Made in the Shade: First Look at the Broadway Bike Lane By Van Cortlandt Park

Backed by Council Member Andy Cohen, it's the first protected bike lane in the northwest Bronx.

DOT's redesign of Broadway reduces crossing distances by 30 percent. Photo: Susan Brenner
DOT's redesign of Broadway reduces crossing distances by 30 percent. Photo: Susan Brenner

The northwest Bronx got its first splash of green bike lane paint this week, with DOT contractors laying down a two-way protected bike lane on Broadway along Van Cortlandt Park.

The DOT redesign reduces crossing distances 30 percent by narrowing Broadway’s extra-wide parking lanes and installing a protected bike lane along the east curb north of 246th Street [PDF]. The project also includes concrete bus boarding islands at eight locations.

The impetus for the redesign came from Council Member Andy Cohen. In 2015, Cohen asked the city to calm traffic on Broadway north of 242nd Street, where drivers killed 10 pedestrians between 2010 and 2014.

Bronx Community Board 8 opposed the project and passed a resolution last year ticking off a list of gripes. Cohen didn’t waver, however, and Assembly Member Jeff Dinowitz also stood up for the project.

“I think that the street is too fast, is too wide, and has got a lot of unsafe crossings and design,” Cohen said last year. “I asked the DOT to come up with a safety plan, and this is what they produced.”

In March, DOT informed the board it would proceed with the redesign.

The DOT redesign includes bus boarding islands. Image: DOT
The DOT redesign includes bus boarding islands. Image: DOT
  • AMH

    Great news! It’s still a wide street, but much improved.

  • J

    Wonderful!! This will make it easier to walk, bike, and take transit in this area! Kudos to Cohen for sticking to his guns!

  • AnoNYC

    Very happy to see this.

    Streetsblog should have highlighted the proposed Soundview Avenue plan in the Bronx as well. While the new crosswalks and intersection treatments are welcome, it maintains four moving lanes on a street with very low traffic volumes. Both parallel White Plains Road and Castle Hill Avenue were converted to two lanes without issue, and they experience much more traffic.

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/soundview-ave-june2018.pdf

    I was very sad to see that they didn’t include at least a lane reduction in this plan, and I would have loved at minimum painted buffered bike lanes. This is going to be a primary connection to the coming ferry stop at Clason Point.

  • HamTech87

    I was on a bus going past this Fresh Kermit and got excited! Already people on bicycles using it. Bronx DOT Commish Nivardo Lopez deserves credit for taking all sorts of crap at the last CB meeting. He did not yield on the issue of safety; a real example for other City officials. Remember, the cranks in the meeting were upset even though this PBL will ADD more motorist parking to the area!

  • AstoriaBlowin

    That plan is indeed disappointing, there’s three addition street segments that should be close entirely from looking at the presentation, short blocks that serve no purpose other than to avoid going to the larger intersection a few meters away. DOT should close the short segments of Underhill, St Lawrence and full close the intersection of Pugsley and Cornell.

  • Reba

    Terrible, unnecessary changes. The narrow lanes make it much more dangerous for drivers and pedestrians. I wonder which contractor and is reaping the benefits of this scam project and how much government officials got as a bonus for making it happen.

  • Reba

    Wide street? You must not live here.

  • Reba

    It was perfectly easy to walk, bike and take transit before. You must not live here. Or walk, bike, or take transit here.

  • Geck

    Narrow lanes have been proven to slow down drivers and make them more careful, making all street users safer. And DOT generally does this kind of work in house.

  • Reba

    It used to be an enjoyable street for all. Bike riders had no issues because of the wide parking lanes. Now parking is dangerous and anyone getting in and out of cars slows traffic. Now it’s just as crappy as Manhattan. Which I suppose was the goal.

  • AstoriaBlowin

    Definitely agree the the northwest bronx should be more like Manhattan, needs much more density and new housing, good suggestion!

  • AMH

    Not so enjoyable for the poor folks who were killed and injured, nor for everyone who has narrowly escaped the speeding drivers here. You might enjoy the danger and consider a safe street “crappy”, but not the kids who can now make it safely to the park and back!

  • AnoNYC

    I wrote an email to the DOT during the comment period emphasizing the need for a lane reduction due to low traffic volumes/speeding and a bicycle lane. No response.

    With a ferry stop opening shortly, we want people to bike too, not take for-hire vehicles. Not too many people are going to feel comfortable riding a bicycle on a street where drivers are traveling 35+ MPH.

  • Reba

    Astoria: So basically ruin all the reasons many of us wanted to move to Riverdale. Sad.

    AMH: I do feel bad for the people who were killed and their families… but these changes were not necessary to resolve those issues… red light cameras and speed cameras would be much more effective. Many people who are injured cross against the light or not at crosswalks… which won’t be fixed by these changes. Also, note, one of the fatalities noted by the DOT was a guy illegally riding his ATV trying to evading police on the way to Yonkers; he was hit and killed when he crossed the yellow lines to pass a vehicle that was in the left lane and happened to turn left… again, not something these changes would fix. If anything it makes Broadway more dangerous when the bikers play their games here.

  • J

    Would you let your kids ride bicycles on Broadway as it was before? Would you let your kids ride on the newly designed street?

  • Reba

    No.
    No.
    Broadway is a major thoroghfare and I don’t think kids should be riding bikes on it at all. They can ride in the neighborhood or in the park. I’m not even that happy about adults riding bikes on it.
    However, now with the changes, I’m more afraid for my kids as we get in and out of our cars on Broadway. I’m also more afraid of being hit while driving because the lanes are so narrow and anyone exiting their parked car may require a driver to make a sudden movement which was unneccessary before. Also, the buses drive in the middle now across both lanes causing more traffic. It’s horrible.

  • Andrew

    The narrow lanes make it much more dangerous for drivers and pedestrians.

    http://www.wri.org/blog/2016/12/bigger-isnt-always-better-narrow-traffic-lanes-make-cities-safer

  • Andrew
  • Andrew

    I do feel bad for the people who were killed and their families… but these changes were not necessary to resolve those issues… red light cameras and speed cameras would be much more effective.

    I’d like to see red light cameras and speed cameras as well, but Albany restricts how many cameras New York City can have, where they can go, and when they can be used.

    Many people who are injured cross against the light or not at crosswalks…

    And many are crossing legally.

    But I’ll play your game. If you think the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for crossing the street illegally, then what do you think is an appropriate punishment for speeding?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/24939873c47437c58e6c711d3a4b903aed42d6df472539ebb8ad35ae80bd122a.png

    which won’t be fixed by these changes.

    Wrong. The project adds pedestrian crossings and reduces pedestrian crossing distances. The project also reduces motorist speeding, which will decrease both crash incident rates and crash severity (in other words, fewer pedestrians will be struck by motorists, and those pedestrians who are struck by motorists will be less likely to die).

    Also, note, one of the fatalities noted by the DOT was a guy illegally riding his ATV trying to evade police on the way to Yonkers; he was hit and killed when he crossed the yellow lines to pass a vehicle that was in the left lane and happened to turn left… again, not something these changes would fix.

    Very good, but it’s cute how you ignore the ten pedestrians who were killed in a five-year span. What were they doing wrong that earned them the death penalty?

    And what about the many injuries?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5e4661cb122dab588ec0ce1489e449455158a949fc7edf10ed656fbc81537619.png

    If anything it makes Broadway more dangerous when the bikers play their games here.

    Source for that assertion?

  • Andrew
  • Andrew

    Broadway is a major thoroghfare and I don’t think kids should be riding bikes on it at all. They can ride in the neighborhood or in the park. I’m not even that happy about adults riding bikes on it.

    Yes, Broadway is a major thoroughfare. It’s a major thoroughfare not only for motorists but also for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders, who also have places to go.

    However, now with the changes, I’m more afraid for my kids as we get in and out of our cars on Broadway.

    That may be your gut feeling, but gut feeling is a terrible way of assessing risk.

    Most Bronx households don’t own a car. Most Bronx households that do own cars often make trips using other modes. Even if your concern were correct (which it is not), it ignores all of your neighbors who travel by any means aside from driving.

  • Maria York

    Please tell us what school you went to for your Traffic Engineering degree.

  • Andrew

    The roadway is an absurd 70 feet wide, regardless of where @disqus_3XnFogK3in:disqus lives (which is plainly irrelevant).

  • Maria York

    70′ is not wide? Most city streets are 30′. But, please, do go on…

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    You enjoy riding a bicycle between car doors that can open at any time and high speed car traffic? Do you also enjoy having to merge into traffic to pass double-parked cars?

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    the bikers

    Maybe you should not comment on the design of bicycle facilities if you have never rode one.

  • Reba

    Oh FFS. I never said the death penalty is appropriate “punishment”. But it is an understandable risk of choosing to do something dangerous (i.e., crossing against the light, not using crosswalks). That said, even for pedestrians (and drivers) doing everything right, there is always a risk of an accident happening. It’s sad and tragic, but it’s life and we can’t regulate, legislate, and construct the risk out of everything.

  • Reba

    By bikers I wasn’t referring to the bicyclists… I meant the illegal ATV riders and the motorcycle drivers who speed, drive the wrong way, drive/ride on sidewalks, and all sorts of other dangerous, criminal behavior that the NYPD basically ignores.

    That said, as a resident and taxpayer of the area, I am free to comment on the design of any changes/street work that affecting my family and me, regardless of whether I am one of the relatively few that will use the bike lanes.

  • Reba

    I walk and take public transit on Broadway every day. It was fine. Go live in a bubble if you are scared to walk on a public street.

  • Reba

    Maria, are you talking about city streets such as say, 71st street with one lane of traffic or residential streets? That’s not something for Broadway to aspire to.

  • Reba

    As for people claiming they can’t access the park… cry me a river. If they wanted to get off their butts and go to VCP, they would. I have not an iota of concern based on this “survey.”

  • Joseph R.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/03/nyregion/study-details-injuries-to-pedestrians-and-cyclists-in-new-york-city.html

    > Pedestrians struck by cars are most often hit while in the crosswalk, with the signal on their side.

  • Joseph R.

    Your problem is easily solved if you and your kids check for traffic before getting in and out of your car roadside. It’s actually the safest thing to do for everyone, all the time. You can even get out on the sidewalk side if traffic is especially heavy and/or you fear that you’ll be unable to open a door without causing a crash.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    So when this doesn’t make Broadway more dangerous as you’ve predicted, but instead makes it safer as every other protected bike lane has, what will you do then? Keep saying the same thing on articles about the next bike lane proposed?

  • AMH

    Actually, design can dramatically reduce the risk of death and injury! Making it clear to drivers that this is not a place to speed reduces both the risk and severity of crashes.

  • Reba

    God forbid there is a wide, enjoyable street in NYC.

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