No Bike Lanes for Grand Concourse South of 158th Street — For Now

DOT plans to signficiantly expand pedestrian space at 153rd Street, where the Grand Concourse runs along Franz Sigel Park and Cardinal Hayes High School. Image: DOT
DOT plans to expand pedestrian space at the Grand Concourse and 153rd Street, alongside Franz Sigel Park and Cardinal Hayes High School. Image: DOT

DOT’s redesign of the Grand Concourse below 158th Street includes pedestrian safety measures and traffic calming treatments but no bike lanes. The agency says this stretch of the Concourse could get bike lanes in a future capital project, but it’s not clear how long the Bronx will have to wait for that.

This is shaping up to be a big year for the Grand Concourse. Transportation Alternatives’ “Complete the Concourse” campaign to redesign the street has collected almost 2,000 signatures and won the backing of council members Andy Cohen and Ritchie Torres. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has called for better bike infrastructure on the Concourse. A full reconstruction is slated to begin as part of the de Blasio administration’s “Vision Zero Great Streets” initiative.

So far, DOT has indicated that the buffered bike lanes north of 162nd Street will be “upgraded” — presumably to protected lanes. South of 162nd Street, where the Grand Concourse is narrower and there are no bike lanes, has been more of a question mark.

On Wednesday, DOT presented a safety plan for the Concourse between 138th Street and 158th Street to Bronx Community Board 4 [PDF]. The project will not reconstruct the street, relying on low-cost techniques to repurpose space for pedestrians.

There were 24 pedestrian injuries in the project area between 2010 and 2014. At the intersection of the Grand Concourse and 149th Street alone, 13 pedestrians were injured and two were killed. Speeding is a major threat. DOT clocked 82 percent of northbound drivers between 153rd Street and 156th Street exceeding the speed limit.

To reduce speeding and improve pedestrian crossings, DOT’s plan calls for wider median islands and other expansions of sidewalk space, narrower motor vehicle lanes, and simpler intersections with fewer conflicts between drivers and people on foot. Between 140th and 151st Streets and 156th and 158th Streets, for instance, the proposal would expand the medians from five wide to 13 feet.

The proposal does not include bike infrastructure, just extra-wide parking lanes that, as DOT puts it, “accommodate bicyclists” (and double-parkers). However, DOT’s presentation says that “future capital plans would incorporate bicycle facilities on this section of the Grand Concourse.”

Since the current plan will be built mostly with paint and gravel, it shouldn’t interfere much with a later project that includes bikeways, although new concrete islands could complicate matters. But how long will it be until this section of the Concourse gets safe bike lanes? We sent a query to DOT about the timetable for that future capital project and have not received a response.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    Queens Blvd is the DOT’s test subject before it is implemented on the Grand Concourse.

  • AnoNYC

    Nice moving lane and crossing distance reduction but…

    I wish the DOT would have used the road space to install physically separate bus and bicycle lanes.

  • J

    The narrowest sections of the roadway are 80′ wide, and the new plan calls for 2 parking lanes (2*8′ = 16′) and 4 travel lanes (4*10’=40′), leaving around 24′ unaccounted for on stretches in between intersections. It you can’t fit a protected bike lane in 24′, you just not trying.

    At intersections, it gets tighter, because DOT wants a 10′ turn lane, but that still leaves 14′ for bike lanes (7′ in each direction), which seems ample enough to me.

  • BBnet3000

    Encouraging double parking when they should be trying to prevent it. There’s no cross section in the presentation but if there’s 5 feet of extra width they could at least paint it as a bike lane (they could even use some of that green paint if they could get it to stick for more than a week):

  • AnoNYC

    Also, how about neckdowns at GC and E 138th St. Drivers fly around the northbound corner.

    Speed cameras between E 140th St and E 144th.

    And ban left turns from E 151st St where drivers ride the crosswalk to make the turn.

  • J

    This is what bike lanes could look like in the space available. You could also shift everything to one side to preserve more parking. Sure this type of thing might get shot down cause people are crazy about parking, but this could also give people a different perspective on what possible in their space and rally more people to support this.

    Specs: Curb to curb = 80′; bike lane = 6′, parking lanes = 8′, center median = 6′ buffer/median btw bike lane & parking = 3′.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    this Design 1000%

  • AMH

    If they sharpened the bend in 153 St, shifting the intersection northward slightly to make a 90-degree intersection, they could close the other slip lane.

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