10th Avenue is about to look a lot different. Construction by the Department of Transport (DOT) is slated to start on a new parking-protected bike lane from W38th to W52nd Street.
The new bike lane is bigger than usual – measuring 10-foot wide — and last month, restaurants including Tulcingo Del Valle, DBL, Valla Table, and Mémé Mediterranean along the west side of 10th Avenue between W42nd Street and W52nd Street were forced to remove their outdoor dining sheds to make room for construction.
“I’m happy to say that the Department of Transportation is now starting work on this protected bike lane,” said Council Member Erik Bottcher in a video posted on social media. “This is going to make 10th Avenue so much more liveable, more pleasant. It’s going to slow the speeding traffic and save lives.”
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Last year, Bottcher joined State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal and community members in demanding action toward safe street initiatives as traffic and fatalities continued to rise in the neighborhood. Community members were asked to share their experiences with unsafe driving.
“I can tell you first-hand how dangerous 10th Avenue is — I biked here today, and was inches from the wheels of an 18-wheel truck, zooming right past my head, very unsafe. My mother would kill me if she knew how dangerous it is,” Bottcher said at the time.
In addition to the new bike lane, the finalized plan will also increase the number of pedestrian islands from two as originally presented, to eight between W40th and W51st Streets. There will be 10 bike corrals at select islands to protect the space. The hope is that the new bike lane will create a more welcoming and comfortable riding experience.
“We are reimagining Tenth Avenue for a safer, more sustainable future. This project will deliver much-needed safety upgrades to the Hell’s Kitchen corridor and help support more efficient transportation options,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez in a statement.
The DOT initially proposed an eight-foot-wide bike lane but adjusted the plan after receiving feedback from Community Board 4. Construction was expected to start this spring, but was pushed back.
“We’re a little nervous between W38th and W41st, where there are a lot of New Jersey drivers,” Christine Berthet, who co-chairs local Community Board 4’s Transportation Committee, told Streetsblog. “They want to bypass the congestion and they do not hesitate to use the bike lane as a bypass.”
The DOT will be monitoring use of the new bike lane before it is extended from W14th Street to W38th Street next year.