The NYC DoT has wisely suggested redesigning traffic patterns on Morningside Avenue. While the design has many merits—it will reduce motorized vehicle speed and make the street much safer to both use and cross--it has left cyclists and cycling out of the mix.
Even within the proposed redesign, there is room for bike lanes. The proposed fourteen-foot wide parking lanes are very wide. There is easily room for five-foot wide bike lanes within that space--that is put a bike lane on both the north- and south-bound lanes in between the parking lane and the travel lans. Five feet is the width of the lanes on St. Nicholas Avenue, where the parking lanes are nine feet wide.
Harlem doesn't have its share of bicycle lanes, which hurts our community. Bicycle lanes on Morningside Avenue will be great for the residents of Harlem. First, for the many who are uncomfortable riding in places where cars seem to own the road. Second, for the bike riders in Harlem who find the major boulevards and avenues too congested and motor vehicle speeds too high for safe riding. Third, bike lanes make streets safer.
Bike lanes will encourage physical activity for young and old, and everyone in between. With obesity a serious issue in Harlem, we are compromising our children's long-term well-being by depriving them of safe spaces to play, exercise and travel to school. Adults, a group that also increasingly suffers from obesity, can also use the space, both for commuting and for exercise, improving access to parks and protected cycling spaces, improving their quality of life by making commutes safer and exercise easier.
Children develop lifelong habits early. By providing the infrastructure to encourage safe, healthy modes of transportation for students from all five schools on Morningside Ave as well as easier, safer access to schools further north and south, we can set our children on a path towards a healthy, environmentally responsible lifestyle.
The complete DoT proposal can be found here http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/2013-09-morningside-ave-mn-cb9-cb10.pdf
Morningside Avenue has excess capacity that allows for easy speeding by drivers, which they take advantage of. A road diet, with median striping and islands, and bike lanes will slow cars down, will make it easier for pedestrians to cross, and make bike riding easier and safer.
This won't adversely affect drivers at all, as the best traffic studies indicate that the proposed changes won't reduce the number of cars able to pass an intersection during a light cycle. In fact, with slower driving speeds, drivers will be safer, too.