GRAMERCY — A protected bike lane is set to roll out on nine blocks of Second Avenue.
The Department of Transportation plans to remove a lane of traffic on the avenue between 14th and 23rd streets to make room for about 35 metered parking spaces, which would provide a buffer for cyclists using the bike lane on the busy street.
"It would create a continuous protected path on the avenue...and makes a shorter pedestrian path for those crossing Second Avenue who might need to walk a little slower," said Patrick Kennedy, a spokesman for the DOT, at Community Board 6's transportation committee meeting on Monday.
Since 2011, the block of Second Avenue between 14th and 15th streets has seen 20 percent fewer cars, he said.
At the same time, the volume of cyclists on Second Avenue between 21st and 22nd streets has increased from about 1,000 in a 12-hour period in 2011 to more than 2,500 in a 12-hour period this year, Kennedy said. He added that the launch of Citi Bike likely contributed to the spike.
Parking-protected bike paths are already in place north of 23rd Street to 34th Street and south of 14th Street to East First Street, so the new section would close the gap and create a continuous protected path along the corridor, Kennedy said.
The parking lane, which is scheduled to be in place by the end of the month, would be about 8 feet wide and would have meters and a 2-hour parking limit, Kennedy said.
The DOT studied the traffic flow in the area to ensure that the removal of a vehicle lane would not cause cars to back up on Second Avenue, which currently has four vehicle lanes, a bus lane and a bike lane, Kennedy said.
Community Board 6's transportation committee voted to support the plan Monday night, and the full board will weigh in on Oct. 9.