FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release #19-030
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
DOT Contact: Scott Gastel/Lolita Avila (212) 839-4850
Council Member Rivera Contact: Jeremy Unger (646) 771-7872
DOT and Council Member Carlina Rivera Announce Changes to Protect Bike Lanes During Construction Projects with New Rules and Bill Passage
Agency unveils new official permit language in line with City Council bill, starting immediately; After a grace period, contractors who do not provide proper bike lanes around construction sites will be issued violations
The New York City Department of Transportation announced today that it has updated the language in its permit stipulations addressing the maintenance and protection of bike lanes during on-street construction work. DOT is working closely with the City Council as they plan to pass legislation today introduced by Council Member Carlina Rivera, which mandates that DOT permits contain such requirements. Council Member Rivera introduced the legislation and took a leadership role to preserve bike infrastructure during construction following challenges she and members of her community observed at projects in the Lower East Side portion of her district. At the same time that the bill was moving through the Council, DOT, which had already identified the need for these changes and begun working on them as well, partnered with Council Member Rivera to ensure they could be implemented as soon as feasibly possible.
“As New York City has boomed with population, jobs and tourism over the last few years, large-scale construction projects have become something of a way of life,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “However, contractors need to know that the sidewalks and streets in front of such projects need to remain safe and completely passable for all users, including cyclists. We thank Councilmember Rivera for her leadership and fierce advocacy around this issue.”
“When construction impacts a bike lane it doesn’t just inconvenience bicyclists – it becomes a public safety hazard to all New Yorkers who have to navigate around these projects. I’m proud that my bill mandating DOT permits contain rules for the maintenance and protection of bike lanes during on-street construction work is passing today, and I want to thank Speaker Corey Johnson and Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez for their continued dedication to making our streets safer for all. I also must thank Commissioner Trottenberg and the team at DOT for recognizing the importance of this issue and working with my office to implement strong permit stipulations immediately, which will go a long way towards accomplish our Vision Zero goals,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera.
“Many people around the city depend on bikes as their main mode of transportation. We must continue to make sure that they are protected under any circumstances. I thank Council Member Carlina Rivera for taking the initiative on Int. 1163.” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee “This legislation will increase the protections given to our cyclists when construction has affected their lanes. Contractors who do not install a temporary bike lane for our cyclists are being negligent, and endangering the lives of our cyclists that depend on bikes for work and transportation.”
As part of its Vision Zero efforts, New York City’s bike network continues to expand at a pace of about 50 lane miles per year, with a minimum goal of 10 protected lane miles, as growth in bike ridership continues to outpace all other modes. Meanwhile, construction permits continue to be issued at near record rates across the five boroughs. The new language is tailored to hold the construction industry to the highest standards, with the new stipulation language being released today supplemented by the new DOT-issued The Guidelines for the Maintenance and Protection of Traffic for Cycling.
New Stipulations: Before today, DOT’s stipulations for bike lanes had not been updated in over 10 years and this new language is added so that bike lanes will remain open and protected during construction work when feasible. Specifically, the new stipulations help to guide contractors as they create temporary bikeways around work zones. Contractors failing to follow the stipulations will be subject to summons after a grace period following the launch of the new stipulations. DOT will monitor this initiative throughout the year by conducting site visits (including permit inspections), continuing to work with the construction industry to ensure the new requirements are understood and followed, and listening to the cycling community.
The new stipulations are in sync with the federal guidelines of the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). While the MUTCD provides a standardized national protocol around the setup and signage used to protect the public from the impacts of most kinds of road and construction work, it does not now include specific guidance that directly addresses cycling and construction sites.
Permittees may be subject to violations and fines, as well as potential permit revocation, for not following the requirements of DOT permits, including the new requirements. In FY 2018, DOT conducted approximately 600,000 inspections, and issued 48,937 violations with fines ranging from $250 to $1,500 and requiring corrective actions including remedying inadequate street restorations, stopping unpermitted work, or coming into compliance with other permit requirements.