As the last days of 2018 wind down, the city is taking a looking at its accomplishments and one of them is the addition of even more protected bike lanes along some of the city’s major streets.
On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) had constructed more than 20 miles of what it says are new on-street protected bike lanes, coming close to last year’s record of 25 miles of new bike lanes. The additional lanes have boosted the city’s bike network to 1,217 miles, making it one of the nation’s largest, and among them is Midtown Manhattan’s first-ever crosstown protected bike lane.
However, cycling advocates and Streetsblog say the number is actually lower: An analysis by Streetsblog found that some of the lanes that the DOT says are protected are merely marked off from traffic with painted lines, rather than a physical barrier. According to the analysis, the number of truly protected bike lanes would be closer to 16 than 20.
Just one day after the city’s announcement, Streetsblog also filmed cars parked in a “protected” bike lane on East 12th Street:
The DOT offered this statement to Streetsblog by way of explanation: “A protected bike lane is a path intended for the use of bicycles that is physically separated from motorized vehicle traffic by an open space, vertical delineation, or barrier.”
According to the DOT, much of the new protected bike lanes were focused on preparing for the L train shutdown. The DOT is expecting that two to three percent of the 275,000 riders that will be displaced during the 15-month shutdown, set to begin in April 2019, will turn to cycling. Bike lanes that are expected to be impacted the most by L train riders are:
Park Row (Frankfort Street to Chatham Square)
Delancey Street (Clinton St to Allen St)
12th St/13th St (Ave C to 8th Ave)
East 20th Street (Ave C to First Ave)
26th St/ 29th Street (1st Ave to 12th Ave)
7th Ave South (Clarkson St to 11 St)
2nd Ave (68th St to 74th St)
Grand Street (Bushwick Ave to Union Ave)
Morgan Ave. Knickerbocker Ave, Grattan St
City officials also announced a single-year record low in the number of cyclist fatalities in 2018. There were 10 cyclists deaths thus far this year, compared to 24 last year.
“[W]hile our Vision Zero work is far from complete, as we near the end of the year, we are grateful for the decline in cyclist fatalities we have seen this year,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.