Now THIS is What I Call a Bike Lane!

Good news for those of you living in NYC, a story from Transportation Alternatives:

Copenhagen-Style Bike Lane Coming to 9th Ave
Protected bike lane street design
With better bike lanes on the way, groups need to ask for more and expect the best from the DOT.
Click image to enlarge

On Manhattan’s Ninth Avenue from 23rd Street to 16th Street, the New York City Department of Transportation will soon build the city’s first Copenhagen-style bike lane.

The new “cycle-track” will be placed between a lane of parked cars and the sidewalk, affording cyclists of all ages and abilities a safe and comfortable ride, if only for a few blocks. T.A. looks forward to the expanded application of this type of traffic-protected bike lanes, a necessary step if cycling is to be a safe and attractive option for the majority of New Yorkers who are not comfortable riding in traffic.

The DOT also announced that an 8.1 mile network of new bike lanes will be installed throughout North Brooklyn connecting Greenpoint/Williamsburg with Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Bedford Stuyvesant, Prospect Park and the rest of the Brooklyn bike network. And if that wasn’t enough, the bike lane on Fifth Avenue from 23rd Street to Washington Square Park will be upgraded to a buffered bike lane similar to the one that runs along Lafayette from Spring Street to 14th Street.

As the DOT raises the bar for its bike lane design and implementation, cyclists, community groups and advocates need to raise their expectations. In the coming months, T.A. will be urging the DOT to expand the application of traffic-protected lanes, and to adopt a “complete streets” policy that gives designated space to cyclists on all city streets. To make sure you see new bike lanes and better infrastructure in your neighborhood, contact your community board and the DOT.

This is obviously good news for those who will get to use this bike lane. But it is also good news for cyclists everywhere. This is the first step towards developing similar bike lanes in cities across the U.S. Every trend requires a trend setter, and I for one am optimistic that traffic-protected bike lanes can be a reality for so many more people. If not, I would move to Copenhagen before I move to NYC!


6 Comments

  1. Max October 18, 2007 6:32 am 

    That is the same way the bike lanes are set up in much of Germany. I have been to Munich and Frankfurt and I am jealous of the bike lanes. People with cars drive them home and then get on the bikes to do local errands. The beer-gardens have parking for maybe 20 cars but there are literally thousands of bikes chained up nearby. Truely commuter inspiring.

  2. Gunnar October 18, 2007 8:35 am 

    My only problem with this type of solution is that non-cyclists then beleive that bicycles are to be seperate from traffic, and do not belong on roads at all anywhere. Resulting in the “get off the road! you have a whole bike path to ride on!” comments.

  3. Ghost Rider October 18, 2007 8:58 am 

    Gunnar’s got a good point…and the same could be said for simple painted bike lanes. Cyclists aren’t REQUIRED to stay within the lines, and can use the right-hand travel lane of the road if needed (or wanted).

    But, motorists get all gripey — “you’re not in your lane!” Bollocks.

    Until we change the mindsets of transportation planners AND motorists, we just can’t win the war — when bicycling in all forms becomes a reality (like in many European cities) instead of a “curious oddity” the way it is here these days.

  4. Nick October 18, 2007 9:18 am 

    It’s already in place. I’m rarely on the west side, so I haven’t had a chance to ride it, though.

    Here’s the real problem:

  5. Ghost Rider October 18, 2007 1:56 pm 

    That is a depressing photo…I have never seen bike lanes so abused by motorists as those in NYC (Bike Snob’s pictures last week really hammered this point home!). I guess folks think those painted lines means a) loading/unloading zone, b) taxi waiting area or c) place for pedestrians to hang out. Ugh. Even the cops are guilty!!!

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