UPPER EAST SIDE — New asphalt, bike racks, lighting and benches are planned for the neighborhood once the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway is completed next year, according to the Department of Transportation.
The agency is planning to roll out a number of street improvements along the avenue after the subway project is completed in an effort to make it "one consistent corridor from 65th to 105th streets," DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione told members of Community Board 8's Second Avenue Subway Task Force during a meeting Tuesday.
The agency plans to install a total of eight wayfinding signs at the 82nd, 86th and 96th Street subway stations, depicting a neighborhood map that includes the locations of subway stations and WiFi hotspots.
The signs already exist at stations in Chinatown, Long Island City, Herald Square, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights.
As part of the plan, carbon steel CityBenches, which can be found throughout the city, will also be installed along the avenue. One bench will be placed at every block with the blessing of property owners, and the agency will make sure they don't conflict with outdoor cafes or flow of pedestrian traffic, according to Forgione.
One or two bike racks will be added to each block as well. The locations will be worked out with the community board, Forgione said.
Lastly, the DOT will convert all street lights on Second Avenue to LED lights by 2017, which will save the city 65 percent of energy costs compared to what it cost to run the high pressure sodium lights that currently exist.
Forgione said the LED bulbs would produce cleaner, whiter light with 100 watts as opposed to the 150 watts bulbs the city uses now. It would be the same amount of lighting, however.
The DOT expects to install all the new fixtures once the city has finished the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway project, which involves opening the line between East 63rd and 96th streets. That phase is expected to be done by December 2016.
Although the project was first conceived in 1920, it started in earnest in 2007 as a way to reduce overcrowding on the 4,5 and 6 lines along Lexington Avenue and reduce travel time by up to 10 minutes for those on the far east side and for those traveling from the east side to west down, according to the MTA.