New Investment in Bike Infrastructure for New York City

Image Credit: New York City Department of Transportation

Three miles of new bike lanes will be created. On October 14, 2020, Mayor de Blasio announced that more than three miles of protected bike lanes have been completed in Midtown Manhattan and the Upper West Side, including uptown protected lanes on both Sixth Avenue and Central Park West.

So far in 2020, the Department of Transportation has completed 10 miles of protected bike lanes, and another 15 miles are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. The de Blasio administration has been responsible for more than 140 miles of on-street protected bike lanes.

The Sixth Avenue priority bike lane was requested by Manhattan’s Community Board 5 and on April 9, 2020 the Board passed a resolution for this priority bike lane. The demand for this new lane was high. From 2008-2019, Sixth Avenue saw a 161% increase in cycling, and 10 Citi Bike stations are located within 400 feet of the project. This priority lane provides a direct link between Greenwich Village and Central Park by removing a traffic lane and adding painted pedestrian islands at intersections. The project also added pedestrian head-starts at 13 intersections, offset crossing and left-turn lanes with split-signal phases added to nine intersections between 41st Street and Central Park South with a high rate of crashes.

The Central Park West priority bike lane is a 2.5 mile stretch along the length of Central Park that makes the street safer for pedestrians, whose crossing distances are now 20% shorter. The project also added a left-turn restriction at 96th street – a location with a high rate of severe crashes.

The Department of Transportation has also announced a range of activities during the month of October. The annual “Bike-tober” schedule includes:

– Free bike tune ups. In partnerships with Mechanical Gardens Bike Co-op, the Department of Transportation will offer the following repairs to both adult and children’s bikes: replacing flat tubes and used-up brake pads, adjusting brakes, improving shifting, adjusting saddles (seats), handlebars, and brake levers, replacing snapped cables and decomposed housing, making critical headset adjustments, truing critically wobbly wheels, and lubricating chains, gears, pivot points, and springs (while supplies last).

– Self-guided rides along one of the City’s self-guided routes.

– Socially Distanced guided ride. The ride will take place on October 28 at 4pm (check-in at 3:30pm) at St. Mary’s Park – East 14th Street and Eagle Avenue (Bronx). This route will tour the latest protected bike lanes in Harlem and the South Bronx and pass through new bikeshares in the neighborhood. This ride is family friendly and will be approximately 6 miles. You can register for the guided ride

– Feedback sessions. The Department of Transportation is in the process of developing priority areas of future bike network expansion and are collecting general feedback on project development, network planning, and community resources.

As cycling continues to expand in the City in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the progress made on New York City’s Green Wave plan for cycling could not come at a better time. Speaking on the expansion, Mayor de Blasio said: “more New Yorkers than ever are choosing cycling to move around our city, and I’m proud to expand their options and offer more ways to keep them safe. Protected bike lanes help provide a safe and green transportation alternative…we look forward to cutting the ribbon on more lanes and supporting every New Yorker who chooses healthy, care-free transit options.”

By: Lynsey Smith (Lynsey is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)


2 thoughts on “New Investment in Bike Infrastructure for New York City

  1. The bike lanes in general are a good thing but some of their placement absolutely doesn’t make sense – like on very busy East 62nd St. between 1st Avenue and the entrance to the FDR Drive.

  2. Protected Bike Lanes aren’t created. They appear where there was a travel lane for bikes, cars and trucks, only cars and trucks can’t go there anymore.

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