Cyclists were overjoyed to learn yesterday about the city’s plan to create a protected bike lane on Delancey Street. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal and hinted at in the Department of Transportation’s five year plan. Today we have a bit more information about the project.
It’s meant, in part, as a response to the MTA’s planned shutdown of the L Train tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan in 2019. A lot more cyclists are going to be using the Williamsburg Bridge during the 18-months that the train tunnel is being rehabilitated. In addition to the bike lane between the bridge and Allen Street, the Journal reported there would be, “a new, indoor, city-owned secure bicycle parking site on the Manhattan side of the bridge, near connections for four other subway lines.” The newspaper called it a “pilot project,” noting, that “parking for dozens of bicycles would be made available next year… inside the Delancey and Essex Municipal Parking Garage.”
We contacted the Department of Transportation for more information. The press office provided the following statement:
DOT is working to develop a pilot program in the summer of 2017 for temporary secure bike parking around city transit hubs and major destinations. Additionally, DOT is also working with the Lower East Side Partnership to explore permanent secure bike parking at the Delancey and Essex Street Garage. Planning for the permanent bike parking is still in its early stages, and we are also exploring a number of additional locations throughout the city.
Tim Laughlin, president of the LES Partnership, added:
We look forward to exploring ways that cycling related amenities can be included within the Delancey and Essex Street Garage in partnership with DOT. We are also extremely encouraged by (the) announcement that a new protected bike lane will be installed on the Delancey corridor; investments like these ensure our streets and major thoroughfares remain safe and accessible to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike.
The Partnership received a grant from the NYC Regional Economic Development Council to conduct a feasibility study on adding bike-related amenities within the garage. A few years ago, the Partnership teamed up with Pilot Projects, a local architectural firm, to envision a possible “green hub” inside the garage facility. The current initiative is different from that original vision. It’s meant to directly address some of the priorities spelled out in the city’s five year transportation plan.
As for the bike lane, a DOT spokesperson said the agency, “will be bringing a proposed plan and timeline to the community in early 2017.”
In an unrelated press conference yesterday, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said of the Delancey Street plan:
We’re very excited about it… It’s something that the cycling community long advocated for and it’s very timely in light of the fact that, obviously, the MTA is going to have to shut down the Canarsie tunnel… (Nearly 5,000 bicyclists use the Williamsburg Bridge every weekday). We have to figure out how to get a lot of those folks in Williamsburg into Manhattan… And we’re hoping a lot of them will take their bikes over the bridge. [AMNY]
As of yet, Community Board 3 has not received a briefing on the proposals. The last reconfiguration of Delancey Street occurred in 2012. Safety measures, such as a narrowing of the street and longer “walk” signals were implemented after the tragic death of 12-year-old Dashane Santana. At the time, the DOT resisted the idea of a protected bike lane on Delancey, preferring instead to route bicyclists to Clinton and Rivington streets.