electrical bike DOT resurrects Ed Koch’s short-lived Sixth Avenue bike lane
It’s now broadly agreed upon that former Mayor Ed Koch’s was about 40 years forward of his time when he put in a motorcycle lane on Sixth Avenue.
Nevertheless it didn’t final after he acquired criticism from not solely Governor Hugh Carey, but in addition President Jimmy Carter, and eliminated what was the primary bike infrastructure within the metropolis, ceding asphalt again to motorists.
Town Division of Transportation has resurrected the Sixth Avenue bike lane as one in 5 miles of roadway within the metropolis now has area for cyclists and the Inexperienced Wave Plan pushed ahead.
Former DOT Commissioner “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz stated Mayor Koch’s bike lane, in-built June 1980, got here at a time in the course of the transit strike when individuals had been turning to bikes very similar to they’re as we speak.
“What occurred was not sufficient individuals had been utilizing the lane and worse than that, individuals had been indignant – indignant at bike riders – it was a special environment. There was no advocacy for bikes,” Schwartz stated. “At some point, Mayor Koch referred to as me into his workplace telling me… ‘I can’t go anyplace on this freaking metropolis with out any individual complaining about these bike lanes.”
The elimination of the bike lane nevertheless, did spark activism with cyclists laying down within the bike lane and protecting themselves in ketchup, Schwartz stated.
The brand new Sixth Avenue bike lane not solely comes after a bloody 12 months for cyclists with 29 killed in 2019, and 7 killed over the summer time as the town got here out of hibernation from the COVID-19 lockdown.
Since then, biking has been booming
Pre-pandemic – within the earlier than instances, we talked about how DOT could be delivering 30 miles of protected bike lanes all year long together with ten in Manhattan and I’m completely satisfied to report that, even regardless of the setbacks of COVID… Nonetheless we’re on the way in which to reaching these objectives,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg stated Wednesday. “Quick ahead 40 years to as we speak and clearly New York Metropolis is in a really totally different place, even post-COVID, we now have had an exponential development in biking.”
With ten miles of motorcycle lanes put in since February, DOT has 15 extra within the pipeline, in keeping with Trottenberg.
However whereas analysis has pointed that automobile congestion is nearing pre-pandemic ranges, Trottenberg is skeptical of this declare, pointing to Sixth Avenue in the course of the Wednesday morning press convention which was markedly calm.
“I do know there are hotspots the place you would possibly really feel that we’re having congestion issues however we’re nonetheless not again basically to the degrees we had been earlier than the pandemic,” Trottenberg stated.