NYC DOT Installs Controversial Bike Lanes On High-Traffic First And Second Avenues In Manhattan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s more bike bedlam in New York City, now that the Department of Transportation has installed new bike lanes in heavy traffic areas.

Residents said they’re wondering what officials were thinking when they installed the lanes on First and Second Avenues from 34th to 59th streets.

It’s an area already so congested at rush hour that cars can barely move, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

“I don’t think it’s going to work,” Bruce Silberblatt said.

Silberblatt’s group, the Turtle Bay Association, took pictures showing how the First Avenue approach to the 59th Street Bridge was already congested.

“It was bedlam,” Silberblatt said. “Anybody trying to ride a bike is taking their life in their hands. It’s that dangerous.”

CBS 2 scoped out the area and spotted other potential dangers. Buses come down 48th Street and travel one block to 49th to turn around. They have to cross the new bike lane twice within one block.

A Second Avenue bike lane is next to the Israeli consulate, leaving many wondering what would happen if a man on a bike were a terrorist.

There’s an even bigger problem on the stretch of First Avenue between 48th and 49th streets. The DOT’s own flyer said that there’s supposed to be a protected bike lane, with an additional lane where cars are supposed to be able to park.

However, for traffic coming from 48th Street and from First Avenue, there’s no place for cars to go.

When asked about the potential problems with that plan, the DOT backed off the idea.

“That’s a narrower section, and it’s going to be tweaked to fit in that section,” said Joshua Benson, director of bicycle and pedestrian programs for the DOT. “It’s not going to look exactly the same as the other portions.”

In the end, it may simply be about who the streets are for, what percentage of people who use the streets are bicyclists, and what percentage are driving automobiles.

“It’s a tough number to pinpoint, but where we’ve already installed the new bike path, we see somewhere around 10 percent of the traffic is bike traffic,” Benson said.

Opponents might argue that the 90 percent who use cars and buses should rule the road, especially in an area with such high levels of congestion.

Bike advocates said they’d like to see the bike lanes on First and Second Avenues extend all the way to 125th Street.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Marcia Kramer
  • SteveCelt

    This is journalism at it’s worst. What a moronic article. My already low opinion of your station just got lower. Why don’t you do an honest article on the benefits of bicycling?

  • Sharppie

    I absolutely love driving my car, and I want the road space for it.
    But this nonsense B.S. journalism is REALLY going too far.
    “Imagine if the man on a bike was a terrorist” really? REALLY?

  • Jack

    I share Richard Allen’s frustration, but from a different perspective. 2 of my accidents proceeded as follows: Driver tried to make a left-hand turn to beat oncoming traffic, (me on my bike going straight through a green light): head-on collision, one totaled bike, days out of work with injuries, uninsured driver, endless runarounds, bicyclist eats it. 2. Pedestrian runs blindly out into street trying to hail a cab, knocks bicyclist off bike in his eager obliviousness, cyclist wakes up after smashing his (helmeted) head on the curb to find a tow truck backing up off his (second!) crumpled bike. Tow truck speeds away, pedestrian cab-hailer blames everything on reckless cyclists. Cyclist eats it.
    And I won’t even bore you with getting doored, they’re becoming cliche. (Except when the doored party ends up getting run over by a bus.)

    No fun in any of these encounters, but only some of us nearly get killed in them.
    Cheers, Joe

    Oh yeah, Marcia Kramer, ARE YOU AN IDIOT? The people really do want to know.

  • jack tackle

    If Marcia Kramer believes even a word of what she said in this report, she is simply a spectacular moron. Yep, the bicycle is truly the weapon of choice for antisemitic terrorists everywhere. And if cars are clogging the street, then clearly making it more difficult for people to use non-car transportation should be a great solution. This report is utter garbage which makes me glad I gave up on local news a long time ago.

  • The News Junkie

    On the 2nd Avenue bike lane going by the Israeli Consulate…
    Marcia – “Imagine if the man on a bike was a terrorist.”
    Do you really expect to be taken seriously with comments like that? Hey Marcia, ya know what? There’s a sidewalk next to the Israeli Consulate. Imagine if that guy on the sidewalk was a terrorist. Hmmmm… maybe they should rip up the sidewalk in front of the consulate, too. And while they’re at it, what if that guy in the taxi going by the consulate was a terrorist… Hmmmm, maybe they shouldn’t allow any traffic on 2nd avenue of any kind, motor vehicle, bicycle or pedestrian. You’re so silly.

    Why are you so biased against bike lanes? Furthermore, aren’t you embarrassed as a journalist to let your bias come through in your reporting? If you want to become an opinionated broadcaster go host a radio talk show. You never seem to let the facts get in the way of you telling the story you want to to tell.

  • Xiao-zi


    My thoughts? (You asked.) Close the street off to cars and there will be pleanty of room for bikers and mass-transit to safely and peacefully co-exist, which will reduce congestion, speed-up traffic and lower pollution.

  • R. Decline

    Bike lanes and terrorism? Really?
    Imagine if that terrorist bicycle rider road on a sidewalk! Or just the side of the street! Or was walking! Or driving a car! Or driving a truck! Or rolling a hotdog cart full of explosives and selling poisoned hotdogs to children riding on bikes built by terrorists to explode when in bike lanes!!!!!!!!!!! OMG! Dig up all the f***ing streets! Remove all transportation! Terror Terror everywhere and not an ounce of sense.

  • Used to respect CBS

    This correspondent should be fired immediately, before she causes the network a real problem.

  • Pam S

    Herr Bloomberg can’t find money to save schools, hire teachers, or save firehouses. But he can spend money to increase traffic congestion. I cant wait till this usurped term is over and he stops being a detriment to the city.

    • The News Junkie

      Actually, a lot of the money for bike lanes comes from federal grants specifically intended for improving bicycle infrastructure in the nation’s cities.

  • richard Allen

    As a NYC driver I am in Favor of bike lanes as long as

    We treat bikers and pedestrians as major contributors to accidents. I have had 2 bikers run into my car and get hurt badly…BUT IT WAS THEIR OWN FAULT.

    And i had to fight tooth and nail with my insurance company…they were willing to pay a fraudulent claim and make me lose my safe drivers rates….NOT RIGHT.

    If a pedestrian or bikers does something stupid like ride with no headlights reflectors or orange jackets at night they should be held fully accountable for their own accidents…..I am NOT going to be responsible if I can’t see you…period!

    We must eliminate the assumption that the car driver is always at fault, then we can live together in harmony.

    • Kat

      You do realize if you have NY insurance you have no fault insurance as required by law, so yes your insurance company had to pay even if it was their fault. Since bike riding and walking don’t require insurance their insurance company cannot be held responsible in the same way. Which is why NY insurance rates are often downright unaffordable. Evidently this was to limit the number of claims going to court, but yeah it doesn’t translate well in reality as insurance companies tend to assign fault no matter what.

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