Today the city is expected to announce plans to create a two-way bike lane on Delancey Street, leading to and from the Williamsburg Bridge. The idea is part of a larger initiative to make accommodations for commuters as the MTA plans for a shutdown of the L Train tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn in 2019. The story was first reported late last night by the Wall Street Journal.
The proposal is part of the Department of Transportation’s five year plan. It encourages stepped up bike usage, as well as improved mass transit. According to the Journal:
The plan, to be released Wednesday, also calls for a new, indoor, city-owned secure bicycle parking site on the Manhattan side of the bridge, near connections for four other subway lines. The site could serve as a prototype of a new kind of bicycle-storage system near transportation hubs… The two-way Delancey Street protected bike paths would run from Allen Street east to the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge, under current city plans. Under a pilot project, parking for dozens of bicycles would be made available next year, officials said, inside the Delancey and Essex Municipal Parking Garage, a 24-hour-a-day facility on Essex Street. Nearby is a subway stop on the F, J, M and Z lines. Similar secure bicycle parking will be provided in warm weather at transit hubs next year as part of the pilot.
Transportation and safety advocates have been calling for protected bike lanes on Delancey Street for many years. It’s a plea that, until now, the Transportation Department, has rejected. We’ll have more throughout the day as this story develops.
UPDATE 11:01 a.m. The DOT has now made its strategic plan public. Here’s what the document says regarding Delancey Street.
DOT will continue to develop bike access plans to its bridges and will implement four bridge access projects in the next two years. The agency will continue implementation of its Harlem River Bridges Access Plan and develop a plan for a protected bicycle lane on Delancey Street to better connect cyclists to the Williamsburg Bridge, the busiest East River bike crossing.
The Great Streets program redesigns major corridors to prevent crashes, enhance mobility, increase accessibility, and bolster neighborhood vitality. The following projects are underway: Atlantic Ave. and Fourth Ave. in Brooklyn; the Grand Concourse in the Bronx; and Queens Blvd. in Queens. In addition, DOT is implementing Vision Zero capital redesigns on other major streets, including Delancey St. in Manhattan and Tillary St. in Brooklyn.
One of the higher-profile projects the plan specifically anticipates for 2017 is a new protected bike lane along Delancey Street in Manhattan leading to the Williamsburg Bridge. Already the busiest East River crossing for cyclists, the Williamsburg Bridge’s bike lane is expected to grow even more popular in 2019 during the MTA’s planned 18-month shutdown of the L train. DOT plans to develop the new Delancey Street bike lane in consultation with the Lower East Side community next year.