The city will propose a plan on Tuesday, Nov. 10 to redesign Amsterdam Avenue, including adding a protected bike lane, safer pedestrian crossings and new street trees. The meeting is at Redeemer Church at 150 West 83rd Street (between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues) and it starts at 6:30.
Unlike Columbus Avenue, where the Department of Transportation was able to add a protected lane by narrowing the lanes, the city will almost certainly have to remove a driving lane to add the bike lane on Amsterdam. It’s not clear if the lane will extend through the entire neighborhood, or just part of it. The Department of Transportation did not respond to a request for comment.
Amsterdam Avenue “has proven to be deadly,” said local council member Mark Levine. “We can redesign this street based on the principles of the 21st century.”
Pedestrian safety advocates have been calling for changes to Amsterdam Avenue for years, and the community board first requested that the Department of Transportation study an Amsterdam redesign in December 2013. The calls became more urgent this year after the UWS began planning to get CitiBikes. Council members Levine and Helen Rosenthal have been urging the DOT to design the lane. We posted a (totally unscientific) poll about a possible bike lane at the bottom of this article.
Pedestrian and bike safety activists at Transportation Alternatives have been talking to Upper West Siders about the lanes for months, and they held a rally about it on Halloween. The video below shows the rally and explains the case for the lane.
The notice about the meeting is below:
Helen Rosenthal hugging a Transportation Alternatives activist in that video, and talking to nobody else, is pretty much the complete story of her term.
Jeremy, you should’ve attended the event. This video is but a small part of what happened on 10/31. Helen is a big supporter of safe streets (streets that are better for ALL road users, I might add). I’m sorry you are so against bikers that you can’t see the benefits to other people, including yourself.
New York streets are already safe streets. This mini-rally was about installing bike lanes on our safe streets. I don’t care either way, honestly, but the antagonistic smugness of TA and the distance Helen Rosenthal’s head is up their collective rear are . . . offputting.
The streets are safe? Really? Want to take a guess how many people have been killed and injured by cars this year?
You *did* see that an elderly woman on a walker who was doing everything right got run over by a bus in Brooklyn yesterday, and, according to witnesses, she was essentially cut in half?
You *did* notice that the rally was held at the corner named after a 4-year-old girl who was doing everything right but got run over by a car and killed anyway, right?
You *do* know that a few blocks away, a taxi driver ran over a nine-year-old boy and his dad, killing the kid, right?
Bro, do you even walk?
These redesigns actually benefit pedestrians and increase their safety more than they do cyclists. Unless you are one of those people who don’t believe statistics or the DoT…
And, try to compare our streets to other civilized nations. Our streets are far from safe. I bet the hundreds of seriously injured people on the UWS would disagree with you too.
WSR polling, unscientific as it is, shows a clear majority (super majority) of Upper West Siders in favor of redesigning Amsterdam.
Maybe Helen is more in touch with the UWS on this issue than you are.
Columbus ave could be both north and south for the bikes Use what there is on Columbus and make it two ways. At this point in time with the number of people riding it isn’t going to be an issue.
Not everyone uses bikes there are the families with children in strollers who are a big part of the population plus people who do not and cannot ride.
Well, not everybody can or should drive, or can afford a car, but we bend over backwards to accommodate those who can and do.
If the only purpose was to have a bike lane, then you’re right, we can send the bicycles to Columbus Ave. But it isn’t. The goal is to make the street more livable to everyone. To install pedestrian islands, to make shorter crossing distances for older people, and most importantly, to reduce speeding. Amsterdam Av is a neighborhood street where children and parents with strollers walk around. But at present, it’s treated like a highway (or “stroad”) by people passing through the neighborhood.
All for it!
if the bike land on Columbus went both ways they’d have to install lights to let the northbound riders know when the traffic light was turning red.
Re: “they’d have to install lights to let the northbound riders know when the traffic light was turning red”
U. R. kidding, no?
Have you EVER seen ANY bicyclist pay attention to a red light?
You’re more likely to see a 6-legged camel on the Shack Shake line than see a signal-obeying bicyclist!
@ScooterStan that was kind of my point. People are talking about making the streets safer for the bikes but we all know that the vast majority of them do not follow the laws. It didn’t even lucette’s mind that there would be a problem with bikes going both ways in those lanes because they don’t stop at lights. It’s up to the pedestrians, and we’re all pedestrians at times, to look out for them. The streets won’t be safer until most bikes obey most laws.
I would like to see bicycle and bus lanes. More importantly, pedestrian Island to shorten crossing distances and slow traffic.
Everybody can ride, when the street design is safe. Google for Toran Gaal, a double amputee soldier who lost both legs defending the U.S. in Afghanistan. He biked cross-country last summer.
“Everybody can ride” is a terrible thing to say. There are so many disabilities and diseases that leave people unable to have the pleasure of riding a bike. I’m pro cycling but this is just offensive. Even the price point for used hand crank bikes make them unobtainable for much of the disabled pop yu lation who have the ability to use them. Using Toran Gaal as an example, however great his achievements are, is a cop out. He lost his legs but a highly trained physically fit man who has great use of his strong arms and does not suffer from disease or the many injuries, such as those to the head or to one side of the body, that many other vets have to deal with. Spend time with disabled vets or just donate time in any hospital providing support and companionship to see just a section of those who can’t “ride”. Be pro-bicycle but don’t be insensitive.
Is having a car not cost prohibitive to most in our community? Then why do we offer TWO whole lanes of free parking on EVERY street to those who can afford a car. But one bike lane on one street sends people into a tantrum, it seems…
Anyway, Margaret’s point was that most people can ride bikes. Not that disabled people should be forced to ride bikes. No one is forcing anyone to ride a bicycle. Your choice of transportation mode is entirely yours. Except that right now you don’t have the choice to travel by bicycle unless you’re not afraid of being buzzed by speeding vehicles. And that’s the topic of discussion here.
We can agree to disagree, I guess. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, where people who suffered diseases like polio and leprosy use handcycles as a part of daily existence. So my point was more that people use “not everyone can ride” as a cop out. Street design today is the biggest reason you wouldn’t put a vulnerable person on a bike in NYC.
The bike lanes and bike racks on Columbus and the various side streets certainly provide environmentally friendly alternative means of transportation. However an unintended consequence on Columbus has been rush hour gridlock caused by significantly reduced parking and double and triple parked delivery trucks.
They need to put parking meters on the streets, not just on the avenues. This has little to do with the bike lane.
We need more loading zones!
This is so long-awaited. Allocating space on Amsterdam to the cyclists and pedestrian Upper West Siders who need to use it safely, will equalize and level out the lanes for motor traffic on Columbus and Amsterdam. Right now Columbus has three lanes for moving trucks and motor vehicles and moves well. Amsterdam has two lanes for parking, zero space allocated for cyclists, narrow sidewalks, and four lanes for trucks and other drivers. Dangerous speeding is a real problem. The neighborhood-hostile design helps explain why there’s so much speeding on Amsterdam.
It also worsens the experience for the thousands of people enjoying sidewalk dining on Amsterdam.
Putting aside the contentious snark displayed by Jeremy in most of his comments on this post, I’m very curious as to his description of his home as lying on a “T intersection with an uphill grade”. Pray tell, where is this amazing T intersection on Amsterdam? (Assuming that Jeremy is referring to a classic T intersection, I.e. An intersection where two roads intersect perpendicularly, with one road terminating at the intersection.)
Please leave some talking points for the others. Yeesh.
I speak up on this because my cousin was killed several years ago while biking to work. He was a careful, safe biker. A taxi swerved into him and pushed him under the wheels of a garbage truck. The street design (“no room” for bike lanes) ended his life at age 24.
I’ve biked cross-country (Boston to Seattle) and down the Pacific Coast to San Diego, but I don’t like to bike on Amsterdam because the current street design doesn’t feel safe.
If the current design discourages rogue cycling (red light running, blocking crosswalks) by yourself and others, and keeps y’all off Amsterdam, the neighborhood kinda benefits from it. There’s some logic there.
Says the guy who believes (without any sort of data) that cars make bicycle riders safer.
Y’know, there are some people for who advocacy is a religion, and certain truths are heresy. I’m not going to get any further with them than if I were to argue against the existence of Moses or Jesus or the Spaghetti Monster.
And although it’s a strange hill for you to die on, I’m not going to try and convince you that the DOT has to do a better job for T intersections and bike lanes, and that my front yard would be better without a bike lane than with a poorly constructed one.
Go in peace. May Paul Steely Lama grant you a blessed day.
Nothing in my comment was “nasty”. I wish I could say the same for your other comments on this page…
I don’t believe police have done any studies on Central Park. They only collect data, if anything. Meanwhile, studies done by DOT have shown a significant drop in injuries to motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists in places where protected bike lanes were installed. Based on the concern you expressed in other comments, you should be a big proponent of this plan!
Correction – and an important one – accidents declined dramatically during *car-full* hours. The road was more dangerous during car-free hours.
I don’t think you have to be as nasty as you are currently being. I don’t have a study for that, per se, but it’s my experience as a human.
There are two data points that are illuminating in this situation.
The first is the number of bike accidents in Central Park during car-ful and car-free hours. Virtually all intersections on the loop have a less than four-way intersection. What happens is that, incidents and injuries declined dramatically during car-free hours. According to one CP police commander, cars actually “calm” the cyclists when the traffic lights are there to only protect pedestrians (rather than to allow perpendicular traffic).
The second data point would be the nycc.org message board or a quick study of the behavior of southbound cyclists at T intersections on Riverside Drive. Blowing through those lights is a universal practice among this group. They seem to think it’s perfectly okay.
Although I’m generally indifferent to positive about bike lanes, I’m expressing a legitimate concern about a particular case that could be mitigated with a little bit of effort. Your reactionary response, lecturing me about what I “fail to understand,” is not particularly surprising. It’s why people like cycles and hate cyclists.
Jeremy, is this based on some sort of study you’ve done? It seems your view is to punish bicyclists by forcing them to continue to bike together with cars (i.e. swim with the sharks).
What you fail to understand is that a segregated bicycle lane would allow a normal person to feel safe making trips by bike. At present, there’s no safe way to travel northbound by bicycle on the UWS.
Actually, Menachem, that makes a lot of sense. My concern, candidly, is that I live at a “T” intersection on an uphill grade, and with a bike lane installed, I’m pretty sure that exactly zero cyclists will stop at the red light that protects pedestrians in at the crosswalk. Cars make them behave far more responsibly.
Actually, there’s already heavy bike traffic on Amsterdam Av at present. You can’t drive more than a block or two before having to pass a bicycle rider. So what do we have to lose by designating a bicycle lane? It makes sense, and makes life easier for drivers and bicycle riders alike.
The current design without a bike lane encourages both running red lights and blocking crosswalks. When bikers share the roads with aggressive drivers, they need to establish separation from the vehicles for safety reasons—they move in front of cars (blocking crosswalks), and run red lights (to get ahead of the vehicle traffic to make themselves visible).
Also, the fact is that with CitiBike now being widely used on UWS, there are many more inexperienced cyclists on the roads—it is safer for these people to ride in a protected bike lane as opposed to in traffic.
You sound utterly charming.
Thank you for sharing Margaret, and I’m sorry you had to face insensitive comments.
ty, Siddhartha. We miss my cousin a lot. When I ride my bike home, I have to cover 3 blocks of Amsterdam to get home without salmoning. It’s a scary stretch. I’m looking forward to a safer Amsterdam Ave.
What does “better organized streets” mean? I like the way they are organized now — in numerical order.
I feel sorry for those that live on Amsterdam because once those bike lanes are in place the quality of life will be reduced.
The new bike lanes on Columbus Avenue have created gridlock on the streets. There is always cars and trucks honking (sometimes screaming yelling) because they are frustrated. There is double-parking for delivery trucks which causes more grid-lock. Ambulances and firetrucks can’t get through easily now. Also, pedestrians can’t even cross the avenue because the cars are gridlocked blocking cross-walks.
As far as being eco-friendly. Having cars and trucks on idle in grid lock traffic is burning more fossil fuels than when they are moving. (every 10 minutes of idling costs between 1/10 and 4/10’s of a liter of fuel)
The end result is a protected bicycle lane that I hardly ever see any cyclists and if I do they run red lights nearly hitting pedestrians (that are also avoiding the grid-locked cars). Sometimes I see delivery bikes in the bike lanes but usually they still take the regular car lanes. Also, New York has winter months where it is not convenient to ride a bike. So from late December until March it is an unused lane.
Just sheer logic would indicate that if you have a large amount of one thing (cars) and a smaller portion of another (bicycles) that you can’t change things by reducing the larger rate. What a failed experiment.
What am I wrong about? His math sucks.
I live on Amsterdam and am in support of a protected bike lane.
Regarding your comment ahout increased gridlock, it is a condition that would be preferable to the current condition, which is essentially a highway, as cars and trucks speed down Amsterdam Avenue.
Furthermore, the lack of s protected bike lane contributes to cyclists proceeding through red lights, in my experience, as bikers are vulnerable on the road, and need to establish separation from vehicle traffic.
Columbus Avenue vehicle traffic is much less intimidating than Amsterdam Avenue, and, in my opinion, it is more appealing aesthetically as well.
With CitiBike docks now on UWS, the bike lane will encourage people to venture up here to support local restaraunts and retail businesses.
On that note, I frequently hear the argument that the bike lanes are seldom-used. I use CitiBike and the docks around my apartment are all empty by 8:00 AM, so it is clearly very popular for commuters—if anything, the UWS needs more docks.
Coincidentally, I was just in Amsterdam on vacation, and was incredibly envious of the bike-friendly infrastructure. I know that NYC will never be as progressive as Amsterdam when it comes to bike lanes, but it is disheartening at the level of hostility that bike supporters endure just to get a couple of lines painted on an avenue, let alone a curb extension.
This is exactly the kind of backwards thinking that perpetuates poor quality of life. Let’s blame the bike lane for congestion caused by people double (and triple!) parking. Better yet, how about we eliminate parking on busy avenues. Why should we tolerate people parking there vehicles on a busy street in lieu of a bike lane? Want a car? Pay for a garage! Why do NY’ers think they have the right to what amounts to ~100 sq ft of curbside space to park there vehicle. At UWS rates that real estate is probably worth $100k.
It’s also wrong to say there’s no honking on Amsterdam Ave. Drivers and truckers are honking at each other all the time. I should know, I live there! It’s not because of congestion, it’s because drivers are weaving from one lane to another and don’t consider the neighbors who live here.
Exactly! I live near the section of Amsterdam with the least traffic and I still get obnoxious honking at all hours of day and night. It’s time the police enforced the law about this.
You clearly don’t live in the low 70’s, where congestion is an enormous issue.
So, no? You wouldn’t put someone you cared about on a bike on Amsterdam.
I live several blocks north of the bowtie, not just-north of it. I realize there’s a break in the green wave at the 72nd street bowtie, but from 73rd northward, Amsterdam is the furthest thing from congested. Cars and trucks floor it because the avenue is overdesigned. You can watch traffic speeding past the children’s center at the JCC, Tecumseh playground at 77th, and all the seamless delivery cyclists. These are places where safety and tamed traffic really matter.
Seamless is delivered by commercial deliverymen, who neither obey the traffic laws or have any particular use for bike lanes.
Apparently, btw, the roads they travel on are subsidized by those of us who are not deliverymen.
Uh, Jeremy, how is Seamless delivered? By stork?
Biking (or driving) somewhere to pick up everyday restaurant food in Manhattan is insane. That’s what Seamless is for.
If you live just north of 72nd (which you do), and you’re denying a congestion issue on Amsterdam (which you are), I don’t think you have a ton of credibility here. Not only is there *incredible* congestion at the 72nd St intersection, but it also typically backs up many blocks behind 86th St in the afternoons. For reasons that are unclear to me, congestion builds badly between around 76th and 86th.
I live north of the 72nd street bow tie, and apart from the bowtie, the avenue is not congested in any way. It’s completely overdesigned.
What exactly are you arguing for, Jeremy? Do you want the uws cyclists to all drop dead? Would you send your kid, or a little brother/little sister biking up Amsterdam to get a cookie at Levain or a lobster roll at Luke’s?
Could not agree more.
“Maybe the most mismanaged of all our resources is parking.”
“Everybody likes free parking, including me, probably you. But just because the driver doesn’t pay for it doesn’t mean that the cost goes away. If you don’t pay for parking your car, somebody else has to pay for it. And that somebody is everybody. We pay for free parking in the prices of the goods we buy at places where the parking is free. And we pay for parking as residents when we get free parking with our housing. We pay for it as taxpayers. Increasingly I think we’re paying for it in terms of the environmental harm that it causes. I did use data to estimate that parking subsidies in the United States are somewhere between 1 and 4 percent of the total GNP, which is about in the range of what we spend for Medicare or national defense. So that’s the cost of parking not paid for by drivers.”
Well said and very true. The DOT continues to screw up the city and put pedestrians at risk and appears to answer to no one. The pandering to bicycle riders needs to stop and why taxpayers have to cover the cost of their bike lanes isn’t fair. If drivers of cars pay to register their cars and renew their licenses in the interest of the upkeep and maintenance of our roads,why aren’t these bikers required to pay to have licenses to ride their bikes and register them to offset the cost of their precious lanes? In short, they’re getting a free ride at our expense.
I don’t know what planet you live on, Rob, but none of your license and registration fees go towards the roads. City roads are paid from general taxes, not from gas taxes or any other driver fees. Gas taxes cover only half the cost of highways (used exclusively by cars), bridges and tunnels. The rest comes out of general taxes. So in essence, people who don’t drive are subsidizing those who drive.
People on this website are obsessed with the question of who is subsidizing who, and everyone is always eager to accuse others of being some sort of freeloaders for being subsidized by others. But I think people tend to oversimplify the issue. You say that people who don’t drive subsidize those who do, simply because part of their taxes goes toward maintaining the roads. But everyone benefits from the roads, not just people who drive. (For example, how do your groceries get delivered to the store? On roads.) And it’s not like those who rely on mass transit rather than driving pay the full cost involved there either. The MTA doesn’t cover all of its costs with fares alone; it draws on the general tax revenue too, so even people who never ride the subway are helping to pay for it. It’s a very complicated web in which everyone subsidizes someone else in some way and is in turn subsidized by someone else in some other way. It’s not easy to determine whether any one person is a net beneficiary or a net loser. And you could argue that there are network effects that make everyone a net beneficiary anyway.
Until Amazon perfects those drones and buses can fly like bird, your calculus is pretty imperfect here.
Um, actually Jeremy, they are right and you are wrong. Can you back up your opinion without a joke?
Bikers do not obey laws…go the wrong way, race, and think the street is theirs…they are not ticketed nor do they care.
Do not do this as it will cause even more accidents, even more so for seniors. We need to keep lanes as they are and instead fix the crossings to minimize accidents and enforce the laws we have.
Residents deserve the right to have car lanes as much as bikers.
The last 4 words of your rant are gold!
Oh man, if you hate the way people cycle on the UWS…wait until you see the way people drive! They go the wrong way, race, and think the street is theirs. And unlike bikes, they’ve got hundreds of pounds of metal to back it up! Running over, killing, injuring thousands of people in Manhattan every year, and getting away with it by saying, “It was an accident.” Crazy times.
Really Sprinkles? You’re going to resort to two wrongs do make a right? Everyone — cars, bikes and pedestrians — should follow the laws and be ticketed if they don’t. I’d like to see bikes tickets for going to wrong way and running red lights as well as pedestrians tickets for jay walking.
I’m saying cars and trucks cause nearly every road death, not cyclists. If we want to reduce death, we should focus on motor vehicles rather than demonizing cyclists.
I’ve lived in the w 80’s between col.& amst ave for 50 yrs (born here)…never had a problem…now these liberal progressive s bags come along and want to change everything that’s been fine all along
Let the bicycles share the road with the cars and trucks, the
riders will become more safety aware. Growing up on the
UWS and riding a bicycle on the streets for 30 years never,
having an accident convinces me that a sense of danger makes you pay more attention to where you are and what you’re doing.
Never had a problem in 50 years, so nothing should be changed? Well, maybe you should pay cash for everything. (50 years ago you used only cash, right?) Don’t look up anything on the internet…if was fine to go to the library or buy encyclopedias if you want any information. Be sure to use your use your fountain pen to write a letter to someone — definitely don’t send an email, text, call on your cell phone, etc.
Things change. I have been here a long time too and it is time for bike lanes.
You never have a problem with what, exactly? Do you bike on the UWS?
A bike lane on Amsterdam is a dreadful idea. The three lanes now available for automotive traffic (cabs, private cars, two bus lines, and heavy truck traffic including 18-wheelers) are even now jammed to the point of frequent gridlock. And with constant appropriation of those lanes by delivery trucks, we’re often talking two lanes. What would happen if one lane were removed to allow an occasional bike rider to pass unhindered? Permanent gridlock, including the intersections (which occurs occasionally even now), putting pedestrians attempting to cross the avenue at even further risk.
I live between Columbus and Amsterdam. I suspect that most of those who favor this notion don’t.
Qwerty, so should we eliminate curbside parking to ease congestion? Seems like a highly inefficient use of space to have people leave their cars out there, when those can be moving lanes.
Totally agree. I tried to bring my car into my building lobby, but the super got really upset. Other suggestions?
How about putting your car in a garage?
There just isn’t enough space for everyone to park their car on the street. There are exactly 3 parking spaces in front of my building which has 34 dwelling units. I can’t have a mattress delivered to me because you believe public space should be designated to store your personal belongings. Would you mind if I stored my refrigerator at the curb the winter?
No one in our building can use the curbside space for ingress/egress thanks to the 3 car owners who don’t even live on our block!
Street parking issues can be alleviated somewhat with zone residency stickers and parking registration fees, as is common in some other big cities. Only residents can park on non-metered streets at certain times, and you need to pay an annual fee for the right to do so. I have at least 5 people in my building that own cars, park on the streets (doing the alternate side dance) and hardly ever use them. If they had to pay a few hundred bucks a year for the right to do so, they might rethink having them..
That would be great. Far too third rail-y for politicians to implement, but it would help.
How about we start with metered parking on the streets, not just avenues? Most of the parking spaces are on the streets, not the avenues. When 28% of drivers are circling around fishing for free parking, they create congestion, pollution, and are distracted.
My car is in a garage. It is happy and warm and I think the guys might sleep in it every once in a while. However, if you were to eliminate street parking on the UWS, the resultant increase in garage fees would price out everyone but us 1-percenters, and every visit to a cookie or lobster store (hell, or even grandma) by an out-of-towner would cost a million billion dollars in parking. Booooo, right?
There are 4 traffic lanes on Amsterdam, not 3 as you say. You’re thinking of Columbus. Plus two parking lanes. Amsterdam, being a very wide street, is hard for some people (elderly, infirm, small children) to get across in one light. The bike lane’s pedestrian islands at the corners will make crossing the street on foot much easier. Also, most cyclists ride in the bike lanes where they are more visible. Bike lanes help pedestrians as much as bikers.
Ah, yes, I stand corrected, it’s three lanes of traffic—it just feels like four because of the width of the intersection.
Agreed that the bike lane benefits both pedestrians and cyclists. The curb extension effectively narrows the intersection and makes it safer to cross for pedestrians.
Drivers on Amsterdam Avenue don’t seem to be gridlocked—in fact, it is quite the opposite. Drivers aggressively race down four lanes of traffic through a residential neighborhood and it creates unsafe conditions for pedestrians and cyclists alike.
Otherwise known as ILLEGAL double-parking.
Concerned about traffic? Why do double-parked vehicles get a pass to break the law?
Yay! Long-awaited — I can’t wait for the bike lanes on Amsterdam! Wah to all the whiners. I live on Columbus Ave and have seen how the traffic has changed since they implemented the bike lane (it hasn’t — and let’s not forget the studies that show adding protected bike lanes actually REDUCES accidents and deaths for pedestrians and cyclists alike — crossing the street on Columbus has gotten way safer since they added the protected lanes).
How could you not love a city that’s more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly.
I have to agree with the naysayers. The first issue is that the majority of bicyclists do not pay attention to traffic lights or road directions. I have nearly been hit on several occasions with bikes coming from the wrong direction AND through traffic lights. We cannot continue to cater to bicyclists if they will not obey rules that protect all. And how many cyclists are still on the sidewalks anyway? The idea of taking a lane from Amsterdam Ave is absurd. It is a major commercial route. The west side has no commercial traffic on RSD, WEA or CPW. Now we are going to replicate the disaster that was created on Columbus? Why not choose a street that does not allow commercial traffic.
Wrong. RSD,WEA and CPW get a great deal of commercial traffic..especially WEA. The law isn’t enforced on those streets and truckers know it.
Don’t you find it a bit ironic and absurd to voice your opinion against a bike lane and then complain about sidewalk bikers in the same breath?
Re: “The city will propose a plan on Tuesday, Nov. 10 to redesign Amsterdam Avenue,….”
Well, there goes the neighborhood!
Any time “the city” (read Dept. of Transportation) does ANYTHING on a street the project LASTS 3X LONGER THAN PLANNED and SCREWS-UP ANY SEMBLANCE OF TRAFFIC FLOW!
Case-in-point: The “Re-design” of the Broadway/Columbus/65th Street intersection, which has lasted for perhaps a month or more. It is one of the reasons that Columbus runs at a snail’s pace, and it often interferes with northbound Broadway traffic.
Perhaps C.B. 7 should DEMAND IN WRITING a projected completion time AND a penalty for work extending beyond that time.
Otherwise we could wind-up with a 34th Street situation, where “the city” (or its contractor) has been putting in “improved bus stops” for the M-34 S.B.S. — FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS…AND THEY’RE NOT YET FINISHED!!
As a pedestrian, I am much more afraid of the bicyclists than the cars. At least most of the time the cars obey the rules, but it is rare that a cyclist stops at a light. Why aren’t they ticketed?
They are ticketed. But unlike cars, they don’t kill hundreds of people every year.
Janice, I’m glad the DOT uses real data to design our roads instead of relying on data your fears.
Ugh. That’s why people hate NYC’s cycling advocates. Totally dismissive of the dangerous behavior of the huge population of rogue cyclists.
I believe that that you may be overestimating the DOT. They appear to be using political pressure to make their decisions regarding roads and that is dangerous.
Um, the political pressure is far greater from those clamoring to hold on to the status quo.
P.S. These changes are happening in DC, Boston, SF, and cities all over the world. It’s not something Bloomberg or the NYC DOT invented.
Dear Menachem Goldstein,
The DOT is planning changes that include, but are not limited to: a bike lane, pedestrian crossings and new street trees.
Witness the iterative changes the DOT has made at B’Way and 96 St. Those were poitically motivated and several interim politically motivated changes were dangerous, resulting in a fatality.
Worse is that these politically motivated decisions are done piecemeal, as the DOT’s prime motivator has been to ensure no second fatality in the same intersection. This kinda spreads out the fatalities so they look clean. But, of course results in more deaths.
Because they are better than the average human…they’re alternative!
I love bikes by the way. I love them when the riders follow the rules and act like the rest of us exist. Bike lanes and paths are not supposed to be race ways and biles are supposed to share with oedestrians but they don’t.
So few people use the Columbus Ave bike lane that I see more people using the street, even on Columbus, than using the lane. On the UWS, we have protected lanes in Central Park and along Hudson River Park that have almost no cross traffic and are much safer than bike lanes on the streets. They also don’t interfere with parking, taxi pickups, and traffic. While it’s politically popular to put bike lanes on all the motorways, it doesn’t make sense on the UWS and just clogs traffic, reduces parking, and makes it hard to hail a taxi. Enough already with the UWS bike lanes.
I fully support a safe street design for Amsterdam Avenue: protected bike lane, pedestrian islands, loading spaces for trucks and the traffic calming that has resulted in other redesigned streets.
on this past Saturday, I walked from 106th/Columbus to 87th/Columbus in the bike lane..grand total of 2 bikes and one was going north.
And if someone on a bike hit you while you were walking in the bike lane like a doofus, you’d be the first one to complain about the reckless bikers, amirite?
I am strongly in favor of a complete street redesign of Amsterdam Ave. The current design was built for vehicles, which is why we have a high speed motorway right through a residential area heavily populated by families with children. We should design our communities in a way that endeavors to serve all members. Complete streets with dedicated space for all users is how we do this.
Will pedestrians get a protected lane? Cyclists treat us like obstacles but obstacles that should move out of their way. I for one am sick of it.
Yes, it is called a sidewalk.
No, that’s the Kouzan delivery guy lane.
I am really looking forward to this. I live next to Columbus and the redesign has improved the experience of being on the avenue (I have not seen the backups that other commenters refer to, not since the redesign. The traffic now flows more smoothly). In contrast, Amsterdam feels like an expressway, so I don’t enjoy going there for shopping or dinner.
Reducing Amsterdam by a lane shouldn’t impact the traffic since it’s sister southbound avenue – Columbus – is three lanes. So, there will be an equal number of lanes going south as going north.
For those complaining about cyclists not following the rules, these street redesigns actually improve behavior, so you should be for the plan, not against it. They reduce cyclists riding on the sidewalk, running lights, and going the wrong way. And, most importantly, you know where to look for them.
Willow, do you have a link to stats that show the bike lanes results in better behavior, specifically stopping at lights, of the cyclists? It certainly doesn’t feel that way to me but I admit I have no real data I just remember when I’m almost run over.
I too have more confidence in that prayer will be more effective than the DOT.
Pedestrians are in harms way every time we cross Amsterdam Avenue. Simply crossing the street shouldn’t involve a risk just because you’re walking or cycling. More than any other avenue, Amsterdam needs to be made safer. We can’t wait until we lose another life.
Amsterdam is the last avenue on the west side where traffic still moves at a reasonable pace.
It looks like that will not last much longer.
what about us kick scooter users????don’t we deserve a lane?
You know you hit the nail on the head. Clearly the increased danger in the streets is the result of the increased mix of vehicles traveling.
As an engineer involved in traffic studies; witnessed the successful implementation of bike programs in major European cities; and a resident of the UWS . . . here are my two cents (for whatever they are worth). Manhattan Island because of its small size and large population (71 thousand people per square mile), is not a conducive place for a bike program. I’m not even taking into account the number of vehicles that travel within the borough, which just exacerbates the complexities involved. While a nice idea, it just does more harm than good.
Question AC: Given Manhattan’s shape, narrow and long, would it not be better to remove cars altogether and rely on public transportation and bikes. If we do what Paris does and restrict trucks to the overnight hours and let only taxis or Uber would that not make more sense?
Several studies have been reviewed and studied, such as: limiting vehicles South of 96th Street; based on the last digit of the license plate, alternating entry between Even & Odd numbered vehicles; and banning vehicles all together. The largest impact would be to the financial stability of the city. Businesses require the delivery of goods to sustain and the City of New York draws a great amount of revenue from parking meters and fines/summons it doles out.
The situation will get worse over the next 25-50 years. People are living longer, taller buildings are accommodating more residents and commercial offices. Installation of bike lanes will solely add to the congestion and number of accidents. Again, a good concept in ‘suburban like places’ like Brooklyn where the density is nearly half of Manhattan (37,000 residents/square mile) – it just doesn’t work in a small, constrained, and over populated area.
Thanks, AC. Couldn’t agree more. Just doesn’t work here. It sounds appealing to some people on paper who see cars as bad and bikes as good, but in practice it creates more problems than it solves. Central Park and Riverside Park offer safe bike paths the entire length of the UWS (and up to the GWB on Riverside Park). No reason to clog the avenues and make it harder to park or get a taxi.
NYC has been extremely conductive to bicycle sharing and bicycle lanes.
As a driver and a cyclist will prob bikes now then anyone on this forum, I think it’s a horrible idea.. CPW provides a great north bound lane that actually people use, as opposed to the Columbus one ( which I just passed by on a 75 degree day with no one using it)
Typical selfish people, that don’t drive think it’s OK to have massive gridlock and traffic because it doesn’t affect them..
Don’t understand your point – I cycle everyday to/from work. I think it is a great idea. Does cycling give me credibility or discredit me? I find it funny how people profess to be the number one cyclist/traffic engineer/etc. as a way to validate their opinions. I’ll rely on the non-anonymous traffic engineers employed by the city to validate the proposal.
Anyways… Amsterdam is a freeway through our neighborhood – the bike lane and other traffic calming infrastructure improvements are sorely needed for all parties (I expect to benefit more as a pedestrian). Also note that Columbus has more vehicles per day than Amsterdam. Life shattering grid lock should not occur… again, leave this to the traffic engineers.
P.S. I will continue to treat red-lights as stop signs. Nothing I say will convince many of you to not eviscerate me for this comment, but google “Idaho Stop” = practical and safe. And finally, the CPW bike lane is terrifying (ie almost useless) – squeezed between car doors and traffic, with cabs/tours buses making frequent stops.
The Central Park West paint lane doesn’t make anyone on a bike feel comfortable. It’s just used by cars to double park. It’s nice only if you enjoy the death defying challenge of merging into traffic while on a bike.
Glad this is finally happening. People (me and my kids, for instance) bike in both directions on Columbus, even though it’s technically illegal, because CPW is plain unsafe. The buffer between bikers and car doors swinging open is what makes the bike lane safe enough for kids, and we really need an uptown corridor.
As a person who drives on Columbus, the complaints about bike lanes aggravating vehicular traffic seem purely invented. The traffic was horrible before the bike lane and remains horrible. The bike lane doesn’t have much to do with it.
And as a person who crosses the street with kids, Columbus is made unquestionably safer by the island.
My wife works on the Upper West Side and commutes by bike regularly. I want a protected bike lane do go with the one on Columbus so her ride in both directions is safe!
Since Upper West Siders (particularly those on this board) love to complain, everyone supporting bike lanes should have to sign a document attesting to the following:
1. Since bike lanes will make it much harder for trucks to make deliveries, I will not complain when the cost of my groceries goes up due to increased delivery costs.
2. I will not complain when it is harder for me to find a spot to park my car.
3. I will not complain when my taxes go up to pay for additional law enforcement officials who are clearly necessary to patrol these bike lanes and fine those riders who run red lights.
Amsterdam needs traffic CALMING. In this way it’s far different from most redesigns that seek to increase capacity. This is far more like Prospect Park West, where a street that leads away from the core is simply poorly designed as a speedway and definitely does not need more capacity for vehicular traffic.
The main danger on Amsterdam comes from having too much capacity. Cars speed to cruise green lights at 10-20mph hour of the speed limit and end up forming these clusters of 2-3 blocks of “traffic” with blocks of emptiness in between. The problem with the speed is that through trucks usually don’t turn and stay in the middle lanes, making the passing lanes the outer two lanes. For a biker this is hell because besides biking alongside 18-wheelers, you are difficult to see for someone trying to accelerate around the truck. You also need to merge into the middle lanes every 2-3 blocks to avoid double parked cars. For pedestrians it’s tough to cross at the beginning of a light cycle when the 35mph cluster is coasting the light as it’s turning green. There is a cascading into turns effect that happens where cars speed into turns without respecting pedestrian right of way.
Needless to say this is much needed, and is a far bigger issue than just a bike lane and spurious arguments about the dangers of biker behavior while cars speed. This should be a comprehensive plan that includes attention to all street users including loading trucks and cars. The idea is to eliminate the clusters of high speed traffic, to slow everyone down, and spread them evenly on the avenue. Finally, getting rid of a lane will do little to slow down traffic if the lights aren’t looked at. Can’t make the meeting but looking forward to seeing the plan.
Well I am an urban planner with a specialization in Traffic Impact Studies and I was born on the UWS….literally, I was born on 81st and WEA, right on the sidewalk. My mother was getting some bagels at H&H and then a slice at Big Nick’s and I just plopped out right there on the street in front of Calhoun, where I would later become the validictorian. So obviously I know what I am talking about and have the requisite NYC bona fides.
But I digress, I am neither a driver or a cyclist and I totally support this. In fact Manhattan should ban all private cars…just buses, taxis, uber, rickshaws, dune-buggys and burly Russian guys giving piggyback rides.
Please, discuss amoungst yourselves…
I know it’s about safer streets for everyone. But for purely personal reasons I am for the bike lane….those personal reasons are that while I feel safe and even feel a sense of deep enjoyment and fulfillment biking downtown on Columbus, getting home is another story. It seems logical that if you are provided a safe route downtown, you’ll want to have one uptown, call me an entitled bicyclist.
But hey, don’t people get that congestion IS motor vehicles. Bicyclists, ultimately, lessen congestion, because we’re a lot smaller and need less space. And i’ve travelled on Amsterdam at all times of the day, and the problem is not congestion, not most of the time, it’s speed. It gets treated like a highway with inconvenient stop lights.
Jazzy J said it best:
“The main danger on Amsterdam comes from having too much capacity. Cars speed to cruise green lights at 10-20mph hour of the speed limit and end up forming these clusters of 2-3 blocks of “traffic” with blocks of emptiness in between. The problem with the speed is that through trucks usually don’t turn and stay in the middle lanes, making the passing lanes the outer two lanes. For a biker this is hell because besides biking alongside 18-wheelers, you are difficult to see for someone trying to accelerate around the truck. You also need to merge into the middle lanes every 2-3 blocks to avoid double parked cars. For pedestrians it’s tough to cross at the beginning of a light cycle when the 35mph cluster is coasting the light as it’s turning green. There is a cascading into turns effect that happens where cars speed into turns without respecting pedestrian right of way.”
To get home, I feel reasonably safe on CPW even though I know that to be an illusion, based on the feeling that at least if someone runs me over in an unprotected lane, I’ll die knowing I had the right of way.
And yes, there are bicyclists who, god forbid, treat red lights like stop signs, sometimes even are rude and scare and annoy pedestrians. And delivery men who go the wrong way down the Columbus bike path with sheepish, apologetic looks on their faces, because, yes, it is actually safer for them to take advantage of the one haven-like protected lane on the whole upper west side for a few blocks rather than go a mile out of their way on a truck route.
I would like to see bicycle and bus lanes. More importantly, pedestrian islands to shorten crossing distances and slow traffic.
I’ve lived in the UWS for 25 years and ride my bike all over the city. I ride down Columbus and up Ansterdam. I’ve never had a problem. However, the traffic has become horrible with the addition to the Columbus bike lane and parking disappearing. Please just leave Ansterdam alone.
I support traffic-calming measures and the addition of a bike lane to Amsterdam Ave.
Most taxpayers in NYC do not need a car or cannot afford one. The streets should accommodate all users, not just motorists.
I welcome a dedicated bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue. It is sorely needed. However, the NYCDOT and the Council must find a way to prevent trucks from doubling up to unload which bottlenecks the Avenues. This is what has happened on Columbus and will happen on Amsterdam unless they create special loading zones, and return some of the parking spaces of Citibike to help accommodate that. There is currently a citibike station on Amsterdam Ave around 83rd Street whereby the cyclers are pulling their bikes out RIGHT INTO THE RIGHT HAND TRAFFIC LANE where the BUS travels. That’s a disaster just waiting to happen. Some of the decisions that went into where to put citibike stations is just mind-boggling.
Non-driver – and do not favor creation of an Amsterdam Avenue bike lane.
There does not seem to be realistic discussion of the big increase in traffic (permanent) generated by development as well as the growth of e-commerce/instant gratification delivery. Google delivery, Fresh Direct, UPS etc trucks are everywhere all the time. Buildings are increasing storage capacity to accommodate the increase in resident package-delivery.
And there is more development planned and already underway on the West Side including the former Lincoln Square Synagogue on Amsterdam, former Habonim site on 66th Street, Broadway and 80th, the mega-complex on West End 58-60th and more. Traffic also generated by “destination” stores like Trader Joe’s and Century 21.
And there is ongoing/multi-year water pipe work on Amsterdam Avenue in low 60s.
A bike lane will mean gridlock.
Rather than funding a bike lane/infrastructure believe that scarce resources should go to bus and subway mass transit.
I, too, have spend many years on the UWS, and have witnessed the change in the neighborhood and street usage. The Columbus bike lane had negligible lasting effects on traffic patterns. The gridlock on Columbus centers on the below-72nd area approaching Lincoln Square, and it had been that way prior to the bike lane (indeed there was no protected bike lane there until phase 2). There is no gridlock on Amsterdam except between 77-79th and 94-96th, two major intersection where cars are fighting to make left turns towards to West Side Highway resulting in the gridlock — it is a de facto highway everywhere else on the avenue. Drives choose Amsterdam over Broadway because the light timing, which ironically makes the northbound Broadway lanes practically empty at certain times. A bike lane will, if anything, slow down the flow of traffic on Amsterdam, but not impede it — which is a good thing. I am a confident cyclist, but I hesitate riding on Amsterdam.
I have seen cycling increase dramatically over the past 5 years, and the addition of Citibike on the UWS has left us in a no-going-back point, where bike lines are more necessary than luxury. I think thats a good thing. Frankly, what cars are using the streets? It certainly is not residents doing there daily errands! Leave the commercial streets to cabs/uber, buses and commercial vans; permit trucks to do deliveries and transverse solely during certain designated delivery periods; and have a designated bike lane. And be vigilant about ticketing double parked cars. And, parking of private cars on non-metered streets should be limited to zoned residents, who pay an annual registration fee for the privilege of doing so. Other cities have done this with fantastic results. The beauty of NYC, is that it is designed wonderfully for people who DO NOT OWN CARS. Lets support that. Bike lanes are a step in the right direction.
As an aside, the cyclists who are more often harangued by critics for riding erratically are mainly delivermen
Car registration fees pay for that space as well as the cities part of the 65 cents a gallon tax on gas in NYC.
And lest us not forget the METERS that WE PAY at EVERY day at to park there, its no right – drivers pay to park on Amsterdam.
This is a must! Businesses on Amsterdam will benefit when the avenue is safer too, in addition to pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.
I love the expansion of bike lanes in NYC. As a visitor to your fair city, I’ve brought my bike down every time after having been introduced to the one on the west side along the river. It’s a great way to see the city and results in fewer cars. Win win, I’d say.
Why has this taken so long? Finally!
Redesigning Amsterdam to prevent safe driving is certainly a disadvantage to local residents. The misguided redesign of West End avenue has made it dangerous, and difficult to use. The redesign of Broadway has not diminsihed the number of fatalities. If we judged traffic planners by results, as we do doctors and other professionals, we would remove the bicycle lanes. But just to check if they are used, I do sometimes look up and down Columbus Avenue and Second Avenue, you can often see more than a mile and never a bike in sight outside of rush hours. The young and fit are benefitted and the elderly are mown down!