City officials are working to get “as much as possible” done of their commitment to fortify half of all plastic-protected bike lanes in the city, amNewYork Metro has learned.
Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez in December pledged within his first 100 days in office to strengthen 50% of the green-painted bicycle paths that are currently bordered by flimsy plastic flappers, but almost halfway into that timeline the agency has not published any progress updates on the project.
“We’re working hard to accomplish as much as possible,” Rodriguez told amNewYork Metro on a Staten Island Ferry ride Monday following an unrelated press conference.
“There are going to be some announcements in the next couple of days, but we are doing a lot of work, we’re working also with advocates and we’re taking all the necessary steps that have to be done to be sure that we follow that commitment,” he said.
The commissioner is 46 days into his tenure, and his commitment could encompass hundreds of miles of bike paths.
The city had 546 miles of bike lanes DOT considered protected as of 2020 and the agency planned to add another 30 miles in 2021.
But there is a wide variety of different types of protections DOT installs and officials have refused to specify how many miles would be covered by Rodriguez’s goal.
The DOT press office did not answer a list of follow-up questions about progress of the project, and spokesperson Vincent Barone said more information would be coming soon.
Among the least effective barriers DOT deploys are the waist-high so-called flex posts that drivers can easily roll over and destroy, and activists have called for more firm obstacles like concrete jersey barriers.
Jon Orcutt, an advocate with the group Bike New York and former policy director at DOT under the Mayor Michael Bloomberg administration, said the “numbers chase” of getting a certain mileage of lanes should not be the focus of the city and that officials should instead work to install better lanes.
“The key thing is to come up with designs that keep cars out of bike lanes,” he said.
Unlike former Mayor Bill de Blasio, the new DOT leader under Mayor Eric Adams is having another look at how the city can make the bike lanes safer rather than just rolling out more miles of poorly-protected paths, he said.
“There seems to be a commitment to work on the problem, which we didn’t see at all during de Blasio,” Orcutt said.