DOT Closes Short Bike Lane Gap on Bruckner Blvd — Next Phase Scheduled for 2021
The current project improves connectivity on a short stretch by Del Valle Square, but a full connection to 138th Street and Randall's Island is years away.
DOT crews have started to fill in a dangerous three-block gap in the bikeway on Bruckner Boulevard in the South Bronx [PDF]. The project will create a more continuous bike connection south of Concrete Plant Park. The ultimate goal is a direct, uninterrupted bike route on Bruckner Boulevard connecting to Manhattan and Randall’s Island via 138th Street, but under the agency’s current timetable Bronxites will have to wait several years for that.
In the last few years, the number of people biking on Bruckner Boulevard has tripled as DOT installed two short protected bike lane segments. In 2013, added a two-way protected bike lane on a block of Bruckner Boulevard connecting to Concrete Plant Park and the Bronx River Greenway. Two years later, the agency put down a half-mile, two-way median bikeway between Hunts Point Avenue and Longwood Avenue. The current project links those two segments.
The three-block connection extends between Bryant Avenue and Hunts Point Avenue, alternating between sections in the roadbed and sections on the sidewalk before crossing five lanes to connect to the median bikeway at Hunts Point Avenue. If DOT had repurposed a car lane on the southbound Bruckner service road, the bikeway could have been straighter, with fewer grade changes.
Bruckner Boulevard could also use a road diet because it’s one of the most dangerous streets in the city, according to DOT. Despite running directly beneath the Bruckner Expressway, it is built to carry as much traffic as a highway, with up to ten lanes at some locations.
Even with the recent improvements, which included median islands and curb extensions in addition to bike lanes, Bruckner Boulevard remains dangerous. Earlier this year, two pedestrians were struck and killed by drivers on Bruckner Boulevard within less than a month.
DOT intends to eventually extend the Bruckner Boulevard bikeway south from Longwood Avenue to 138th Street. With projects in the works to create better cycling connections from 138th Street to Randall’s Island and across the Madison Avenue bridge, building out safe paths on Bruckner and 138th Street has huge potential for the South Bronx bike network. The timetable for a complete Bruckner bikeway is agonizingly slow, however.
The next phase of work on Bruckner Boulevard will be a capital project extending the bikeway south to 149th Street, but that’s not slated to break ground until 2021. A plan for the final leg between 149th and 138th is in development, DOT said, but there is no schedule for implementation.
Because these are capital projects, they go through the Department of Design and Construction, which is notoriously slow and often falls years behind schedule. South Bronx residents shouldn’t have to wait years (or decades) to get a workable bike network in their neighborhoods.