Report on 8th Ave. Bike Lane

Jefferson Siegel recently filed this report in the Villager about newly constructed bike lanes on 8th Ave.

Villager photo by Jefferson Siegel
A cyclist pedaling in traffic heading north on Eighth Ave. at 14th St. last week avoided the new cycle-track bike lane, at right. Only cars turning left can enter the cycle-track area west of the concrete median, reducing the number of cars coming near cyclists.

New protected bicycle lanes are rolled out on Eighth Ave.
By Jefferson Siegel

From “It’s stupid!” to “I’m thrilled!” reactions to the new section of the Eighth Ave. bike lane, which is nearing completion, ran the gamut last week.

The roughly four-block-long protected lane, running from Bank St. to 14th St. and incorporating a “cycle track” design that physically separates cyclists from motor vehicles, is the latest bike path to engender such rants and raves.

Opinions split pretty much down party lines, with cyclists welcoming the protection for their commutes while local businesses criticized the loss of curbside space.

“I’m thrilled,” said East Villager Emilie Kapp, who was pedaling home from classes at the New School for Drama on Washington St. “It’s a blessing for people who bike all over. It’s nice to have a street you can feel safe on.”

Kapp had had a close call earlier that morning on the unprotected bike lane on W. Ninth St. A driver pulled into the bike lane without looking, cutting her off.

“Instead of hitting him, I swerved and hit another car,” Kapp said as she held up a bruised right hand.

Due to the physical nature of the area, with short blocks and several westbound streets, cyclists on this stretch of Eighth Ave. will not be completely separated from cars. On the block near Horatio St., for example, bike riders will share a lane with cars entering and exiting a gas station. White “sharrows,” or shared arrows, painted on the roadway, will alert cars and cyclists that they are in a shared lane.

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