UPPER WEST SIDE — The Department of Transportation has agreed to extend the Columbus Avenue protected bike lane five blocks — from West 64th to 59th streets — a decision cycling and street safety advocates applauded Tuesday night.
The lane, which protects cyclists by placing a row of parked cars between them and moving traffic, will now run continuously from West 110th to 59th streets, except for a three-block gap between West 67th and 64th streets, the DOT said.
Though the city is not adding a protected lane in the heart of the "bow tie" — the dangerous crisscross of intersections in the mid-60s at Broadway and Columbus avenues — it is proposing measures to make cyclists more visible to cars and their section of the road clearer.
Between West 67th and 66th streets, bright green painted markings will be interspersed along the road to signal cyclists' presence to drivers, said DOT engineer Rich Carmona.
Between West 66th and 64th streets, the DOT will create a pathway for cyclists by painting a narrow strip of pavement green and adding plastic barricades along the sides to protect cyclists and demarcate their area, explained Rich Carmona. This painted lane will run alongside a dedicated left-turning lane for cars on the eastern side of the street, he added.
"There is a gap in the network where the protected lane ends and where it picks back up — that’s really the genesis of this whole conversation," Carmona said.
The addition of five more blocks of protected bike lane will also help connect the Columbus Avenue leg with the protected lane on Ninth Avenue.
At a December meeting to discuss the DOT's proposed changes to Lincoln Square's "bow tie," residents pushed for more cyclist-friendly infrastructure amid a series of pedestrian safety fixes that included new crosswalks, traffic light changes and curb extensions.
The presentation Tuesday took that feedback into account, DOT officials said.
"As you know, we’re going to have an influx of Citi Bikes. This area is going to be really heavily traveled by Citi Bike," said board member Ken Coughlin referring to the Lincoln Center area. "I really applaud the extension."
DOT officials said they expect to begin work on the area in either June or July of this year.