Mayor Adams Proposes $904 Million Investment for Overhaul Of NYC’s Streets

New York (New York Daily News/TNS) —
DOT testing new curbs to separate bike lanes from vehicular traffic. (NYC DOT)

Mayor Eric Adams on Saturday said he aims to give New York City’s streets a $904 million makeover over the next five years — adding hundreds of miles of bike and bus lanes as well as revamped pedestrian spaces.

The budget target makes good on legislation passed by the City Council in 2019 that mandated a “streets master plan” for the five boroughs. The plan requires the city Department of Transportation build 250 new miles of protected bike lanes and 150 miles of new bus lanes by the end of 2026.

“This is a historic investment,” Adams said during a news conference on his proposal. “We must do our part, and that is to ensure that the pathways are safe where people can feel comfortable and utilize the bike infrastructure we have. We are so far behind international leaders. If you go to other cities and countries across the globe, they are so far ahead of us.”

Adams — who rode a bike from City Hall to the news conference in downtown Brooklyn — didn’t lay out specific plans for the bus and bike lanes’ makeover, or new pedestrian this year.

The proposed $904 million investment over five years must be worked out with the City Council as part of the city’s budget that’s due at the end of June. The amount is roughly in line with the $1.7 billion the Council in 2019 estimated the street redesigns would cost over a 10-year period, officials said.

But the proposal is well short about $2.2 billion short of the $3.1 billion Council members proposed earlier this year for the city’s streets plan. The Council’s plan goes much further than the benchmarks laid out by the 2019 law, and would add 500 miles of bike lanes and turn dozens of city streets into pedestrian plazas.

The mayor said his proposal “is part of a continued conversation” with Council Speaker Adrienne Adams.

During Saturday’s news conference, Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez lamented he won’t reach one of his major goals — reinforcing half of the city’s plastic-protected bike lanes with fortified barriers during Adams’ first 100 days in office.

Now, Rodriguez said it will take until the end of 2023 to add sturdier barriers to 20 of the city’s roughly 40 miles of bike lanes that currently have only flimsy plastic barriers.

The announcement comes amid a startling increase in fatal car crashes.

A report published last week by the street safety group Transportation Alternatives highlighted traffic deaths that have increased 44% during the first three months of 2022 compared with the same period of 2021 — the deadliest calendar year for car crashes since former Mayor Bill de Blasio launched his “Vision Zero” program.

“There are people who are habitual, dangerous drivers,” Adams said. “They speed and have a total disregard for others. They’re always in a rush no matter where they’re going. They don’t believe that there’s a speed limit. We need to find them proactively and get them off the streets”

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