Delancey Street is finally getting a protected bike lane, the Department of Transportation announced today. With more and more bikers set to use the Williamsburg Bridge during the looming L-train shutdown, the DOT is promising to make the lead-up to the bridge slightly less harrowing, and may also implement Amsterdam-style bike parking nearby.
The Williamsburg Bridge is already the busiest East River bike crossing. If you’ve ever biked across it, you know the ride on Delancey is teeth-clench city. The DOT’s newly released Strategic Plan indicates that by the end of 2017, the agency will develop a plan for a protected bike lane on Delancey. The lane, similar to the two-way one that runs down Kent Avenue on the Williamsburg side of the bridge, will be implemented by 2021.
As the DOT works to develop an L Train Mitigation Plan with the MTA, it’s also planning to develop “secure, affordable, and attractive” bike parking at ferry terminals, major subway stations, and local shopping areas. As a precedent, the plan points to Chicago’s Millennium Park, where there are 300 bike parking spaces with showers and towel service, and six San Francisco bike stations that feature valet service. A pilot program is planned for the summer of 2017, after which the DOT will seek to develop “permanent, high-capacity bike stations” across the city, including in the new Penn Station and Port Authority Bus Terminal.
According to the Wall Street Journal, parking for “dozens of bicycles” could come to the Delancey and Essex Municipal Parking Garage as early as next year.
Residents have been calling for a Delancey Street bike path since at least 2010, when a cyclist was struck and killed by a school bus there. Between 2008 and 2010, some 134 pedestrians and cyclists were struck by vehicles on the street. Eventually, the DOT put up concrete barricades to discourage cyclists coming off of the bridge from continuing down Delancey. But residents and local politicians continued to push for proper bike lanes. One petition described biking conditions on the four-lane street: “Commuters, tourists, recreational cyclists — all of them must either brave the chaotic traffic, careening towards the bridge’s entrance, or enter directly into the cars and trucks shooting off the bridge. Without a bike lane to keep them out of the way of this traffic, cyclists are in constant danger.”
The move to implement protected lanes comes as the DOT seeks to double the city’s biking population by adding 50 miles of bike lanes each year, including 10 miles of protected bike lanes in 2016 and 2017. The city aims to add a grand total of 200 miles of bike lanes by 2021.
The Lower East Side is already reaping the rewards: Earlier this month, construction began on a new two-way bike lane on Chrystie Street.
Needless to say, Citi Bike will also expand. By the end of 2017, the bike share program, which added 50+ stations in North Brooklyn last year, will boast 12,000 bikes at 750 stations. Last week Citi Bike set a new record with 60,000 riders in a day, and next month it hopes to break its annual record of 10 million rides.