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Friday, February 18, 2022
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DOT Begins Work To Harden Protected Bike Lanes, Outlines Plan To Complete 20 Miles

New plan to upgrade half of all delineator-protected bike lanes in the city with sturdier materials that better protect cyclists by preventing drivers from entering the lanes

DOT testing new curbs to separate bike lanes from vehicular traffic

NYC DOT crews install Jersey barriers along a protected bike lane in Manhattan.

NEW YORK – New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez announced today the first series of bike lanes to be hardened as part of a new plan to fortify half of the city's existing delineator-protected bike lanes. The DOT has completed lane hardenings at two major Manhattan locations, with a third location in progress. More high-volume protected lanes will receive similar treatments in the coming weeks as DOT explores innovative new materials to keep lanes clear.

"New York City's cyclists deserve to be safe everywhere, but especially in protected lanes – where drivers will too often disrespect and block that critical space," said Commissioner Rodriguez. "We have an actionable, concrete plan to protect cyclists and we are going to deliver on this work to keep our lanes clear. We thank our friends in the advocacy community for helping us identify top targets – and we know that these twenty miles of barriers will make a real difference."

DOT crews have this month already begun replacing plastic bollards separating bike lanes along protected lanes in lower Manhattan and Hell's Kitchen. Last night, crews began installing 15 twenty-foot-long Jersey barriers along Broadway in lower Manhattan. Each Jersey barrier is made of fortified cement – and weighs an estimated 4 tons.

With 40 existing miles of delineator -protected bike lanes, the DOT plans to harden 20 miles of those lanes by the end of 2023. Challenges in accessing Jersey barriers have delayed early hardening efforts. The DOT is working to improve its access to these barriers while also exploring new materials.

The 20 miles DOT plans to harden will include locations with high ridership, a history of vehicle non-compliance, and/or lanes adjacent to heavy vehicle corridors. This project will take place alongside the DOT's commitment to also build miles of new protected bicycles lanes, with new designs that will be less dependent on existing delineators for protection.

Among the first lanes that DOT has already identified to receive hardening treatment early this year are portions of some of the highest-volume protected bike lanes in New York City. Select blocks within each of these project limits will be targeted, with more locations under consideration in Brooklyn and the Bronx:

    ·         40th Street, 11th Avenue to 12th Avenue (Manhattan)*
    ·         Broadway, Barclay Street to Morris Street (Manhattan)**
    ·         11th Ave, 40th Street to 39th Street (Manhattan) *
    ·         Clinton Street, Delancey Street to South Street (Manhattan)
    ·         Crescent Street, Queens Plaza North to Hoyt Ave N (Queens)
    ·         Vernon Blvd, 46th Ave to 30th Rd (Queens)
    ·         Queens Blvd, 73rd Street to Yellowstone Boulevard (Queens)

*Already completed
**In progress

New approaches

In addition to deploying jersey barriers to harden bike lanes, the DOT is exploring new rubber and concrete barrier and curb designs that can effectively separate bike lanes from vehicular travel lanes without requiring large-scale installation operations.

These new elements will be deployed on various streets throughout the city this summer for observation and to assess operational and construction issues. After analysis, DOT will determine which of these items will work on New York City streets and can be added to our toolkit along with Jersey barriers and other vertical elements.

"Truly protected bike lanes are an essential way to keep New York's cyclists safe, so I'm grateful to Commissioner Rodriguez for his commitment to hardening these lanes," said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. "Cycling continues to grow as a primary mode of transit for New Yorkers, making protected bike lanes and bike infrastructure a key part of our streetscape and transit ecosystem."

"The hardening of these bike lanes is a great step forward toward providing stronger safety protections for our City's bicyclists," said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. "These enhanced safety measures will provide bicyclists with the solid protection they deserve and will help unclog our roads and reduce pollution by encouraging more people to travel by bicycle. I look forward to seeing the hardening of the bike lines at three high-volume locations in Queens in the coming weeks, and I fully support the DOT's ongoing effort to protect bicyclists. We must do all we can to make biking a safe and enjoyable activity throughout our borough and city."

"This is exciting news for the commuters of New York City," said Representative Jerrold Nadler. "Bike lanes help keep cyclists and commuters safe, while helping reduce emissions by encouraging people to bike to work. I am glad Mayor Adams is hardening existing lanes which will go a long way in getting more New Yorkers to explore alternative modes of transportation."

"Bicycling is the fastest, most reliable and most efficient way to get around my district. But it's not safe for my constituents, including my children and me, to share the road with cars," said State Senator Brad Hoylman. "I'm glad to see the New York City Department of Transportation's commitment to hardening bike lanes. I also eagerly await the result of DOT's exploration of new designs to determine which types of barriers and curb designs are most effective for New York City's streets, and I will work side by side with the DOT and the Mayor to implement them across my district and across the city."

"As a cyclist, I appreciate all measures taken to protect New Yorkers who use bikes as an alternative means for transportation or leisure," said State Senator Robert Jackson. "Replacing plastic bollards with permeable jersey barriers wherever feasible is a promising step towards safety. As more New Yorkers are opting for life in the bike lane, protected bike lanes will help keep everyone using our streets safer."

"As we've learned throughout this pandemic, safe access to outdoor recreation is vital to public health. Just as I was heartened to see the City create more protected bike lanes last year, I'm glad that NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez is taking additional steps to ensure the safety of bicyclists," said Assembly Member Deborah J. Glick. "Clearly delineated and fortified bike lanes along heavily traveled routes will allow New Yorkers to commute safely while reducing the environmental impact of traffic congestion in Manhattan."

"I thank DOT for completing these bike lanes in these heavily congested area to make traveling make safer for cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers alike," said Assembly Member Richard Gottfried. "The rise in vehicular crashes that take many bicyclists' and pedestrians' lives around the city show that more of these and other safety improvements and traffic-calming measures are badly needed throughout the city."

"I am glad to hear that hardened protected bike lanes are finally coming to Queens Boulevard! New Yorkers deserve safe streets in which they can traverse without fear of needless tragedy," said Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi. "These incoming redesigns are an important step forward in providing proven solutions that will protect pedestrians, riders, and drivers alike to make our streets safe. I thank Mayor Eric Adams, Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, and the NYC Department of Transportation for taking action in improving traffic safety in our communities. I look forward to our continued partnership and ensuring that addressing street safety continues to be a top priority going forward."

"Responsible street redesign is the first step to ensure safer streets for all," said NYC Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, Chair, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. "This first series of enhanced bike lane protections, to be completed by 2023, will safeguard roadways for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. I am thankful for Commissioner Rodriguez for accelerating the deployment of jersey barriers to harden bike lanes and exploring new alternative installations that expedite construction."

"My first press conference as a Council Member highlighted areas that desperately needed street safety improvements," said Council Member Erik Bottcher. "I'm excited that Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez have already made street safety a priority. I look forward to many more announcements in the future."

"New Yorkers are walking more and bike ridership has increased in recent years, and our city needs to be more accessible and safer for those not behind the wheel. We must improve our infrastructure to protect bikers and pedestrians across the Five Boroughs," said Council Member Shekar Krishnan. "To that end, I thank Commissioner Rodriguez for announcing the first of what I hope are many new, hardened bike lanes. These will save lives"

"Our streets belong to all New Yorkers. As we expand bike lanes citywide, we must ensure we are doing so with high regard for cyclists' safety while riding through our streets," said Council Member Carlina Rivera. "I commend Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez and the Department of Transportation on this plan to expand new and innovative bike lane protections throughout New York City, and look forward to continuing to work together to ensure all of our bike lanes remain free from obstacles and potential danger, so that New Yorkers can safely and reliably share our streets."

"Real protection, not just plastic or paint, is needed to keep people riding bikes safe. Today's announcement by Commissioner Rodriguez to upgrade 20 miles of plastic-marked bike lanes will save lives," said Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives Danny Harris. "This important step, along with reclaiming space from cars to build protected bike lanes as NYC 25x25 envisions, will encourage more New Yorkers to bike and reduce car usage."

"Bike New York thanks Mayor Adams, Commissioner Rodriguez and their team at NYC DOT for their strong commitment to innovation and problem solving for the city's bike network," said President and CEO of Bike New York Ken Podziba. "We look forward to bike lanes that all New Yorkers can safely use and enjoy. We'll be riding the upgraded lanes and offering continued feedback."

"Regional Plan Association applauds Mayor Adams, Commissioner Rodriguez, and the New York City Department of Transportation for their important efforts to fortify bike lanes to keep them clear and riders safe," said President and CEO of Regional Plan Association Tom Wright. "Reducing conflicts between cyclists, cars and trucks, and other road users with the addition of hardened barriers or other design elements is essential to reducing crashes and fatalities. It also encourages cycling for riders of all ages and ability levels and has significant added public health and environment benefits. We look forward to working with DOT toward a more comprehensive bike network linking all communities in the city, as outlined in RPA's Five Borough Bikeway vision."

"We're very glad to see that the effort to upgrade the city's protected bike lanes is underway, and that coming work will focus on some of the lanes most abused by drivers, like Clinton Street near the Williamsburg Bridge and Crescent Street near the Queensboro," said StreetsPAC Executive Director Eric McClure. "These lanes are heavily used by cyclists and are key connectors in the bike network, and hardened protective barriers are essential to keeping them safe and clear of cars. We thank Commissioner Rodriguez and his team for delivering on this important promise."

"TSTC is thrilled to see the city take action to prevent cyclist deaths caused by traffic violence," said Policy & Communications Manager for Tri-State Transportation Campaign Liam Blank. "I commend Commissioner Rodriguez and the NYC Department of Transportation for committing to fortify at least half of the city's bike lanes, which is a proven method of saving lives and encouraging more people to walk and bike. We must take aggressive and bold actions like these to restore balance to the city's transportation network."