10th Avenue Wheels Out: Bottcher announces bike lane, street redesign will be unveiled

A bike lane is coming to 10th Avenue in Manhattan
photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

After calling on the Department of Transportation to target his Western Manhattan district for safety improvements, freshman Councilman Eric Bottcher announced Monday that the city will unveil a street redesign and bike lane on 10th Avenue this week.

Bottcher said the plan for the six-lane throughway that runs northbound from Chelsea through Hell’s Kitchen will include a protected bike lane and pedestrian safety improvements in an email to constituents.

Though 10th Avenue has long been known as a deadly section of infrastructure (it was nicknamed “Death Avenue” in the late 19th century), its fatal reputation has come to the fore in recent years. Streetsblog reported that the stretch of Tenth Avenue between W. 59th and W. 14th streets accounted for one cyclist death, three pedestrian deaths, 96 cyclist injuries, 154 pedestrians injuries and 231 motorist injuries in just a two-year period between the beginning of 2020 and end of 2021. 

Bottcher wrote that between 2016 and 2020, there were 143 pedestrian injuries, 68 cyclist injuries, 314 motorists injuries, and 3 pedestrian fatalities on the stretch between 14th Street and 52nd Street. 

DOT first hinted at a formal plan to put a bike lane on 10th Avenue at the beginning of the month when it presented a plan to create new pedestrian space in the winding stretch of road that now exists where 10th Avenue splits off of the West Side Highway south of the Whitney Museum. That new public walkway connecting the Meatpacking District to the waterfront will form the southern entry to the bike lane.

This week the DOT will present its full draft design for street redesign and bike lane at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Manhattan Community Board 4’s Traffic & Transportation Committee meeting. The presentation will include an opportunity for the community to see the proposal and offer feedback. To register, visit bit.ly/3O9oMvi

The news comes as a fulfillment of Bottcher’s organization efforts. In February, he rallied for safe infrastructure on 10th and 11th avenues with dozens of local residents, including Debbie Kahn, a founding member of Families for Safe Streets, whose son, Seth, was killed crossing Ninth Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen in 2009, and  Los Deliveristas Unidos, which represents over 65,000 delivery workers in the city. 

Bottcher also wrote that as the city improves cyclist infrastructure and adds protected bike lanes, it will also have to facilitate a conversation about responsible cycling and the need to enforce rules against reckless behavior. 

To this end, he cited legislation he introduced calling on the Department of Education to teach safe cycling in all New York City schools, as they are required to by state law.