Envisioning a “Complete Concourse” South of 162nd Street
Will DOT go big with its redesign of the Grand Concourse? Last week the agency said it will “replace and upgrade existing bike lanes” on the Concourse, which gives an indication of what’s in store north of 162nd Street, but not to the south, where the street has no bike lanes.
Transportation Alternatives’ “Complete the Concourse” campaign is calling for bus lanes, protected bike lanes, and pedestrian safety measures to improve transit and reduce the startling death toll on the Grand Concourse, which is one of the most dangerous streets in the greater New York region. So far nearly 1,900 people have signed the petition. Council members Ritchie Torres and Andy Cohen have joined the campaign, and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. recently called for better bike infrastructure on the Concourse.
The Concourse is the type of street that needs a major overhaul to achieve the city’s Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic deaths. Last year, in its “Vision Zero Investment” report [PDF], TA released a design concept for the southern stretch of the Concourse that envisions curbside bus lanes and a median bikeway (above).
“Because of the high surface transit needs, we found the best way to incorporate a great bus/bike experience was to propose running a bikeway down a center median,” said Mike Lydon of the Street Plans Collaborative, who worked on the concept for TA. “The design, which is patterned after Sands Street in Brooklyn, is technically challenging from a signalization perspective, but worthwhile, as it gives pedestrians a refuge midway across the street and gives cyclists a truly robust place to be.”
The intersection of 149th Street already has a left-turn ban (below), so adding a median bikeway there doesn’t introduce new conflicts between cyclists and drivers. Other intersections would need separate signal phases to keep cyclists and turning drivers out of each other’s way. Lydon stressed that this concept would not apply to the whole Concourse, just the southern part, where there are currently no bike lanes.
DOT said it plans to present its redesign of the Grand Concourse this spring. In the meantime, if you want to get involved in the Complete the Concourse campaign, TA’s Bronx committee puts on an “action ride” every month.