Wider New York bike lanes create space for passing

As New York sees a broader mix of e-micromobility vehicles hit the streets, it is taking a fresh look at the design of its bike lanes and the speeds of the vehicles using them.

Four city blocks in Manhattan will be created with wider bike lanes to allow safer overtaking.

The New York City Department of Transport (NYC DOT) describes the wider lanes as a first for the city and is installing them as part of a resurfacing project along 9th Avenue.

The lanes replace a slimmer design installed in 2008 with 600mm wide buffers on either side, complementing 1.8m wide lane with a new 1.2m wide passing lane, as reported by Streetsblog. The 2.4m "door zone" buffer between the bike lane and parked cars will remain.

NYC DOT says it will monitor use of the new lanes with a view to installing more across the city this year.

The introduction of the new lanes is part of the city's "Charge Safe, Ride Safe" program, an action plan for the era of electric micromobility.

The plan bills e-bikes and e-scooters as an "increasingly important component of urban transportation systems, reducing pollution and congestion", and describes their benefits and potential as "remarkable".

It also earmarks a number of challenges to creating a safe and welcoming environment for electric micromobility, including the issue of traffic safety.

Within that is the question of how the city streets can accommodate micromobility vehicles, electric or otherwise, of wildly varying sizes, speeds and acceleration curves.

To explore potential solutions, NYC DOT plans to pilot different designs such as wider lanes with passing zones, along with bicycle speed signal timing progressions (known as green waves), bike boulevards and cargo bike loading zones.

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