Vanessa Gibson Endorses Grand Concourse Protected Bike Lane

Council Member Vanessa Gibson wants protected bike lanes on the Grand Concourse. After meeting with Bronx Transportation Alternatives volunteers this week, Gibson signed onto the campaign, joining four other council members whose districts include the Concourse.

Below 162nd Street, there is no bike infrastructure whatsoever on the Grand Concourse. Above 162nd, where the street becomes a divided road with service lanes, there is a buffered bike lane that’s frequently obstructed by double-parked cars.

The Grand Concourse is one of four “Vision Zero Great Streets” in the city supposed to receive safer designs as part of upcoming reconstruction projects. It consistently ranks as one of the state’s most dangerous roads for pedestrians.

Gibson joins council members Fernando Cabrera, Andrew Cohen, Rafael Salamanca, Ritchie Torres in supporting TA’s “Complete the Concourse” campaign, which has amassed 2,500 petition signatures. The effort also has the tacit support of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., who committed to safer bike lanes on Grand Concourse in his February “State of the Borough” address.

Of the six council members who represent the Grand Concourse, only Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has yet to sign on. (Mark-Viverito does have an extensive track record of supporting complete streets projects in her district, include the First and Second Avenue protected bike lanes in East Harlem.)

“This collaboration of elected officials, transportation advocates, residents, businesses and community groups is our commitment to creating safer streets for pedestrians, bike riders and drivers,” Gibson said in a statement. “The Grand Concourse is considered one of the most dangerous thoroughfares in the Bronx and it is important to make investments that enhance safety and create safer streets and intersections.”

In February, DOT said it would “replace and upgrade existing bike lanes” on the Concourse.

DOT plans to realign nine blocks of the Grand Concourse service road bike lanes along the medians, then cast them in concrete at an undetermined time in the future. Image: DOT
DOT plans to realign nine blocks of the Grand Concourse service road bike lanes along the medians, then cast them in concrete at an undetermined time in the future [PDF]. Image: DOT

But in March, DOT proposed safety fixes south of 158th Street that did not include any bike lanes [PDF]. Then in June, the agency presented a capital project that would eventually build out a raised, protected bike lane along the service road medians from 166th Street to 175th Street, but there was no timetable given [PDF]. In the meantime, DOT would realign the buffered bike lane along the median, which might reduce double-parking interference but won’t provide physical protection.

To offer some measure of protection for the Grand Concourse sooner, the city could install simple plastic delineators like those on Queens Boulevard.

In the fall, DOT is holding public workshops about the next phase of Grand Concourse reconstruction, which will run from 175th Street to Fordham Road.

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Candidates for Tuesday's District 11 special election include (from left) Eric Dinowitz, Jessica Haller and Mino Lora.

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Jessica Haller has the StreetsPAC endorsement. Eric Dinowitz, another top competitor, revealed through some of his comments why he did not. But let's let the candidates speak for themelsves!