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Tonight: Speak up for a safer Lafayette Street

March 6, 2014
There's plenty of room for a protected bike lane on Lafayette Street.

There’s plenty of room for a protected bike lane on Lafayette Street.

Tonight, the Traffic and Transportation Committee of Manhattan’s Community Board 2 will hear a presentation from DOT on upgrading the Lafayette Street bike lane from a buffered lane, as pictured above, to a parking-protected lane from Spring Street to 14th Street.  It’s kind of a no-brainer, as the real estate is certainly there and little will change about the access drivers have to the street.

But despite great leadership on this committee, nothing can be taken for granted.  My last experience with CB2, while positive in many regards, showed me how even the most basic pieces of bike infrastructure still face giant hurdles.  Plus, it’s not just about the bike.  Time and time again, protected bike lanes have improved safety for everyone on the street, including drivers and pedestrians.  Seeing as how this proposal represents the first parking-protected bike lane of the Vision Zero era and one of the most significant safety upgrades early in 2014, it would be nice for livable streets advocates to show up in abundance to support the agency that’s leading the charge.

Community Board 2’s Traffic and Transportation Committee meets tonight at 6:30 at the NYU Silver Building, 32 Waverly Place, Room 520. (I.D. required to enter building.)

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6 Comments
  1. March 6, 2014 1:35 pm

    My office lis less than a block from Lafayette, so I ride on this lane a lot. I feel very safe on it. Safer, in fact, than when I get to the turn lanes in some of the protected lanes—those encourage aggressive driving, even though that’s obviously not their intent.

    IN addition, this lane is not heavy-duty, over-engineered infrastructure that clearly marks the roadway as an auto-cenric place visually unwelcoming to pedestrians.

    • johnmassengale permalink
      March 6, 2014 1:39 pm

      Sorry for the typos above. I don’t see anyway to edit them.

      I wanted to add that I would be 100% in favor of a lighter protected lane of the type they do in Paris. I hope, however, that we don’t move parked cars out into the middle of the street.

      Alternative: Lafayette is lightly trafficked and wide: how about a two-way street with bike lanes in each direction. Let’s get creative. The solutions we’ve had so far are experimental, and on the whole don’t work as well as the solutions in France and Germany.

    • March 6, 2014 3:53 pm

      I think it’s easy for us as men to say we feel safe on lanes like Lafayette as they exist now. But as we work to expand cycling to a more diverse crowd in terms of gender, age, and class, I still believe that protection is key even if we’re still trying to figure out the perfect design.

      • March 6, 2014 4:24 pm

        Yes, I strongly agree. I’m a big time proponent of bike lanes for kids. In Street Design we call them “Penalosa Zones.”

        I wouldn’t allow young children to use the transportation corridor bike lanes.

        I spent a year in Munich. They have good bike lanes for children, very different than our typical lanes.

  2. March 6, 2014 1:47 pm

    I cannot make the meeting tonight, but I did write in my support to the District Manager, Bob Gormley, gormley at cb2manhattan dot org
    Personally I see the opportunity for a two protected bike lane on this streets, there is room and there is need.

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  1. Tonight: Support a Safer Lafayette Street at Manhattan CB 2 | Streetsblog New York City

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