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Corey Johnson crafts bill to ‘completely revolutionize’ the city’s streets

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The plan would install at least 250 miles of protected bike lanes

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson plans to unveil his “complete streets” bill next week.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In five years, the way New Yorkers navigate the city will change. At least that’s what City Council speaker Corey Johnson’s new “roadmap to breaking the car culture” sets out to do.

At March’s state of the city address, Johnson announced plans to improve how people walk, bike, and ride mass transit throughout New York. Come next week, Johnson plans to introduce legislation that would prioritize pedestrian and cyclist safety, access to mass transit, and slash traffic congestion and the planet-warming emissions those vehicles create.

“The way we plan our streets now makes no sense and New Yorkers pay the price every day, stuck on slow buses or risking their own safety cycling without protected bike lanes,” said Johnson, who is slated to introduced the bill at a May 29 City Council hearing. “I want to completely revolutionize how we share our street space, and that’s what this bill does.”

The bill seeks to create a five-year, “master plan” that would lay out priorities and proposals for street redesigns, protected bus and bike lanes, pedestrian spaces, and more. Under the legislation, the Department of Transportation would have to release such a plan by October 1—and a new one every five years thereafter—with specific benchmarks that must be achieved by the end of each year.

The first plan would set an ambitious agenda:

  • Install at least 150 miles of protected bus lanes, with at least 10 miles installed each year
  • Equip at least 1,000 intersections along bus routes with transit signal priority annually
  • Install at least 250 miles of protected bike lanes, with at least 50 miles rolled out per year
  • Implement city-wide bus stop upgrades
  • Amend commercial loading zones, truck routes, and parking policies to prioritize those who don’t drive
  • Double the city’s amount of pedestrian plazas acreage and add 12 new “shared streets,” where speed limits are capped at five miles per hour no later than December 31, 2021

The 10-year master plan sets the bar even higher.

  • Complete a connected bike network
  • Install protected bus lanes on all routes where feasible
  • Install “accessible pedestrian signals” at all feasible intersections and redesign those intersections to enhance safety
  • Comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Acts standards at all intersections