NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new bike lane that snakes across the busy entrance to the 59th Street Bridge on Second Avenue is a safety concern for some people.
But others say once everyone gets used to it, the area will actually become safer for cyclists, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported Wednesday.
Chopper 2 was high above the new bike lane past the 59th Street Bridge, but not everyone knows about it just yet. A cyclist is seen riding outside the lane cuts off a van and continues down Second Avenue.
A few minutes earlier, a cyclist stops on one of the new bike lane islands, appearing unsure who has the right of way, while two other cyclists behind keep going past the cars.
Despite the confusion, many cyclists said the bike lane is a welcome addition to what’s usually a very dangerous area.
It’s also getting disdain from drivers.
“Easy to get into an accident now. More easy,” one driver told Grymes.
“We have our own lane that we can have to ourselves now and not have to worry about getting hit by someone else,” said cyclist Andrew Barnish.
“It’s good for me, but we can’t trust the vehicles,” Trevor Travis said.
The new bike lane just opened on the east side of Second Avenue — from 68th to 59th streets, right past the exit and entrance to the 59th Street Bridge — a typically congested intersection with several different lanes of traffic.
“So you had bikes going up on the sidewalk conflicting with pedestrians. You had the cars conflicting with each other and the cyclists. It was pandemonium. Now there’s a place for folks to go,” City Councilman Ben Kallos said.
Kallos calls the bike lane a welcome addition.
The city Department of Transportation added two islands at the base of the bridge, along with a painted bike lane.
Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, said the DOT will be adding a special light in the next week or two, so it’s clear who has the right of way.
For now, traffic agents have been posted.
All that said, not everyone is happy about the new design.
“We were concerned about that island,” constituent Jerry Herman said.
Kallos got an earful from Herman, who drives and rides his bike.
He admitted that the are is dangerous for cyclists, but wishes cyclists could share the bus lane on the other side of the street.
“Instead of interfering and putting bicycles in line with thousands of automobiles … It’s insane,” Herman said.
Kallos and the DOT said the lane is currently in the safest configuration. The DOT told Grymes it will be working to add signals that are better aligned with the new traffic pattern and that are better visible for cars heading to Queens and cyclists navigating the area.