UPDATED WITH NEW COMMENTS FROM JANETTE SADIK-KHAN (Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) We've been following New York City's plans to build protected bike lanes on Manhattan's east side. These lanes were initially planned to stretch from Houston Street in the East Village up to 125th Street in East Harlem, but construction has stopped at 34th Street. Last week supporters held a rally urging the city to move forward on the lanes' full implementation. So when we saw the city's transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, in Brooklyn this morning, we asked her if the lanes would be extended north of 34th street. Here's the exchange.
KH: Are there plans to build out the East Side bike lanes?
JSK: We’re working on what we’re working on right now. We’ve got a full plate.
KH: I know you had said in the summer it wouldn’t happen in 2010; is it on the table for 2011?
JSK: Not at the moment.
KH: Not at the moment?
JSK: No. Our plans are our plans and we continue to work with communities about what’s the right set of tools and what works best, tailored to meet community needs.
(You can hear the exchange here.)
KH: Why did the city back away from the original plan to go north of 34th street?
(answer after the jump)
JSK: We didn’t back away from it, the idea was that we were trying to figure out what was the best strategy and what makes sense in terms of a schedule and the implementation. Frankly, we did a lot of outreach—twice as much outreach as we thought – the nuts and bolts of getting to every community, having all those meetings pushed out our construction schedule. So we’re in the process of evaluating what it is we’ll be doing going forward and we’ll take it from there. But one of the things that I think is really important, and that Mayor Bloomberg has underscored, is it’s important to measure the impact of the changes that we’re bringing to the streets of New York. So that’s what we’re doing, we want to make sure it works well, make the adjustments that we need to get made, and we’ll take it from there."
UPDATE: Now, when we first published this post, we interpreted the answer to the question:
--Kate Hinds: "Is it on the table for 2011?
-- JSK: "Not at the moment, no,"--
to mean that there would be no East Side bike lanes in 2011. But Commissioner Sadik-Khan called to tell us that wasn't the case. In fact, she said on the call, she's "looking to extend the network, but before we do that we need to take into account how the improvements are working." The plan for 2011, she said, is still being developed.
By the way, last summer, we asked New York City Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith last summer if the lanes were truncated at his behest. Here's his (evocative) response.