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