City to finish 100 street safety redesigns this year: DOT

Ydanis Rodriguez DOT
DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez speaks near a redesigned street on Amsterdam Avenue in Washington Heights on June 8.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

The city will complete 100 street redesigns to make New York City’s roads safer by the end of the year, officials said Wednesday.

The Department of Transportation will do most of the revamps in historically underserved neighborhoods of the Five Boroughs, with an additional focus on streets near schools, said the agency’s commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez.

“Our children and families deserve to be able to walk to school without the fear of being struck by a speeding or reckless driver,” Rodriguez said at a press conference in Washington Heights on June 8. “DOT is using every tool we have to ensure all students are protected from speeding and reckless drivers.”

Rodriguez touted an overhaul of Amsterdam Avenue in the uptown neighborhood, which got a new two-way bike lane and pedestrian islands after local high schoolers lobbied the city to make the notorious stretch of roadway near Highbridge Park safer last fall.

The pupils, who are part of the “I Challenge Myself” after-school program, caught drivers going as fast as 50 miles per hour down the road — twice the legal limit.

About a half dozen drivers missed the memo about the new bike lane and already parked in it illegally just blocks away from the press conference, despite the city posting flyers all along the roadway. Some of the motorists had been ticketed. 

In a joint press release with Mayor Adams, DOT listed nine other similar overhauls near schools including:

  • Bronx: East 165th and 167th Streets between Prospect Avenue and Simpson Street
  • Bronx: Boone Avenue between West Farms Road and Freeman Street
  • Bronx: East 158th Street and Cauldwell Avenue
  • Brooklyn: Chauncey Street and Malcolm X Boulevard
  • Brooklyn: Linden Boulevard and Atkins Avenue
  • Queens: Rockaway Boulevard between Sutphin Boulevard and Farmers Boulevard
  • Queens: The 34th Avenue Open Street from 69th Street to Junction Boulevard
  • Staten Island: Martha Street and Howard Avenue
  • Staten Island: Elson Court and Jules Drive

“We will never compromise the safety of our students and young people, and equity will always be at the core of our work to protect them,” said Mayor Adams in a statement.

Some of the projects will overlap with DOT’s so-called Streets Plan to install 250 miles of protected bike lanes, 150 miles of bus lanes, and create more pedestrian space over five years. 

The plan comes with legally-required benchmarks the agency must reach every year, according to a law passed in the City Council in 2019, starting with at least 30 miles of protected bicycle paths and 20 miles of bus lanes by the end of 2022, and a minimum of 50 miles for bikes and 30 miles for buses each year after that.

DOT has not yet released a list of projects nearly halfway through the first year, and when asked about the agency’s progress, Rodriguez said he understood those numbers as “goals,” but added that he expects to reach them by their lawfully-mandated deadlines.

“I feel like the numbers is a goal, we’re working toward the goal,” he told amNewYork Metro. “We have the support that we need from Mayor Adams, we’re working toward the goal, and we are optimistic that it’s going to be accomplished.”