I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I learned this years ago when I used to live off Washington Square and in the West Village.
The fastest way to get crosstown on a bicylce, from Greenwich Village to the East Village, specifically between Sixth Avenue and Avenue A, is along 8th Street and Saint Mark’s Place.
And about a month ago, I noticed that the Department of Transportation began to mark a bike lane on 8th Street, between 6th Avenue and Astor Place, to give cyclists an initial clear path along this crosstown corridor.
To be sure, there are other bike routes. You can ride eastbound on 10th Street and westbound on 9th Street. You can also navigate along Bleecker Street, to get from the west side until the street terminates on the Bowery. And, although it doesn’t have marked bike lane, you can take 4th Street from the West Village all the way to Avenue D. But the problem with these routes is the incessant red lights. A speedy but safe cyclist will encounter a red light at just about every intersection.
However, whether it is by design or by coincidence, you get a pretty consistent wave of green lights on 8th Street and then on Saint Mark’s Place, until you get to Avenue A at Tompkins Square Park.
Although it came a decade after I left the neighborhood, it’s great that we cyclists have a safe efficient route to get cross the downtown area.