Greenway Wayfinding Signs Removed from "Connector" Route on First/Second Aves bet. 55th and 37th Sts
For years, the city maintained signs like this, along with "bicycle route" signs, on each block of First and Second Avenues between 55th and 36th Streets. The signs helped navigation and heightened visibility of cyclists amidst the harrowing midtown traffic in this area, where cyclists must detour around the Midtown East "Greenway Gap." The route has long appeared on the official New York City Cycling Map with a "Class 3-On Street Signed Route" designation.
Advocates have long sought to improve conditions for cyclists in this Gap zone. When the city announced a plan to establish a Select Bus Service (SBS) corridor along First and Second Avenues, a campaign was begun to include a bike route as part of the street redesign. DoT ultimately announced in early 2010 that it would include a bike route, primarily using a parking-protected design, along the left hand side of First and Second Avenues all the way to 125th Street, to match the right-had SBS bus lanes. But then in June 2010, DoT renegged and announced that the project would terminate at 34th Street. The full story is here.
Here's the problem: when DoT installed the SBS lanes on the right hand side of First and Second Avenues in the Greenway Gap zone, it removed the Greenway wayfinding and "Bike route" signs. Nothing has been done to replace the signage on either side of these avenues. As a result, cyclists have not only been denied an improved riding environment in the Gap zone due to the abrupt termination of the project, but the environment is actually worse than it was before.
Is DoT going to install new signage on the left-hand sides of the road in the Gap zone? Doing raises serious safety and liability concerns, because the signs would as a practical matter lead cyclists into the dangerous cross-traffic and turning traffic found in the left two lanes of First between 57th and 59th, and on Second between 38th and 36th.
On the other hand, cyclists will be outraged if DoT tries to follow the lead of Riverside Park manager John Herrold, declare that the mapping and signing of this roadway as a bike route for years was a "mistake," and remove this route from the 2011 edition of the NYC Cycling Map.
East Side cyclists deserve better. The answer must be: complete the Bikeway all the way to 125th Street!