Second ave. safety upgrades on the way


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DOT to begin installing new bike lane, pedestrian island near hazardous Queensboro Bridge intersection


Photos



  • The DOT will reconfigure Second Avenue between 68th and 60th Streets to include a new curbside bike lane. Image: NYC DOT




  • A cyclist crosses the 59th Street and Second Avenue intersection using the bus lane. The Department of Transportation is set to install a new bike lane at the dangerous crossing, near the entrance to the Queensboro Bridge. Photo: Michael Garofalo




Bicyclists and pedestrians will soon see long-awaited safety improvements along one of Second Avenue’s most treacherous stretches.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is set to install a new dedicated bike lane on Second Avenue between 68th and 60th Streets, where bikers currently must share a travel lane with motor vehicles. The agency will also reconfigure the complex and crowded intersection at the entrance to the Queensboro Bridge, between 60th and 59th Streets, to make the crossing safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Cyclists have advocated for years for improved street design in the frequently congested area.

A Point of Contention

The new curbside bike lane will be parking-protected — that is, separated from vehicle traffic by a lane of parked cars — only during off-peak hours, between 8 p.m. and 3 p.m. The parking lane will become a travel lane to accommodate increased traffic during the afternoon rush hour, leaving just a small painted buffer between bikers and drivers.

The lack of full-time protection has been a topic of contention for many cyclists. Chelsea Yamada, a community organizer for Manhattan with the bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, said that the new curbside lane is “a step in the right direction” but added that a lane protected by parked cars at all times would be safer. “I think the rush hour design really does an injustice to cyclists during the times when the pressures of traffic are most dangerous,” she said.

Safer at the Bridge

The DOT’s overhaul of the Queensboro Bridge crossing will include new crosswalks and a pedestrian island on the east side of the intersection, which a recent study found was the borough’s most dangerous. The redesign will also include a signaled crossing for cyclists continuing south on Second Avenue. Currently, cyclists in the shared lane must contend with vehicles turning left onto the bridge entrance ramp, and often opt instead to cross several lanes of traffic to ride in the bus lane along the opposite curb.

Initial construction work on the project is set to begin as early as this week, according to a DOT spokesperson.





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