Press Releases

Press Release #08-022

DOT Marks Progress Toward Livable Streets for New York City

New public spaces and “Complete Street” designs enhance safety and mobility, create people- and business-friendly city

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced that public space initiatives across the five boroughs over the last year have transformed hundreds of thousands of square feet of former road space into thriving pedestrian areas while improving the overall look and feel of the streets for all who use them. With ongoing construction of new public plazas along Broadway from Times Square to Herald Square and at Madison Square, and with upcoming plaza initiatives planned in other boroughs, by the end of 2008 the City will have reclaimed almost three acres of underused street space for pedestrian use citywide. "Complete Street" designs also have transformed streets such as Broadway, Vanderbilt, Carlton and DeKalb Avenues in Brooklyn and Lafayette Avenue in the Bronx, and, together with other initiatives have turned underutilized roadway surface into medians, pedestrian refuge islands while more than two million square feet of former road space are now bike lanes. Select Bus Service also has been launched in the Bronx and the City's bike network is being expanded at a historic pace with increasingly innovative designs. Each of these initiatives is integral to the City's goal of increasing mobility while creating safer pedestrian and business-friendly streets.

"The streets of New York make up a quarter of the City's area and 80% of its public space, so we must ensure that they are safe and equally accessible for all those who use them," said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. "Our strategic plan lays out a detailed blueprint to improve travel in our thriving City while ensuring a safer and more pleasant experience on the streets of New York for years to come."

Building on Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC 2030 agenda, the DOT in April released its strategic plan, "Sustainable Streets," which laid out clear goals for transforming the City's streetscape into people-friendly boulevards and world-class public spaces with targeted improvements to bus mobility, safety, and bicycling while reducing the transportation network's impact on the environment. In creating streets, sidewalks and public spaces that are safe and enjoyable for people, local merchants will see increased foot traffic and opportunities for improving their businesses. Progress on these initiatives is outlined below.

  • Complete Streets: DOT's strategic plan commits to adopting new street design standards emphasizing the "Complete Streets" principle of accommodating all street users-pedestrians, cyclists and drivers-by increasing public space and greening the streets. Recent projects incorporating this approach include Greenwich and Washington Streets in Manhattan, where extensive buffered bike lanes help increase bike safety while calming vehicular traffic; on Broadway, Clarendon Road and Vanderbilt, Carlton and DeKalb Avenues in Brooklyn, where wide-open streets were narrowed, bike lanes added, and where planted medians ands pedestrian islands have helped reduce speeding while beautifying the street and providing refuges for pedestrians crossing the street. Similar treatments on Lafayette Avenue in the Bronx also help link parks and Greenways while reducing hazards at intersections. Many bus and bike lane designs also specifically incorporate dedicated loading zones to expedite storefront deliveries.
  • Plaza Program: DOT is working with community partners to create neighborhood plazas throughout the City which transform underused streets into vibrant, social public spaces. This program is a key part of the City's effort, as outlined in Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC, to ensure that all New Yorkers live within a 10-minute walk of quality open space. Well-attended information sessions for communities interested in adding a plaza in their neighborhood were held on July 16th and July 23rd and additional meetings will be held next week in the Bronx and in Brooklyn. All applications must be submitted to DOT by Tuesday, August 19, 2008. Temporary versions of these types of public plazas have already been built across the City, including at Pearl Street in DUMBO, turning a virtual parking lot into 5,160 square feet of pedestrian space for passers-by to enjoy the day. Willoughby Street near Adams Street in Downtown Brooklyn is now 7,000 square feet of pedestrian space. On Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District, at the community's request, a plaza was built atop the area's historic cobblestone street, helping establish safe traffic patterns and more than 18,000 square feet of pedestrian space. At 9th Avenue and 14th Street, a virtual spaghetti bowl of traffic was reorganized and two lanes of traffic were converted into 5,600 square feet of plaza last year near Chelsea Market. Public space initiatives are currently under construction on Broadway Boulevard between Times Square and Herald Square, with more than 22,000 square feet of space turning the drive-through corridor into a world-class destination in itself, and more than 35,000 square feet of pedestrian plaza space is nearing completion at Madison Square along Broadway from 25th to 22nd and later this fall work will be done in the Bronx at one of the busiest intersections in the city. Additional projects are being prepared and will be announced later this year.
  • Summer Streets: This new City program, the largest of its kind in the nation, will temporarily open a 6.9 mile car-free route from the Brooklyn Bridge to 72nd Street on the east side of Manhattan. Featuring connections to Central Park and other open spaces, Summer Streets will give New Yorkers unprecedented access to the streets for exercise and exploration from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on three consecutive Saturdays in August-the 9th, 16th and 23rd. DOT has also worked with business and community groups to launch smaller-scale weekend pedestrian streets in Brooklyn and Queens (Montague Street, Bedford Avenue, 78th Street) this summer.
  • Bike Network Expansion: DOT is in the midst of its most aggressive expansion of the City's bike network in history. By July 2009, the number of bike lane miles in the City will have nearly doubled from 220 to 420, in just three years. Since May 1, 2008, over 30 new miles of bike lanes have been installed and over 3,600 bike helmets have been fitted and given away free of charge. New bike lane initiatives are underway on:
    • Vernon Boulevard in Queens, where buffered lanes have been installed and where mid-street pedestrian refuges, islands and daylighting are being installed.
    • At 106th Street in Manhattan, new bike lanes are being created and the road is being redesigned to one lane in each direction with turning bays at intersections, calming traffic and enhancing safety.
    • A first-of-its-kind protected bike path was installed on Ninth Avenue in Manhattan last fall, physically separating cyclists from motor vehicle traffic. Counts have shown a 57% increase in the number of cyclists using the Avenue since installation, and the Institute of Transportation Engineers has given their "Program of the Year" award to this redesign. This year, the 9th Avenue lane is being extended by 10 blocks and similar designs will be implemented this summer and fall on 8th Avenue, Broadway and Grand Street.
    • High-visibility lanes have been installed on Prince and Bleecker Streets in Manhattan, and along Henry Street and elsewhere in Brooklyn.
    • In a partnership with the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, DOT also launched a competition for new, visually appealing, on-street and indoor bike parking designs. Hundreds of entries have been received and the finalists were recently announced. The City plans on using the winning design of the on-street competition as the new standard city bike rack.
    • DOT will soon announce the winner of its Bike Friendly Businesses awards, recognizing businesses that encourage employees to bike to work and ones that provide proper safety equipment and training to their delivery workers.
  • Select Bus Service (SBS): In late June, the DOT, in partnership with MTA/New York City Transit, introduced the City's first SBS route on Fordham Road in the Bronx. By incorporating a Transit Signal Priority system, off-board fare payment and dedicated bus lanes, SBS will provide a faster, more reliable commute for bus riders. In fall 2008, enhanced bus service along high-visibility bus lanes will begin along 34th Street in Manhattan. On Staten Island, a Transit Signal Priority system along Victory Boulevard installed last year has already helped speed bus travel to and from the St. George Ferry Terminal.
  • Congested Corridors: DOT has begun to analyze 5 of the city's busiest roadways identified in its Citywide Congested Corridors Study Project in order to reduce the time needed to travel to and within the corridor while ensuring that the transportation system is serving the larger goals of mobility, economic development, quality of life, and environmental sustainability. Studies have begun along Amboy Road on Staten Island; Church Avenue in Brooklyn; White Plains Road in the Bronx; Woodhaven Boulevard in Queens; and West 181st Street in Manhattan. Future study areas include 14th Street in Manhattan; Broadway in Brooklyn; East Gun Hill Road in the Bronx; Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn; Fordham Road in the Bronx; Liberty Avenue in Queens; Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn; Northern Boulevard in Queens; and West 96th Street in Manhattan.
  • Peak-Rate Parking: DOT's Strategic Plan commits to developing and implementing innovative parking management programs. DOT will undertake peak rate parking pilots in two neighborhoods this fall to reduce double parking and cruising for available spots. This will free up spots for deliveries, additional customers and create safer conditions for cyclists and pedestrians. Additional pilots next year will look to expand peak rate pricing throughout the City.
  • Street Furniture: Under a 20-year franchise agreement that will deliver over $1 billion in revenue to the City, Cemusa has installed 1,443 bus shelters, 89 newsstands, one Automatic Public Toilet and the city's first four Sheltered Bike Parking Structures, located near transit hubs citywide. The new street furniture's distinctive design enhances and enlivens the streetscape while standing up to the rigors of sidewalk life in New York City.
  • New Project Measurements and Evaluation: The City Council adopted, and this past June Mayor Bloomberg signed into law, Intro 199. Under this new local law, DOT will issue an annual report with indicators to monitor and evaluate levels of congestion and growth in high performance modes including buses, ferries, bicycling and walking. The report will include area-wide indicators of traffic, bike and ferry volumes and travel speeds, and multimodal travel data on key corridors where DOT has undertaken changes in street design and/or operations. The report will demonstrate the effectiveness and potential impacts of DOT projects including complete streets, road diets, new bike facilities, plazas, select bus service and peak-rate parking pricing. For up to date information on all DOT initiatives go to: