FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release #09-030
Dot Completes Unprecedented Three-Year, 200-Mile Installation of Bike Lanes, Making City Streets Safer For All Users
88 projects completed since 2006 provide the equivalent of a bike lane from NYC to Boston, capping a period of unparalleled network growth
NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today joined with NYC Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, NYC Health Department Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. to complete the City's ambitious goal of building 200 bike-lane miles in all five boroughs in just three years, nearly doubling the citywide on-street bike network while reshaping the city's streets to make them safer for everyone who uses them. The same period also saw unprecedented expansion and innovation of the overall network, including the installation of 4.9 miles of bike paths physically separated from car traffic lanes, 20 sheltered bike parking structures and 6,100 bike racks, accompanied by a more than 45% growth in commuter cycling in that time. The Commissioner helped DOT workers install the final yards of thermoplastic lane markings along the Grand Concourse's southbound service road, between E. 170th and E. 171st Streets, connecting a new lane with one that was installed in 1999.
“With the completion of this initiative, we can now state firmly that New York City is the bicycling capital of the United States,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan “This two-hundred mile growth spurt has transformed our bike network into a robust transportation system, a true backbone that connects the City's neighborhoods and helps get cyclists to their destinations safely. By clearly marking our road space, these new lanes also pull double duty as anchors to our traffic-calming projects citywide, creating even safer streets for pedestrians and motorists.”
“New York City is increasingly a great place for cyclists, and with today's completion of the 200th bike-lane mile added in the past three years, there are even more opportunities for New Yorkers to commute or ride for recreation,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Our parks and waterfronts are also endowed with miles of greenways and thousands of acres to explore. It is great to work with DOT and all of the agencies involved with this important initiative to increase bicycling awareness and opportunities.”
The 200-mile initiative-the equivalent length of a bike lane running from New York City to Boston-was launched following the completion of a 2006 report, Bicyclist Fatalities and Serious Injuries in New York City 1996-2005, which found the bicyclists were safest in bike lanes and wearing helmets. The network was designed to provide both a backbone of routes throughout all five boroughs and site bike lanes in areas where ridership potential is greatest. Areas that now have particularly robust cycling networks include the South Bronx, greater Long Island City, Williamsburg/Greenpoint, greater Downtown Brooklyn, and Manhattan between 23rd Street, Canal Street and the East and Hudson Rivers. A major focus of the 200-mile project was providing safe connection to the four East River Bridges, each of which have protected paths supplemented by more than 600 directional signs for bicyclists trying to reach them. This approach has made cycling a viable transportation choice for many more New Yorkers and they have chosen cycling as a result. DOT counts showed a 35% increase in bicycle commuting in the heart of the city from 2007 to 2008 alone, and an overall 45% increase during the first two years of the three-year push.
“Regular physical activity not only helps prevent heart disease but also reduces your risk of diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer and depression,” said Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. “And riding a bicycle is a great way to incorporate physical activity into your everyday routine.”
“Bicycling is not only recreation but an environmentally sound commuting option and bikers need secure lanes to move around New York City,” said Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx Borough President. “Many Bronxites use this green and healthy transportation option and I'm very pleased to know that our borough has 40 new miles of bike lanes where our residents can ride safely.”
Following the 2006 study, DOT announced that it would expand the on-street bike network, then at 220 miles, by nearly doubling the number of on-street bike lane miles by 2009, from 220 lane miles to 420 lane miles. The plan called for 40 new lane miles in Fiscal Year (FY) 2007, 70 new lane miles in FY 2008 and 90 new lane miles in FY 2009. To meet its ambitious goal, DOT significantly expanded its planning and design staff and executed 88 separate projects on scores of unique street segments. DOT also used each bike lane project as an opportunity to improve safety and operations for everyone along each corridor, leading to “complete street” projects that calmed traffic and reduced injures for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists alike. Examples include the Clarendon Road project in Brooklyn, which reduced motor vehicle speeds by 34% along a corridor with a history of speeding and DOT's protected bicycle lanes positioning cyclists between the curb the parking lane are the first of their kind in the United States. The first project of this type, on 9th Avenue, received the Institute for Transportation Engineers' “Program of the Year” award in 2008. Counts have shown a 50% increase in the number of cyclists using 9th Avenue and a 50% decrease in injuries to all street users since this lane was installed. DOT's newly released Street Design Manual presents the entire catalogue of DOT's innovative bike lane designs.
DOT remains committed to its goal of doubling bicycle commuting between 2007 and 2015 and tripling it by 2020, as laid out in the agency's strategic plan. The City is on track to meet its combined agency goal of 1,800 bike-lane miles (on street, in parks and along paths) by the year 2030, as outlined in the City's Bike Master Plan and in the Mayor's PlaNYC agenda. DOT plans to continue innovating, with plans announced for protected bicycle paths on Prospect Park West, Kent Avenue and Allen & Pike Streets. Starting this fiscal year, DOT plans are to install 50 lane miles each year until the citywide bicycle network is complete.
The 88 projects implemented as part of this three-year initiative have actually resulted in 204.5 miles added to the on-street bicycle network. In addition to the completion of the 200th mile, accomplishments over that three-year period include:
- New York City was recognized as a "Bicycle Friendly Community" by the League of American Bicyclists, making it the only big city on the eastern seaboard to receive the prestigious designation.
- Bicycling magazine named New York City one of the most improved cities for cycling in the nation.
- A first of its kind protected bike path was installed on Ninth Avenue in Manhattan, physically separating cyclists from motor vehicle traffic. The Institute of Transportation Engineers has given their "Program of the Year" award to this re-design of Ninth Avenue
- DOT completed a companion path along Eighth Avenue this spring.
- DOT distributed nearly 680,000 free bike maps over the three-year period, and more than 1.6 million since 1997. DOT also enhanced the look and design of the cycling map, adding details such as historic districts.
- DOT reconfigured major, complex intersections at key locations such as Grand Army Plaza Brooklyn; at the Manhattan Bridge bike path entrance in Chinatown; and at Madison Square where Broadway, Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street converge around the historic Flatiron Building.
- DOT rolled out an ambitious pilot of high-visibility green bicycle lanes, including recently on Christopher and West 10th Streets and on Washington Square North and MacDougal Street in the popular cycling neighborhood of Greenwich Village.
- The City held “Summer Streets,” a 7-mile car-free route on Park Avenue for cyclists and pedestrians, on three consecutive Saturdays in August 2008. Summer Streets was expanded to all five boroughs in 2009 and the 7 mile Park Avenue route will return in August 2009.
- To increase cyclist safety DOT has fitted and provided free of charge, over 23,000 official NYC bicycle helmets.
- 204 “bike boxes” which help cyclists advance to the front of vehicle queues and safely turn from one street on the bicycle network to another
- Over 1,000 intersections were marked with dashed lines and chevrons which guide cyclists through intersections and make turning vehicles aware that cyclists may be present
- 4.9 miles of protected bicycle lanes that provide physical separation from traffic
- DOT launched the "LOOK" public awareness media campaign to promote bicycle safety.
- DOT developed an attractive bicycle parking shelter that prominently displays the NYC Bike Map and the LOOK public awareness campaign. To date, 20 of these have been installed.
- DOT installed over 6,100 bike racks over the past three years. A new iconic NYC bicycle rack design was chosen through DOT's international design competition last year. The new rack design will go into production this year. Bicycle Rack installations will continue until there is sufficient bike parking citywide.
- DOT designed a new, sleek bicycle guide sign for use at intersections in the bicycle network and to route cyclists to major destinations. Nearly 1,000 of these signs have been installed including over 600 to route cyclists to the four East River Bridges
For more information on bike initiatives in New York City visit: nyc.gov/bicycle.