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You Told Us: Should There Be More Crosstown Bike Lanes on the UES?

By Shaye Weaver | February 2, 2016 3:11pm
 The DOT will present a proposal for six new bike lanes on the Upper East Side on Wednesday.
The DOT will present a proposal for six new bike lanes on the Upper East Side on Wednesday.
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

You Told Us is a regular feature highlighting comments from users in the communities DNAinfo New York covers.

MANHATTAN — With encouragement from residents, the Department of Transportation proposed installing bike lanes at six Upper East Side streets.

The new lanes would be painted onto the street and would not replace any parking spaces or travel lanes, according to the DOT.

Currently, the Upper East Side only has crosstown bike routes on East 90th and East 91st streets and one protected bike lane going north on First Avenue, the DOT said.

The proposed streets for the bike lane proposal include:

East 67th Street, from York to Fifth avenues

East 68th Street, from Fifth to York avenues

East 77th Street, from Cherokee Place to Fifth Avenue

East 78th Street, from Fifth Avenue to Cherokee Place

East 84th Street, from Fifth Avenue to the FDR Drive

and 85th Street, from East End to Fifth avenues

The plan will be presented at Community Board 8's transportation committee meeting on Wednesday night at Rockefeller University on York Avenue, but readers have already taken to Neighborhood Square to weigh in — with some saying the addition of bike lanes would turn the area into a "war zone."

►  "Right now, the avenues and many side streets in Yorkville are incredibly difficult for pedestrians to navigate because of ongoing subway work plus construction of new luxury housing, especially on Second Avenue. Add to the mix the bad behavior by many commercial bikers, and the area feels like a war zone. Adding dedicated bike lanes in the east 80's will make walking around the neighborhood even more of a challenge," one Neighborhood Square user said.

► "This is a terrible idea. Of course the bicycle people / car haters will rally behind it and think it's one step closer to their gasoline free utopia, but the reality is, painting more lines down on the concrete, doesn't make it any safer, it takes away parking that is already difficult enough and will create a more dangerous environment. To look at the disaster that is now 1st Avenue and see that placed on our beloved little side streets is depressing as all hell," another reader said.

► "Before you start adding more bike lanes start working on rules and regulations for bikers for the safety of pedestrians and frankly the cars because they have to watch for the bikes too. Frankly too, if they can pay for putting in bike lanes, why can't they fix crumbling streets and pavement all over UES, that have not been repaired for years. Further, before more bikes on streets, think about rules for bikes in places like Carl Schurz Park where when you want to 'stroll' on the Bobby Wagner Walkway, you have to worry about more bikes now with no bike lane there mingling with tiny children, little dogs, elderly everyone trying to walk ... When do pedestrians come first?" another said.

► "NO-NO-NO and NO. Crossing the city streets is already a mine field. Adding more bike lanes where riders ride carelessly with impunity is absurd. Foolishness. NYC is not Stockholm, Sweden or Holland," a reader stated.

Those who supported new bike lanes in the neighborhood were a minority.

► "As someone who grew up on the Upper East Side, I've been waiting for these lanes for a long time. So many neighborhood residents are so inured to reckless behavior by drivers towards pedestrians that they don't see all the red light running, speeding, stopping in crosswalks, and failures to yield all the time at every intersection, yet notice cyclists breaking rules because it is novel. More bicycles may be a recent trend, but it's long been the drivers doing all the killing," one Neighborhood Square user said.

► "This will increase the safety of cyclists while not changing anything for pedestrians, and simply pushing drivers to drive more correctly. No major changes," another user said.

► "UItimately pedestrians are supposed to have the right of way and they are threatened by both the cars and the bikes. I agree that its very hard for conscientious bikers like you in traffic in NYC, and I do question why bikes are there in the first place, we are not Europe. Still I do think there is some way to do it, but right now as I wrote they have some priorities first. Ultimately its keeping pedestrians safe," another reader said.