Photo Courtesy of Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
By the end of 2021, the City Department of Transportation will install more than 80 miles of protected lanes.
By Forum Staff
At least 17 cyclists have died in street accidents so far this year—the highest number through July of any year since the launch of Vision Zero in 2014. To confront this alarming rise in fatalities, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday unveiled a $58.4 million plan that, according to Hizzoner, combines design, enforcement, legislation, policy and education to make city streets safer for cyclists—and all street users.
According to the administration, “Green Wave: A Plan for Cycling in New York City” is a multi-prong, multi-agency approach to curtail bike injuries and fatalities at a time when cycling popularity is on the rise, the City continues to expand its bike network, and Citi Bike is expanding into new neighborhoods and boroughs. The new plan includes six major elements: create citywide protected bike lane network; improve and update intersection design; expand NYPD enforcement; promote legislation and implement policy; target trucks in major safety initiative; and continued expansion of outreach/helmet safety.
To implement the Green Wave plan, the City has committed $58.4 million in new funding over the next five years, with 80 additional new staff. It will build 30 miles of protected bicycle lane annually. By the end of 2021, the City Department of Transportation will install more than 80 miles of protected lanes.
DOT has also identified 10 Brooklyn and Queens community boards as Bike Priority Districts, which together represent 16 percent of community boards and 14 percent of the bike lane network—yet have 23 percent of all NYC’s bicycle fatalities. DOT has committed to build 75 miles of bicycle infrastructure in these districts by 2022.
DOT has pledged to build upon innovative intersection designs with a focus on areas where the majority of fatalities occur. Fifty intersections will receive turn calming treatments in 2019 and where possible, protected intersection designs will be added for new projects after streets are resurfaced or reconstructed. Among innovations, DOT will in 2019 pilot so-called “Green Wave,” progressive signal-timing that discourages speeding and encourages steady cycling speeds—and it will identify other corridors for implementation in 2020. The agency will also install Green Skip Bars at key intersections to increase cyclist visibility.
Under the Green Wave plan, the NYPD will ramp up enforcement at the 100 most crash-prone intersections and target enforcement on highest risk activities: speeding, failing to yield, blocking bike lanes, oversized trucks/trucks off route. The department has pledged to maintain continuous citywide implementation of “Operation Bicycle Safe Passage” initiative—extending elevated enforcement of blocked bike lanes and hazardous driving violations. And specialized units and precincts will increase enforcement against oversized and off-route trucks.
DOT officials also noted that the agency will implement local legislation that passed the City Council last week that allows cyclists to proceed on the pedestrians signal and will work with the speaker and council members to pass additional legislation requiring a three-foot passing distance between car and cyclist and enhanced requirements for truck sideguards.
“Whether it’s the $58 million the mayor is spending or the $50 the average speed violator pays, every cent is worth it compared to the price victims of traffic violence pay due to politics, delays, and callous community banter,” said Cristina Furlong, co-founder of Make Queens Safer.