NY1 Exclusive: First Look at Second Ave. Redesign Plans by Michael Scotto

NY1
NY1
Exclusive: First Look at Second Ave. Redesign Plans
Michael Scotto
01/06/2016

With most of the above-ground construction of the Second Avenue subway wrapping up soon, the city is planning a major overhaul of the busy Upper East Side corridor. NY1's Michael Scotto filed the following report.

If you've been on Second Avenue recently, you know it's a mess. But now the city's Department of Transportation is preparing to clean it up.

"It's a vibrant street - a lot of restaurants, a lot of retail - it's really kind of a front door for the community," said DOT Deputy Commissioner Ryan Russo.

The plans will be unveiled at a community board meeting Wednesday. They call for a protected bike lane, one parking lane, three travel lanes, and a lane for buses - all stretching from 105th to 68th streets. 

The redesign will essentially be a continuation of what Second Avenue looks like now above 105th Street.  

That part of Second Avenue has already been reconfigured, making it look similar to other redesigned avenues across Manhattan.

Transportation officials insist those redesigns have made the streets safer.

"We've seen a 20 percent reduction on average in injuries to all street users - that's people inside motor vehicles, walking, biking cumulatively," Russo said.

That said, there have been complaints, too.

Some residents fumed that the redesign of First Avenue took away parking spaces and created a hazard when bicyclists began riding in both directions in their new dedicated lane. 

City Councilman Ben Kallos says residents might be pleasantly surprised by the changes to Second Avenue.

"We haven't had parking on Second Avenue for quite some time, so having any parking back should be a good thing for drivers and riders alike. People will no longer be going the wrong way on the First Avenue bike lane because they will have a bike lane to go downtown," Kallos said.

The meeting is expected to bring out passionate voices from both sides of the debate.

Transportation officials hope to have the redesign complete by late summer.

Issue: 
Transportation