LOWER EAST SIDE — Protected bike lanes along a heavily trafficked stretch of Delancey Street will be put in place in preparation for a surge of cyclists expected during the 18-month L train closure.
The new lane will begin at Allen Street and connect cyclists to the bike lane on the Williamsburg Bridge, according to the Department of Transportation which revealed plans for the lane on Wednesday.
The lane spanning the Williamsburg Bridge is already the most traveled bike path crossing the East River and the number of cyclists crossing the bridge is expected to swell once the Metropolitan Transportation Authority shuts down the L train for repairs in 2019.
Lower East Side residents and cycling advocates have been calling for a bike lane along Delancey Street since 2010 when a woman riding her bike blocks from the Williamsburg Bridge was struck and killed by a school bus.
The news comes as a relief to advocates who have been pushing for a pedestrian and cycling-centric plan to help mitigate the closure.
A spokesman for Transportation Alternatives praised the department’s strategy, which also states the city will consider prioritizing bus transit along 14th Street in addition to increasing bike routes and parking options.
“We now have the pieces of a possible plan in motion, with this week's exciting announcement of a planned bike lane for Delancey Street and with word that the MTA is considering our ‘PeopleWay’ proposal to prioritize buses, biking and walking on 14th Street,” said Brian Zu, referring to the group’s proposal to limit private automobile access along 14th Street while creating new bus and bike routes.
“The coming L Train shutdown requires a comprehensive plan for the entire serve corridor that will be impacted. That means we need robust plans for new bus service between the boroughs and a clearly defined bike network to support the inevitable increase in cycling.”
Though the DOT’s plan does say the agency will “consider transformative traffic management” on 14th Street in addition to increased bus and bike service, reps could not immediately confirm whether this meant they would limit private automobile access on the thoroughfare.
The Delancey Street lane is part of a larger mission to create at least 10 new miles of protected bike lanes each year, the city's plan states, along with other initiatives to increase cycling.
The city is also looking to improve bike access to other bridge paths and plans to expand bike-shares with Citi Bike.
The plan also calls for the creation of more bike parking at major transit hubs across the city. This will include parking for dozens of bikes inside the Delancey and Essex Municipal Parking Garage near the Delancey-Essex subway station, according to the Wall Street Journal which first reported news of the plan.
A goal of the collective efforts, the plan states, is to ultimately double the number of New Yorkers using cycling as a mode of transportation around the city.
The city's plan also includes a handful of projects aimed at increasing safety, including installing speed cameras in particularly dangerous areas.
You can review the entire plan on the DOT’s website here.