DOT Redesign of 165th Street in the Bronx: Road Diet and Painted Bike Lanes

An extra-wide section of E. 165th Street in the Bronx is set to get a road diet, bike lanes, and pedestrian islands. Image: DOT [PDF]
Extra-wide E. 165th Street in the Bronx is set to get a road diet, bike lanes, and pedestrian islands. Image: DOT [PDF]
A section of E. 165th Street near the Grand Concourse is set to get a road diet, bike lanes, and concrete pedestrian islands under a DOT plan to cut down on traffic injuries [PDF]. While the redesign would be a big improvement over the status quo, it doesn’t take advantage of the widest sections to put in protected bike lanes.

Between Walton and Sherman Avenues, E. 165th Street is 75 feet wide, expanding from one lane in each direction to two. There’s a lot of open, unmarked asphalt.

With a design like that, it’s no wonder the street is among the most dangerous in the Bronx, with a higher crash rate than 90 percent of the borough’s streets. There were 16 serious injuries on E. 165th Street between Jerome Avenue and the multi-leg intersection with Melrose, Park, and Webster Avenues from 2009 to 2013, according to DOT. Two people were also killed at the intersection with the Grand Concourse, including Yvette Diaz, struck by a hit-and-run driver who was turning left while she was walking in the crosswalk.

Left-turn crashes are especially common on E. 165th Street. Half of all collisions involving pedestrians on this section involved a driver failing to yield, 50 percent higher than the average rate in the Bronx. In addition, 28 percent of all crashes involved a driver turning left, nearly three times the borough-wide average.

On the three extra-wide blocks of E. 165th, DOT’s design calls for adding striped bike lanes, a left-turn lane, and a striped median with two concrete pedestrian islands, while retaining one car lane in each direction. Because the street is so wide, pedestrian islands will not be eliminated at the intersection with the Grand Concourse to make room for left turn lanes, as is typical with many DOT road diets. However, pedestrian islands are not proposed for other intersections along E. 165th Street.

The redesign leaves a lot of space on the table. At 11 feet wide, the traffic lanes and parking lanes are wider than they need to be — space that could have been used for protected bike lanes instead.

The street is so wide Image: DOT [PDF]
Click to enlarge. Image: DOT [PDF]
East of Sherman Avenue and west of Walton Avenue, where E. 165th Street narrows, DOT will keep one lane in each direction and add sharrows. The route connects to nearby bike lanes, including the Grand Concourse, a north-south pair on Gerard and Walton avenues, and bike lanes to the east on Melrose and Park avenues.

The plan received support from the Bronx Community Board 4 municipal services committee on May 6, DOT said, and now goes to the general board meeting on May 26 before being implemented in late summer or early fall.

  • nanter

    Great. Another double parking / door zone lane. Why bother.

  • Reader

    Gee. Is it any mystery why DOT has backed down from promising 6% mode share for bikes? If only they had some control over designing streets that encouraged travel by bicycle. Oh well!

  • BBnet3000

    Why not make the median 5′ (still plenty of room for a shelter island) and provide some decent bike lanes for once?

  • BBnet3000

    I don’t know that the DOT had ever made that promise. De Blasio made it during the campaign but it never became policy after his election. DOT has only talked of doubling the current mode (to 2.6% presumably), which they are completely failing to accomplish.

    From what I can tell the highest share of anywhere in the city is parts of Brooklyn at around 4%. I do most of my riding in these parts of Brooklyn and the experience even for today’s cyclists remains quite awful.

  • AnoNYC

    E 165th St should only be one moving lane in each direction. It makes no sense for two when the wide section only stretches three blocks.

    The sidewalks should be widened on both sides and the city should provide planters, seating and tables. The BX Museum of the Arts is on the corner of the Grand Concourse.

  • Daphna

    There is no need for 11′ wide travel lanes and 11′ wide parking. Those travel lanes should be 10′ and the parking can be 9′. This would at least allow for a 3-4′ painted buffer on the side of the bike lane.
    It is discouraging that the DOT is keeping 11′ travel lanes. With a 25mph limit, 11′ lanes will just tempt drivers to illegally drive above the speed limit.

  • Joseph Cutrufo

    Pedestrian safety islands should be at minimum 6 feet wide, but preferably 8-10 feet, says NACTO.

  • BBnet3000

    NACTO also says bike lanes should be out of the door zone.

    I’d rather stand on a less than lavish median waiting to cross than be hit in the face with a door and knocked to the ground in front of a moving car.

  • Joseph Cutrufo

    Isn’t that the point of the 11′ parking lane? 7-8′ for the vehicle, 3-4′ for carelessly opened doors?

  • BBnet3000

    That makes sense, those must just be some extra wide cars in the cross section above.

  • phuzzie

    Why does NYCDOT use modeling software that cannot even draw to scale? In the rendering the motor vehicles consume almost the entire 11′ lanes despite being 6′ in reality. This while the cyclists are rendered comically narrow. I dare say proper proportioning might help them make better decisions.

  • celticfrostythesnowman

    11′ is ample room to park a 6′ wide car <12" from the curb, open a car door all the way, and step out, all in the same lane. As other posters have noted, the DOT has greatly exaggerated the width of the cars in its diagrams here.

    Of course, it would be even better if the parking buffer was actually demarcated by striped markings.

  • Joe R.

    Actually the cars come out to about 8′ wide. That’s about the width of something like a Hummer once you count the rear view mirrors. That said, unless this is a truck route, you don’t need anything more than maybe 9′ lanes.

  • Tyson White

    There’s nothing we cyclists love more than fresh paint! It motivates us to ride faster so we can get home before the paint fades.

    Raise your hand if your city received federal funds for painting a picture of a bike on the road.

  • Tyson White

    Also the number of cars parked at the curb on 165th is so realistic (in rural Georgia). In Manhattan that doesn’t even represent the number of double parked cars.

  • CookieMonster

    Why not do what everyone knows is best practice and flip the parking and bike lanes so that bikes end up with a protected area and don’t have to worry about being doored?


Bruckner Boulevard Protected Bikeway Clears Bronx CB 2 Committee

A DOT plan to add pedestrian space and create a two-way protected bikeway along a key half-mile stretch of Bruckner Boulevard received a unanimous thumbs-up from Bronx Community Board 2’s economic development committee Wednesday night [PDF]. “Bruckner Boulevard is a very wide, multi-lane boulevard,” said DOT project manager Kimberly Rancourt. “It has lots of traffic but […]

How to Measure the Economic Effect of Livable Streets

When a street redesign to prioritize walking, biking, or transit is introduced, the headlines are predictable: A handful of business owners scream bloody murder. Anecdotes from grumpy merchants tend to dominate the news coverage, but what’s the real economic impact of projects like Select Bus Service, pedestrian plazas, road diets and protected bike lanes? How […]