A plan to add new bike lanes to the Westside Highway

Borough President Mark Levine is calling for the State Department of Transportation to close one lane of the Westside Highway to create a protected two-way bike path from Chambers to 57th Street, much like the new bike path on the Brooklyn Bridge.

The idea is to relieve some of the traffic on the bike path in Hudson River Park, which is the busiest bike route in the country. And it would be in sync with congestion pricing and resiliency goals for the city.


“Taking a lane of traffic on the highway and turning that into a dedicated, protected space for cyclists and e-bike users, including delivery workers, so that they all have a safer space to get around the city must be a key component of the city’s work to reduce congestion, reduce emissions, and create safer streets for all New Yorkers,” Levine said.

Councilman Christopher Marte and reps from Transportation Alternatives were at the press conference this morning on Harrison Street in the park to add their support.

Ebikes are not allowed on the existing westside bike path, but would be allowed here as they are on the bike lanes on city streets.

At the risk of sounding greedy, I might say take a whole lane in each direction — the Brooklyn Bridge bikeway is narrow, once you add in for the jersey barrier.



  1. I agree with the author that we need multiple lanes for bikes, not one. I would close the entire west side of the highway and have multiple lanes for bikes, ebikes, etc. I might also allow emergency vehicles on it. The east side with its four lanes would be for bidirectional car/truck use. This approach makes good use of the existing median for separating bike and car traffic.

    • I use the bike lanes and completely disagree with this proposal. There is no need for additional bike lines.Everyone seems to get along just fine on the two lanes we have now.

      I do drive every now and then and the photo of the wide open / empty West side Highway was probably taken at some ridiculously early time of day – We all know it runs pretty full – Even with Covid ongoing…

      I would be more interested in their finally charging toll outbound on the Holland – that would certainly cut down on all the unnecessary traffic congestion around our neighborhood.

      After which, with more open lanes, a bike lane proposal would make a little more sense to me.

  2. “The busiest bike route in the country“ is as noteworthy as being the tallest midget in the nation. Are we really so opposed to cars that we are going to reduce one of the most congested highways by an entire lane?

    • ^^^what he said^^^

      So bike riders will have yet another lane in which to ignore all traffic laws. Perfect!

    • The statistic actually is noteworthy and shows what an incredible asset it is for our neighborhood and city to have such well utilized cycle paths.

      The vehicle capacity of the West Side Highway is irrelevant as they aren’t putting any more lanes in the Holland or Battery Tunnels anytime soon, so adding or subtracting a vehicle lane from the west side will do nothing more than offer more parking on the roadway during rush hours as traffic creeps to the exits of NYC.

      The addition of a cycling lane on the west side on the other hand will actually do something to help move people and goods around our neighborhood and city. Something to consider the next time your takeout delivery of caviar bumps is 10 minutes late.

      (oh yeah – you also should probably check yourself the next time you attempt to make an intelligent point with comparisons to “midgets” at your next cocktail party)

      • Cocktail parties and caviar bumps — clearly in touch with the concerns of everyday New Yorkers.

        • Caviar is a food delivery app.

        • Sorry for the the “caviar comment”, I assumed you were a wealthy self entitled Tribeca resident, classless and clueless enough to casually throw around the term “Midget.”

          Turns out you are just the latter. My sincere apologies for the mischaracterization.

          • Who knew there were two bike riding Geraints? One with an OBE and one who is apparently a triggered little person whose feet do not reach the pedals of a big-boy bike. You must be the latter.

    • I completely agree… it is crazy…
      Let’s find ways to reduce the ridiculous tunnel related congestion on the west side highway before we give away lanes

      OUTBOUND Fare anyone? anyone? :)

  3. As a regular user of the westside bike path, there is no real congestion issue that couldn’t be solved by just having people use the path appropriately, and serving penalties for those who don’t use it appropriately.

    Inevitably, it’s a few things that slows that route down:
    1. Someone on a Citibike going 5 mph while texting
    2. People biking 2 abreast at low speeds having a conversation
    3. Joggers/pedestrians in the bike path
    4. The folks that think they’re on the Tour de France doing 25+ mph when the average speed of everyone else is 10-15 mph, relying on riding a lot in the opposing lane to constantly pass and keep their pace.

    More biking infrastructure is welcome. But if the NYPD isn’t enforcing any sort of norms here, an extra lane (esp. at the expense of a critical highway lane) doesn’t accomplish anything. If anything, it potentially invites even more abuse. I get passed by high powered ebikes and mopeds on the path already.

    • Amen to the above. Simply park a cop at the crossing at Harrison Street and ticket the dirt bikes, motorcycles running illegally on the bike path. Additionally, I’m shocked that more people aren’t hurt trying to cross the bike path where it clearly says “yield to pedestrians.” I’m not talking stop your bike but a slow down would be nice when you see someone trying to cross. And further down on the bike path at Warren where the bikes have a traffic light to pay attention to. The red light also means stop for them.

    • Ebikes, scooters, mini-motocycles, bicycles should be required to register with some agency and have a plate and pay a fee for all this construction. And they should be held to the same speed limit standards that Big Brother is applying to cars (24/7 speed cameras).
      I work near a bike land and have to cross it numerous times a day. I don’t know if there is a bigger collection of jerks than the cyclists on the bike lanes.

    • Agree 100 % with Alee. I love riding my bike on the Hudson Parkway but it can be dangerous. Enforcement is definitely needed.

    • Exactly!!! If folks just followed the rules!! I’m other words stay in your lane!! No reason for bikers or ebikes to be on the walkway and joggers and to be in bike lanes. At what point do we stop accommodation and just follow rules.

    • I also ride everyday on the bike path. and agree it is never crowded. SO don’t understand why they want to put lanes on highway. Plus don’t thing the bikers would even go on the highway, they would have to stop for red lights and slow down. Something they don’t do on the path.

  4. Could not agree with the above posters more strongly. There is no real congestion issue, and there is zero enforcement by the NYPD. If they want to make it better, maybe try enforcing the rules against motorcycles and e-bikes! An Uber delivery guy doing 25mph should be on the west side hwy

    Furthermore, the area that needs fixing is up by Chelsea Piers where it goes in between traffic and narrows. Maybe try widening that before we lose a lane of the hwy, which will do nothing other than make the Holland tunnel traffic worse

  5. are you for real????
    this is the newest dumb plan for NYC, let’s spend millions if not billion dollars from taxpayers to add a bike lane on the HH parkway!!!! Was any research done about the amount of bike that will be riding on your new so-called lane! what about the winter? dead lane walking? and the idiot that’s making a comparison to the Brooklyn bridge bike path needs to think before speaking. There are so many reasons this will become an unbelievably cost that we don’t need. Will the city plan on having bikes be insured, or what using riverside drive? I’m a small business owner and i need my car for work. I want to use the subway, but I can’t. This is other way for the system to abuse the people that pay your salaries. I bet every person that’s planning this doesn’t even ride a bike!

    • West Street is used by cars and commercial vehicles. The Brooklyn Bridge is for cars only. You are going to create a hardship for everyone else. If you reduce the number of lanes, cars and trucks back up and the cost in time and fuel is passed onto the community. You already have your bike lanes and expensive bikes. Jeesh.

  6. So, we’re going to aid the city’s work to reduce congestion and reduce emissions by taking a lane from a major thoroughfare that’s usually congested now both morning and afternoon? How does that work?

    And while e-bikes aren’t allowed on the existing bike path, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there in great numbers already since there doesn’t seem to be any enforcement at all.

    I really don’t understand the runners/pedestrians on the bike path either since there’s a parallel path with clear signage plus the much nicer walkway along the river for off-peak times.

  7. Excellent. The renown mathematician John Nash concluded that the way to reduce traffic is not to expand lanes, but to reduce them. This might offer some of the relief promised by the congestion pricing plan which seems to recede further and further into the future. I’m all for this plan. It is not clear, however, what they plan to do with the existing bike lane.

    • 1. The Braess paradox is an outgrowth of the Nash Equilibrium. That said, it is not a proven universal causality. Reducing a traffic lane can improve things; it can also make them horribly worse.

      2. Ironically, genius John Nash and his wife died when they were ejected from a taxi when the driver lost control on the New Jersey Turnpike. They were not wearing their seatbelts.

    • Thank you for that reference. I was also thinking of this point.
      Perhaps the plan was indeed intended to work in harmony with congestion pricing, since there should be less traffic in the city anyway with congestion pricing…so less need for the lane.

  8. This is INSANE! traffic on the Westside Highway is already crazy and now we want to take a lane? the existing bike lane is enough, what is this “bike traffic” story ? seriously NYC is not and will not be Barcelona or any other European city where most people bike to work. Im all for bike safety, but this is out of touch with the city reality.

    • I am very glad to read all these comments and know that there are sensible, reasonable people in the community. These type of comments are usually drowned out by the usual fascists who control the local communities, pushing ever more “progressive” ideas that usually have terrible unintended consequences. And the people who champion the ideas are conveniently gone by the time the damage becomes evident.

    • Those cities didn’t always have bike cultures. The Netherlands had auto related fatalities at higher rates than the US back in the 70’s and made it a point to change that and promote cycling. No reason we can’t do that here. Same w/ Paris, London….

  9. I agree with many of the commenters here. I think enforcement of current laws would be a great start. I’m all for fewer cars, but not to the detriment of pedestrians and spending millions on something we didn’t ask for.

    I walked by this press conference and wondered, “Oh, what is that about” before getting distracted by a cycler zooming by me (and me yelling for them to get off the sidewalk, haha).. on the pedestrian side..

    It also makes me wonder with so many here (and this is just a few people, but) against this idea; who thought it up? And why are representatives like Marte behind it. If his constituents don’t want it, why is he using time, energy, and other resources supporting it? Why hasn’t his office used some of that to respond to my complaint of after-hours construction with no after-hours permits?

  10. Has anyone stopped to think about the potential overlap of this project, if it goes through, with the Battery Park resiliency work? The blocks between Chambers and Franklin would be under double construction! Sounds like a nightmare to me.

    • If this is anything like the Brooklyn Bridge bike path, there is no construction. Just paint. And the BPC work in Tribeca proper is a big maybe — it hinges on buy-in from many other municipal property owners.

  11. Glad they brought the subject of bikes up at least…bikers have to be held accountable and money should go into enforcing the rules. How many of you have narrowly escaped being hurt by bikers who are on the sidewalks, going the wrong direction in the streets or paying no attention to traffic lights?

    • I haven’t but I’ve been hit by a car in NYC and my guess that that’s a lot worse than “narrowly escaping” being hit by a bike.

      • That’s why bikes need more dedicated lanes. Personally I prefer bike lanes 100%, but sometimes they are blocked buy cars/construction or the lanes run out and I confess I go a block on the sidewalk.
        This solution from the DoT will go some way to alleviating bike/pedestrian dangers. We need more ideas like this!

  12. Let’s not forget the e scooter riders on the bike path. The tiny little signs put up along the path about no electric vehicles are usually covered by tree branches and are ineffective. I have complained numerous times about lack of enforcement by police, park employees regarding motor scooters, e bikes and scooters using the path and have heard so many ridiculous reasons why nothing is done from all of these agencies. The city keeps pushing bike usage but never brings up licensing of e vehicles or enforcement of safety rules for riding bikes, ebikes, scooters and motor scooters.

    • You make a good argument for why we need a dedicated, protected space for e-bike users and e scooters.

      The popularity will continue to increase. Banning them from bike lanes is not the solution – you can’t hold back progress! So I applaud this proposal.

    • https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/ebikes.shtml
      There are three classes of ebikes (no license or registration required and max of 25) and three classes of mopeds (licensed drivers only + registration). None of them are allowed on the Hudson River Park bike path, including pedal assist Citi Bikes. But as you can imagine, ticketing by PEP is not easy since they would have to be chased down. They are ticketed in stings at Pier 40 on occasion.

  13. Fantastic! Bikes are the future of cities. In this respect, we need to learn from Europe.

    Some personal experience…

    I cycled from Chambers to mid-town on the Westside bike lane yesterday morning. Around 9am it’s mostly New Yorkers going about their business. E-bikes like mine (VanMoof), Citibikes, road-bikes, e-scooters with a parent/kid and e-scooters with people in full business attire.

    There were a few of the more high-powered delivery e-bikes which I agree should be on the road.

    The bike lane is very busy and all the different speeds mean lots of overtaking. So moving the e-bikes/scooters to a dedicated lane makes a lot of sense.

    Just as expanding highways encourages more cars, expanding bike lanes encourages more bikes. Take a look at the bike superhighways in London.

    Personally I bought my VanMoof during the pandemic and it has been life-changing. No more subways and few Ubers. I now go to Brooklyn more frequently with the new bridge lane. The new innovations in e-bikes means that cycling is far more accessible and a real alternative to public transport.

  14. Its a good idea at a minimum. I ride the HRP bike way and its crowded often. But more so the ability for the ebike deliveries to use the roadside bike lane is a big plus. Anyone complaining from a car driver perspective has not done their research. As noted by someone above, there are not going to be more lanes added for cars and honestly when you take away car lanes, the world doesnt end, it actually gets cleaner.

  15. I agree with Alee.
    As usual, the city looks at nonsolutions instead of the real problem — in this case, appropriate use of what we already have. Taking away a lane on the WSH is a terrible idea. Jeesh.

  16. A brand new bike lane for us to run in. Yayyy!!!

    • Think about the horrors that taking away one lane of traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge and giving it to bikes and scooters has wrought. Oh wait, nothing happened except cyclists and pedestrians got a better and safer way to cross.

      The same would happen on the WSH. Wait until someone proposes getting rid of WSH entirely. Heads will explode on here.

      • I like the idea of getting rid of the West Side Highway. Also it’s time to convert Canal Street back into an actual canal. We could even have Venetian gondolas. And freight trains back on the high line to reduce truck traffic in the city.

        And I’m only half-joking.

  17. More bike lanes for people who don’t believe in traffic laws? Who speed through lights and stop signs and around corners and don’t care who’s in their way? I wish the city would spend the money on fixing the sidewalks and roads that are full of potholes and broken up and stop wasting time on bike lanes! Bicyclists don’t deliver merchandise to stores or restaurants; they don’t take people from one place to another like buses or cabs do; they don’t take people to hospitals like ambulances; they don’t rush to help somebody who’s a victim of a crime (which happens ever minute in this city) like the cops do or rush to a fire to save someone who’s building is burning.

  18. City of the Future…?

    Maybe we can think of the city we want NYC to become, rather than the city it currently is. Changing traffic and access patterns presents and immediate “shock” to current ways of doing things, and is thus seen as negative at first, but over time we adapt, and over time maybe the negative becomes a positive. What kind of adaptation do we want?

    I am all for making the city more and more oriented towards pedestrians, bicycles (even though I don’t ride one), and excellent public transit, and less and less to private cars. Congestion pricing is a “step” in that direction. Street design is another, including repurposing of lanes.

    For example, I’d love to see modern electric rail streetcars back on many NYC streets. Quieter, cleaner, nicer ride than buses. Even if that required dedicated lanes, traffic lights timed to optimize streetcar flow, etc.

    Just thoughts. A city is in constant evolution, so it’s up to all of us to envision the city we want, and push to make it a reality.

  19. Of course, I strongly agree that traffic laws need to be enforced, for everyone. It’s a hazard to step outside our building door these days, without getting hit by a bike or e-bike on the sidewalk; the speeding and red-light running of vehicles has also become a “pandemic” in itself.

    Canal Street = Frogger vs. Mad Max

  20. Do you really think it’s as simple as slapping up some ugly concrete barriers in the West Side Highway to create another bike lane? In my opinion that would create an eyesore and detract from the design planning that went into Hudson River Park. It’s bad enough to have the concrete blocks on the existing bike path. If we’re going to create an expanded bike lane, I think it needs to be done right and be cohesive with the existing bike lane.

    • You think a highway adds to the design elements of HRP? You can’t be so you must be advocating to get rid of it completely.

      • Hell no! I’m in favor of keeping the highway as is with all the lanes intact. It already takes too long with traffic to drive from downtown to 59th Street.

        My comment was meant as a response to Tribeca Citizen’s idea to use ugly concrete Jersey barriers topped with chain link fence to create the new bike lane. Let’s not muck up the city — and let’s get rid of the unsightly sidewalk dining sheds while we’re at it.

        But, if the expansion of the bike lane does get approved, I would hope that it’s built to seamlessly integrate with Hudson River Park.

  21. Not mentioned in the article or press briefing is that riders in Upper Manhattan have been asking for this for over a year from the GWB to Dyckman, or perhaps the Bronx. Unlike the lower part of the highway below the GWB, the HHP actually doesn’t need its third lane based on traffic counts. It was built to be a major road but was long ago surpassed in this role by I-87, and traffic would be easily handled by two lanes.

    So start there, where an alternative to the very narrow and degraded bike/ped path is sorely needed (fka Riverside Drive sidewalk) and then if it goes well consider extending southward.

  22. Another stupid NYC idea. Bikers don’t stay in the lanes they already have. Look at. Broadway near City Hall. No one in bike lane. Bikes all over Broadway.