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Mark-Viverito: Let’s Make the Whole Grand Concourse Safe for Biking

11:39 AM EDT on October 5, 2016

DOT made safety improvements on the Grand Concourse below 158th Street earlier this year, including this closed-off slip lane outside Cardinal Hayes High School, but the project did not include any bike lanes. Image: DOT
DOT turned this slip lane outside Cardinal Hayes High School into pedestrian space earlier this year, but its safety project for the southern section of the Grand Concourse did not include bike lanes. Photo: David Meyer
DOT recently made safety improvements on the Grand Concourse below 158th Street, including this closed-off slip lane outside Cardinal Hayes High School, but bike lanes were not included. Image: DOT

Add City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to the list of elected officials calling on DOT to get serious about protected bike lanes on the Grand Concourse.

The speaker penned a letter last week to Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg asking DOT to study protected bike lanes on the corridor from 138th Street to 158th Street [PDF], where DOT plans so far have not included any bike infrastructure.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito

More people are hurt or killed by traffic on the Grand Concourse than any other street in the Bronx, with more than 1,000 injuries and 13 deaths in the last four years alone, according to city data. Transportation Alternatives' "Complete the Concourse" campaign aims to change that by redesigning the street to prioritize walking, biking, and transit. So far, more than 3,000 people have signed on.

Earlier this year, DOT implemented a safety project south of 158th Street that includes expanded sidewalk space and wider concrete medians -- but no bike lanes. Now Mark-Viverito, whose district touches the Concourse south of 165th Street, wants to know "what it would take to further enhance those improvements and, in particular, to add bike lanes to this area of the Concourse."

With Mark-Viverito's letter, all six council members who represent the Grand Concourse have expressed support for protected bike lanes on the corridor. The other five are Vanessa Gibson, Rafael Salamanca, Ritchie Torres, Fernando Cabrera, and Andrew Cohen.

Citing her activism for protected bike lanes on First Avenue and Second Avenue in East Harlem, Mark-Viverito says the same type of improvements must come to the Bronx. "We must take a close look at how we can bring similar protections to cyclists, and, in turn, pedestrians and drivers as well, along the entire length of the Grand Concourse," she wrote.

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