemming and hawing from some board members, including transportation committee co-chairs Andrew Albert and Dan Zweig. The issue of bike lanes didn’t even come up until about two hours into the meeting.

“I was honestly worried that we weren’t ever going to get to talk about street safety,” said Upper West Side resident Willow Stelzer. “The goal was to sideline and delay.”

“At every turn, at every mention of this, the chairs seemed to brush it aside,” said Upper West Side resident Finn Vigeland. “It just seemed like the chairs were not receptive to this issue.”

Committee member Ken Coughlin put forward a resolution endorsing Rosenthal’s call for a protected bike lane on Amsterdam. The motion failed — with Rosenthal in the room — after Albert, Zweig, and other board members, including chair Elizabeth Caputo, wanted language that says DOT should install a protected bike lane on another northbound route if the agency rules out Amsterdam Avenue.

Ultimately, a motion including that language passed unanimously.

“By the end, I was pleased. I think most of the room was pleased. But the circles we went in to get there,” Vigeland said. “It feels like a lack of vision by a good chunk of the committee, in contrast to many, many members of the committee who are really trying to push this.”

In other community board news…

Staten Island CB 1 voted 34-5 on Tuesday night to support a DOT plan for a road diet and bike lanes on Clove Road, according to Transportation Alternatives Staten Island organizer Greg Mihailovich. The Advance has full coverage.

DOT presented its plan to add a protected bike lane to 111th Street to Queens CB 4 Tuesday evening — no vote was taken. The plan has the support of Council Member Julissa Ferreras but encountered resistance from Assembly Member Francisco Moya. Ferreras will host a town hall on the proposal on June 30 [PDF]. CB 4 is expected to take up the issue again at its September meeting, meaning implementation by DOT this summer is looking unlikely.

The Manhattan CB 10 transportation committee chewed over several issues Tuesday night, according to TA organizer Sandra Hawkins:

  • DOT and CB 10 are planning a walk-through to discuss a traffic calming proposal for 145th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard that has stalled in the face of opposition from residents of Esplanade Gardens.
  • Proponents of creating a new public space called Bradhurst Plaza at 150th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard continued to meet with opposition from committee member Barbara Nelson. The panel voted to send the issue to the CB 10 executive committee after Nelson walked out of the meeting in frustration.
  • CB 10 has also sent a letter to DOT expressing concerns about Select Bus Service, primarily regarding left turn restrictions and access for the disabled [PDF]. The committee has spent many meetings hearing out a handful of neighborhood gadflies who oppose the project.