The Department of Transportation plans to create a record-breaking series of bus priority projects and plans to install 30 miles of protected bike lanes in all 5 boroughs. On May 11, 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Transportation announced plans to increase last year’s protected bike lane installations and nearly double last year’s bus project totals.
Twenty-eight miles of improved busways and bus lanes and approximately 30 miles of protected bike lanes are planned to be installed in 2021. The new miles of busways, bus lanes and bike lanes break prior records for the most miles installed by the city in a single year.
Busways and bus lanes
The Department of Transportation plans to build and improve 28 miles of Better Buses projects. Projects include:
- Busway Pilots: Five busways will be completed by the end of 2021 and will improve service for 657,000 bus riders daily in areas including Jamaica and Archer Avenues in Queens and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
- New and Improved Bus Lanes in Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island: These bus lanes will serve riders citywide with changes including new red paint, markings, signal improvements, pedestrian safety, and clearer signage.
- Bus Lane Transformations in the Bronx: More bus lanes, bus boarding island, protected bike lanes, and pedestrian safety improvements will be made throughout the Bronx. New bus lanes will be installed along University Avenue from Washington Bridge to Kingsbridge Road, including six new bus boarding islands. Work will be done to re-imaging the Fordham Road Select Bus Service through an inclusive outreach plan with businesses, community leaders, and families is proposed to reinvigorate the street. New bus lanes are planned along Story Avenue and Gun Hill Road and more bus circulation along Pelham Bay Park is planned.
Other projects include new pedestrian islands, the addition of new signal priority technology and coordination with the MTA to improve bus priority in the Borough Network redesign work.
Thirty miles of protected bike lanes are planned for various areas in 2021, including:
- Manhattan: East 61st and 62nd Street, Manhattan/Northern Blvd, Queens; 7th Avenue; and Varick Street/West Broadway/Church Street/6th Avenue and Centre Street.
- The Bronx: Bronxdale Avenue and White Plains Road, and the Morrisania Neighborhood Network.
- Brooklyn: Meeker Avenue from the Kosciusko Bridge to Williamsburg.
Bike Boulevards will also be installed in each borough in 2021. Bike Boulevards are streets designed to slow vehicular speeds and limit volumes to create a more bike and pedestrian-friendly environment. The planned boulevards will include portions of: 21st Street (South Slope, Brooklyn); 39th Avenue (Sunnyside, Queens); Jackson Avenue (Mott Haven, Bronx); University Place (Greenwich Village, Manhattan); and Netherland Avenue (Mariners Harbor, Staten Island).
The Department of Transportation Borough Commissioners and planners will present the plans to elected officials and community boards in the coming weeks with the expectation that the plans will be completed this year.
Mayor de Blasio stated, “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. 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.”
Department of Transportation Commissioner Hank Gutman stated, “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.”
By: Patrick McNeill (Patrick is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)