Look at this image : it is a first in New York City . Press hounds usually are the first to detect when a big story comes to town. Some of them – although not the New York Times- commented on the transformation underway for 8th Avenue. From W30th to W38th Street. DOT started to expand the walking space on the west side of 8th Avenue to continue the design already in place from West 38th to W43rd Streets. Similarly the bike lane will be relocated and protected with bollards. As a result, 60% of street space will be dedicated to people not cars.
It makes perfect sense : this corridor is chronically overrun by commuters coming and going to Penn Station and Port Authority Bus terminal. These are the largest transit hubs in the country and both of them are working on plans to increase their capacity by 40% within 10 years. Manhattan Community Board 4 had asked for such widening every year since the installation of the first protected bike lane on 8th Avenue circa 2009. CHEKPEDS had walked the corridor with DOT in 2017. see the full design.
We applaud DOT’s pedestrian unit for tackling this hard case first. This sets a strong precedent that no amount of vehicular traffic congestion can be an excuse to keep the status quo and continue obstructing people’s movements. This is DOT at its best.