New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced this week the addition of more protected bike lanes for NYC. They said that the city is on track to install 75 miles of bike lanes, including a record 18 miles of protected lanes, by the end of 2016.
The plan, which exceeds an earlier announcement of 15 miles of protected lanes for this year, is part of the mayor’s commitment to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024 under Vision Zero. Protected bike lanes separate cyclists from traffic through the use of planters, parked cars, posts or other barriers.
“We know that bike lanes not only get more people cycling, they calm traffic and save lives,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. “No cyclist death is acceptable, and that’s why we’ll continue raising the bar to keep riders protected.”
The bike lanes are being installed throughout the five boroughs, including on streets identified as Vision Zero priority areas — that is, those that are particularly dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. Click here for a list of protected bike lane projects.
But advocates are demanding further action. The mayor’s announcement on Tuesday came two days before tonight’s previously announced mass bike ride in Manhattan to demand mayoral action and more resources to fix unsafe streets and to further expand the bike lane network in the face of increased cyclist fatalities.
The number of cyclist fatalities in 2016 had, by Labor Day, surpassed the total for all of last year, according to city data. Fatal hit-and-runs against cyclists and pedestrians have also exceeded the number for all of 2015.
Participants in tonight’s rally, led by Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets and co-hosted by a coalition of organizations that encourage bicycling and that advocate for cycling and pedestrian safety, will ask the mayor for safety fixes for all 446 Vision Zero priority street corridors and intersections, according to Transportation Alternatives.
As of this writing 1,300 people had RSVP’d on the facebook events page for the mass ride, which is slated to proceed from East 59th Street down Fifth Avenue to Washington Square Park.