City to Put Cyclists on a Safer Path Down Lower Broadway

Broadway's bus lane is often used by cyclists and occupied by vehicles for unloading. Transportation officials say their plan for a dedicated bike lane and new and formalized loading zones, as well as other changes, will help improve safety and traffic flow issues along lower Broadway. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Nov. 10, 2019

Cyclists will be going their own way down Broadway.

The city is proposing a new bike path, from Barclay Street to The Battery, that will link Broadway near lower City Hall Park and the Brooklyn Bridge bike path to Manhattans waterfront greenway that loops around the tip of the island.

The plan also includes changes meant to improve some pedestrian crossings and, where possible, formalize and add space for commercial loading, all without slowing traffic, according to Department of Transportation officials who showed the proposal last month to Community Board 1’s Transportation Committee. 

Ted Wright, director of the DOT’s Bikeway and Greenway Program, said the city is trying to bring some “reason” to the street. “I see the bikes skirting in between traffic. I see buses having to slow down for bikes. I see cars having to slow down for bikes. I see a lot of pedestrians not even looking at bikes whatsoever. It’s almost like the whole thing is a shared street.

The extra available roadway would be opened up by reducing two travel lanes to one while maintaining the bus lane on the west side of Broadway. “Below Barclay, vehicle volumes drop considerably,” said DOT project manager Olguine Alcide. “Even though there are two southbound travel lanes, typically it functions as one southbound travel lane in areas where people are using the second lane for loading.”

The addition of dedicated loading spaces on the east side of Broadway, where now there is No Standing or Stopping Anytime, they said, would help alleviate a problem on the west side of the street, where vehicles often do their loading in the bus lane.

“This is our chance to look at the curbs and organize it in a way that actually fits how they’re using it right now,” Wright said.

Other proposed changes include a left turn lane at the pedestrian-heavy John Street crossing, meant to speed traffic flow, and a widened pedestrian space outside the 4/5 Wall Street station at Wall Street, where pedestrians now spill out into the street. Split signal light phasing at Vesey Street is expected to help eliminate conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and left-turning traffic at the wide crossings at Ann Street and Park Row.

Cyclists in the room were enthusiastic about the plan. A lawyer who rides from the courthouses on Centre Street to his office below Rector Street, and who avoids Broadway, said the bike path will cut his ride from 15 or 20 minutes down to five.

“This is something I’ve been thinking about for years,” he said.

“I never even attempt Broadway because we haven’t had this,” said a Battery Park City resident who noted that she travels most everywhere by bike. “So thank you.”