Image via Wikimedia Commons
On Monday, after initially expressing concerns over City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s “Streets Master Plan,” Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council came to an agreement over the bill, which passed yesterday. The sweeping $1.7 billion plan will require the city to build 250 miles of protected bike lanes and 150 miles of protected bus lanes. In addition, it will add one million square feet of pedestrian space over the first two years.
— NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson (@NYCSpeakerCoJo) October 30, 2019
“The piecemeal way we plan our streets has made no sense for far too long, and New Yorkers have paid the price every day stuck on slow buses or as pedestrians or cyclists on dangerous streets. We need faster buses, safe streets infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, and more pedestrian space. We need to do everything we can to encourage sustainable modes of transportation, especially with the realities of climate change growing more dire every day. This plan will get us there, and by doing so it will make New York City a much more livable and enjoyable place to call home,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
The plan aims to prevent tragic traffic deaths, which reached a record high this year with 25 cyclists losing their lives so far (up from 10 in 2018). The plan will go into effect in December 2021—a concession Johnson had to make to get de Blasio on board. From then on, the Streets Master Plan calls for the addition of 30 miles of protected bike lanes in the first year and 50 miles every year after. The bill also requires installing transit signal priority at 750 intersections during the first year and 1,000 intersections per year after that. The second phase is due by 2026 and seeks to complete the city’s bike lane network.
The city currently has about 1,250 miles of bike lanes—which first started appearing under Mayor Bloomberg—including 480 miles that are protected. The Times reports that de Blasio has completed about 100 miles of protected bike lanes since 2014. “I agree with him on his analysis of needing to reorient our society away from cars,” de Blasio said last month. “I agree with him that we need to be aggressive in terms of bike lanes and bus lanes. I think the dissonance here is about how we figure out achievable goals.”
Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said the bill will require “a significantly reconfigured agency” in order to implement the fast-track plan, which is expected to cost $1.7 billion over 10 years according to Johnson.
[Via The New York Times]
This story was originally published on October 28, 2019, and was updated with new information.
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