Streets Week(!): de Blasio announces over 58 miles of new bike and bus lanes in 2021

NYC DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman on Sixth Avenue in Tribeca as crews work to build a protected bike lane on Sixth Avenue.
Photo by Dean Moses

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “blitz” of not only stepping up traffic safety enforcement but making infrastructure improvements plowed ahead on Tuesday with the announcement that the city would complete 30 miles of bikes and 28 miles of bus lanes.

Hizzoner and city Department of Transportation Commissioner Hank Gutman biked to City Hall prior to a press conference in which they outlined where the improvements would take place throughout the city. 

“To-date 133 miles of protected bike lanes in New York City. We’re now going to add a lot more in the course of 2021, to make this the even safer for bicyclists. And we’ve got more coming, dramatic changes we talked about in the State of the City – entire new lanes devoted to bikes on the Brooklyn Bridge and the Queensboro Bridge,” de Blasio said.

New “bike boulevards” will come to 21st Street in South Slope, 39th Street in Sunnyside, Jackson Avenue in Mott Haven, Netherland Avenue in Staten Island and University Place in Manhattan.

“With the MTA support, we will this year complete five busways, improving service for 657,000 daily riders. Main Street’s completed. 181st Street, where the Mayor and I were last week, is completed, and already it’s saving 30 percent in terms of bus speeds,” Gutman said. “One new announcement, Jamaica Avenue and Archer in Jamaica, two busways in downtown Jamaica. This is a huge transportation hub, and this will affect many hundreds of thousands of commuters, and dramatically improve their access to public transportation. And then the fifth is Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. We already have two bus lanes, but we are planning steps to improve that even further to make bus service on Fifth Avenue, which is a very heavily trafficked bus route, even more efficient for New Yorkers.”

A new busway will grace the roadway on Archer Avenue in southeast Queens making it the second thoroughfare in the community after the Merrick Boulevard bus lane which the city committed to completing as part of the effort to facilitate better service to up to 951,000 daily riders on the routes in Question.

According to the mayor during the morning Q&A session, his morning bike ride enlightened him to the state of the city’s streets.

“I could see on my ride this morning, you know, places that were working better, places that were working less well. But we’re evolving and it’s something we have to keep at,” de Blasio said. “But I’ll tell you, I think a city that works for bicyclists and a city that works for pedestrians, that’s what Vision Zero is all about. Actually, honoring folks who are not just in cars and protecting them.”

As of Tuesday morning, DOT was working to construct the Sixth Avenue protected bike lane in Tribeca, which will be part of an array of improvements for cyclists passing through the downtown area.