Street safety advocates launched an online tracker Monday to keep tabs on the city’s progress to install 30 miles of protected bike lanes by the end of the year.
The Department of Transportation has so far only put down 6.9 miles of the green-painted paths, less than a quarter of the 2022 benchmark required by city law, according to the set of maps with the new lane locations published by the group Transportation Alternatives.
Some 28 miles of bike lanes are still under construction and the city has announced another 42 miles of the separated pedal paths, the group’s counts show.
Another online tally of bus lanes rolled out in July by the transit boosting group Riders Alliance has logged a mere 2 miles completed out of 20 miles the city has to paint before year’s end. Another 22 miles have been proposed by DOT, according to Riders Alliance.
Under a 2019 law, the city has to add 250 miles of protected bike lanes and 150 miles of bus lanes over five years, with at least 30 miles for bikes and 20 miles for buses coming online in the first year.
DOT released its “Streets Plan” in December 2021 to lay out its proposed upgrades.
Brooklyn attorney and avid cyclist Brandon Chamberlin began tracking the paths late last year, collecting information from DOT’s public presentations, the agency’s Tweets with progress updates, and by checking out the sites in person.
“It’s a lot of biking around,” Chamberlin told amNewYork Metro.
He joined forces with Transportation Alternatives to publish the collected reports in an accessible format. The website has a map of the completed projects, those still in the works, and another for the lanes DOT has announced.
Chamberlin hoped the maps will better hold city officials to account for doing their jobs, while also getting fellow two-wheelers pumped about incoming safe street infrastructure.
“If you have someone who is watching from the outside and really cheering from the sidelines, it can be a useful thing in getting across the finish line,” he said.
Time is running out to mark the remaining lanes before the weather gets too cold to paint and contractors have until wait until spring to restart street work.
“They are working on a lot of different projects right now, and if they can fast-track what’s been started, they have a real shot” at meeting the annual minimum, said Jacob deCastro, of Transportation Alternatives. “But we need these projects to be finished before prime painting season ends.”
The maps will also reveal if the city is equitably distributing the new bike lane infrastructure in areas that have been underserved by city investment in the past and along high-crash corridors, deCastro added.
“This should really be provided by the city in one place that’s easily understandable,” he said. “Until the administration creates a site of their own, we’ll keep updating our site.”
Mayor Eric Adams promised on the campaign trail to set up even more bike lanes than the Streets Plan law requires, pledging to install 300 miles of protected paths for bikes and 150 miles for buses within his first four-year term. But hizzoner is falling short of yearly targets to meet that goal, Gothamist reported.
The Transportation Department has also struggled to fill mounting job vacancies among its senior ranks under the leadership of Commissioner Ydanis Rodríguez, triggering project delays and stretching thin the remaining public servants, Streetsblog reported.
A DOT spokesperson claimed the Transportation Alternatives counts were inaccurate, but declined to share the agency’s own numbers.
“The data in the tracker is not representative of the mileage we’ve finished so far,” said Vin Barone in a statement. “It is important to remember DOT completes the bulk of our bus and bike lanes toward the end of the year, in concert with construction season and DOT’s robust public outreach.”
Riders Alliance spokesperson Danny Pearlstein urged officials to step on it and get as much of the planning and public outreach done in the colder months in order to tee up more construction work during the rest of the year.
“So far they’re on the same pace as the de Blasio administration, but they need to pick up the pace,” Pearlstein said.
“It’s not ‘Getting Stuff Done’ with an asterisk, it’s ‘Getting Stuff Done,’ and that’s what we need to see by the end of this year,” the advocate added, citing Mayor Adams’s signature slogan.