CITY PLANS TO PROPOSE AMSTERDAM AVENUE PROTECTED BIKE LANE

amsterdam avenue
One lane of traffic will likely be removed if Amsterdam Avenue gets a protected bike lane.

After being pressured by local officials, the city Department of Transportation now says it will introduce a proposal to the community board for a protected bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue in September or October. The community board and council members Helen Rosenthal and Mark Levine have asked the DOT to install a northbound lane on the UWS like the Southbound one on Columbus, particularly given that CitiBike is coming to the neighborhood this fall.

Unlike Columbus, where the three existing car lanes simply needed to be narrowed to accommodate a bike lane, Amsterdam would likely lose a lane of traffic to make way for the bike lane.

DOT commissioner Polly Trottenberg first broke the news about the Amsterdam lane on WNYC, as reported by Streetsblog.

“Amsterdam Avenue is challenging… Just the way the traffic moves and the configuration of the roadway do make it a more challenging road to redesign [than Columbus],” Trottenberg said. “But we’re going to come up with some plans and we’re going to lay them out for the community board and for everyone who’s interested.”

Even if the city draws up plans, it’s still not a done deal that Amsterdam will get a lane. Already, Dan Zweig of Community Board 7 has expressed concerns, telling the Post “There is very heavy traffic [on Amsterdam] and it is a truck route…We don’t know if Amsterdam Avenue can accommodate a bike lane.”

NEWS | 203 comments | permalink
    1. MJ says:

      Do it! Absolutely! Adding a bike lane is more important than retaining a lane of traffic. (And reduced traffic flow, in addition to all its other benefits, may even reduce the number of cars on the road by nudging drivers to public transportation or their bikes. It’ll definitely be better for health and the environment).

      • UWS Dad says:

        Nudging drivers to public transportation sounds like a good plan, except that public transportation is already overcrowded! And it will only get worse once all the new high rises on Broadway get filled with thousands of people.

        • Nathan says:

          Other than rush hour it’s not that crowded. And even then it’s usually not that bad unless something happens to delay the trains.

        • Tyson White says:

          Doesn’t nudge drivers anywhere. It’s a super wide street and you’ll be able to continue to drive without problems. You’ll also have to worry less about a speeding car smashing into you when your kids are in the back, since right now Amsterdam’s width encourages speeding.

      • lynn says:

        I’m already using public transportation. Now buses and cabs are going to be even slower than they already are. Are you all prepared to give up everything to ride a bike, seriously?

        Btw, not all of us are physically able to use the subway.

    2. Jeff Baynon says:

      Doing something a foolish as adding on a bike lane on Amsterdam ave with all the delivery’s it encounters, plus all the regular traffic, will eventually cause someone to serious injury or death. I have been on the upper west side for over forty years, and can find no reason to subject the pedestrians, and auto to this much danger. jeff Baynon

      • Sensible says:

        Bike traffic is going to exist whether a bike lane exists or not. The entire idea of putting in bike lanes is to steer the already existing flow of traffic in a way that will hopefully reduce accidents. There have been numerous studies on the bike lanes that have already been installed in NYC and they almost all appear to have overwhelmingly achieved this goal.

      • Tyson White says:

        Considering that Amsterdam is a hotbed for speeding, coupled with the fact bike ARE already using Amsterdam anyway, I don’t see how your apocalyptic vision would materialize. Amsterdam is the same width as Columbus and the sky didn’t fall even 4 years after the bike lane was installed there!

      • Katz says:

        Kids already died on ams ave In car accidents without bike lane.

    3. Mike says:

      In theory it’s a lovely concept. Reality is another story. I’ve still yet to see a single bike in the bike lane on Columbus, as bikers continue to ride in the car lanes, while others have recently taken to riding on the sidewalk. Coupled with the narrower lanes and parking spaces floating in the middle of the street, this has created a more dangerous situation for drivers of cars, bikes, and pedestrians.

      • Cato says:

        Oh, picky, picky.

        There are a couple of people who want to ride their bikes once in a while. Can’t we accept these minor, trivial and totally inconsequential changes so they can?

        Isn’t the good of the fun-loving few worth more than the inconvenience and danger to the many?

      • Sensible says:

        Anecdotal observations are very unreliable. Thankfully you don’t have to rely on them. DOT did a study, including counts taken from April to October in the year before the Columbus bike lane was built and again 3 years after. Usage of the bike lane represented a 51% increase over the counts done 3 years prior.

        Moreover, there are network effects with bike infrastructure. I would expect the addition of a lane on Amsterdam would only increase use of the Columbus lane. With the addition of a safe option to travel both uptown and downtown, people who may have been afraid to bike before might begin using both lanes.

        • maryjane says:

          A 51% increase in bike lane usage is meaningless without total volumes. I.e., there could have been 2 people using the bike lane before and now it’s 3. That’s an increase of 50%, but that certainly doesn’t mean it makes sens to have these bike lanes. The total numbers are very small so not sure why we need more bike lanes when no one uses them.

          • Sensible says:

            The comparison was bike volume on the street before the lane was constructed to bike volume on the lane post-construction. I thought it was more compelling to report the change but if you just want a static count, the average weekday use of the bike lane between 90-91st was around 450 per day, between 77-78th it was around 570.

    4. Elizabeth M. says:

      This is a bad idea. I rarely see anyone using the one on Columbus, and I’m out on the avenue a lot since I live there. And the riders don’t follow the traffic rules and often go in the wrong direction. The traffic on Amsterdam is awful; trucks making deliveries and the #7 & #11 buses. It would make a bad situations worse.

      • Denise says:

        I ate lunch outside at Isabella’s on 77th and Columbus Ave. and counted 7 bikers using the dedicated bike lane. Two were going the wrong way. Amsterdam is so crowded with traffic that I can imagine removing 1 lane will create even more congestion. We should consider the noise and air quality for the residents of Amsterdam Ave. before creating a designated bike lane.

        • Nathan says:

          Amterdam Ave is not that congested. I can cross the street against the light pretty much any time of day. It’s 4 lanes! It’s like a friggin highway. Not an appropriate width for a neighborhood.

          • Tibbeth says:

            Nathan: “I can cross the street against the light pretty much any time of day.”
            You make my point, pedestrian behavior is also to blame for accidents.

            Nathan: “It’s 4 lanes! It’s like a friggin highway.”
            Wrong: It is two lanes of traffic and 2 parking lanes. And have you ever seen a highway?

        • Sensible says:

          Using traffic cameras and taxi GPS, studies have shown no change in average car speed or congestion on Columbus following the construction of the bike lane. DOT also conducted bike counts over a slightly longer sample size than your Isabella lunch. I would defer to their numbers. With regards to the wrong-way bikers, this sounds like a very good argument for building an uptown bike lane.

          http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/2014-09-03-bicycle-path-data-analysis.pdf

          • There are no working traffic cams on Columbus Ave above 65th street to verify usage. See the DOT map at: http://nyctmc.org/

            If vehicles are maintaining the same speed, then where is the calming effect on traffic?

            • Sensible says:

              DOT has transportable and handheld speed cameras. I just assume they used those. The Columbus ave. speed data (collected at 4 points, two with the total street redesign, two without) showed a significantly lower incidence of speeding in the redesigned portions (8 and 17 percent, versus 29 and 29 percent). Meanwhile, the average rush hour travel time across the redesigned portion, as measured by gps, declined by 35%.

              All I am trying to say is that there is data available if you are truly interested in the potential impact of a bike lane. We shouldn’t let public policy decisions be solely informed by eyewitness accounts or gut feelings when data is available. I urge everyone to look at all the studies that have been done on the impact of bike lanes on injuries to pedestrians/bikers/ or cars, traffic density, parking, business revenues, cyclist law breaking, etc. etc. If you have an alternate data source, or a concern that you don’t think has been addressed by prior studies, I think myself and others would be sincerely interested in learning about it.

              As I said in the comments on a previous post on this topic, I think a lot of the rhetoric on both sides of this issue are driven by an us versus them mentality, with positions that are more about spiting the other side than making good policy.

              If you are truly interested in addressing concerns about pedestrian safety, bad cyclist behavior, or traffic congestion, the available data suggests that you should be an avid supporter of more bike lanes.

      • Cato says:

        Yes, but other than that you have to admit it’s a great idea.

      • Tyson White says:

        I see moms carrying their kids to school on bikes on Columbus. How are they supposed to get home safely without a safe northbound bike lane?

        You won’t get anyone using the Columbus Ave bike lane if we don’t make a northbound one on Amsterdam.

    5. Joanne says:

      I’m a biking advocate, but Amsterdam CANNOT accommodate a bike lane; it’s a traffic and pedestrian jungle as it is! Check it out any late afternoon, particularly toward the end of the week.

    6. Wendy says:

      It’s a big mistake to compare Columbus Avenue with Amsterdam Ave. Amst. Ave will have much more bike traffic than Columbus, which basically was, and still is, a path to nowhere. I occasionally use the Col. bike path, but I live much further west than that, so it doesn’t make sense to ride 3 blocks west to only go a mile downtown. the lane completely fell apart after 72nd Street. I would use the Amsterdam lane all the time- it’s closer to where I live and is near major destinations (B&N, Fairway, Trader Joe’s, Zabar’s, Lincoln Center, etc). Nothing much on Columbus except for the museum. Amsterdam Ave. has many speeders… one less lane would probably slow the traffic down to more reasonable speeds.

      • Cato says:

        Umm, you wouldn’t use the Amsterdam Avenue bike path to ride that mile downtown. Traffic on Amsterdam Avenue goes *uptown*.

        Or does that not matter to you?

    7. Mike says:

      Another Bike lane?!? Are you kidding me? The bikes dont even stay in the bike lane 99% of the time. Sometimes two bikes come down on both sides on ride directly in the middle, run red lights, ride on sidewalks, etc. Drivers pay insurance, registration, inspection, sales tax. What do bikers pay? They have no money. Good luck reducing the number of cars. Only thing that will happen is more idiots on bikes will be run over for disobeying traffic laws.

      • Siddhartha says:

        Um, bikers have no money? Most cyclists on the UWS (aside from deliverymen) are riding around on $3000+ bikes. Also, they pay taxes. Not sure where you’re getting this “they pay no taxes they have no money” business from.

        • Sprinkles says:

          I ride a $70 used bike. I pay too much in rent to be able to afford anything remotely close to $3000.

          Car owners get free storage for their vehicles on streets that I, as a taxpayer, pay to maintain. Essentially I’m subsidizing their parking spot, and getting nothing from it because I don’t own a car.

          • Tibbeth says:

            Sorry Springles, drivers of vehicles are paying their fair share. Parking tickets make up a huge revenue source for NYC. That said, this money is not being used to fix the streets to make them better for everyone. Maybe the ticket revenues are going for bike lanes. Who knows?

            • Sprinkles says:

              Getting a parking ticket is a penalty for doing something wrong, not an automatic fee to have a car.

      • Siddhartha says:

        Additionally, bikes pay sales and income tax, and which is what’s used to fund the local roads they use. The license registration, gas taxes and tolls all go to highway construction and maintenance (which bikers don’t use) and it still needs sudsidies from other taxes because the gas tax hasn’t been raised since 1993
        so we’re subsidizing cars

        • Jeremy says:

          Ohhhhkay. The next time I’m on the GW bridge, I’ll tell all the cyclists that “Siddhartha says you can’t be here! You are dampening his straw man!”

      • David Vassar says:

        Mike, motorists do not pay NEARLY enough to cover the collective human, social and environmental toll their disastrous transportation choice takes on quality of life in NYC, nationwide, PLANETwide.
        The Columbus Ave Bike Lane is still catching on, and the upcoming Amsterdam Avenue bike lane will likewise require a psychological adjustment period for the community. But the tectonic pace of shifts in cultural attitudes will eventually take us to recognition of the health and beauty of people moving on bicycles in contrast to the ugly, death-dealing malaise of motoring, motoring, motoring which we’ve senselessly accepted as a cultural norm for far too long.

      • Tyson White says:

        Perhaps that wouldn’t be an issue if cars and trucks wouldn’t often block the bike lane. Enforcement is needed for both.

      • Tyson White says:

        I’m sorry, but the local roads aren’t paid for by drivers at all. In fact, revenue from motorists in NY make up only about 54% of highways, bridges and tunnels which are used exclusively by cars.
        http://taxfoundation.org/article/gasoline-taxes-and-user-fees-pay-only-half-state-local-road-spending

    8. Tibbeth says:

      A bike lane on Amsterdam Ave is not a good idea at all. The traffic is much too heavy and a bike lane will not reduce that, just make it worse and impossible at some times to have an uptown thoroughfare as well as increase the hazards to all. As for the bikes (riders) themselves, it is extremely disconcerting to see the degree to which many consistently disobey traffic laws and take ridiculous chances with their lives in the traffic on Amsterdam Avenue and elsewhere. I am strongly, strongly in favor of NYC authorities being much, much stricter on bikers and pedestrians. People complain about vehicular traffic all the time and call it unsafe and at times rightly so, but the traffic behavior of bikers and pedestrians in this city is deplorable and the reason so many are hurt or even lose their lives. This is where long overdue action needs to be taken. It is not realistic to continue to fail to recognize the responsibility of bikers and pedestrians for the unsafe conditions and accidents they cause. Before another bike lane, let the DOT or NYPD (whomever) enforce some traffic laws aimed at bikers and pedestrians as well as vehicles. Let’s have a little equity here. The Mayor talks about changing the traffic culture in NYC, “Vision Zero.” Well that must include not only vehicles but bikes (of all types) and pedestrians as well. I have yet to hear the Mayor or any city official address this issue comprehensively and realistically.

      • Siddhartha says:

        To everyone who says that adding a bike lane will increase congestion: It will not. Roads with both cars and bikes are in fact more congested when there is not a bike lane. it speeds up traffic for both to have a separate bike lane
        (http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/1/015028/article)

        • Tibbeth says:

          Most likely this is when conditions are adequate to allow for both vehicular traffic lanes and bike lanes. Every situation does not conform and it seems that Amsterdam may be one of these.

      • Nathan says:

        Your assertion that bikers and pedestrians are responsible for most traffic injuries is simply false. I didn’t bother to read the rest of your post after reading that nonsense.

        • Tibbeth says:

          Did not use the word “most.” But since you did not read my complete statement you would not know that.

      • Sensible says:

        Your concerns about law enforcement and unsafe/hazardous cyclist behavior are very good reasons to support the construction of more bike lanes. Bike lanes make it easier to create clear and widely understood biking regulations that are easy to follow and make it easier for law enforcement to single out and punish those not abiding by them.

        • Tibbeth says:

          You make a good point. A separate bike lane may help with clarifying the rules. Hopefully bikers will learn to follow them, which many do not.

      • Tyson White says:

        You just made an argument to take away a lane from cars since they don’t obey the speed limit, texting laws, and they speed through yellow (oops, red!) lights all the time. They also honk illegally, make illegal u-turns, idle engines illegally, shall I go on? But sure, go ahead and blame everyone else for getting killed by cars.

        This isn’t about one or another’s behaviour, but about what’s the most rational way of making the street safe and convenient for everyone.

        P.S. If traffic on Amsterdam is “too heavy” then why does it have the highest rate of speeding?

        • Tibbeth says:

          Correction: There is enough blame to go around and certainly the bikers and pedestrians must share in this.

          • Tyson White says:

            Really? The majority of drivers are speeding and texting, yet pedestrians and bicyclists should take the blame? The UWS saw the highest spike in pedestrian deaths in 2014 over ALL other neighborhoods in NYC.

    9. Steve J says:

      As a pedestrian who walks a couple of miles daily on the UWS I find the bike lanes to be treacherous. While cars remain stopped when faced with a red light bicyclists do not. They speed through red lights with impunity and that makes it dangerous for pedestrians crossing the bike lane, whether with or against the light.

      So a bike lane on Amsterdam would add congestion for drivers and danger for pedestrians. Gosh I hope this doesn’t happen.

      • dannyboy says:

        Last night I had my first near collission with a JOGGER.

        I was crossing westbound at 95 & Bway, and she’s running in the street down Broadway.

        I guess it happenned because she blew through the red light.

        Way too much contention in the streets, aggrevated by rule-evading.

      • David Vassar says:

        Steve, You’re right about reckless cyclists, who I personally resent because they’re essentially trashing the reputation of the urban cyclist and the image of cycling in NYC in general. Fellow cyclists, we all have to act as bike ambassadors and call our reckless fellow cyclists to account on ALL our City’s streets.

      • Tyson White says:

        DOT stats show a sharp decline in injuries to everyone, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists in places where the bike lanes have been installed. But I hear your concern, man.

    10. MG says:

      Ridiculous. The bike lobby is creating havoc. The congestion, smog and pollution is horrible on Columbus and will be even worse on Amsterdam. This is clearly a violation of every EPA (Environmental Protection) rule.
      New rules to reduce emissions are being introduced almost weekly and this would violate anyone of them.
      We have enough public transportation and bike paths to satisfy any demand for transit. Moderation please.

      • Nathan says:

        Citation Needed. New rules every week? Give me a break. Give me just ONE example of a new rule, or a rule being broken by adding a bike lane.

      • Sensible says:

        I am completely confused. Am I correctly understanding your position: you are against infrastructure that encourages bike transportation because it will increase car pollution?

    11. Nora Kasarda says:

      No more bike lanes until traffic rules begin to be enforced for bike riders. The bike lanes on Columbus are heavily used by bikers in both directions as are the sidewalks! They pay no attention to pedestrians and their dogs. Also Amsterdam Ave is already too congested. A bike lane will make it impossible especially once the new box stores locate in the new construction between 95th and 96th. Please no more bike lanes until bikers learn that they will be treated the same as autos if they defy the traffic laws!!!

      • Sprinkles says:

        The Columbus bike lane is used by people riding in both directions *because* there’s no lane on Amsterdam that lets them safely travel uptown.

        DOT studies have shown that adding a bike lane does not worsen congestion, and it makes the roads safer for everybody.

      • Tyson White says:

        So we close the streets to cars until they all start obeying the speed limit and all stop texting?

    12. AC says:

      BAD IDEA
      1) The ones on Columbus Ave are hardly used.
      2) They become useless in snowy months, as they don’t get paved.
      3) Engine 25 needs all available lanes in the event of an emergency

      • Sensible says:

        The only available data shows that the bike lane on Columbus is actually heavily used. Regarding the fire department, I am not following your point that reclassifying part of the currently existing auto lane as a bike lane would impact fire department access.

      • Lorraine says:

        I was wondering when someone was going to mention the fire trucks! That was my first thought about losing a lane. But I have to imagine that will get serious consideration/research. I hope!

        Sensible, I’m not sure I understand your response. As it is, it can be hard for emergency vehicles to get through the streets. One less lane is one less option for them and for cars to go. I lived right on Amsterdam for 19 years and almost every siren was accompanied by the god-awful airhorns.

        My other thought echoes many here. I rarely see bikers using these lanes (not just on Columbus). For me, it definitely casts a lot of doubt on whether this is worth it.

        • Sensible says:

          Apologies if that came off as flippant. Following your comment I googled the issue and found out that the FDNY is consulted on every major transportation project and conducts an Emergency Vehicle Access Review before giving the DOT the go-ahead on a project. I hope you can feel more comfortable supporting the bike lane knowing that if the fire department sees the current proposal as a serious risk, it will never see the light of day.

          From DOT’s procedures:

          “For major transportation projects*, DOT consults with FDNY, NYPD, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD), and SBS.”

          * Defined by Local Law 90 of 2009 as affecting four or more consecutive blocks or 1,000 consecutive feet (whichever is shorter); a major realignment of the roadway, including either the removal of a vehicular (or travel) lane(s) or full-time removal of a parking lane(s) or the addition of a vehicular lane(s).

          • Lorraine says:

            Thanks for the response. I would have been shocked if they weren’t part of the planning, but it surprises me a little that they are good with it. I guess they feel there’s not enough traffic to have an impact.

        • Sensible says:

          As for the utilization issue, I have addressed that in a number of other comments above but I think it is worth repeating: despite the fact that it may seem empty at any given time, available data shows that is actually used quite heavily.

      • Willow says:

        Fire trucks and other emergency vehicles can use the bike lane, it’s wide enough. So, this is actually an argument *for* protected bike lanes. I’ve seen a fire truck stuck in traffic and then use the bike lane and was relieved it had the option.

    13. Rachel says:

      Don’t do it! Columbus Ave has become more congested and dangerous. Treacherous for pedestrians, frustrating for cars and the wrong way bike riders, often in he car lanes, should be arrested for being a public danger.

    14. Babs says:

      NO! Amsterdam is too congested as is. Cyclists do not obey traffic lights, ride the wrong way and do not yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

      • Siddhartha says:

        To everyone who says that adding a bike lane will increase congestion: It will not. Roads with both cars and bikes are in fact more congested when there is not a bike lane. it speeds up traffic for both to have a separate bike lane
        (http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/1/015028/article)

        • Jeremy says:

          That’s wildly deceptive. The paper you’re linking to basically says that buses can often get stuck behind cyclists, particularly at grade. The most straightforward remedy they provide is creating wider traffic lanes.

          • Sensible says:

            I agree with this. Make the lane wide enough for a truck to easily pass a biker. Also, while you are at it, it would probably make sense to drop a stripe of paint down to let the trucker know how much room he has.

    15. jiilll says:

      the bikes go both ways con Columbus way should i have to watch on two avenues.

      • Sensible says:

        The addition of an uptown bike lane should help alleviate the problem you raise. If you are concerned about the number of two-way bikers on Columbus I would encourage you to support an Amsterdam bike lane.

    16. 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

      I support the addition of a bike lane to Amsterdam Avenue. Bikes are a legitimate form of transportation and should be accommodated in the street design. There will still be multiple lanes for car traffic.

    17. Margaret says:

      I’m SO glad to hear DOT is bringing these plans forward. Dan Zweig has not been elected to anything, and he was reappointed under a lot of opposition from local voters. I say this as someone who is interested: its hard to know what his qualifications for the role are. He has a right to his own opinion, of course.

      I spoke at the July community board meeting in favor of the Amsterdam Ave complete street, and wanted to follow up here. I talked about going on a cross-country bike trip from Boston to Seattle, then down to San Diego, several years ago. The biggest worry being getting hit by a careless driver of a car or a truck, on ill-designed roads that put bicyclists at the mercy of distracted drivers.

      The year after my trip, my cousin was killed while biking to work in Boston. A taxi swerved right and pushed him under the wheels of a garbage truck. At the meeting, I said one of the hardest things for my family is watching other cyclists get killed at the same spot, where politicians still hadn’t found “room” to allocate space for a safe biking lane. (This is right in front of Northeastern University and the MFA.) If you look at Google streetview, Huntington Ave at Forsyth, you can see the bottleneck.

      I didn’t know at the time of the meeting that the next bicyclist killed there had a strong connection to NYC. Her name was Kelsey Rennebohm, a 2006 Barnard grad who taught middle school in East Harlem for two years before she moved to Boston for the masters program in education at Boston University. (Where she was killed at age 29 on a popular street for bikers without a bike lane). It’s heartbreaking to accept these deaths as acceptable.

      Anyway, as I said at the meeting, six-lane Amsterdam Ave has plenty of space for a complete street and a bike lane. I live on Amsterdam and while double parking and speeding are problems, it’s not congested. The speeding is a follow-on effect of the road design, with 4 lanes for moving cars and trucks as fast as they can go.

      • Sprinkles says:

        I knew Kelsey Rennebohm. Had she lived, she would have been the kind of person to genuinely change the world. She was just one of those amazing people.

        • Margaret says:

          I didn’t know Kelsey but she really does sound amazing. The deaths of talented, selfless people like her is a huge issue for all of us. I’m so sorry for the tragic, senseless loss.

    18. JT says:

      Hey just what we need wasted resources to put a bike lane on a tremendously congested avenue already.
      Lets not do something that makes sense like divert these funds to the NYPD, crime is only up 100% in Central Park, how long before it pours out?
      This Mayor and City Council are in Never Never Land as in never do anything intelligent. Bill take your cabinet and go off into the night.

      • Sensible says:

        While the increase in crime in Central Park is certainly high profile, scary, and a problem that needs to be addressed – UWSers are still far more likely to be involved in an accident as a pedestrian, biker, or driver. Creating sensible infrastructure with clear delineations on when/where each of these parties should be would reduce confusion and make it easier to single out those breaking the law and endangering others. In terms of my sense of safety as an UWSer, I probably place a higher priority on trying to reduce the risk of injury I face when walking/biking/driving than reducing my risk of being the victim of a violent crime (which statistically speaking is still pretty low).

        • Jeremy says:

          There is no confusion. Cyclists know that they’re obligated to follow the rules of the road, and are prohibited from riding on sidewalks. These are deliberate decisions that are being made.

          Chalking that up to “confusion” really shows a lack of understanding of how cyclists choose to conduct themselves in our neighborhood.

          • Sensible says:

            One example, if I am in the left hand lane approaching an intersection where I want to make a left hand turn, and there is a bike on my back left side who is potentially attempting to go straight, who has the right of way? If a biker is on the right hand side of the street, stopped at a red light and wants to make a left turn onto a one way street, can they cross in front of the stopped cars and continue down the one way street? I am sure there are proper answers to both of these questions somewhere in the code but I don’t expect every bikers, or cop for that matter, to remember them. Putting bikes/cars/pedestrians in their own segregated space with clear rules on when you can safely encroach one of the other zones would remove many of these uncertainties.

            I agree there will always be cyclist lawbreakers, ranging from the benign to the intentionally negligent. This is the same for cars and pedestrians as well. But to your point, if we can take any steps to reduce unlawful activity such as walking on the sidewalk, I think those are steps worth taking. That is one of the many reasons I support more bike lanes which have been repeatedly shown to accomplish exactly that.

            • sensible says:

              Apologies, I meant to say “unlawful activity such as BIKING on the sidewalk”, not walking.

    19. AnDee says:

      I don’t know when folks who complain are looking at the Columbus Ave bike lane, but when I take it to work in the am I always see other riders in it, and as more Citibikes move North, dollars to donuts you’ll see more riders using the bike lanes safely (including stopping for red lights). And the same will hold true for Amsterdam Ave – if you build it they will come (and bring many of those who foolishly traveling North in the Columbus Ave bike lane a safer place to ride uptown). It’s called progress, people.

    20. Ted says:

      I am opposed to the bike lane on Amsterdam for several reasons.

      1. The usage on the Columbus Avenue bike lane is near zero. The vast majority of people I see using it are food delivery rider. Bike lanes below 23rd street are vital due to the younger population, narrower streets, and higher number of cyclists.

      2. The new lane would make traffic worse on Amsterdam as it did on Columbus. The redesign of WEA also increased traffic. Contrary to planners assertions this “friction” has not decreased the number of drivers. It has only made them more frustrated and aggressive.

      3. Cyclists using (again mainly delivery people) the lane on Columbus regularly ignore traffic signals contributing to pedestrian danger.

      4. People make a flawed comparison for the NYC bicycle vision to Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a tiny city compared to NYC with a wholly different set of demographic. It is like comparing NYC to Austin, or Jacksonville.

      Please let your voice be heard in opposition to this waste of precious resources.

      Thank you.

      • Margaret says:

        Whoa. Is it your opinion that food delivery riders are not people? Cause that’s how it sounds.

        • Ted says:

          Of course they are people. I am glad to see they get helmets and vests.

          By the same token are you suggesting that we should squander entire lanes of avenues and precious city resources so that Upper West Siders can get their Chirping Chicken order a little bit faster?

          Even the totality of delivery traffic is too meager to justify this project which would in the future be seen as yet another symbol of monumental government waste.

          • Margaret says:

            In your initial comment it didn’t sound that way. Maybe I misunderstood your view on whether delivery bicyclists are actual people.

            Did you read my comment above? The people pressing for a complete street treatment on Amsterdam Avenue are motivated by safety. The idea of not waiting for another bicyclist to be killed. Fairness as well, since the majority of UWS households don’t own cars, and are looking for one lane of this 6-lane speedway to be designed for non-motorized traffic.

            The government waste – costs of bike infrastructure are minuscule. And promoting public safety is not wasteful.

          • Tyson White says:

            Actually, using the bike lane doesn’t make you go faster.

            Motorist cannot be relied upon to obey the rules and drive safely without speeding and texting or making other poor decisions that contribute to over 215,000 car crashes in NYC every year. There’s no reason a person wanting to travel by bike shouldn’t be able to do so safely just because (sometimes!) there will be a bit of congestion.

            Amsterdam Av was chosen because it has too much speeding which in itself is an indicator of the lack of congestion. In any case, reducing to 3 lanes from 4 isn’t a cause for congestion unless it’s an interstate in an area where EVERYONE drives. DOT will add turning lanes like they did on Columbus Av, so the net effect on congestion will be zero!

            Now go on and focus your attention on double parked cars which are the ACTUAL cause of congestion.

      • Richard says:

        Ted, your Point #2 hits it right on target. Increased congestion leads to more frustration and aggressive driving. One only has to look at the newly designed West End Ave in the afternoons. Once traffic backs up, drivers pass in the stripped middle lane and run red lights. It’s far more dangerous now than before.
        Amsterdam will only be worse because of the bus and truck traffic – they have to travel on Amsterdam because they are banned from the West Side Highway and West End and the turn onto Broadway after 72nd Street is too tight. Amsterdam will become a parking lot under the new configuration and this will have ripple effects ALL over the west side.

      • Sensible says:

        Ted, all of these points are anecdotal.
        1) Available data shows that the Columbus bike sees heavy use.
        2) Traffic speed and congestion on Columbus avenue (utilizing traffic cameras and GPS) showed almost no change following the installation of the bike lane.
        3) I don’t know if there is any data to support the implicit assumption here, which is that having a bike lane increases unlawful behavior by cyclists. Again, I don’t know of any data on this, but logically I would think that cyclists would be less likely to break traffic laws when using a bike lane than when using the street. When using the street I think many bikers probably have a subconsciously adopt a mindset that the rules/lights/one-ways/etc. are made for cars, not them.
        4) Factually you are correct. NYC isn’t Amsterdam, Austin or Jacksonville. I am also not Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t look for lessons that I can cull from their experiences and apply to my own.

        Bottom line, if you care about pedestrian, cyclist, and driver safety on the UWS side, please support the bike lane. It is a very modest use of resources compared to the potential public safet benefits. If you are really just annoyed by law-breaking cyclists and don’t want them to get something they want, by all means carry on.

        • Ted says:

          You state that my examples are anecdotal and yet you fail to provide any proof for your assertion that the lane on Columbus see heavy use.

          My anecdotes are bases on hundreds of personal observations at many times of day. I don’t blame you for not trusting my word but whose evidence are you sighting.

          I am glad that you are clear that you are not Mandela or King but that does not change the fact that their are scale effects that exist between a city of 900,000 and 1 million and a city of ~8 million. We could glean learnings from Topeka or Kearney NE, but are those really the most useful comparison. Your argument is specious and illogical.

          You other unfounded assertion is that I imply that bike lanes somehow increase lawbreaking behavior by cyclists. There is nothing in my comment that supports that view. It seems a lot more like your own biases coming into play.

          1. First think.

          2. Research.

          3. State and SUPPORT your assertions.

          4. Just because you write it doesn’t make it true. Words actually do have meaning.

          • Sensible says:

            Ted, if you scroll up through my prior comments you will see that I have repeatedly pointed to the data that you say I am lacking. I didn’t cut and paste it into the response to you as I assume most people participating in this conversation are reading through all of the comments and didn’t want to be too repetitive. Furthermore, even if you didn’t see my prior posts you shouldn’t rely on some random internet poster to feed you the data or rely on your own personal, and I am assuming somewhat unscientific, observations. You can find the data yourself in about 30 seconds. That is all I am trying to encourage people to do.

            Regarding your other points, logically your argument does contain an implicit argument that a bike lane results in more running of traffic lights by bikers. You point to the prevalence of this activity on Columbus (which has a bike lane) as a reason not to put one on Amsterdam. This implies that current level of red light running will increase on Amsterdam if a bike lane is installed. If you weren’t making that implication, and you actually think bad behavior by cyclists on Amsterdam will decrease or stay the same once a bike lane is installed, it’s not an argument against putting a bike lane in.

            Lastly, I truly hope that you are just trolling and don’t actually think there is no use in building on and applying the knowledge gained by others. If humans weren’t able to make connections between seemingly unconnected problems and mine others’ experiences in order to come up with our solutions to our own unique problems, we’d still be sitting in caves. No sensible person is arguing that you can take Amsterdam’s bike plan, or London’s, or Washington D.C.’s and plop it down as-is in NYC. That doesn’t mean policy makers shouldn’t look at the experiences from a number of foreign/domestic, big/small, bike-friendly/non-bike-friendly cities and see what lessons can be gleaned. If you don’t agree with that, I don’t know what to tell you.

            • Ted says:

              I am not a troll. Honestly. I just draw different conclusions from my knowledge and experience than you do. If you look at my first post it is quite neutral in tone and simply states that I don’t think the bike lane is a good idea for Amsterdam Avenue.

              You and I prioritize the needs of cyclists differently. In the abstract we may agree to disagree but when it comes to implementation it involves real resources and real choices.

              A very smart person once told me, “argue as though you are sure you are correct, but listen as though you are wrong”. This is a debate on an issue and nothing more.

            • Sensible says:

              Ted, I think you are fundamentally misunderstanding all of my comments on this post. My entire point is that all of the available data suggest that supporting a bike lane doesn’t require you to prioritize any one group over another. I have yet to see any substantiated reasons (by data, not gut feelings or anecdotes) to believe that the lane wouldn’t provide value to bikers, pedestrians, and drivers – much as the Columbus Avenue bike lane and others all over the city have done over the past 5-6 years.

              You imply that I am prioritizing bikers needs over others, and I am curious what other groups’ needs you feel that I am subordinating? In your post you mention pedestrian will be in increased danger and that drivers will be more frustrated and aggressive. These are both at odds with the data on virtually every bike lane that has been installed in the city, which show fewer injuries to pedestrians and decreased travel times for cars impressively coupled with fewer instances of speeding.

              Even if we assumed that drivers will be more frustrated (which seems strange given that bikes would be relatively out of the way and out of sight compared to the current situation where bikes are legally zipping in between car lanes and potentially boxing out the drivers behind them), are you arguing that we should prioritize drivers’ frustration levels over cyclist safety?

            • Ted says:

              I think I do understand your argument. I have looked up a number of the studies from DOT and while some are appear unequivocally better off some seem marginal at best. I am not prioritizing my concern for cyclist (or pedestrian) safety. I see from my window every a major intersection that has been recently redesigned. When traffic builds car drivers lay on there horns, run red lights and make illegal left turns. Perhaps we can agree that an angry, frustrated driver is more dangerous for everyone.

              Having spent much time in bicycle friendly cities like Amsterdam and Berlin I know they work, but there are so many differences between those cities and ours.

              I once walked into the Rescue One Station down on 43rd street and they gave me a great tour. My wife asked the FDNY rep what the top things to safe in the city were. As follows:

              1. Never stand closer than 6-8 feet from the edge of a subway platform.

              2. If you see a wreck on the West Side Highway. Do not get out of your car to help.

              3. Never ride a bike in the city.

              I lived in Boulder, CO for years and went on my bike everywhere. Colorado cyclists are courteous and for the most part very skilled. The city has done an amazing job with not only the trails but clear signage.

            • Margaret says:

              This seems very surprising that FDNY would list these ahead of advice like, check and replace the batteries in your smoke detectors.

              But if FDNY is actually saying that riding a bike on the streets today is one of the three most dangerous things New Yorkers are doing, that’s not an argument against a complete street design on Amsterdam Avenue. Complete streets with safe infrastructure for bicyclists and better pedestrian crossings make the avenues safer for all of us.

    21. Off Duty says:

      Nice to see so many commenter’s here voicing opposition to the new bike lane insanity being proposed for Amsterdam Avenue.
      Ever get the feeling that this isn’t about bikes, safety or transportation?

      • BMAC says:

        No, never once have I had that thought. What color IS the sky in your world, anyway?

        • Off Duty says:

          @ bigmac – Don’t like it when your sandbox is trampled? So you resort to condescend? And so sophomorically too.

          • BMAC says:

            I’m sorry, but, what? No one’s trampling my sandbox: I’m a Citibike and Complete Streets supporter and it looks like I’m getting my preferred policies enacted. I simply do not understand why you constantly insist on bringing innuendo about some weird conspiracy theory (DEM SOCIALISTAS ARE COMIN WITH A SEKRIT PLAN) into what should be a rational discussion about city planning.

            • Off Duty says:

              @ bigmac – And you insult me by asking what color is my sky? And then accuse me of using “innuendo”?
              Your self-righteousness is exceeded only by your contrivance. Typical.
              Create a “straw man” and then attack for something only existing in your own mind.

            • BMAC says:

              “Ever get the feeling that this isn’t about bikes, safety or transportation?”

              That’s pretty much the dictionary definition of “innuendo”, officer.

      • Willow says:

        I am curious too, what are you suggesting it’s about?

        • Off Duty says:

          @ willow – Any sane person who honestly looks at the underutilization of these bike lanes, will instantly know that a really bad, stupid and/or deliberately malicious decision was made in putting such absurdities in place.

          Remember too that is was that runt-mayor bloomberg who installed all those absurd Times Square “plazas” along with all those equally absurd bicycle lanes around the city who’s only effect has been to stifle traffic flow and appease the loony-left “car-haters”. Throw into this madness the “citi-bikes” and this is bloomberg’s revenge for not allowing him to charge motorists extortionate fees for driving below 59th Street.

          Then add the closure of Central Park’s loop and Prospect Park’s drive and the madness is complete.

          Does this help?

          • BMAC says:

            Times Square BID seems pretty happy with those ridiculous plazas, Officer Krupke.

            • Off Duty says:

              @ bigmac – Yeah….you and your lefty-lunatic friends are all pleased with turning this city into a third-world worker’s paradise.

            • BMAC says:

              The Times Square BID is made up of “lefty-lunatics”? So my suspicions were correct: the Officer Krupke character is performance art. Well done, sir. You’ve had us all wondering for months. I hope this piece is viewed favorably by the grant committee.

    22. Linda Mitchell says:

      Enough with the bike lanes! They create incredible traffic jams that have to affect air quality,and from what I see, are underutilized because bikers are riding everywhere else, wrong way and going through lights. I feel like I’m in Bancock with so many modes of transportation and total chaos. Not safe for anyone.

    23. Laurel says:

      Absolutely not. Amsterdam Avenue is already a nightmare.

    24. Siddhartha says:

      To everyone who says that adding a bike lane will increase congestion: It will not. Roads with both cars and bikes are in fact more congested when there is not a bike lane. it speeds up traffic for both to have a separate bike lane

      (http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/1/015028/article)

      • UWS-er says:

        That link may be the least helpful link ever posted. Typical line: “A Pareto set of bi-directional lane configurations for two-lane roadways yields non-dominated combinations of lane width, bicycle lanes and curb parking.” Gee, great.

      • Ted says:

        This would only hold true if there are actual bicycles present. Since the lane on Columbus demonstrates convincingly there is scant bike traffic on the UWS, it is clear that the real comparison is between the current road width and the width minus one lane labeled “bikes” but which is actually just unused road space.

        In the Village or Lower East side this might be a valid point but not on the UWS.

      • Cato says:

        I think we get your point. You don’t need to copy and paste exactly the same comment over and over and over again – even down to the missing period at the end.

        #8 (reply), #14 (reply), #22 — all verbatim, all identical.

        You’ve said it already. Enough.

      • Ted says:

        This study is concerned with two lane roadways not wider avenues. It clearly states that the target cities are municipalities such as Portland, OR which are vastly different from NYC. It does not support your assertions.

    25. mormuse says:

      NO NO NO Amsterdam is a heavily traveled truck route. Squeezing behemoth trailers will no doubt create havoc among cabs and etc. Not to mention the sliding lanes for turns. And last but not least, the diminished parking spaces for shoppers/residents/diners. Pedestrians beware!

    26. Steve says:

      This is long, long overdue. Amsterdam Avenue is horrendous.

      I am not a biker, but I support traffic calming measures. All the doom and gloom associated with previous redesigns were wrong – they did, in fact, save life and limb.

      The Upper West Side has seen too much death and injury already.

      I will strongly urge my neighbors to support any plan that makes streets safer.

    27. Ken says:

      Let’s be clear: the proposal will not be just a “bike lane”; it’s a “complete street” that includes pedestrian refuges, shorter crossing distances, dedicated turn lanes and loading zones. Wherever DOT has reconfigured streets in this way, injuries to all road users have fallen significantly, including on Columbus, and travel times have actually improved. The same will be the case with Amsterdam, which is the Upper West Side’s most dangerous northbound route, a four-lane highway that is totally out of scale to our neighborhood.

      • Ted says:

        Please cite articles, studies, or reports that support the assertion that traffic has improved on Columbus. Please do the same for the re-design of WEA. Thank you.

        • Brian says:

          At the Dec 11, 2012 CB7 Transportation Committee meeting, DOT reported that along Columbus Avenue, the portion of drivers clocked above the 30 mph speed limit has dropped from 14 percent to 6 percent.

          And while car traffic volumes remained constant, driving this mile of Columbus Avenue now takes 3 minutes instead of 4.38 minutes, in part because double parking has decreased.

          Most importantly, pedestrian injuries have dropped significantly — 41 percent!

        • Tyson White says:

          DOT design of Columbus Av included a turning lane which eases congestion. That’s the reason travel times are actually faster on Columbus despite the addition of a bike lane.

          Also, what few people understand is that Columbus Ave has the SAME 3 lanes it had before the bike lane. They only narrowed them a little to curb speeding. There’s no reason Amsterdam can’t also be 3 lanes instead of 4.

    28. John says:

      This is absolutely essential with CitiBike coming to the neighborhood this fall. In fact, it’s a shame the lane won’t be in place by the time the blue bikes arrive. Right now, the only safe place to bike on the Upper West Side is Columbus Avenue, and there is no safe path coming uptown. With the impending influx of CitiBike users, bike traffic in the area is going to increase dramatically. Leaving these new cyclists to bike uptown on a 4-lane highway where speeds regularly exceed 40 mph (speed limit is 25 mph) is asking for injuries and potentially the first death in the system’s history. And woe be unto the Community Board if this district is where the first CitiBike fatality is.

    29. Beth says:

      I am not a cyclist. I totally support these proposed measures which will calm traffic on Amsterdam Ave and increase the safety of elderly pedestrians like myself. Amsterdam is frightening and overwhelming even when I walk on the sidewalk – its deafening loud, you cannot walk on Amsterdam and have a conversation with someone, its like the West Side Highway in the middle of a quiet residential neighborhood. Also, as someone with cancer and breathing problems, we need to take our heads out of the sand and do everything we possibly can to reduce city traffic, discourage discretionary auto use and improve our air quality. If you build it they will come; if you reduce it, they will find cleaner forms of travel. And no, I am not worried about being knocked down by a cyclist. I am worried about being hit by a speeding car or truck, statistically that is much much more likely to happen to folks like me

    30. Christian says:

      It’d be nice if traffic rules were enforced against cyclists, especially those speeding through crowded pedestrian crossings.

      It’d be nice if pedestrians always looked before entering the street, especially when they’re plugged into some device.

      People make mistakes and people are careless, but bikes are a good idea for a lot of reasons, some of which have been mentioned in this thread. I ride mine to work every day and save lots of time and money. I try to be careful and I appreciate the lanes.

      The Columbus Avenue lane is often blocked, especially around 74th Street and 68th Street. Cyclists have to go into the other lanes sometimes. We just have to be careful.

      Unfortunately, I agree Amsterdam probably can’t handle a bike lane. If we want a lane, we can still use Central Park West to go north.

      • Ride uptown with trees, less traffic and clean air. Enhance the existing Central Park West bike lane by making it the uptown protected lane on the UWS.

      • Tyson White says:

        No thanks, I’d rather not swim with the sharks and risk getting hit from behind by a texting driver on CPW while the only thing protecting me is a (faded) line of white paint.

        Amsterdam is extremely wide and if it can’t handle a bike lane, as you say, then a lane should be removed anyway – for safety’s sake – by widening the sidewalks. But since the sidewalks on Amsterdam are wide enough, I’d say a bike lane makes sense.

    31. RR says:

      Safety first. IMHO a Complete Street Design with a Protected Bike Lane, less parking, more delivery spaces, shorter crosswalks, narrower car lanes, smoother traffic flow, etc. is safer than the existing condition, for all users. I am aware that many others do not share this opinion. So, while I hope this scheme “wins” we won’t know until future statistics reveal the real “truth.” And, If I’m wrong, then I will learn to adjust my thinking.

    32. Michael McNamara says:

      Eh. I live on Columbus and even though the bike lane doesn’t get a lot of usage, it hasn’t caused any more traffic either.

    33. TR Reardon says:

      Thrilled to see this finally happening! Amsterdam is a speedway, trucks careening every which way at speeds way above the limits. This redesign is about so much more than just a bike lane. This will bring traffic calming, it will ameliorate the crazy speeds and resulting tensions, it will relieve the pressure on delivery people to ride wrong-way on Columbus. It will improve the life on the sidewalk along the entire stretch. For the first time, Amsterdam will be a nice avenue to WALK along. Every street redesign in Manhattan has had a positive effect on the surrounding businesses, especially food businesses. And most importantly, it will reduce the chance that another Cooper is taken down by highspeed erratic commercial vehicles.

      I live on Columbus and the redesign has utterly and completely changed my avenue for the better.

      For everyone who has experienced tension with bikes on Columbus, I can only say that as the streetscape improves for bikes and pedestrians, the behavior of bicyclists will improve. The “me against the world” bikers will retreat in the face of responsible new riders.

    34. Those who believe that creating a complete street on Amsterdam Ave will cause more congestion may not be speaking from experience. Try driving, cycling, or walking across some of the new complete streets – like East 106. Car traffic moves much more quickly, cyclists have their own dedicated bike lane, and pedestrians are much safer with a protected center median. I drive too, and did not notice that the Columbus Ave bike lane made any difference. Do we really want to design roads that invite more cars and trucks to the UWS? We should be creating infrastructure that supports safe walking and cycling as alternate transportation.

    35. GN says:

      As a long-time resident of the UWS who doesn’t ride a bike, please bring us the bike lane. Why? We need to make Amsterdam Ave much safer for the vast majority of the residents in the area: those like me without a bike or a car, but who have to cross these dangerous avenues. Protected bike lanes will make the streets safer for residents.

    36. Patricia Begley says:

      As a 35+ year resident of Amsterdam Avenue, I beg to differ with members of our Community Board expressing concern about Amsterdam being a truck route and questioning whether it can accommodate a bike lane. I would question why our Community Board members haven’t done more to protect their constituents. Why haven’t they more vociferously argued that an Avenue used by many UWS families, many with young children, should no longer be used as a truck route? These trucks roar up Amsterdam at speeds that preclude their safely stopping if a child ran into the street. Adjusting the timing of traffic lights is a step in the right direction but the point is that these trucks should not be using a heavily pedestrian-used thoroughfare at all. The best thing that could happen to the residents of our neighborhoods traversed by Amsterdam Avenue would be the introduction of bike lanes.

      • Jeremy says:

        Ah – our social betters have dropped by to sprinkle wisdom on the little people. Perhaps you or Madame Herzan have an idea where these trucks should go instead of Amsterdam?

    37. CA says:

      Another attempt at placating bikers? Where and when were (or will be?) the hearings announced for the rest of us to comment? I am FOR CLEAN AIR, HEALTHY environment, etc. (I compost!). However, the bike lanes are so little used on Columbus Avenue, I doubt they will be used much on Amsterdam, either, given the incredible amount of taxi cab and TRUCK Traffic. Ask the bikers if they prefer to use Columbus Avenue or go into Central Park, just ONE BLOCK AWAY and ride down cleaner air roads without cars. I think that’s where they all are and still prefer to be, even with these lanes.

      • Jay says:

        Ha, that’s a good one….ask the bikers if they wouldn’t prefer to ride in Central Park. That’s a well thought out point there. But just to be clear, we wouldn’t, because the point of a bike lane is to get from here to there safely, and Central Park is not designed as a way to get from here to there on a bike. It’s a hilly, yes lovely, but lengthy completely out of the way and one way exercise track, and would add an extra two or three miles plus a sweaty shirt to any two-block trip.
        The sad thing is that Central Park is not actually welcoming to commuting cyclists at all—in the entire 2.5 miles of it there are only two places where it’s possible to cross safely and legally from west to east or east to west. The only capacity it holds for bicyclists is recreational.

        • Jay says:

          I have to correct myself—there’s only ONE place —(72nd) street—where it’s FINALLY legal to cross the park on a bicycle in both directions free from the threat of speeding traffic on the pothole-filled, shoulderless, winding transverse lanes. The other place (102h street) is only partial, and requires going the wrong way along the loop if you take it east, and then walking the bike on the east side. There’s another half-ass crossing at 96th, which also requires walking the on the east side.

    38. Alexandra Herzan says:

      A protected bike lane and traffic calming for Amsterdam Avenue is long overdue. Vehicles on Amsterdam regularly exceed 40 mph and it is a very dangerous street for pedestrians. Let’s hope this happens soon!

    39. Brian says:

      Safety should be priority number one for the DOT. Vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists should not be sacrificial lambs when it comes to driving recklessly.

    40. Rich says:

      The UWS needs a northbound, dedicated, protected bike lane! Given the street redesigns on West End that have already happened, the lack of available space for such a lane on Broadway, Amsterdam is the best alternative (even though it is home to too many diesel-spewing trucks). Let’s move ahead with this idea!

    41. GB says:

      Columbus Avenue had three traffic lanes before the bike lanes and it has three traffic lanes now. Amsterdam Avenue currently has four traffic lanes. DOT’s proposed pedestrian islands at corners will make crossing the very wide and occasionally busy avenue safer for everyone, especially seniors, children, and the disabled. The protected bike lane will channel cyclists, including the many delivery cyclists serving this restaurant row, making them more visible to pedestrians and motorists. Amsterdam Avenue is a neighborhood street, not an interstate access highway. The plan provides great benefits for our residents, shoppers, and visitors. Any claim that it will cripple motor vehicle traffic is a far fetched and short sighted exaggeration.

    42. Qwerty says:

      I’ve lived midway between Amsterdam and Columbus for almost 40 years and am familiar with the traffic on both avenues. The notion of subtracting a lane of automotive traffic from Amsterdam and turning it over to a handful of bike riders (who would be mainly food deliverers) is insane. The avenue is horribly congested already with private cars, taxis, two bus routes, and heavy truck traffic including 18-wheelers. Take away a lane to create a path northbound path for a few cyclists (who can now use B’way or CPW), and the result will be endless, impassable standstills, frustrating and hazardous for drivers and pedestrians alike. I hope CB7 will see the light and reject this ill-considered proposal.

      • Tyson White says:

        “cyclists (who can now use B’way or CPW)”

        You can use my backyard swimming pool anytime. I keep my two bamboo sharks and some piranhas in there, but don’t worry, they’re friendly!

    43. DenMark says:

      I am an UWS (daily commuter) bicyclist. Re red light running – I run red lights. Here is how I approach a red light; I slow down to a near walking pace… look both ways for first pedestrians, then cars, and then proceed slowly across the intersection. On the danger scale (1 – no danger, 10 – danger), I believe I am acting in the 2ish range, while pedestrians, when x’ing against the light with their heads up/no traffic are 1ish. Unaware pedestrians are 3-4. Cars are 7-8, big trucks 10 (based on F= M x A). Now I’ll certainly accede that there are bicyclists who are less careful than I, but all of this talk of bike hooligans racing around, blowing through red lights is ridiculous – they would regularly get hit, and it’d be their own fault, if that is how they/we behaved. Aside from convenience / time saved, getting ahead of the cars backed up at the light is a legitimate safety concern. I won’t apologize for this behavior, just as I don’t ask pedestrians to apologize for x’ing against the light (just please look for bikes as well, as my nearest misses have been with people stepping off the curb prematurely).

      Re bikes venturing outside of the Columbus bike lane – there has been construction on the sidewalk/ lane around 74th all summer. The lane is effectively the sidewalk, full of pedestrians. To avoid close contact with pedestrians, I switch over to the street. The whole point of the bike lane is to provide different modes of transit their own space, increasing safety for everyone. Congestion fears are largely unfounded, as studies quoted above have shown. Google ‘traffic calming.’

      Bottomline, I support the bike lane.

      • venerable citizen says:

        Most of these arguments (noise, traffic, pollution, danger) are FOR the bike lane. Knowing where bikes are most likely to be will improve traffic efficiency, make it safer for pedestrians who can predict where to look, likely reduce use of cars as more commuters switch to public transport and cycling etc. This is a welcome inevitability and I’m proud to see our city making concrete changes towards becoming healthier and safer.

        • Jeremy says:

          Nah. It may reduce the use of cars on Amsterdam, but they’ll just pop over to Broadway.

          • Tyson White says:

            And when you’re on Broadway, you might find it easier to drive since you won’t have to pass many of the cyclists who found a more comfortable place to bike on Amsterdam!

            What many don’t understand is that the bike lane is actually a benefit to drivers so they need not stress to safely pass a cyclist (assuming you’re one who does care about their safety).

      • Ted says:

        When you say you run the red lights what you really are saying is that you choose to break the law. You are saying that your personal judgement is superior to what is legal and therefore you exist outside or above the law.

        To me this is the height of arrogance and hubris. I may feel I could do the same thing in my car. Or that how I wire my building is superior to that fuddy-duddy electrical code.

        It fits in very nicely with the “pirating is not stealing” because I don’t think it hurts anyone mentality.

        • Mark says:

          Precisely. Selective law breaking, where it is extremely unlikely to hurt anyone. Just like you do, Ted, when you as an NYC pedestrian, cross the street against the light when you see no traffic coming your way.

        • DenMark says:

          It is not so black & white. Pedestrians make the same judgement I do in this city a million times a day. If I have to stop/dismount because of x-traffic, as soon as the cars clear, I’ll proceed the same as those jaywalking pedestrians. No harm, no foul. I do it to more safely navigate the streets where I am by far the smallest fish in the water.

          Traffic laws/lights may technically apply to me, but they are developed/implemented with cars in mind. I make reasonable judgement calls – no arrogance (excessive pride, really?) involved.

          Laws are often guidelines – this is reality. The black & white ones are for more serious offenses (MURDER!!!).

    44. Jay says:

      I am for a complete-street redesign of Amsterdam Ave. The width of Amsterdam promotes motor vehicle speeding and quick lane changes. Pedestrian crossing at lights requires good (if not precise) timing in order to fully cross the street before the light changes. Amsterdam Ave has been the scene of several neighborhood deaths where residents (including children) have been struck and killed by motor vehicles that lose control.

      A complete street calms traffic and better separates cars from cyclists and pedestrians.

      Businesses will benefit from an Amsterdam complete street b/c a dedicated uptown / downtown bicycle circuit (Amsterdam + Columbus) will invite cyclists. Citibikes are coming to the UWS, further promoting cycle / tourist traffic along our avenues. The Columbus Ave business council has demonstrated that their complete street has increased business.

      Lastly, having lived on Amsterdam for 15 years, the avenue is an eyesore and throw back to urban blight. DOT, please bring a complete street to Amsterdam Avenue and bring our community into the 21st century.

    45. Tyson White says:

      “There is very heavy traffic [on Amsterdam] and it is a truck route”

      It’s no different than Columbus which is also a truck route. Columbus and Amsterdam are complementary routes so there’s no reason Amsterdam “needs” a 4th lane which Columbus never had (even before the bike lane). The extra lane on Amsterdam just accommodates excessive speeding.

    46. GB says:

      Ted said (above) that we don’t need a bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue although, “bike lanes below 23rd street are vital due to the younger population, narrower streets, and higher number of cyclists”. 8th Avenue, where there’s a protected bike lane uptown from the West Village and a steady stream of cycling commuters every morning, is comparable in width to Columbus and Amsterdam. The side streets north of 14th are no narrower than our side streets. Yes, lots of the people on bikes downtown are young – doesn’t that say something about the future of cycling in New York? But the UWS is full of young residents, too. Many live in small walk-ups where owning a bike is impractical. Like people downtown, many will commute by bike when CitiBike comes to us. We, like the rest of the city, have an aging population, which is one good reason why Amsterdam Avenue should be a model “safe street”. Let’s make our neighborhood safe and convenient for everyone, young and old.

      • BMAC says:

        I was in Chelsea last night for dinner and was made very jealous by the throngs of cyclists (Citi and otherwise) using the bike lanes comfortably and safely. Bring ’em on!

    47. David Horowitz says:

      Most people support this, so it’s gonna happen. But of course, a bunch of people are having a freakout episode like when the Columbus Avenue bike lane was installed. It worked out just fine. You don’t hear calls to remove it, do you?

      • uwsider says:

        If you took a referendum of Upper West Siders on whether the Columbus Ave bike lane should be removed– if that were even presented as a possibility– I think the majority of people would rejoice.

        • BMAC says:

          FTFY: “If you took a referendum of [me] on whether the Columbus Ave bike lane should be removed– if that were even presented as a possibility– I think the majority of [me] would rejoice.”

        • Sensible says:

          The fact no one has bothered to create said referendum over the last 4 years or so is probably a decent indicator as to the level of public interest.

    48. WombatNYC says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe this is the first WSR article to ever receive over 100 comments !! Congratulations !

    49. Brian says:

      For anyone commenting on the impact of traffic, and how it’s such a horrible idea, etc. there are numerous traffic and congested studies showing that adding bike lanes (and yes, taking away a lane of traffic does the following):

      1. Makes the streets easier to cross and safer for pedestrians
      2. Increases economic and retail activity on the street of installation
      3. Decreases automobile accidents and fatality rates

      There are dozens of advantages to adding a protected bike lane to Amsterdam Avenue. I fully understand and agree with the need of enforcement of bicycle laws; however, that should not detract from the overall benefits this would have.

      Even if you have no interest in CitiBike or care about an increasing biking, a protected bike lane is a way to build support for road dieting on a street that is in desperate need of it.

    50. James Miller says:

      I’m an avid bike rider that uses the two wheels for commutation, transportation and shopping. Beside it being a healthy and cost effective, I leave no carbon footprint or clog the streets. We need the entire Amsterdam Avenue to have a protected bike lanes for bicycle and pedestrian safety. Citibikes is coming to the UWS this year and it is more important than ever to give bikes this small percentage of safe access along of the most important Northbound artery.

    51. Lee says:

      I have been living on the UWS for 45 years. I fully support bicycle lanes, pedestrian islands, unencumbered sidewalks, and jay walking. I support a multi-use Amsterdam Avenue. Bicycles provide more rational and healthy solutions to congestion, pollution, and traffic noise than do the computers algoriths of traffic engineers. I am endlessly astonished that we cede the streets, and even sidewalks in some cases, to cars and trucks, that we continue to give motorists dominance in the walking-est city in the country. And we do so despite their record of killing hundreds and maiming thousands each year. If drivers are not drunk or drugged they are given free rein to run over and kill or maim pedestrians or bicycle riders; they only have to say, for example, “Oh, I didn’t see her” or “I lost control of my car and ran over those people on the sidewalk”. Motorists are permitted, even encouraged, to floor the accelerator on seeing the yellow light of a stop signal and roll though at speed after the light is red; why not stop?, “I didn’t want to be rear-ended”. Cars are permitted to park on the sidewalks (car rental businesses) and trucks to drive onto the sidewalks to park food-carts. Sidewalks are removed even in congested areas to accommodate cars (see the neck-downs at 96th and Broadway). We citizens permit motorist misbehavior by our silence. How do we resolve the problem? We complain about those who use bicycles. We fight tooth and nail to deny them safe places to ride on the roads, roads to which the rider contributes her/his tax dollars to build and repair. We force them to ride one to three or four blocks between red lights while autos go on for a mile or more at 25 mph. Yet when the next person is killed by a motorist we shrug and ask, “What did she do wrong?”

    52. Noam Segal says:

      There are 11 (ELEVEN!) northbound car lanes all over the UWS, plus another 6 northbound parking lanes, and you people can’t find room for ONE lane so that a person going uptown can travel safely by bike?

    53. Jane says:

      This is a fabulous idea. The Columbus Avenue bike lane gets used (incorrectly) in both directions, threatening the safety of pedestrians, drivers and bike riders. An uptown bike lane would be good for all! By the way, increasing the use of bicycles as a mode of transport in NYC is good for everyone – reduced use of public transit, one less car or taxi on the road, less pollution, etc.

    54. grandmasterbeta says:

      The bike lanes are great. But the mess the delivery trucks then cause is insane – especially when they double park on each side of the street. That happens on Columbus all the time.

      • Tyson White says:

        The problem is that certain people park their cars in loading zones and are immune to tickets due to all kinds of placards and other odious freebies. It’s valuable street space that shouldn’t be taken away from the business who need it. Time to get rid of this corruption.

    55. Janet says:

      I fully support the addition of a bike lane on Amsterdam. The arguments are compelling but one essential fact: we have increasing numbers of bicycles and they too need the safety of this lane. All lanes. Have you ordered food and had it delivered to your door? Everyone gets a right of way under this plan. Traffic laws can be enforced across the board by shifting the abundant thought & energy to THIS matter.

    56. Lisa Sladkus says:

      I find Zweig’s comments laughable. Only a few years ago, he told a school with pre-school aged children that they could easily cross Amsterdam Avenue in the low 100’s and walk to Central Park with their students because Amsterdam is “sleepy” up there. Which is it, Dan?

    57. Liz says:

      Folks!! Wake up!! We don’t need no stinking
      bike lane on Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a very heavily traffic street with semis, buses.

      • David Horowitz says:

        Lol, we did wake up! And realized we want this to be a neighborhood street, not a highway. Buses and semis are more of a reason to have a bike lane so that the people on bikes are separated from oversized vehicles!

    58. lisa says:

      I do not know how to drive having grown up in NYC and am not especially fond of cars…
      but am completely opposed to a bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue.

      Real estate development, online shopping and “instant gratification” delivery (Fresh Direct, Amazon etc) and “destination” shopping (Trader Joe’s, Apple etc) have increased vehicular traffic and pedestrian traffic on the UWS.

      This is a significant issue but seems rarely acknowledged or discussed. (In fact there is a massive development, Riverside Center, under construction on West End north of 57th Street.) Amsterdam Avenue is a critical artery for commercial traffic.

      Reducing a lane will increase congestion ( particularly in the 60s and 70s) and pollution. Reduction of a lane will also negatively impact MTA buses.

      As for cyclists….sadly, in NYC, they seem to feel entitled to ignore red lights and zip by pedestrians who have the green. Or ride on sidewalks.

      And the violators are not underpaid/exploited food delivery people – the most egregious are the regular “civilian” cyclists.

      • Steve says:

        Wrong wrong wrong. Because of increasing density we need to support street space for walking, transit, and yes, riding bikes.

        We’re currently accepting a system that is grossly inefficient, and much worse, responsible for the deaths and serious injury of hundreds of our neighbors every year.

        Complete streets *never* cause huge traffic calamities — New Yorkers are sick of the Chicken Little routine.

      • Joseph Khan says:

        Lis, I don’t blame you for not understanding how traffic works, because it’s sometimes counter-intuitive. More shoppers doesn’t mean more cars. It means more shoppers without cars.

        Taking out a lane doesn’t increase congestion. It simply directs those drivers who don’t have business in the neighborhood, and just use the avenue as a thoroughfare, to go use the West Side Highway instead.

        And no one, no one, feels more entitled than your typical motorist. And they don’t just disobey the laws, but often kill and maim people too.

    59. Lee says:

      If we accept the historically accurate premise that roads are for travel and commerce, why are we permitting many thousands of miles of free automobile storage on both sides of nearly every street in New York City? Why are we denying bicycle travel in the dead space set aside for storage? Is there a commonweal, rational justification for not forbidding parking on one side of every street in New York City? Why not eliminate that one lane of parking and give it over to human-powered-vehicle travel? To relieve the hypothesized congestion and impossibility of deliveries along Amsterdam Avenue when a lane for bicycle travel is put in place, I suggest prohibiting parking on one side of the street and dedicating the inner margin, i.e. the traffic side, of the bicycle lane to deliveries?

    60. sbthac says:

      Protected bike lanes make the city a safer, more livable place. The sky hasn’t fallen in the face of more than 250 miles of new bike lanes constructed since 2006, and it won’t fall on the UWS if these plans go through.

    61. Peter Frishauf says:

      The data is clear: Amsterdam Aveueis the most deadly northbound street in Manhattan, and clearly most deadly to people who walk and bicycle. The primary culprit: speeding motorists.

      The argument that reducing moving lanes from 4 to 3 will be a disaster is ridiculous: Amsterdam is effectively a ONE-LANE ROAD starting at 110th Street. While it is “technically” 2 lanes in either direction, throw in one double parker and it’s one lane. The treatment north of 110 should be identical to what DOT installed on West End, which is now much safer.

      A bicycle lane, planted pedestrian islands and loading zones on every block of Amsterdam would make this deadly street safer and more attractive to everyone, and improve the experience for shoppers and merchants. It should have been done long ago.

    62. drg says:

      Interestingly, statistically, according to the link below, travel time from 96 to 76 by car SHORTENED, not lengthened after the bike lane introduction.

      Thought to be due to the new left turn “pockets”, which allowed the turning cars to get off the main lane, and not slow traffic behind.

      http://www.citylab.com/cityfixer/2014/09/when-adding-bike-lanes-actually-reduces-traffic-delays/379623/

    63. caitlin says:

      A mix of opinions about this on WSR.

      At this point, am not in favor of a bike lane on Amsterdam.

      Would like to see political energy and funds for biking infrastructure go instead to better and cheaper mass transit – bus and subway

      • Steve says:

        This isn’t either/or.

        People working for safe and livable streets want better bus and transit service, too!

      • Willow says:

        The cost and effort of putting in and maintaining bike infrastructure is minuscule, a drop in the bucket of public transit effort and funding.

        Plus, the city actually saves money from the reduction of deaths and serious injuries on streets that have been redesigned. So, it’s definitely not either/or.

    64. Lee says:

      Until about 100 years ago roads and streets were multi-use, public spaces accessible to and used by all. Photographs of NYC before the “auto-age” depict streets teeming with humanity and activity: walkers, vendors, wagons, horses, bicycles, children playing. Within a few years of the arrival of automobiles the non-driving public was forced from the streets and bullied into adopting the theory that streets belonged exclusively to motorists. We have spent incalculable tax-dollars to support this theory. Although we all contribute taxes to roads only drivers have unfettered use of streets, pedestrians can merely cross them. The results have been death, injury, pollution, noise, and an attitude of entitlement by drivers. The experiment failed, more rational, inclusive, and safer use of streets is needed. The complete streets initiative with its protected bike lanes and pedestrian islands is a step in that direction. To rein in the single-use chaos created by this failed experiment we can support construction of a bicycle lane, restrict parking, and reduce the speed on Amsterdam Avenue. Why do we continue to give motorist title to our roads?

    65. GerryK says:

      Amsterdam Avenue has long been a nightmare, and I’m speaking not just as a cyclist who avoids it at all costs but as a parent who used to pick my kids up at a public school on 84 St. and Columbus: trucks and cabs veering from lane to lane, cutting each other off in search of an illusory time saving, all at speeds that could reach 50 mph. It’s about time the city did something to calm this chaos, and great thanks to a Dept. of Transportation that is finally willing to balance the needs of all users, not just motorists. And as the experience with the redesigned Columbus Avenue shows (and as any acquaintance with fluid dynamics would suggest), calming the streets results in enhanced, not reduced, traffic flow. So there isn’t even a tradeoff there.

    66. Richard Barry says:

      I do not agree with the bike land. Columbus Ave. is a nightmare during the day since they put in the bike lane with delivery trucks triple parking. That and the fact that NO ONE uses them! Also four months of the year during winter they go completely UN used.
      I think the money should go to providing better bus service in the city.

      • BMAC says:

        I respectfully suggest that the solution to trucks triple parking is to have the NYPD ticket the trucks. It should be a bonanza of fines if the parking is as bad as people make it out to be.

    67. Jay says:

      I decided to ride home (bicycle) on Amsterdam today, just to get a better picture. Usually I avoid it because it’s so chaotic, but it’s definitely a shorter, more convenient route for my commute.
      That street is so frickin wide that I was visualizing, snas traffic, a two mile series of side by side basketball courts, say 4 per block, with nets hovering over the parking lanes on each side of the street.
      To say that there’s no room for a bike lane on this massively wide street, with enough frolicking space for four wide one-way lanes of speeding, weaving, cars, trucks, buses…I just don’t get it. Heck, you could probably land a small plane on Amsterdam during a traffic lull, no problem.
      And then, at 110, it becomes a two way street. Four north-going lanes are now two, and no-one slows down, it still feels like plenty of room for all that traffic.
      Why do the people living on that street put up with this untamed thoroughfare ploughing through their neighborhood, other than that it’s how it’s always been so that means it can’t be any other way….??
      There’s is PLENTY of room for a bike lane and PLENTY of room for all kinds of human-friendly safety improvement on Amsterdam.
      Have some imagination.

    68. D.R. says:

      194 comments here? That is about 5 times more than most stories generate.

      Has the voice of UWS-ers been dwarfed, here, by vested interests and a mobilized response?

    69. Mary says:

      I have lived between Central Park West and Columbus Ave. for 40 years and I bike every day. Biking in the CPW bike lane is not a picnic — many many cyclists ride south on the northbound bike lane and drivers don’t pay attention to the bike lane which has disappeared south of 72nd Street. They also still speed like crazy on CPW. Protected bike lanes with physical barriers from street traffic are the best solution for street safety, for everyone including drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.