NYCDOT Ups the Livable Streets Ante in Revised Strategic Plan

bike_share_pic.jpgNYC bike-share on the horizon? DOT says it will explore a "large-scale" public bike system for Manhattan and environs. Image: Department of City Planning.

Last April, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced the "New York City Model" — mapping out a strategic plan to prioritize greener, more efficient modes and turn city streets into world-class public spaces. We’ve seen some major changes in the year-and-a-half since. Among the big accomplishments: the transformation of Broadway, an expanded bike network with more protected routes, and a new street design manual that codifies the progressive treatments DOT has started to adopt. Plans for new rapid bus corridors are approaching fruition, with a route on First and Second Avenues scheduled for completion next year and several more in the pipeline.

In an update to the strategic plan released this month, DOT lays out several new benchmarks, including some glimpses of the agency’s goals for the rest of 2009 and 2010. The document isn’t available online yet, but Streetsblog has a hard copy so I thought I’d share a few highlights:

  • Bike modeshare targets are more ambitious than before. The goal is now to double bike commuting by 2012 and triple it by 2017 compared to 2007 levels. The previous goal was to double cycling by 2015. If annual increases stay close to last year’s 35 percent clip, the new target should be easily achievable, especially if the next item turns into something concrete…
  • DOT will "explore opportunities for a large-scale public bicycle system in Manhattan and surrounding areas." The agency had previously signaled its interest in launching a bike-share network, but I believe this is the first official hint of the scale they’re contemplating.
  • 8-10 new rapid bus corridors will be selected by the end of this year. (DOT had already posted a timeline for this process on its website.)
  • DOT will increase the number of 20 mph zones around schools from 25 to 75.
  • More templates from the Street Design Manual will take shape on city streets. "Shared streets" are mentioned as a potential new design treatment.
  • Summer Streets will expand "to additional days and areas."
  • To keep cabs out of bus lanes, the city will make greater use of bus-mounted enforcement cameras. (The city launched a pilot enforcement program along these lines on 34th Street back in February.)
  • Some single-space parking meters, which are being decommissioned by the thousands as more muni-meters are installed, will be converted to bike racks.
  • PARK Smart, a performance parking program that DOT has piloted in Greenwich Village and Park Slope, will help manage the curb crunch in more neighborhoods.

Transportation advocates welcomed the new goals. "Increasing 20 mph zones around schools is really exciting," said Transportation Alternatives’ Wiley Norvell. "It’s a good, concrete metric for boosting Safe Routes to School. That’s definitely something that’s lagged and needs acceleration."

Norvell also applauded the accelerated timetable for boosting bike modeshare. "It’s great to see the DOT setting more ambitious targets, given that the installation of bike lanes has ramped up cycling significantly," he said. "New York City needs to keep moving the goalposts when it comes to bicycling. The goals of 2006 were rendered obsolete by 2008. The goals of 2009 will probably seem obsolete by 2011."

  • Is there anything that would address these five things?

    Remove the barricades
    Make sidewalk extensions standard
    Summer Streets across the Manhattan Bridge
    Widen Penn Station sidewalks
    Loading zones on every block

    I hope that the Manhattan Bridge is one of the “additional areas.”

  • glenn

    Bike share is really, really the key to boosting bike mode share. It would make biking ubiquitous and improve travel time for many, many areas of NYC.

  • Car Free Nation

    I know it’s triple what we have, but isn’t 75 school zones a really low target?

  • glenn

    True, aren’t there like 2000-3000 public schools alone in NYC and then hundreds of private ones as well?

  • J. Mork

    Did you ever thing you would see politicians pandering to the “livable streets” crowd before an election!?

  • B-Boro

    The book says 75 “by 2010.”

  • Car Free Nation

    Also, can we move parkSmart to residential neighborhoods?

  • dave

    Slightly off topic but…Increased number of bikers are great but where are these people coming from? Are these ex-pedestrians, ex-transit riders or ex-drivers. I suspect a mix of the 1st 2 in which case its nice that it maybe reduces transit over crowding but it doesnt help with congestion, pollution, traffic deaths, parking space, etc, etc

  • PaulCJr

    If we’re going to promote more bike commuting, then we need to have some kind of shower/clean up facility. To be frank, I work up a sweat riding. I can’t just towel off and put on a suit. I need a shower after a ride.

  • Re: Cap’n Transit: “make sidewalk extensions standard”.

    The new Street Redesign Manual makes this so! Crossings for pedestrians must be narrowed in the specs, with sidewalk extensions being the norm. My impression is that when any street needs repair, or is dug up, it will need to be replaced with these new standards. In our part of Brooklyn, it is happening everywhere, although I have a feeling that is part of the Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming plan.

    And because I’m the education geek I should say that there are actually about 1200 public schools in total – which makes it all the more important that traffic be slowed at as many of these schools as possible – it would have a large impact on city speeds in general.

  • That’s great news, Kim! Thanks for the info.

  • Doug Irvine

    Any plans to reduce street parking? My idea is to do this, which would be a gift to parking garages and in exchange, require them to provide indoor secure bike parking (maybe for free).

    Some of them might even install showers for a reasonable membership fee.

  • #12 Doug Irvine, “. . . showers . . . ”

    It is likely that the showers issue is somewhat overblown. Probably something white collar workers who work in offices tend to feel is a big issue even though subway stations can be as much as 110 degrees and extremely uncomfortable and cyclists have a certain amount of natural airconditioning similar to having a fan blowing on them with winds often 10 miles per hour and more; and even then, this is largely only a summer issue.

    Also, it is not really necessary to race to work and cycling at 3 to 4 times the rate one would normally walk would probably not cause people to build up much of a sweat unless they normally race walk.

  • One major improvement would be extensive integration of private bicycle accommodations with MTA bus and subway systems to include attended and non-attended bike parking and bike racks on buses to provide highly enhanced resilient mobility at minimum cost.

    The MTA has a huge amount of street furniture in subway entrances, elevated lines, and bus shelters and it would be simply a question of making them dual-use to accommodate bikes.

    Similarly underground, members of the Transit Workers Union (TWU) may find additional employment as bicycle attendants and other related services for subterranean bike parking. More advanced systems would allow workers do their jobs above ground with automated storage below.

  • matt bikes

    I’m organizing a panel discussion on the closure of Broadway to most vehicular traffic. Can anyone think of someone who is opposed to the closure? I’m having trouble identifying someone who wants to argue that it is a bad idea.

  • Ian Turner


    Just check the New York Post. Do a search for “times square” or “broadway” on their web site, or review the archives of “Today’s Headlines” on Streetsblog. You’ll find lots of angry ranting about these closures. I think one headline described them as “Stupidest Idea Ever”.



  • Justin Lee Miller

    A note on bike sharing. The Velibe system in Paris is nice, but 1) It doesn’t take the cars from the suburbs out of the traffic mix. 2) Is used mostly by tourists and those who already use transit. 3) Fills in great when the subway stops running from 1AM to 5AM. 4) People love to take them from stations at the top of hills, then take the Metro back uphill. If you live at the top of a hill (eg, 17th arr.) you have to wait for new bikes to be trucked in periodically. (The city spends a lot of time trucking around bikes.) I can see the same thing happening in NYC. Bike sharing doesn’t really address the “bridge & tunnel” crowd, although it’s bound to be quite popular.

  • #17 Justin Lee Miller, “Bike sharing doesn’t really address the “bridge & tunnel” crowd . . . ”

    Thanks for some insight on Velib. Granted a lot of tourists would be more likely to use bikeshare across the Brooklyn Bridge which which connects two major transit cachements making it more suitable to the bridge and tunnel crowd. Also, traveling from Penn Station to Grand Central Station would probably make high use of the bikeshare program.

    Advanced systems which increase the level of ease-of-use, speed, and range would be more suitable for the bridge and tunnel crowd.


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