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After Long Wait, DOT Proposes New Bike Lanes for Northern Manhattan

By Nigel Chiwaya | May 22, 2013 7:34am | Updated on May 22, 2013 8:05am
 The DOT will present final designs on new lanes to Community Board 12 in the fall.
The DOT will present final designs on new lanes to Community Board 12 in the fall.
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DNAinfo/Nigel Chiwaya

NORTHERN MANHATTAN — The city Department of Transportation has proposed new bike lanes on several streets in northern Manhattan — two years after community leaders asked the department to come up with designs for new paths.

A DOT spokesman said the department earlier this month proposed preliminary designs for lanes to the board's traffic and transportation committee.

The department is considering adding new lanes on the following streets, spokesman Scott Gastel said: West 179th and West 180th streets between Amsterdam Avenue and Cabrini Boulevard; Cabrini Boulevard between West 179th Street and Fort Tryon Park; Fort George Hill between Fairview Avenue and Dyckman Street; and St. Nicholas Avenue between Broadway and Dyckman Street.

The St. Nicholas Avenue lane, which currently terminates at West 168th Street, would provide riders east of Broadway with a north-south path between Washington Heights, Fort George and Inwood. Currently, riders looking to travel on bike paths up the area have only the Harlem River Greenway, which has no exits between 155th and Dyckman Streets.

The department will revise the designs and present them to the board again in the fall, Gastel said. He did not provide a timeline, however, for when the lanes would be installed.

The move comes two years after Manhattan Community Board 12 asked the DOT to come up with a plan to create new bike lanes in Washington Heights and Inwood. CB12 hosted a 2011 forum on the bike landscape, and later passed a resolution asking the department to conduct a feasibility study on making several changes, notably creating new lanes on or around Dyckman Street and connecting existing lanes in the area.

Uptown cycling advocates have been pushing for the paths long before the resolution and ever since. A 2011 petition asking for several new lanes drew 923 signatures.

"The issue has been stuck with this DOT study," said Jonathan Rabinowitz of Bike Upper Manhattan. "If DOT has this [study] to talk about there's no reason to talk again.

"Its a little frustrating but we try not to burn ourselves out," Rabinowitz added. "It's very disappointing."

The DOT plan does not currently include a lane across Dyckman Street, which would connect the Hudson and Harlem River Greenways.

Ozzie Perez, the owner of Tread Bike Shop on Dyckman Street, said a protected path along that busy stretch would be helpful for new cyclists.

"It's a pain in the neck right now," Perez said. "In traffic, people don't care. Cabs will stop at the last minute, people will cut you off."

"People that don't ride bikes; they're not considerate."