Biking At An All-Time High
EDITORS’ NOTE: There’s no better biking city than Brooklyn. To get from Williamsburg to Downtown, a trip that would normally take approximately 30 minutes on the subway (depending where you are in Williamsburg), a biker’s voyage only lasts 15 to 20 minutes at a consistent speed. The Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway currently provides over 18 miles of bike track to enthusiastic cyclists. The mayor’s new initiative is an indication that the five-boroughs are on their way to becoming the next urban biking hub – a new frontier for the city of yellow cabs and subway trains. This is also a hopeful improvement, showing the power of collective action for the good of the city, the citizens, and the climate.
The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) announced plans on Monday to expand biking infrastructure across the city.
The agency is on track to hit the goal of installing a record number of protected cyclist lanes this year, hardening more than 10 miles of track and using “sturdier” materials in the construction process. The agency trying to fullfil the NYC Streets Plan, which requires the City of New York to install at least 50 miles of protected bike lanes by the end of 2023 and 250 miles protected bike lanes by the end of 2026. The administration installed 19.2 of out of 30 required miles in 2022, according to a tracker by advocacy group, Transportation Alternatives.
“For years, as Brooklyn borough president and now as mayor, I have advocated for more New Yorkers to use bikes and supported creating the infrastructure to make cycling safe,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “The continued rise in cycling is a sign of true progress for our city, but we must give new and experienced cyclists all of the tools they need to bike safely. With these critical projects and this new campaign on e-bike safety, our administration is doing exactly that.”
“The proof is in the data: more safe cycling infrastructure means more cyclists on our streets. As we’ve built more and more bike lanes, we’ve seen bicycle ridership reach historic levels,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Rodriguez.
Upcoming protected bike lane projects include a range of high-ridership corridors, bridges, priority investment areas in underserved communities, and innovative bike boulevards. Hardening efforts will include the installation of cement Jersey Barriers and the continued testing of new materials along bike lanes in all five boroughs.
As exciting as the new bike lanes are, the project is a long ways off from reaching its goals. One way to speed up the bike lane construction is with Intro 417, a bill that would consolidate the community board and council member notice requirement for bike lanes with the requirement for major transportation projects — effectively speeding up the entire process. “We applaud the city’s commitment to installing new protected bike lanes. The 50 required miles of protected bike lanes must be installed equitably across the city, especially in outer-borough neighborhoods. The City Council must support DOT by passing Intro 417, which would streamline the approval process for bike lane projects, bringing safe infrastructure to more places faster,” said Elizabeth Adams, Deputy Executive Director for Public Affairs at Transportation Alternatives
Protected Bike Lanes
- Ashland Place/Navy Street, Flushing Avenue to Hanson Place; Hanson Place, Ashland Place to St Felix Street, Brooklyn
- Third Avenue, 59th Street to 96th Street, Manhattan
- Tenth Avenue, 14th Street to 52nd Street, Manhattan
- Meeker Ave, Apollo Street to Graham Avenue, Brooklyn
- McGuinness Boulevard, Pulaski Br to Meeker Avenue, Brooklyn
Protected Bike Lanes in Priority Investment Areas
- Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn
- Cozine Avenue, Fountain Avenue to Louisiana Avenue
- Wortman Avenue, Fountain Avenue to Louisiana Avenue
- Louisiana Avenue, Cozine Avenue to Stanley Avenue
- Goethals Road North, Forest Avenue to South Avenue
- South Avenue, Goethals Road North to Fahy Avenue
- Trantor Place, Walker Street to Bayonne Bridge
- Manhattan/Bronx: Washington Bridge, EL Grant Hwy/University Ave to Amsterdam Ave
- Queens: Addabbo Bridge, 165 Ave to Kiteboard Launch
- Building on Open Streets’ success, DOT is continuing to develop innovative designs for pedestrian and bicycle priority corridors along its most popular locations.
- Upcoming Open Street redesigns include:
- Underhill Avenue, Eastern Parkway to Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn
- 33rd Ave, Utopia Parkway to 215th Place, Queens
- Berry St, Broadway to North 12th Street, Brooklyn
- 31st Ave, Queens
NYC DOT Community Bike Networks
- Fordham Phase II
- Soundview Bike Network
- Brooklyn CB 14 Phase I
- Queens CB 11 Phase I
Future outreach – Protected Bike Lanes
- Astoria Heights PBL, Queens
- 9th Street, Brooklyn
- Cypress Avenue, Queens
- Bike Lane Hardening
- DOT will harden 10 miles of existing lanes and five miles of new projects with sturdier barriers, including the Addabbo Bridge and Park Avenue, in the Bronx.
The hardening list currently includes:
- Second Avenue, from 65th Street to Belt Parkway on ramp (Brooklyn)
- First Avenue and East 125th Street (Manhattan)
- Second Avenue, 60th Street to 63rd Street (Manhattan)
- Queens Boulevard from 72nd Street to Grand Avenue (Queens)
- Vernon Boulevard from Queensborough Bridge to Esplanade Entrance (Queens)
- Borinquen Place from Rodney Street to Havemeyer Avenue (Brooklyn)
- Goethals Road North from Forest Avenue to South Avenue (Staten Island)
- Southern Boulevard from Garden Way to East 182nd Street (Bronx)
- Addabbo Bridge to Cross Bay Boulevard (Queens)
The Better Barriers program is progressing through the procurement process and this season DOT will test new curb materials at targeted locations citywide, including Second Avenue, from 63rd Street to the Queensborough Bridge, in Manhattan. At 11th Street and Jackson Avenue, in Queens, and other locations to be determined, DOT will use innovative materials as new toolbox treatments.
In addition to expanding cycling infrastructure, later this year NYC DOT will also launch a public awareness campaign on the safe operation of e-bikes. Agency data shows that e-bike fatalities are a major contributing factor in the recent uptick of overall cyclist fatalities. Half of the e-bike fatalities to date in 2023 have been solo collisions. The public awareness campaign will focus on educating New Yorkers about how to properly accelerate, brake, and operate at an appropriate speed. The campaign will include both public marketing and direct community education to help newer riders know what to expect when they operate an e-bike. NYC DOT will engage folks who use shared e-bikes as well as those buying e-bikes at the point of sale.
Today’s announcements come as NYC DOT also announced that bike ridership has reached a new all-time high in New York City, with record cycling counts over East River bridges and in Midtown Manhattan for 2022. For the first time ever, more than 24,000 trips were recorded over East River bridges during an average in-season weekday. And more than 38,000 cycling trips were counted during an average 12-hour window across Manhattan avenues at 50th Street. Moving forward, instead of providing annual ridership updates, NYC DOT will update bike-related data on its website as it becomes available.
NYC DOT also recently unveiled the city’s first wider bike lanes, with more to come this year, announced a new street activity sensor pilot program to quickly and efficiently gather data about street usage, launched the New York Twist public awareness campaign to prevent the dooring of cyclists, and continues work on ongoing greenway initiatives.
“I might sound like a broken record, but I’ll continue to say it: expanding and upgrading bike lanes across our city will encourage alternative modes of transportation, making getting around safer for people and more sustainable for our city,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “I’m especially excited to hear about the launch of the public awareness campaign on the safe operation of e-bikes that we know are essential to many but can pose dangers. Thank you to NYC DOT, and I look forward to seeing how these investments get more people out biking and keep them safe while they ride.”