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The long-awaited 9th Avenue sidewalk and bike lane extension officially opened today. Local leaders and pedestrian safety advocates gathered to celebrate the newly completed throughway, while Hell’s Kitchen residents highlighted a need for more protected lanes across the neighborhood. 

Erik Bottcher on bike
Council Member Erik Bottcher (from left) arrives at the ribbon cutting on a Citi Bike with Tom Foley (DDC) and Ydanis Rodríguez (DOT). Photo: Phil O’Brien

City Council Member Erik Bottcher, Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley and several DOT workers triumphantly rode into the press conference on bicycles, as other uninitiated citizens mistakenly rode in the beige pedestrian sidewalk to cries of “use the green bike lane!” from DOT officials. Convening for a ribbon-cutting to officially dedicate the W58th Street to W50th Street sector — which expands the eastern “super sidewalk” 11 feet, shifts the bike lane and pedestrian island to the center and moves bus lane travel to the western side, in addition to repairing and expanding the water main connections to the city’s third tunnel — leaders counted the years-long process as a victory for West Side pedestrians and cyclists. 

“This is a great day for Hell’s Kitchen!” said Council Member Erik Bottcher. “The project is finally finished, and was so big that most Hell’s Kitchen residents we talked to can’t even remember when it started.” He added, “A lot of people who moved to New York have always known 9th Avenue as a construction site, but this was so important for so many reasons — our water and sewer infrastructure on 9th Avenue is going to be solid for the next century.” 

Christine Berthet and Erik Bottcher
Christine Berthet, Co-Chair of MCB4’s Transportation Committee speaks as CM Bottcher looks on. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Bottcher credited not only the work of the DOT and DDC but also Hell’s Kitchen residents and community members like Christine Berthet, founder of pedestrian safety organization CHEKPEDS and Manhattan Community Board 4 Transportation Co-Chair. “Our secret weapon here in Hell’s Kitchen are people like Christine Berthet, who have put in countless hours of volunteer work and bring expertise about every corner of this neighborhood,” said Bottcher. “It’s thanks to her and people like Dale [Corvino] of Community Board 4 that this is happening.” 

Berthet underlined that today’s expansion was about “reclaiming space that Robert Moses took from us 40, 50 years ago,” she said. “I cannot emphasize enough how important this is and how emblematic this is of what this administration is doing to give space back to the people – we are the people. A lot of people in this neighborhood are not wealthy. They are just working their butts off and they walk to the subway, they walk their children to school and they need space to function.” Charlie Todd, a longtime Hell’s Kitchen resident and cyclist safety advocate, agreed. “After 10 years of construction, I’m so happy to see a completed 9th Avenue,” said Todd. “I use the expanded lanes every day to walk my kids to elementary school.” 

Both Council Member Bottcher and DDC Commissioner Foley acknowledged that while today celebrated the restoration of a significant section of 9th Avenue, the project had not been easy on residents. “This was a very, very challenging project,” said Foley, as Bottcher added: “Thank you all for putting up with us — we were very tough on you during this project.” In addition to the disruption and noise for residents who faced years of construction on the avenue, many small businesses, particularly restaurants, expressed dismay that the sudden removal of many outdoor dining structures had been significantly detrimental to their revenue. 

Reporters and residents questioned how the city planned to enforce right-of-way and unidirectional travel in the new bike lanes, while observers pointed out that there had already been many instances of cyclists traveling in the pedestrian lane or the wrong way up the bike lane. “It’s very interesting to see the elected officials come to congratulate the extension of the 9th Avenue sidewalk,” said Hell’s Kitchen resident Catie Savage, “meanwhile, the DOT has no plans to mark the area for pedestrian usage. We are already seeing it being taken over by two-way bike traffic. I think it’s a step in the right direction, but I’ve already seen people riding bikes on the beige area and yelling at people walking.” 

The ribbon-cutting for the new “super sidewalk” on 9th Avenue. Video: Phil O’Brien

“We have to be more creative about what kind of signage we put down,” said Bottcher, who also suggested that mandatory bike safety training be implemented in New York City public schools. 

Other members of the press asked about plans for more protected bike lanes on 10th and 11th Avenue, to which DOT Commissioner Rodriguez answered that an additional 18 percent of  funding granted to the agency by Mayor Eric Adams would allow them “the resources we need to continue” building bike and pedestrian lanes. There are plans to expand sidewalks on 9th Avenue between W30th and W34th Street as well as explore options for 10th and 11th Avenue. “Now, we have more than 200 miles of protected bike lanes citywide” said Rodriguez, adding, “but we have to be accountable. We are also asking for more.” 

Join the Conversation


  1. This is cause for celebration. Cars took over Hell’s Kitchen, and most of them are from New Jersey. New York’s streets were built for people. New York people. How wonderful to see we’re slowly taking them back.

  2. It’s a huge step in the right direction, but Catie Savage is absolutely right. The “pedestrian only” section instantly became a two-way highway for scooters and e-bike delivery workers.

    Two a**holes on an unlicensed scooter sped by my boyfriend and I the other day and were within about a foot of hitting us. They didn’t care. I’m so sick of it.

    They need to put up major obstacles to prevent any vehicles from entering the extended sidewalk. Put up giant planter boxes at both ends of the block. Pedestrians can maneuver through those, but scooters and speeding bikes will avoid them. And the trees/flowers will add some nature/color to the streets.

    1. Totally agree, the expanded pedestrian lane has become a raceway for ebikes…something needs to be done! We cannot walk anywhere safely anymore. Why havent our elected official done anything about pedestrian safety. Commissioner Rodriguez, Council Member Bottcher what will it take before you act?

    2. It’s crazy that we have barriers on the west side bike path because a lunatic driver killed people, but no such blockades on an actual vehicular road. I’m always nervous to use some of the extensions on 8th Avenue because there’s absolutely nothing to stop a rogue car from driving on it, not even signage.

      Necessary access for wheelchairs will mean that bikes and scooters will be able to brazenly enter freely. These sidewalk extensions are good in concept but not very practical.

  3. The “super sidewalks” have nothing marking them as such and they just become more space for e-bikes, bikes and scooters to continue to run amok. I was once standing on one and a car started to use it to get around another car. If you want to extend the sidewalk, extend it by building an actual sidewalk, not by constructing something no one understands and waiting for a tragedy to happen, and then having the light bulb go off – gee, we should’ve built an actual sidewalk.

  4. Yeah, those expanded sidewalks need big planters on either side of every block so bikes and scooters cannot use them. I, too, have already been almost run down by bikes thinking that space is theirs to go in any direction they please. This is actually a dangerous situation just waiting for something bad to happen. Please address this before something bad happens…

    Otherwise, this is all great and a cause for a margarita at El Centro!

  5. Although the extended sidewalk is much needed and welcomed the event covered by W42ST clearly demonstrates the DISCONNECT between local OFFICIALS and residents. If the authorities celebrating this accomplishment took the time out to actually talk to people they would have found a loud and clear call for adequately marking the pedestrian space which has been quickly doubling as a space for bikes, delivery vehicles, and trash. Planters? A few signs? Markings on the pavement?

  6. This is definitely helpful, but I don’t think everyone is aware of the correct usage of each of the lanes. Marking them with signs or logos MAY prevent accidents.

  7. A small victory. But as others have said there needs to be proper signage for pedestrians and bikes. If bike lanes are one way, then mark them as such. Planter boxes are a great idea to protect the pedestrian walk way ( should have been a real extended sidewalk, especially after all the time and money spent
    ) Also speaking of signage – at the Hudson Park bike lanes the yield to pedestrians signs written on the bike lanes make pedestrian’s think that the bike lane is a walkway for them, this is especially true for tourists, and it is a real hazard for both the bikers and the pedestrians.

  8. I walked several blocks along the new super sidewalk. It was primarily filled with electric scooters and delivery people and bicycles. Why is there no signage? What was the purpose of these sidewalks since they aren’t safe for walking? It took ten years to build this?

  9. The “new” 9th Avenue! Another eBike and Motorcycle highway! The lives of pedestrians are in peril. Why can’t the community leaders see this? All they would have to do is stand and observe for 5 minutes to clearly see the issue.
    Will it take a pedestrian casualty for some sort of enforcement and structural barriers to be implemented?

  10. It has worsened bus service.

    Unbelievable that the City is focusing so many resources on expanding bicycling – while State MTA is cutting bus service, bus frequency, bus routes etc.
    TransAlt runs DOT

  11. This has made things more dangerous for pedestrians, not less so. And it was definitely predictable to anyone who gave it two seconds of thought, which the planners obviously did not. I guess they were blinded by their own “brilliance.” Just as cyclists scream for barriers to separate bike lanes from cars and buses, there must be barriers to separate bike lanes from pedestrian areas. And not planters. Beautiful as they might be, the plants make it impossible to see what’s coming at you. Because rest assured, the bikes will still be coming at you. That will continue to happen unless they are fined for breaking the law. As of now, they do whatever they want with impunity, so why would they stop?

  12. The main thing I notice is that it’s a lot quieter now. And not just from the lack of construction noise but from the smooth paved street. There are no more trucks crashing through potholes all day long.

  13. I have to agree and we all assumed it would happen. The super sidewalk is a super highway for scooters, delivery bikes and regular “We own any surface on which we can ride” bikers.

    I love the idea, however wonder why we didn’t widen the actual sidewalk including the curb? Maybe that would keep the selfish-ies on their already designated lane? Just a thought. I do use the space but don’t feel like I can be comfortable without radar:)

  14. It’s outrageous. They are on the sidewalk, going up one streets. They are running people and their down, running over dogs, 11th avenue is horrible. The traffic, the bikes, scooters, skateboards even the cars are going up on the sidewalk. They need to ticketing them. As a kid growing up, once your training came off the bike, we had to ride in the street. The police gave us tickets. Bike path on 12th avenue is out of control, big red gigantic bike light, light says walk for pedestrian, here comes the cyclist and ran the man and his born baby down. That is outrageous. Your cyclist are out of control. They have to find a way to control them.

  15. I’ve witnessed the chaos this has caused. While it’s great for cyclists (and I’m talking about the responsible ones!), it has opened the floodgates for wrong-way scooters and cyclists that are taking advantage. The city always seems to take one step forward, and two steps back when it comes to cyclist and pedestrian safety.

  16. I’m also wondering when will the NYPD deploy police on bikes to patrol areas like 9th and 11th avenues and ticket the heck out of violators. It would be a cash cow for the city, and introduce some type of enforcement towards cyclists and drivers who don’t follow the rules.

  17. …lest I forget it’s the 9th ave festival this weekend. Let’s see what fun the cyclists and festival go-ers will deal with 😑

  18. Raise the “super sidewalk” so it looks more like an actual sidewalk rather than the road. It doesn’t have to match the height of the actual sidewalk, but raise it. Then add planters or barriers at each block and, importantly, more of a consistent barrier between the actual bike
    lanes & super sidewalk so they can’t keep changing lanes and have to stay in the bike lanes. (but u can still walk thru).
    We’ve almost been hit multiple times walking in the pedestrian area and these delivery guys don’t care.

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