Making the case for 2-way bike lanes on Avenue B

A movement is underway to secure two-way bike lanes on Avenue B, an increasingly congested 14-block corridor currently without any marked paths for cyclists such as on Avenue A and Avenue C.

The awareness campaign commenced along the Avenue this past Friday…

The idea came about via parents who bike their children to area schools — including the East Village Community School, the Children’s Workshop School, Tompkins Square Middle School, the Earth School and East Side Community High School.

After presenting the idea to, and receiving support from, the East Village Community School Parent Association, East Village resident and parent Choresh Wald approached Transportation Alternatives, who has endorsed the proposal and is helping spread the word via #BikeAveB on social media.

There’s now a petition in circulation, which you can find here.

Per the petition, which is signed by Wald:

A historical source of Alphabet City’s fight for tenants rights and neighborhood empowerment, Avenue B today is a vibrant 14-block stretch in the East Village that is lined with schools, cultural institutions and community gardens. Tompkins Square Park, the adjacent libraries and burgeoning night life combine to make Avenue B an increasingly busy corridor for people on foot and on two wheels.

Despite being a narrow avenue, Avenue B allows two-way travel for cars, but has no dedicated lanes for anybody who wants to ride a bicycle. Yet parents and neighbors alike are already choosing to ride down this unsafe corridor.

To make the problem worse, trucks and commercial vehicles have no curbside loading zones. Every day we see them double-parking in order to make deliveries to the dozens of small businesses along Avenue B.

[EVG photo]

We need a safe, two-way protected bike lane on Avenue B, complete with pedestrian safety improvements!

The closure of the East River bike path as part of the upcoming East River Coastal Resiliency plan adds real urgency to the situation. The loss of the East River Greenway park facilities for several years will increase demand to transform Avenue B into a street that can be safer for all users.

By local law, our youngest New Yorkers are allowed to ride on the sidewalk until they are 14 years old. But some of us can’t afford to allow them to bike independently given the current conditions of our streets. Community Board 3, we need your help! When our daughters and sons turn 14 years old they will need a safe place to bike on Avenue B.

We’ve heard from several residents in recent months about an increase in traffic from commercial vehicles in part due to the arrival of Target last summer on 14th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B (at least one other big-box store is expected in the retail space below the newish residential building EVGB) …

[EVG photo from February]

… and the ongoing presence of the private trash-truck operators making the early-morning rounds…

Wald and other parents plan to meet with City Councilmember Carlina Rivera’s office in the next few weeks to share their proposal. Wald also hopes to present the plan to Community Board 3 early this summer.

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