Council wants additional $3.1B to build up ‘NYC Streets Plan’
The New York City Council is calling on Mayor Eric Adams to allocate an additional $3.1 billion to build more bike lanes, bus lanes, and space for pedestrians. In a response to the mayor’s preliminary budget for the fiscal year 2023 published this week, the council said the mayor would not be able to fulfill his campaign promise of building 300 miles of protected bus lanes during his first term due to a lack of funding. According to the council, the increased investment would allow for 500 miles of protected bike lanes, 500 miles of bus lanes, and 38 million square feet of open pedestrian space, according to the Council’s proposal.
In October 2019, the council came to an agreement with former Mayor Bill de Blasio on the $1.7 billion “Streets Plan” that required the city to build 250 miles of protected bike lanes and 150 miles of protected bus lanes, as well as one million feet of pedestrian space.
The first five-year phase of the NYC Streets Plan began this year, kicking off the city’s effort to build 250 miles of protected bike lanes and 150 miles of protected bus lanes. According to the council’s response, the second five-year phase which is set to begin in 2026 calls for the completion of a connected bicycle network, a bicycle network lane coverage of 100 percent, and the installation of protected bus lanes on all bus routes where it is applicable.
The proposal also calls for 40 miles of car-free busways, an addition that was not included in the council’s 2019 bill or in the mayor’s plan. Busways have helped speed up buses in Manhattan, Queens, and Downtown Brooklyn.
“The NYC Streets Plan is key to achieving transportation equity. The Streets Plan is how New York City will ensure faster commutes, fewer transit deserts, and greater economic opportunity in communities across the five boroughs,” Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said in a statement.
In February 2022, DOT began an effort to enhance 20 of the city’s 40 miles of delineator-protected bike lanes due to frequent blockage of the lanes by vehicles. They project the effort to be completed by the end of 2023.
“Mayor Adams has put forward an aggressive plan to improve street safety and provide greater access citywide to reliable transportation options, including an unprecedented effort to add 150 additional miles of bus lanes in the next four years,” Jonah Allon, a spokesperson for the mayor, told amNY on Sunday.
“We are reviewing the Council’s proposal and look forward to engaging with them through the budget process to identify the proper level of funding for our shared transit goals.”