Bike Boulevards Are Coming

Bike Boulevards Are Coming
Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

This is Streets Week, so the City Hall has been rolling out news – lower speed limits on some streets, new bus lanes, and busways, and now also new bikeways on others.

People took to bicycling in the city during the Pandemic like never before – or at least since anyone’s been keeping track. Last year, 29 new miles of bike lanes were painted on city streets, this year Mayor Bill de Blasio is promising 30 miles of protected bike lanes.

Newly repurposed car lanes devoted to bicyclists are coming to Brooklyn and Queensboro Bridges later this year (though some lament they are too narrow for the volume of people that need them), and today, Mayor announced where the first bike boulevards will be in all five boroughs.

  • 21st Street in Brooklyn, South Slope in Brooklyn;
  • 39th Street in Sunnyside, Queens;
  • Jackson Avenue in Mott Haven in the Bronx;
  • University Place in Lower Manhattan; and
  • Netherland Avenue on Staten Island.

What’s a bike boulevard?

Mayor de Blasio will ride a Citi Bike from Gracie Mansion to City Hall. Mayor Bill de Blasio rides a Citi Bike from Gracie Mansion to City Hal on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Bike boulevards, available at cities like Berkeley, CA, is something that advocates, like the Streetsblog and City Rise, have been proposing for NYC, pointing out that since “most New York neighborhoods have few safe bike routes, and a comprehensive bike network covering the whole city is decades away,” they would allow for quickly connecting various bike lanes in place:

“Bike boulevards solve one of the most basic problems of cycling: comprehending the hodgepodge of streetscapes: greenways, park paths, protected bike lanes, painted lanes, sharrows and, most frightening, streets with no bike infrastructure at all. Quiet, residential streets — converted to bike boulevards — can provide a safe alternative route because such roads already have little traffic and vehicle speeds are already low,” Streetsblog explained last November.

“Just a few tweaks can divert the existing drivers and slow them down so that inexperienced riders and kids can feel comfortable — safe from drivers who barrel around corners or zoom between lights and stop signs, or simply use neighborhood roads as shortcuts.”

Transportation Commissioner Henry Gutman said at this morning’s announcement that the city will be “adding new cyclist access to parks and greenways all over the city” in an effort to “make this a more effective bike network, not just isolated bike streets and bike pathways.”

Mayor also announced that the city will complete 28 miles of new and improved busways and bus lanes, serving 1,000,000 riders daily, and will focus on the Bronx and Queens. No new busways were announced for Brooklyn.

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