Vote on bike lane from City Hall to Battery Park set for November

How Broadway will be situated if the city moves forward with a bike lane proposal between Battery Park and City Hall. (Photo: DOT)

The city’s plans to install bike lanes from Battery Park to City Hall will go to a vote in front of Manhattan’s Community Board 1 in November.

The new lane will run from the southern tip of Whitehall Street to the west side of City Hall on Broadway, and will connect riders to other bike routes along the FDR Drive and Abolition Park’s eastern side.

CB 1 heard a presentation on the plan Monday night during its meeting, and the overall tone of the room seemed supportive. Chelsea Yamada of the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives sees the plan as the next step toward access to the Hudson Greenway.

“The needs are pretty clear from just the scope of this project … we’re not seeing the [connection from Battery Park],” Yamada said. “We are pretty sure this not the last we’ll see of the downtown network.”

There is little demand on Broadway from drivers – only about 300 vehicles on average were observed during peak hour studies — so the lane may not interfere with traffic in any significant way, Yamada said.

Broadway currently has a bus lane, two travel lanes and loading lane for trucks. The Department of Transportation plans to replace the loading lane with a bike lane, which will reduce the street to one travel lane and a loading lane.

There will also be an expansion of the sidewalk of about 10 feet in width.

The Whitehall-Broadway bike lane will go to CB1’s transportation committee on Nov. 7 and the full vote will take place on Nov. 21.

The city’s been working hard to expand the bike lane network across the five boroughs. On Wednesday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg popped the proverbial cork on the 100th mile of bike lanes installed in the city since 2014, in Brooklyn.

There, de Blasio reaffirmed his commitment to making streets safer through Vision Zero amid recent pushback from cycling advocates rallying for the final section Queens Boulevard to be outfitted with bike lanes and the rising death toll from crashes this year.

“Vision Zero means making sure people on bikes in every neighborhood feel safe — whether they’re in Boerum Hill, Bath Beach or Bushwick,” de Blasio said. “We’ve installed 100 miles of protected bike lanes — more than any administration in history — and are not stopping there. With our ‘green wave’ plan, we’re doubling down on our commitment to end senseless traffic fatalities.”

But bike activists in one Queens neighborhood feel ignored by the city.

At a rally in MacDonald Park in Forest Hills on Sunday, advocates for safety improvements on the boulevard expressed disappointment in the city overshooting their deadline to make the safety improvements by 500 days since they announced the project would happen.

Mark Hallum