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Streets Week!: Mayor de Blasio Announces Record Creation of Bus and Bicycle Lanes Planned for 2021

May 11, 2021

Under Red Carpet to Recovery, DOT will create a record-breaking series of dedicated bus priority projects; DOT will also install 30 miles of protected bike lanes and “Bike Boulevards” in all five boroughs

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Hank Gutman today announced plans to further transform City streets in 2021, by increasing last year’s record protected bike lane installation and nearly doubling last year’s record bus project totals. The administration plans to install 28 miles of new and improved busways and bus lanes in 2021, along with thirty miles of protected bike lanes. Both will be the most installed in one year in New York City history, breaking records set by this administration just last year.

The mayor also announced the proposed locations of new “Bike Boulevards” in each borough, as originally announced in the State of the City address. The announcements continue Streets Week!, a suite of transportation, traffic safety, and open space policy announcements to double down on the transformative Vision Zero initiative.

“A recovery for all of us means reducing our dependence on fossil fuels while deepening Vision Zero. This administration has made historic investments in bus and bike lane infrastructure, and now is the perfect time to deepen that commitment,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “From record bike lane installations, to more busways and bus lanes than ever, to brand-new Bike Boulevards, New York City is proud to transform its streets to make them more accessible for everyone.”

“New York City made historic progress in building a safer, more accessible city for cyclists and pedestrians last year. Now, it’s time to double down on that progress and expand Vision Zero even further,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Laura Anglin. “Historic investments in bus and bike lane infrastructure will help New Yorkers move around their city more easily than ever and help us build a recovery for all of us.’

“Thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s leadership, we will not only get a record number of bus lanes built or improved this year, we will continue breaking records with our protected bike lane mileage,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “We will focus our bus projects where we can help the most riders, with a special focus on communities like those in the Bronx where buses have maintained strong ridership levels, even through the pandemic. Meanwhile, New York City will see even more protected bike lanes than the record number we created last year – and for the very first time, new Bike Boulevards.”

Better Buses Restart: “Red Carpet to Recovery”
As part of its Red Carpet to Recovery in 2021, DOT will build or improve 28 miles of Better Buses projects, serving 951,000 bus riders a day, to get essential workers to jobs, minimize congestion and pollution from private automobiles, and support the city's economic recovery.

New and improved projects will include:

  • Busway Pilots: By the end of 2021, DOT and MTA will complete five busways – four more than have ever been completed in one year. In addition to already-completed projects on Main Street in Flushing and 181st Street in Manhattan, busways will be constructed this year along Jamaica and Archer Avenues in Queens, and along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. In total, these five busways will improve service for 657,000 bus riders daily.
  • New and Improved Bus Lanes in Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island: Both new and improved bus lanes will serve bus riders citywide, with changes including new red paint and markings, signals improvements, pedestrian safety and clearer signage. These bus lanes will benefit an additional 200,000 bus riders daily and include projects on 1st and 2nd Avenues, Battery Place and Avenues A and D (Manhattan), Merrick Blvd (Queens), and Hylan Blvd (Staten Island). In total, DOT will this year create 11.5 miles of new lanes and 16.3 miles of improved lanes.
  • Bronx Buses Transformed: DOT continues its radical transformation of bus corridors throughout the Bronx. Building on the work done in 2020 along critical streets like 149th Street and E.L. Grant Highway, DOT will build more bus lanes, bus boarding islands, protected bike lanes, and pedestrian safety improvements. Together, these Bronx projects will serve 175,000 bus riders a day. Projects include:
  • University Avenue Transformation: DOT will install dedicated bus lanes along University Avenue from Washington Bridge to Kingsbridge Road, including six new bus boarding islands. New protected bike lanes will also be installed along University Avenue from at least Washington Bridge to Tremont Avenue. 
  • Re-envisioning Fordham Road Select Bus Service: In 2010, Fordham Road was the site of New York City’s first Select Bus Service route. Now, DOT will reinvigorate the street through an inclusive outreach plan with businesses, community leaders and families. The redesign of the street will follow as DOT listens closely to the needs of this community.
  • New Bus Lanes along Story Avenue and Gun Hill Road, along with changes to improve bus circulation near the Pelham Bay Park subway station, the terminus of the 6 train that also serves as closest stop to City Island. Changes here will eliminate the current indirect bus routing to the station, saving transferring bus riders up to two minutes per trip.
  • New pedestrian islands on Webster Ave and 149th Street to ensure safe crossings to and from bus stops.
  • Signal Priority: In line with the Better Buses Action Plan, DOT will activate technology to give priority to buses at over 300 locations, ensuring that buses are waiting at fewer red lights.
  • MTA Coordination: DOT will continue to work with the MTA on including bus priority in their essential Borough Network Redesign work as that process works forward and encourage MTA to implement all-door boarding on all bus routes, now that OMNY contactless payment has been installed systemwide. 

Last year, the Mayor’s Better Buses Restart created more than 16 miles of new bus lanes and busways across all five boroughs – the most ever in one year. Completed projects include Jay Street and Malcolm X Blvd in Brooklyn, 14th Street extension and 181st Street in Manhattan, Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island, E.L. Grant Highway, University Ave and 149th Street in the Bronx and Merrick Blvd and Main Street in Queens.

Protected Bike Lanes
DOT plans to build a record 30 miles of protected bike lanes in 2021, including:

“Return to Manhattan”

  • East 61st and 62nd Street, Manhattan/Northern Blvd, Queens: Connecting midtown to the Queensboro Bridge and the 34th Ave Open Street in Jackson Heights
  • 7th Avenue – Connecting Central Park to midtown
  • Varick Street/West Broadway/Church Street/6th Avenue and Centre Street: Connecting Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan to Tribeca and Chinatown

Bronx Network Development

  • Bronxdale Avenue and White Plains Road: Building protected lanes into the existing neighborhood network, hosting e-scooter pilot starting this summer.
  • Morrisania Neighborhood Network: Improving access and safety for local community and schools

Brooklyn Parks and Community Connectors

  • Meeker Avenue: East/West connection from new Kosciusko Bridge to Williamsburg

Bike Boulevards
As Mayor de Blasio outlined in his State of the City address, DOT will create a Bike Boulevard in each borough in 2021. Bike Boulevards slow vehicular speeds and limit volumes to create low-stress bike infrastructure in a pedestrian-friendly environment.

The planned boulevards will include a portion of:

  • 21st Street (South Slope, Brooklyn)
  • 39th Avenue (Sunnyside, Queens)
  • Jackson Avenue (Mott Haven, Bronx)
  • University Place (Greenwich Village)
  • Netherland Avenue (Mariners Harbor, Staten Island)

In coming weeks, DOT Borough Commissioners and planners will present proposed plans to elected officials and community boards, with the expectation that they will be completed this year.

“Every day, millions of New Yorkers ride the bus or pedal their bikes to get to work, meet up with friends, or take in the sights and sounds of our vibrant city. Ensuring that New York residents can safely and efficiently access these modes of transport has long been a priority of mine, which is why I’m delighted by today’s announcement that the City will install more than twenty-eight miles of busways and bus lanes and thirty miles of bike lanes in 2021 alone, setting new records,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “I’m especially excited by the establishment of University Place as a Bike Boulevard, which will create a space within my district specifically designed for bicycle riders and pedestrians to safely coexist. These ambitious developments will go a long way in building a New York City more accessible and enjoyable for all and I applaud the City’s commitment to listening to and addressing the needs of its residents.”

“As the ‘Manhattan Busway President,’ I am excited to see DOT continue to build upon the successes of their innovative busways on both 14th Street but also now on 181st Street,” said Manhattan Busway President Gale Brewer. “I am also excited to see DOT select University Place as a bike boulevard after my report “The Future of Open Streets” offered a case study into how to apply similar, successful bike and pedestrian improvements there. I commend DOT on their work to improve New Yorkers’ mobility and expect extensive community input will be next to ensure these street designs work best for each unique community.”

“Street safety is a paramount concern for all us here in New York City, and here in Queens, that is especially true. Our cyclists should not feel unsafe when out commuting, and installing more bike lanes will give them the protection they need. I thank Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Transportation for announcing more bike lanes and committing to cyclist safety,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Jr.

“New York City residents rely on many different types of transportation to keep our economy moving,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “Increasing the amount of bus and bike lanes across the five boroughs will ensure safety and efficiency for all. Throughout this pandemic, we have witnessed our essential workers using all means of transportation to get to and from their jobs and these additions will allow them all to continue their hard work as we move forward in our fight against COVID-19. Thank you to all involved for your dedication and making New Yorkers a priority.”

"As our city and economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, expanding access to public and clean transportation is critical for our essential workers, students, and the environment. I thank Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Department of Transportation for their commitment to prioritizing and expanding public transportation in the Bronx and across the city,” said State Senator Alessandra Biaggi.

"I am delighted to see the changes the city is making to improve our transportation infrastructure for all New Yorkers. As we recover from the pandemic, providing these bus improvements will ensure that my constituents will have better accessibility and service,” said State Senator Luis Sepulveda.

“It’s imperative that we continue to make investments and improvements to our streets so that they are more accessible and safe for all users, and to ensure a green and transit-focused future for our city. I look forward to partnering with my constituents to carefully review these DOT proposals for my District in the coming months,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera.

"Over the last two years, New York City made a lot of progress in creating a more efficient, accessible, and equitable transportation network," said Liam Blank, a spokesman for Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "In the face of a global pandemic, Mayor de Blasio and NYC DOT embarked on a bold paradigm shift––reconfiguring city street space to match the needs of all users and to prioritize sustainable mobility options. With millions of New Yorkers planning to return to work over the coming months, and traffic congestion already on track to exceed pre-pandemic levels, we are excited that the city is doubling down on its commitment to public transit and micro-mobility."

"The pandemic has only exacerbated our city's need for better bus service, and the road to recovery is one paved with bus lanes. We applaud the Mayor's commitment to prioritizing bus riders on our streets with these busway and bus lane projects throughout the five boroughs which will ultimately improve the commutes, and lives, of close to a million daily bus riders," said Jaqi Cohen, Campaign Director for the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign.

"Prioritizing bus riders on the street is a must for New York City's recovery. NYC DOT's slate of bus projects will be especially helpful to essential workers and Black and brown New Yorkers, who make most of the bus trips in the city. As traffic returns to city streets, it's extremely important to complete these projects, carve out space for transit to bypass congestion, and ensure millions of New Yorkers can rely on the bus,” said TransitCenter Communications Director Ben Fried.

“As we recover from the pandemic, New York City must prioritize people over cars on our streets," said Danny Harris, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. "This means more protected bike lane and busway projects, so we don’t just get back to normal, but make the new normal for our streets healthier, more equitable and less congested. Mayor de Blasio's announcement today is an important step toward reaching this goal. We look forward to hearing more details about these projects and will work with the administration and our advocacy partners to make sure that they are completed without delay and into a connected network.”

"A day when the City unveils new protected bike lanes and bike network connections is a good day for New York City, for street safety and affordable, sustainable mobility," said Jon Orcutt, advocacy director at Bike New York.

"Better buses are integral to New York's equitable recovery. Mayor Bill de Blasio's Streets Week announcement marks a bold step forward for the city's millions of bus riders. We look forward to seeing the mayor's commitments fully implemented this year so that he leaves behind a legacy of fairer, safer and greener streets,” said Betsy Plum, Executive Director, Riders Alliance.

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