There’s Also a Major Transportation Improvement on the Surface of Second Avenue

A cyclist passes by the 94th Street entrance to the soon-to-open Second Avenue Subway. Photos: David Meyer
The Second Avenue bike at 94th Street. Photo: David Meyer

You may have heard from Governor Cuomo that there’s a new tunnel under Second Avenue with three Q Train stations. Exciting stuff, especially if Cuomo and the MTA can wrangle construction costs under control and make future subway expansions cost-effective.

Meanwhile, on the surface of Second Avenue, there’s another big improvement that’s been overshadowed by the long-awaited subway — a protected bike lane and dedicated bus lane from 105th Street to 68th Street.

The completion of phase one of the Second Avenue Subway enabled DOT to move forward with the complete streets project that was promised nearly seven years ago:

With subway construction wrapping up, DOT is moving forward on this six-year-old complete street redesign for Second Avenue. Image: DOT
With subway construction wrapping up, DOT is moving forward on this 2010 complete street redesign for Second Avenue. Image: DOT

The redesign brings a parking-protected bike lane, concrete pedestrian islands, and a dedicated bus lane to what was previously undifferentiated street space clogged with cars [PDF].

On these 37 blocks, the protected bike lane is now complete except for the stretch between 82nd and 88th Street.

Further south, DOT is set to install a mostly-protected bike lane between 59th Street and 42nd Street. That will leave the blocks between 68th Street and 59th Street, approaching the Queensboro Bridge, and between 42nd Street and 34th Street, by the Queens Midtown, as the two substantial gaps in the north-south protected bike route on the East Side.

On First Avenue, Second Avenue’s northbound counterpart, DOT filled a gap in protection on the bike lane between 55th Street and 59th Street.

New bike lane and pedestrian island at First Avenue and East 56th Street.
At 56th Street, the gap in protection as the First Avenue bike lane approaches the Queensboro Bridge has been closed.

There is now just one unprotected block on First Avenue, between 47th Street and 48th Street. The only building on that block? In a cruel 2016 twist, it’s the Trump World Tower.