Bronx Beep Ruben Diaz Jr. Calls for Better Bikeway on Grand Concourse

The Grand Concourse has bike lanes above 162nd Street, but they’re often blocked by double-parked cars. Image via Google Maps

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. wants better bike infrastructure on the Grand Concourse.

In his “State of the Borough” speech on Thursday, Diaz said a bike lane on the Concourse is among his 2016 policy goals. “We’ve made improvements to the Grand Concourse, and we will bring a dedicated bike lane to this iconic roadway,” Diaz said.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.

The Grand Concourse extends about five miles from the southwestern tip of the borough to Mosholu Parkway. Below 162nd Street there are no bike lanes. Last year a cyclist was killed crossing the Concourse by Franz Sigel Park at 158th Street.

Above 162nd Street the Concourse has a central roadway and service roads. The service roads have buffered bike lanes next to curbside parking, but they’re faded and prone to blockage by double-parked cars. Converting those bike lanes to a Queens Boulevard-style design should be a relatively simple matter.

DOT is expected to put forward a redesign of the Grand Concourse soon. It is one of four “Vision Zero Great Streets” slated to receive a combined $250 million in capital improvements over the next few years.

Transportation Alternatives’ Bronx Activist Committee has been pushing for a “complete street” redesign of the Grand Concourse, organizing monthly “Complete the Concourse” rides and winning the support of council members Ritchie Torres and Andy Cohen. With Diaz on board for improved bike infrastructure, political support is aligning nicely.

Diaz spokesperson John DeSio confirmed that he has decided to support safety improvements on the Grand Concourse, and that the ball is in DOT’s court to move forward with a proposal. “A lot of the Grand Concourse doesn’t [have bike lanes] and we want to make sure we have a safe and consistent means to cycle up the Grand Concourse,” he said.

  • When the bike lanes on the Grand Concourse first appeared, they made a big difference. Now that they are faded, they tend to be ignored. So I’d be happy if the City would just keep up the paint job on the existing bike lanes.

  • vnm

    This is excellent news. I’d like to see this happen. If they can do it on Queens Blvd. they can do it on the Grand Concourse!

  • BrandonWC

    The city takes 311 complaints for faded street markings, including bike lanes. I know making 311 complaints can feel like shouting into the wind a lot of the time, but anecdotally I’ve seen stretches of bike lanes I’ve complained about repainted, and at minimum, it only takes a second and lets the city know that people are using and do care about the state of repair of a given bike lane.
    http://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/2550/street-or-highway-line-marking-request-or-complaint

  • I see. Maybe I will call about that faded lane, and also about the faded sharrows on Central Avenue in Queens.

    It is true that calling 311 is very discouraging. I have called about blocked bike lanes many, many times; and not once have I seen any result. Every time the response was that the cops saw nothing about which they could take action; and the condition goes on unabated. So I guess I have become a little soured on it.

    But I suppose I could give it a shot about a faded lane.

  • qrt145

    I reported a faded lane in my neighborhood several times, and they repainted it — five years later. I’m not sure I had much of an influence. 🙂 But I guess we can hope that enough complaints might help…

  • AnoNYC

    The Grand Concourse needs a redesign that reorients it as a public space. See, accessibility. It should be a safe place where the community comes together.

    I would like to see a serious road diet and multimodal support (physically separated bike and bus lanes). I want enough space to designate a pedestrian plaza throughout.

  • mattkime

    limit your complaints to taxis and document with photos. you’ll see a very high rate of follow through. for some reason the taxi and limo commission follows through

  • BrandonWC

    My experience is that responses to 311 complaints vary dramatically between agencies. Anything that goes to NYPD might as well not exist (except perhaps for aggregate statistics). As mattkime mentioned, TLC is very responsive to complaints about their drivers. I find that DOT is generally pretty good. Just this week based on my complaints, they replaced a bike lane sign on Grand St that had been covered with stickers and fixed the flex bollards on Bergen between 6th and Flatbush. Repainting bike lanes is a bit of a crap shoot (and takes longer for them to get to), but I think making the complaints does have some effect.

  • How can I send in photos? I was referring to calling 311 about chronic parking in one particular bike lane.

    Even the web form that @brandonwc:disqus provided, which is for reporting faded street markings, doesn’t allow for the attachment of images.

  • urbanresidue

    Yes, we need a Grander Concourse!
    http://www.urbanresidue.com/concourse/2.jpg

  • mattkime

    sorry, at risk of over explaining –

    a) the cops don’t give a shit about cars parked in bike lanes (we all know this)

    b) the tlc (taxi and limo commission) hands out fines to cabbies that park in the bike. file a 311 complaint and include photos.

    this won’t fix the problem but it will hurt some offenders. changing police attitudes is a _very_ long term project.

  • Myra Hill

    That’s good. I can’t ride my bike on the bike lanes due to double parked cars.

  • AMH

    That’s exactly the sort of arrangement I’ve been picturing for wide corridors. It removes so many conflicts and creates such an amazing bike and bus corridor!

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