Protected Bike Lanes Will Connect South Bronx to Randall’s Island

DOT is creating two new protected bike routes linking the Randall's Island Connector with the Mott Haven and Port Morris neighborhoods. Image: DOT
DOT is creating protected bike routes linking the Randall’s Island Connector to Mott Haven and Port Morris. Image: DOT

Last fall, the city opened a direct car-free connection between the South Bronx and Randall’s Island. The Randall’s Island Connector provides convenient access to acres of parks and ballfields and — via the 103rd Street footbridge — Manhattan. But the truck-heavy industrial streets that lead to it still leave a lot to be desired. A new NYC DOT project would create bicycle links between the Connector and 138th Street [PDF].

The DOT project calls for protected bike lanes linking the Connector to streets on each side of the Bruckner Expressway, which divides Mott Haven to the west from the more industrial Port Morris to the east. The plan draws heavily from ideas put forward last summer by The Haven Project [PDF], an initiative of the New York Restoration Project. Bronx Community Board 1’s municipal services committee voted unanimously for it on Monday.

Segments of two-way protected bike lanes on Willow Avenue, 133rd Street, St. Ann’s Avenue, as well as a very short piece of 138th Street, would converge at Willow and 133rd, where the bike route to the Connector entrance at 132nd Street would follow a short jog on the sidewalk. For the most part the bikeways will be nine or ten feet wide with three-foot buffers, but on one block of 133rd the bi-directional lane will only be eight feet wide, including the buffer.

A two-way bikeway on Willow Avenue, above, will draw cyclists to a route with less industrial truck traffic than parallel Walnut Avenue, below.
Image: Google Maps

At the intersection of 138th Street and Bruckner Boulevard, underneath the Bruckner Expressway — a jumble of highway access points, service roads, and through streets — the project calls for expanding medians and adding one pedestrian island, giving people crossing the intersection better refuges if they can’t cross in one light cycle. But more people will need multiple cycles, since the crossing time will be reduced from 45 seconds to 40 seconds. DOT has yet to determine whether the medians will be designed to let cyclists through in channels at street-grade or if they will have to use the same sidewalk ramps as pedestrians.

DOT plans to build out space for pedestrians and cyclists at the dangerous intersection of 138th Street and Bruckner Boulevard. Image: DOT
Expanded medians and a bus bulb at the wide, complex intersection of 138th Street and Bruckner Boulevard. Image: DOT

A bus bulb on the northeast corner will shorten the crossing of 138th Street. Westbound cyclists heading away from Randall’s Island would be directed to use a bi-directional, barrier-protected bike lane on the south side of the street and then jog over to the north side to cross Bruckner Boulevard.

Last year, DOT began implementing a protected bikeway on Bruckner Boulevard with a section running along a median between Hunts Point Avenue and Longwood Avenue. Extending that bikeway south to 138th Street would create a safe connection to this project and to Randall’s Island. DOT said last March that it is working on an extension of the Bruckner bikeway, but there is no timetable for it.

CB 1’s municipal services committee endorsed DOT’s proposal unanimously last night, with the stipulation that they work to off-set the loss of parking spots, according to District Manager Cedric Lofton. Pending a full board vote on June 30, DOT said it expects to begin implementation later in the summer with completion expected in the spring of 2017.

  • Alec

    I love how they used a picture of an “illegal e-bike” on the first page of the presentation – but all joking aside this is awesome

  • BBnet3000

    What’s going on with the path at the intersection with Bruckner Blvd? Seems to disappear and/or become intermittent and invisible. This is a major road. Why does high quality design in New York drop away where it matters most? If the crossings at the islands suck people will end up sitting exposed in the buffer zones, so I certainly hope they’re well designed though apparently not important enough to include in the plan.

    It makes sense for the path to swing away from traffic for the crossing but at least actually make it actually swing rather than just having crossing markings not lined up with the bike lane at all. Also, elephant’s feet are a lot more visible and perhaps would last longer than the thin dotted lines.

    The green color of the bike path is most important for visibility at driveways but in this plan it disappears at driveways. Totally backward, but part of the strange SOP that’s never been closely examined by Streetsblog.

  • big nicky

    You’ve got a really strong eye for design. You should work at DOT!

  • AnoNYC

    Phase 1 of the South Bronx Greenway/Bruckner Blvd separated bicycle lane is wrapping up, but until phase 2 is implemented it will not be of much use to most. It currently dumps you at Longwood Ave. The DOT also needs to delineate bicycle lanes at the north entrance in Monsignor Del Valle Square and add a jersey barrier along Bruckner Blvd between Bryant Ave and Faile St.

    It’s great to see that Bruckner Blvd and E 138th St is finally getting a reconfiguration. This is one of the most dangerous intersections in the Bronx. Should be red light cameras here too on all sides as well.

    As a driver, the south westbound service road is in really poor shape between E 142nd St and E 138th St. What was a central median has been eroded by collisions but is still high enough to cause damages to a vehicle or make it lose control. How this persists boggles my mind. There also needs to be improved lane delineation to reduce conflicts between those coming off the elevated exit ramp near E 142nd St.

    The Willow Ave two-way protected bike lane is welcome. Traffic travels fast through there since it’s usually empty and it’s a great way to reach the connector. However, please don’t tell me that the protected lane ends short at E 133rd St? WHY!? At least bring it down to E 132nd St.

    As for E 133rd St, that protected bike lane needs to extent to the Willis Ave Bridge at some point. Good start though. I really hope that they stick a bollard in this one or else drivers will violate it once it is extended.

    The St Ann’s Ave bike lane really needs to extended all the way up north to E 161st St. Amazing how they were able to create it on such a narrow street, despite complaints and removals elsewhere (see the FDNY on the protected lanes in Highbridge). I hope we don’t lose this lane.

  • AnoNYC

    Should email them about those findings. I agree, it’s as though they want you to jump on the sidewalk on the corners.

  • vnm

    This is awesome, but I think it could be possibly better if they routed the St. Anne’s path slightly differently. The best route to the Randall’s Island Connector is to make a left off of southbound St. Anne’s Avenue onto E. 134th Street, then cut into small pocket park there, ending up at 133rd & Cypress. It lets you completely avoid having to cross Bruckner Boulevard, which, even after this protected bike lane is installed, will still take forever to wait for the light.

  • AnoNYC

    A lot of cyclists are going to want to use E 133rd/Bruckner Blvd to reach the Willis Ave Bridge or jobs, stores, and the park located in that area. I see a good amount of cyclists traveling along that route on a regular basis. It’s a good connection to have.


    This BBnet guy is a genius! Sounds like DOT should rethink the entire approach to green paint! While they’re at it, they should consider a new color palate all together…I’m partial to oranges…

  • BBnet3000

    Have you ever considered that NACTO and CROW might be right? Here’s more content which your post lacks:

  • Vooch

    dude – happy this is happening Bronx needs at least 40 miles of PBLs built in next couple of years; plus all those unconnected bits of cycling greenway should be connected


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