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BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER | [Updated with a correction regarding the project's timing and more details about the Seaport City proposal] The city is looking to upgrade part of the East River bicycle lane by raising it six inches above grade.
The city Economic Development Corporation’s proposal to raise the lane on South St. between the Brooklyn Bridge and Pier 11, at the foot of Wall St. was not warmly received by Community Board 1’s Planning Committee last month. The idea is to separate the bike lane more from vehicular traffic.
Committee member Joel Kopel said that he jogs along South St. and that it is already narrow and clogged with parked cars and moving vehicles. He said the existing bicycle lane is used by people pushing strollers or ambling along and that he did not see that a six-inch elevation would improve matters. This area of South St. is often dense with tourists as well as residents.
The proposal was also criticized for not making clear provision for crossing South St., particularly at Fulton St. , which is heavily used by people accessing Piers 16 and 17.
The E.D.C. presentation was for information purposes only. The committee’s comments are not likely to have any impact on the bike lane as built.
Construction on the project is expected to begin in December and should be finished sometime around the beginning of 2015 as part of E.D.C.’s larger effort to rebuild the East River waterfront. [An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the project would be finished early next year.]
In related news, the city recently selected the Arcadis engineering form to lead a team to study the feasibility of what Mayor Michael Bloomberg has called “Seaport City” — which he originally outlined as a development along the East River in Lower Manhattan to protect the area from sea level rise and to be financed by high-rise buildings along the newly reinforced waterfront. The study group will also consider alternative financing plans.
“We have no idea how this reconstruction would fit into the proposal for Seaport City,” said Michael Levine, land use and planning consultant to Community Board 1, when he described the upgraded bicycle route to C.B. 1’s full board on Sept. 24.