New Protected Bike Lane Is Coming To Hudson Street
Construction has commenced today on a new protected bike lane on Hudson Street, which will eventually stretch from Houston to Canal. According to a press release, there will also be new and more spacious bike racks, plus extra space for greenery, which is good for you to see every once in a while.
It’s a public-private venture brought to you by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Hudson Square Business Improvement District (BID). The grand scheme, as announced back in May and en route to becoming a reality as of today, involves turning this particular seven-block chunk of Hudson into a “grand boulevard” banked by wider sidewalks (up to five feet in certain places, with expanded seating options to boot) and, yes, a parking-protected bike lane.
Taken altogether, the partners say, the plan will improve pedestrian and cyclist safety. (And maybe, just maybe, reduce the incessant futile HONKING that plagues all of us who work near the Holland Tonnel [sic]?? An easily distracted blogger can dream.) It may also make this particular corridor real European-like, in terms of potential for leisurely strolling and outdoor cafe seating and, never forget, all the bikes. That is just my personal suspicion, and we will just have to wait and see how it all pans out.
In the release, EDC President and CEO James Patchett called the project “a testament to how we can implement high-quality green space by leveraging the expertise of the construction industry,” and yes, all parties appear very proud of the fact that this is a “design-build” initiative, meaning it “streamlines the construction process by combining a project’s design and construction services into a comprehensive workplace and contracting both components to a single entity, rather than bidding them separately to different entities.” Which I assume is basically the same as saying, “What we’ve done here is kill two birds with one stone.”
This luxurious boulevard is part of the Hudson Square BID’s $27 million plan to update and upgrade the surrounding streetscape, which is car-congested and tricky-to-navigate. A 2017 survey of the neighborhood suggested that, particularly at and between Houston and Canal Streets, the most dangerous spots for pedestrians and cyclists actually live on 6th Avenue and Varick Street.
And indeed, as my bike-loving colleague Jake Offenhartz observed, the area around the Holland Tonnel [sic] — looking at you, CANAL STREET — is “dicey as fuck” for anyone who isn’t caged inside a steel box. Maybe the Hudson bike lane is intended to shunt cyclists away from this danger chute? To lure pedestrians away from busier streets with the promise of Pret sandwiches and the opportunity to bask in the sun while they eat them? Difficult to say! But welcome, new bike lane, so glad to have you here.