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DOT: Protected Bike Lanes Coming to Grand Concourse Below 161st Street, Eventually

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

DOT is planning to add protected bike lanes on the Grand Concourse below 161st Street, an agency rep told City Council members today. At the current pace of construction, however, it will be several years before the protected bike lanes are built.

Testifying on the mayor's proposed Fiscal Year 2019 budget, DOT Associate Commissioner for Budget and Capital Program Management Elisabeth Franklin told Council Member Vanessa Gibson that DOT plans to reconfigure the Grand Concourse between 138th Street and 161st Street with protected bike lanes as part of an unfunded future capital project.

DOT has been upgrading the Concourse's existing buffered bike lanes as part of a long-running capital reconstruction that began a decade ago. South of 161st Street, however, there's no bike infrastructure to speak of. In 2016, the city installed pedestrian safety improvements between 138th Street and 158th Street but not bike lanes.

Gibson, whose district includes or borders much of the Grand Concourse between 156th Street and 173rd Street, has pressed for protected bike lanes on the Concourse along with council members Fernando Cabrera, Andrew Cohen, Rafael Salamanca, and Ritchie Torres.

Because work on the Grand Concourse will proceed as a Department of Design and Construction capital project, however, it could be five or more years before Bronx residents get safer biking conditions on the lower Concourse.

Work on phase four of the Concourse reconstruction, between 175th Street and Fordham Road, isn't slated to wrap up until at least 2022. The segment between 138th Street and 161st Street would be rebuilt after that, Franklin said.

In January, members of Transportation Alternatives' Bronx committee called for DOT to speed up its Grand Concourse timeline to match the pace on Queens Boulevard and Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn, where DOT is using low-cost materials to add miles of protected bike lanes each year.

“There’s a lot of things that DOT can do now, before that construction -- it doesn’t cost a lot of money or take a lot of time -- that would make that road safer," TransAlt Bronx committee chair Kevin Daloia said at the time.

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