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Bike Lanes Pushed for 5th and 6th Avenues

By Mary Johnson | August 1, 2012 8:36am

MIDTOWN — Could protected bike lanes be headed to Fifth and Sixth avenues in Manhattan?

They will be, if Transportation Alternatives gets its way.

The organization, which promotes, walking, biking and public transit, is hosting a meeting next week to kick off a campaign dedicated to bringing bike lanes to these centrally located and highly trafficked roadways.

The meeting is intended to map out a campaign and push the fight for Midtown bike lanes forward. 

A spokesman for Transportation Alternatives did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday about how far the organization would like the bike lanes to extend.

The idea of protected bike lanes cruising through the heart of Midtown has been floated before.

Back in October, Eric Stern, a member of the Community Board 5 transportation committee, proposed extending bike lanes north on Sixth Avenue to Central Park.

Although there are northbound bike lanes on First Avenue and Eighth Avenue, Stern explained, that still leaves a large gap in the availability of protected bike lanes through the middle of Manhattan.

“If we’re going to have many more people riding in our district, maybe we should have a bike lane in the center,” Stern argued at the time.

But the idea encountered pushback from fellow community board members, who cited heavy traffic on that roadway as a major concern.  

“I don’t see the benefit of trying to implement a bike lane in this corridor, said Michael Keane, who was chair of the CB5 transportation committee at the time. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

The Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether it would consider adding bike lanes on both Fifth and Sixth avenues.

The Transportation Alternatives meeting to kick off the new bike lane campaign will be held on Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. at the organization’s office, located on the 10th floor of 127 W. 26th Street.