Largest Protected Bike Lane Expansion In New York City History

Published on December 29, 2020, 6:56 pm
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Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) has constructed a record 28.6 lane miles of new protected bike lanes across all five boroughs in 2020. Combined with another 35.2 miles of conventional bike lanes, 83 miles of car-free Open Streets, more than 10,800 Open Restaurants on city streets and sidewalk, and 16.3 miles of new bus lanes – another one-year record – New York City’s streetscape was transformed more dramatically during 2020 than in any year in modern history.

“Our city has reimagined our streets as we have fought back the CoViD-19 crisis. That means more space for restaurants and businesses, faster options for bus riders, and more ways than ever to accommodate the cycling boom with new protected bike lanes,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Record numbers of bike lanes and bus lanes will change our urban landscape forever – and, as we continue our fight to build a fairer and better city, we will not stop here.”

“In a year where we have seen cycling boom throughout this city, DOT has done a remarkable job in building the critical infrastructure to keep New Yorkers safe and moving throughout this city,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “Amidst all of the challenges CoViD-19 has thrown our way, this Administration has remained dedicated to building upon Vision Zero and making our streets safer for all New Yorkers.”

“As unprecedented as this year has been, I sincerely applaud everyone at DOT for being able to implement a record number of protected bike lanes this year,” said Acting DOT Commissioner Margaret Forgione. “We have seen a tremendous shift towards cycling during the CoViD-19 pandemic and predict the trend will continue even after the city recovers, so it is imperative we continue growing our bike network and keep cyclists safe.”

Today’s announcement brings the city’s total bike lane network to 1,375 lane miles, 545 of which are protected miles, including nearly 170 miles on street. DOT is also on track to meet the Green Wave Plan goal of installing over 80 miles of protected bike lanes by the end of 2021, and adding 75 miles of bicycle infrastructure in Bicycle Priority Districts by 2022.

The agency also completed over 70 Street Improvement Projects in all five boroughs, targeting locations with the greatest safety need for pedestrians and cyclists.

Protected Bike Lanes

Notable protected bike lane projects completed this year include:

Manhattan: (5.0 Protected Lane Miles)

  • Broadway from Barclay Street to Morris Street;
  • Central Park West from 77th Street to Frederick Douglass Circle;
  • 5th Avenue from 110th Street to 120th Street;
  • St. Nicholas Avenue from 165th to 170th Street;
  • 6th Avenue from 35th Street to Central Park South;
  • 2nd Avenue from 43rd to 34th Street.

  Brooklyn: (9.1 Protected Lane Miles)

  • Tillary Street Phase II;
  • Franklin Street, N. 14th Street to Quay Street; Quay Street, Franklin Street to West Street;
  • N. 14th Street from Franklin Street to Berry Street;
  • 7th Avenue Southbound from Bay Ridge Parkway to 79th Street;
  • Flatbush Avenue from Grand Army Plaza to Ocean Avenue;
  • Smith Street from State Street to Fulton Street;
  • 4th Avenue from 15th Street to 60th Street;
  • 4th Avenue from Flatbush Avenue to 1st Street.

  Queens: (9.5 Protected Lane Miles)

  • Cross Bay Boulevard from the Addabbo Bridge to East 6th Road;
  • Laurel Hill Boulevard from 51st Avenue to 55th Road;
  • Crescent Street from Queens Plaza North to Hoyt Avenue North;
  • Cross Bay Boulevard from Van Brunt Road to West 20th Road.

  Bronx: (3.2 Protected Lane Miles)

  • Southern Boulevard from E Fordham Road to Mosholu Parkway;
  • E. L. Grant Highway;
  • Bronx Park East at White Plains Road.

  Staten Island: (1.8 Protected Lane Miles)

  • Western Avenue, Gulf Avenue, Forest Avenue, Goethals Bridge Ped / Bike Connection 

Streetscape Changes

During the pandemic, New York City found creative ways to rethink and reshape how it uses public space. That has included the creation of Open Streets, Open Restaurants, and Better Buses Restart, a record expansion of the bus lane network citywide. This year alone, New Yorkers enjoyed:

  • 83 miles of car-free Open Streets and Open Streets: Restaurants, the most in the nation; another 17 miles of streets were given to schools for outdoor learning;
  • 10,847 open restaurants;
  • 16.3 new bus lane miles – a New York City record – including a new busway on Jay Street in Brooklyn and a permanent busway on 14th Street in Manhattan;
  • Speed limit reductions to nine major corridors citywide;
  • Over 1,200 speed cameras installed across 750 school zones citywide.

Green Wave Plan Progress

Announced last year, the Green Wave Plan aims to combine design, enforcement, legislation, policy and education to make the City’s streets safer for cyclists and all street users. In the coming year, DOT will prioritize providing more protected lanes in the Bronx, including developing a network in Morrisania, Southern Boulevard, and continuing work on University Avenue. Despite the operational and administrative challenges brought on by CoViD-19, additional Green Wave progress as of 2020 includes:  

  • Installed Green Wave Signal Timing along 13 corridors;
  • Held five monthly community bicycle working groups;
  • Launched the Eastern Queens Greenway planning initiative;
  • Added 50 Neighborhood Loading Zones, bringing total to 112 zones;
  • Launched Commercial Cargo Bicycle Pilot, which has now grown to six companies and over 300 cargo bikes.

“In a trying year, we should be proud of making real progress towards our goal of making our city’s streetscape more livable, safe, and enjoyable for all New Yorkers,” said Speaker Corey Johnson. “We recommitted to improving our bus and bike lane networks and we know we must build on that in 2021. Most importantly, Open Streets and Open Restaurants have changed the way we experience our city forever. We have much work left to do, but the Council is proud of our efforts to get the most out of our streets this year and will continue to push for more as we recover from the pandemic next year and beyond.”

“The expansion and safety of alternative transportation has been an essential focus during my tenure,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. “I want to thank the New York City Department of Transportation for their work in The Bronx, including the construction of protected bike lanes, conventional bike lanes, car-free open streets, open restaurants on our sidewalks, and new bus lanes. These additions have been key in keeping our borough pushing forward, making sure our residents and essential workers are able to get around the city, and giving our restaurants a fighting chance to survive as we adjust to new norms created by the CoViD-19 pandemic.”

“New York City must continue working to turn itself into the most pedestrian and cyclist friendly in the whole nation. One area that plays an important role in accomplishing this goal is related to our continued efforts to build protected bike lanes across the five boroughs so that New Yorkers and visitors are able to safely ride their bikes in our streets. Since being elected and appointed chair of the Transportation Committee I have made it a top priority to ensure we keep pedestrians and cyclists safe through the redesigning of streets, building protected bike lanes, and reclaiming our city streets. This year we had to reimagine the way we think and use our public spaces. Our vision now must be in the future of our City, and how we can continue expanding on the achievements we’ve made this year,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “I am proud to have worked alongside DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and I look forward to working with DOT Commissioner Margaret Forgione, Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson, colleagues, and advocates to ensure we continue expanding road safety protections for all New Yorkers.”

“We are extremely grateful for the tremendous street safety work Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Transportation accomplished this year in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic. Increasing traffic calming measures such as lowered speed limits, conventional bicycle lanes, and the installation of electronic enforcement cameras benefit all New Yorkers regardless of transportation mode. We applaud the city government in successfully increasing public space and spurring on local business through its open streets, open restaurant initiatives despite known increases in automobile, truck, bicycle, and foot traffic, a feat that seemed unimaginable in the nation’s most densely populated city. We look forward to supporting continued efforts to achieve Vision Zero’s goal to use every tool at the city’s disposal to end traffic deaths and injuries on New York City streets. We wholeheartedly believe we can keep New Yorkers moving and end traffic injuries and deaths with unwavering leadership, infrastructure changes, commuter awareness, and education,” said Angela Azzolino, Executive Director, Get Women Cycling.

“Transportation Alternatives is proud to lead the Open Streets Coalition, composed of over 150 partners, that helped launch the transformative Open Streets program in the middle of the pandemic,” said Danny Harris, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “During this challenging year, we also appreciate the de Blasio administration’s commitment to expanding the protected bike lane and bus lane network. There is much more to be done to support the bike boom, expand busways and Open Streets, and end traffic violence, and we will continue to work with our partners at NYC DOT as they make much needed investments that keep our communities vibrant and make our streets safe.”

“Congratulations to DOT for getting its bike lane program up and running following the closure of city government offices early in the year and amid implementation of Open Streets and Open Restaurants. Bike riding in New York hit all-time highs in 2020. We look forward to a more connected bike network, design innovation and safer cycling in 2021,” said Jon Orcutt, advocacy director at Bike New York.

“With a record number of protected bike lanes and the Open Streets program, our city’s streetscape is being reimagined. When our streetscape prioritizes families, pedestrians, cyclists, and buses, our air gets cleaner and we experience less traffic congestion. We thank DOT for implementing these updates and look forward to working with Acting Commissioner Forgione to expand these successful programs,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters.


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