New Protected Bike Lanes in Midtown

Sunday, April 18, 2021

New Protected Bike Lanes in Midtown

The pandemic proved to be the perfect time for the city to install protected bike lanes around the neighborhood. Lighter-than-usual traffic, the promotion of bicycles as an environmentally friendly and healthy mode of transportation, the need to keep people employed during the economic downturn, and the multi-pronged effort to reduce car and truck traffic in Midtown, as well as the desire to make bicycle riding safer created the ideal conditions for this project.

Protected bike lanes were installed on 38th and 39th Street, connecting 1st Avenue to 11th Avenue. In some places this leaves only one lane for vehicle traffic which may make taxi/for-hire and access-a-ride drop-offs problematic. However, loading and drop-off zones, are currently under discussion by city officials and the NYC Department of Transportation, which is responsible for these issues. In addition we will have to see if traffic backs up when more cars return to Midtown after the pandemic. 

Photo (top): Protected bike lane on 38th Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenue. 

Bike lane on 39th Street between Park and Lexington Avenue.

Second Avenue from 40th Street to south of 34th Street also now has a protected bike lane, and the bike lanes are well used by bikes and scooters. A construction site at 42nd street blocks the lane from 42nd to 40th street at the time of writing this article. There is still a dangerous stretch for bicyclists (and pedestrians) around 37th and 36th Streets, where cars turn into the Midtown Tunnel from 2nd Avenue and traffic backs up during peak traffic times. At this spot, the bike lane is protected only by a couple of movable cones with a bike-lane sign.

Pedestrians need to be very careful when crossing streets that have protected bike lanes, as there is less visibility across the entire street and scooters and bikes do not always yield to pedestrians.

Bike lane on 2nd Avenue at 37th Street.


Protected bike lane on 2nd Avenue at 39th Street.