A report was released this week revealing that the NYPD issued more tickets for riding a bike on a sidewalk than for speeding on local streets last year—something we basically already knew anecdotally. But even when the DOT proposes actual, demarcated sidewalk bike lanes, nobody is happy: the DOT presented their plan for a sidewalk bike lane in Tribeca—along part of a cobblestone block of Varick Street, just south of Canal Street—at a CB1 meeting yesterday.
And they were promptly rejected: “Bike lanes make everyone safer — they’re great,” said CB1 member Mark Costello, according to DNAInfo. “But, no, definitely not on a sidewalk. That makes no sense and it’s not going to work — it’s not safe for pedestrians. The DOT just has to come up with a better idea. Plain and simple."
You can see the full proposal here [PDF]. The new bike route would connect Greenwich Village with Lower Manhattan, and be a mix of bike lanes and shared lanes on Church Street, Sixth Avenue, West Broadway, LaGuardia Place, Washington Square South, Washington Square East, Washington Square North, Broome Street and Varick Street.
No parking spaces would be lost, and the sidewalk section would only last for the stretch around Albert Capsouto Park near the intersection of Canal, Laight and Varick Streets. Hayes Lord, the director of the DOT’s bike program, told CB1 that the DOT wouldn’t move forward with the proposal without the board's support, so he’d have to "take the input back to the DOT." It's worth noting, however, that mixed-use sidewalk bike lanes have been working just fine in other parts of the city for years, including on Kent Avenue in Brooklyn and by the entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge. (Cops seem to be the only ones who have a hard time with it.)