DOT Closes Short Bike Lane Gap on Bruckner Blvd — Next Phase Scheduled for 2021

The current project improves connectivity on a short stretch by Del Valle Square, but a full connection to 138th Street and Randall's Island is years away.

DOT crews installing a new barrier-protected bike lane on Bruckner Boulevard between Bryant Avenue and Faile Street. Photo: Twitter/NYC DOT
DOT crews installing a new barrier-protected bike lane on Bruckner Boulevard between Bryant Avenue and Faile Street. Photo: Twitter/NYC DOT

DOT crews have started to fill in a dangerous three-block gap in the bikeway on Bruckner Boulevard in the South Bronx [PDF]. The project will create a more continuous bike connection south of Concrete Plant Park. The ultimate goal is a direct, uninterrupted bike route on Bruckner Boulevard connecting to Manhattan and Randall’s Island via 138th Street, but under the agency’s current timetable Bronxites will have to wait several years for that.

In the last few years, the number of people biking on Bruckner Boulevard has tripled as DOT installed two short protected bike lane segments. In 2013, added a two-way protected bike lane on a block of Bruckner Boulevard connecting to Concrete Plant Park and the Bronx River Greenway. Two years later, the agency put down a half-mile, two-way median bikeway between Hunts Point Avenue and Longwood Avenue. The current project links those two segments.

DOT's redesign maintains two lanes of car traffic on the Bruckner Boulevard service road, forcing cyclists onto the sidewalk right outside a subway entrance. Image: DOT
DOT’s redesign maintains two lanes of car traffic on the Bruckner Boulevard service road, directing cyclists to use the sidewalk right by a subway entrance. Image: DOT

The three-block connection extends between Bryant Avenue and Hunts Point Avenue, alternating between sections in the roadbed and sections on the sidewalk before crossing five lanes to connect to the median bikeway at Hunts Point Avenue. If DOT had repurposed a car lane on the southbound Bruckner service road, the bikeway could have been straighter, with fewer grade changes.

Bruckner Boulevard could also use a road diet because it’s one of the most dangerous streets in the city, according to DOT. Despite running directly beneath the Bruckner Expressway, it is built to carry as much traffic as a highway, with up to ten lanes at some locations.

Even with the recent improvements, which included median islands and curb extensions in addition to bike lanes, Bruckner Boulevard remains dangerous. Earlier this year, two pedestrians were struck and killed by drivers on Bruckner Boulevard within less than a month.

DOT intends to eventually extend the Bruckner Boulevard bikeway south from Longwood Avenue to 138th Street. With projects in the works to create better cycling connections from 138th Street to Randall’s Island and across the Madison Avenue bridge, building out safe paths on Bruckner and 138th Street has huge potential for the South Bronx bike network. The timetable for a complete Bruckner bikeway is agonizingly slow, however.

The next phase of work on Bruckner Boulevard will be a capital project extending the bikeway south to 149th Street, but that’s not slated to break ground until 2021. A plan for the final leg between 149th and 138th is in development, DOT said, but there is no schedule for implementation.

Because these are capital projects, they go through the Department of Design and Construction, which is notoriously slow and often falls years behind schedule. South Bronx residents shouldn’t have to wait years (or decades) to get a workable bike network in their neighborhoods.

  • Maybe DOT could do something that would cover most of this gap pretty soon by giving Southern Blvd the Jay Street treatment.

  • Samuelitooooo

    Southern Blvd is 60′ wide, south of Del Valle Square and north of it too, so it will absolutely work. (For instance, 7′ bike lane, 3′ buffer, 9′ parking lane, 11′ travel lane, same in the other direction)

    A bit off-topic, but even when the 2 and 5 trains turn into Southern Blvd, there’s potential for the same treatment. Only the elevated pillars will interrupt the parking, but other than that, oh, there’s space! And exactly the same for Westchester Ave (the entire length from The Hub to Pelham Bay Park) and three other individual corridors in the Bronx. There’s a lot of potential for a quality network.

  • AnoNYC

    I ride this route multiple times a week and have done so for years.

    These are needed improvements, but there are still some serious issues.

    For example, the brand new segment between Faile St and Bryant Ave was long needed. Prior to the expansion of the two-way bicycle lane, bicyclists were forced to jump on the sidewalk (crowded with school kids during the day). HOWEVER. One big screw up I see right now is that concrete barrier does not extend all the way to the corner of Faile St. This is going to create conflicts between bicyclists and turning drivers because there is no signal there. There’s no paint yet on the ground either that indicates a bicycle lane.

    As of today, the concrete barrier west of Faile St to Hoe Ave hasn’t been installed either. And I suspect that drivers entering the two-way bicycle lane is going to be a big issue at this location. Already there is a track that parks within it just off of Faile St and I have seen multiple drivers turn into it from Bryant. Drivers have been violating the older segment here forever. We need flex posts at the entrances.

    Also, the Bruckner Drawbridge needs some modifications on the pedestrian path to reduce pedestrian-bicyclists conflict. And the local automotive businesses (esp Bruckner Muffler and Tire) are ALWAYS parking vehicles on the sidewalk right next to the bridge.

    All in all this is an important connection to get to the drawbridge and I am grateful for the improvements. AND HOW ABOUT SOME BICYCLE PARKING AROUND THE HUNTS POINT AVE TRAIN STATION.

  • AnoNYC

    It’s so weird https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/55b2531c590fcaaae4cbd840b025a0dad0f6bbf240fa6c3d9e71170dbc46c208.png that bicyclists are expected to mount of the curb just for this intersection:

  • AnoNYC

    Then jump back off. The turning lane for example is very, very wide. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2b66c62000c3ba8a60194f5f096b76652b0829f7b33240906d5cdc057d527b1d.png

  • AnoNYC

    Right now the city needs to hurry up and run the Bruckner Blvd bike lanes down to E 138th St before even considering Southern Blvd. Few people use it right now because it just leaves you stranded, having to then jump on the Bruckner or east sidewalk.

    And before any of that, with all the crashes, death and serious injury at the intersection of E 138th St and Bruckner; I cannot believe that the city has yet to implement the reconfiguration there yet.

  • Bruckner Blvd below the Expressway has WAY too many traffic lanes; no need for a combined 8-10 surface lanes when 4 lanes (2 in each direction) would suffice!

    I say there’s plenty of room to complete the protected bike connection – and we shouldn’t have to wait till the 2020s for it!

  • Samuelitooooo

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I took a walk all the way down Bruckner once, just to see how the heck would a bikeway be fitted. I should’ve paid more attention to traffic in general, because I’m getting the notion now that there’s excess street capacity.

  • Samuelitooooo

    Not that we should keep bending over to car dominance, but do you feel that there’s excess road capacity between the surface boulevard and the expressway above? Do you think a full bikeway/ped trail can be put in place with just paint and barriers? Or are cars/trucks fully using the capacity provided and may require massive reconfigurations?

  • Samuelitooooo

    I may have answered my own question, seeing how the service road expands from two lanes to form the entire boulevard and then narrows back to two lanes, not counting the highway ramps. And also this in the DOT presentation for the bike/ped path on the Bruckner median. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d043932f033bf4db781146002b41534643239c98e136204d6a2c1f32a120abbc.jpg Three lanes can perfectly carry 1800 vehicles. A road diet is urgently needed.

  • There sure as heck is! According to the NYS AADT viewer (God I love that tool!), the highest AADT count on that stretch of Bruckner Blvd is 38,636 vehicles per day. To put that in perspective, the free-flowing Sheridan Expwy (2 lanes each direction, or 4 total) has an AADT of just over 35,000 vehicles per day; for a better example, Fordham Road (2 lanes plus 1 bus/parking lane each direction) *also* has an AADT over 35,000 vehicles per day! (The congestion on Fordham is often due to double parking and vehicles blocking bus lanes, not lack of capacity.)

    As for the bike lane, you definitely need physical separation between the bike lanes and vehicle lanes, plus traffic calming and reconfiguring of the latter – especially near highway on/off ramps!

  • That intersection is hell on earth; there are a few times where I (as a motorist) enter the E/B Bruckner Expwy at the 138th Street on-ramp and it’s an unholy mess; I can imagine how much worse it is for pedestrians and cyclists! Traffic from the Bruckner Blvd underpass (2 lanes) competes with traffic from the outer Bruckner Blvd (wide enough for 3 more lanes) for space on the ramp which is wide enough for 2 vehicles before narrowing to 1. The traffic spillover often blocks 138th Street, compounding the danger.

    Traffic calming is desperately needed there!

  • Samuelitooooo

    (I personally prefer using vehicles per peak hour because it gives a better sense of the highest demand at the time of day. But I should check that tool out. haha)

    With those volumes, you’d still need a road configuration much like other Vision Zero Priority Corridors, like Third Avenue or Boston Road. But something is something, right? haha

  • AnoNYC

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/bruckner-blvd-138th-street-jun2016.pdf

    It’s been a year and this plan is not yet implemented. Every day we wait risks death or serious injury.

  • AnoNYC

    There’s enough underutilized dead space near the pillars in most locations to run a continuation of the greenway. You wouldn’t even have to remove any automotive lanes south of Longwood, which makes the project very acceptable politically. It shouldn’t take until after 2020 though to build out the next phase, which is only half what’s needed.

    In the case above where the bike lane forces bicyclists onto the sidewalk for one intersection, the city could just dig up the concrete median, add flex post and narrow the lanes a bit while still maintaining capacity.

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