NYC Greenlights Amsterdam Avenue Bike Lanes In Harlem

The city will move forward with a plan to make safety improvements and add bike lanes to a dangerous stretch of Amsterdam Avenue in Harlem despite local community board’s opposition, city officials announced Thursday.

In a letter sent to Community Board 9, city Department of Transportation Manhattan Borough Commissioner Edward Pincar wrote that the city understands the board has concerns with its plan but that the “DOT’s primary mission is to enhance safety on the city’s streets.”

“With a history of fatalities and serious injuries, Amsterdam Avenue is a corridor in need of important safety upgrades using the same methods that have increased safety throughout the city. Following a careful review of the comments we received, DOT will proceed with the installation of this critical safety project,” Pincar’s letter reads.

DOT Comissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a statement that Amsterdam Avenue has been considered dangerous since she lived along the road while attending college.

DOT Comissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a statement that Amsterdam Avenue has been considered dangerous since she lived along the road while attending college.

“Even then, speeding on this street endangered residents of Morningside Heights and Harlem,” Trottenberg said. “The changes we will bring to Amsterdam Avenue this summer are proven measures that will calm traffic and create safer spaces for pedestrians and cyclists.”

The city Department of Transportation has been pitching a plan to redesign Amsterdam Avenue between West 110th and 155th streets since March 2017. The project will add painted bike lanes, left turn bays and pedestrian safety islands to the 45-block stretch of Amsterdam Avenue. The redesign will also reduce the number of travel lanes from four to two on the two-way avenue and add loading zones to help businesses receive deliveries, according to the DOT’s latest presentation of the plan.

Community Board 9 members have said they are concerned that the street redesign’s removal of traffic lanes will cause congestion and idling on the road and called on the city to conduct a health impact statement for the plan.

Community Board 9 members have said they are concerned that the street redesign’s removal of traffic lanes will cause congestion and idling on the road and called on the city to conduct a health impact statement for the plan.

The city’s decision to work around the community board was made after a three local politicians sent a letter to the city endorsing the street safety project. City Councilman Mark Levine, Borough President Gale Brewer and State Senator Robert Jackson wrote that the city should “immediately move forward” with the plan due to safety concerns on the avenue.

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More than 750 people have been injured and three people have been killed in automobile collisions since 2012 on the stretch of Amsterdam Avenue, Levine said in September.

Levine described the Amsterdam Avenue safety upgrades as urgent during a September 2018 rally and said that the targeted stretch currently experiences nearly one collision per day. More than 750 people have been injured and three people have been killed in automobile collisions since 2012 on the stretch of Amsterdam Avenue, Levine said in September.

Local aspiring artist Erica Imbasciani, 26, was killed in March after stepping into the curb of Amsterdam Avenue and West 141st Street. An impaired SUV driver struck Imbasciani and pinned her into a parked car, police said. Politicians and safe streets advocates called on the city to implement safety improvements following Imbasciani’s death.

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