NY's East Side may get Bike Lanes to 57th Street -- A Diminished Plan

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  Once, NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan spoke with elation of a planned protected bikeway all the way from New York's Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan up to Harlem.  "With this one project alone which will go from lower Manhattan all the way to 125street  on First and Second Avenues, we will be putting in 160 blocks of protected bike lanes which will nearly double the citywide total in just one year," she told  WNYC's Brian Lehrer.

But first Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith -- maybe -- put the kibosh on the plan (listen to the audio and judge for yourself) above 34th street.  The official word was there wasn't time to build the lanes in 2010 because of construction schedules.  Then, later in the year, the commissioner cast doubt on whether the protected lanes would be extended in 2011.

Now comes a plan from NYC with protected bike lanes for another 15 blocks on First Avenue, and then so-called "shared bike lanes" -- not segregated from traffic, up to the East 50s.  The diminished plan comes amidst protest by a loud but significant and influential minority of New Yorkers (polls show about a third don't like the miles of  lanes installed by the city) including editorializing against the lanes in the city's boisterous tabloids, The New York Post and The New York Daily News, and a lawsuit backed by the the former city transportation director, now a private citizen living along one of the lanes (and her husband, the U.S. Senator, Charles Schumer.)

Commissioner Sadik-Khan once said the protected bike lanes were a necessary precondition for bike share in New York City, but the city is moving ahead with a bike share plan for some 10,000 bikes for 2012.

The new plan is being circulated for comment among community groups, and was first unveiled last night.  (Hat tip: Streetsblog.)

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