While New York City saw a record low in traffic fatalities in 2017, cyclist deaths rose to 23 from 18 during the previous year, and five of those fatalities occurred on Midtown streets without dedicated bike lanes.
To combat that going forward, the city’s Department of Transportation is proposing the addition of two sets of one-way protected crosstown bike lanes in the 20s and 50s.
“We were heartened by the progress we made with Vision Zero in New York City during 2017, the safest-ever year on our city’s streets. However, the increase in cyclist fatalities indicates just how much work we still have to do,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.
She added that the department will work closely with Midtown community boards and elected officials on the initiative, especially as the DOT previously announced plans for new protected bike lanes as part of its transit alternatives during the L train shutdown next year, including Manhattan’s first two-way crosstown bike lane on 13th Street.
The first set of proposed bike lanes would be installed eastbound on 26th Street and westbound on 29th Street. The second pair would be south of Central Park in the 50s “on streets still to be determined after further community consultation and study,” the DOT said. Each lane is estimated to cost less than $500,000, the agency added.
The bike lanes are sure to be a welcome addition for Manhattan cyclists, as the borough saw a 98 percent increase in bike commuting between 2010 and 2015, partially aided by the launch of Citi Bike in 2013. Last year, Citi Bike had a record 6 million bike trips — and the DOT added a record 25 miles of protected bike lanes to its nearly 1,200-mile bike network.