NYC to Install a Record Number of Protected Bike Lanes This Year

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New York City will be getting over 15 miles of physically protected bike lanes in 2016 — more than any year previously, officials said.

The de Blasio administration also promised to install around 50 miles of bike lanes total, but it will focus on quality more than quantity.

“Yes, you want to get to miles, but you also want to make sure that those miles are in quality places where you’re making important connections,” Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

In 2015, New York City installed 58 miles of bike lanes, more than 12 of which were protected. 

"Protected" bike lanes means that they are separated from traffic by some sort of barrier, such as a line of parked cars or a raised median.

Projects along the Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx and the Pulaski Bridge, linking Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and Long Island City, Queens, will be completed, and others on Amsterdam and 2nd avenues in Manhattan will begin.

Marine Park in Brooklyn will be getting new two-way protected bike lanes.

"The good news with protected lanes," Trottenberg said, "is the cars don't double-park in them."

But many motorists — and delivery trucks — rely on double parking just to get through the day in a crowded, busy city like New York. And taking away that option will make their lives harder.

"Contrary to popular belief, most trucking companies spend a significant amount of time and money in the attempt to have their vehicles park legally and safely," Ken Thorpe, CEO and chairman of the New York Trucking and Delivery Association, said in an email. "If the DOT would spend the same amount of money, time, resources and infrastructure on providing parking for trucks, necessary to moving our economy as they do to bikes, we would have safer streets."

Last year, a WNYC project documenting blocked bike lanes found that 60 percent of tickets in the last two fiscal years went to vehicles with commercial plates, rather than passenger vehicles or taxis.

As far how much the lanes will cost -- the average protected bike lane is about $600,000 per lane-mile, so the 15 miles will add up to about $9 million, according to officials.  

The DOT said much of that funding is reimbursable by Federal funds.