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Eric Adams

Zero Vision: Mayor Adams Again Shrinks from Bike and Bus Lanes in His State Of The City

"Public transit is obviously central to the state of the city," said one advocate. "The mayor knew that when he ran for office and spoke to it directly then. His silence now says a lot."

Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office (with Streetsblog Photoshop Desk)|

On bus and bike lanes, Eric Adams is the incredible shrinking mayor.

Maybe he's colorblind, because the mayor can't seem to see red or green.

For the second consecutive year, Mayor Adams neglected to mention any plans, ambitious or even not that ambitious, to beef up the city's bike- and bus-lane networks in his annual State of the City speech.

Adams did use his speech to mention a future Department of Sustainable Delivery that could regulate the city's online delivery economy, which itself relies on e-bikes and trucks, but nothing about transportation, beyond relocating an existing pedestrian plaza in Chinatown, was mentioned.

Candidate Adams said he was committed to speeding up buses and making cycling safer, but Mayor Adams is not addressing the issue as he starts his third year office. And advocates are impatient.

"It's disappointing someone who indicated as a candidate that street safety and improved bus service would be priorities for his administration didn't mention those things for a second year running," said StreetsPAC Executive Director Eric McClure.

The absence of any transit or bike mentions in these past two speeches are in stark contract to the mayor's first State of the City Speech in 2022, when he boasted that his budget had "more than $900 million to create safer, greener, and cleaner streets across the city and to make sure they are more accessible to our seniors and those living with disabilities" and promised to "build more bus lanes to facilitate faster commuting." (Streetsblog has long sought an accounting of that money, but it has not been provided by City Hall or the Department of Transportation.)

Adams's decision to ignore transportation or transit in his address comes after a year in which his administration made headlines for stalling or eliminating DOT safety projects and ignoring the requirements of the Streets Master Plan. DOT proposals for a new and better bus lane on Fordham Road in the Bronx, a bike boulevard on Underhill Avenue, a protected bike lane on Bedford Avenue and a redesign of McGuinness Boulevard in Greenpoint were among the projects that were watered down, eliminated or bafflingly stopped in their tracks.

Even as pedestrian deaths dropped in 2023, last year remained deadly, with 258 traffic fatalities and more than 38,000 injuries.

Bus speeds in the city dropped back to their pre-pandemic dregs of just 8 miles per hour, and the humble bus didn't even merit a mention in Adams's end-of-year bragging last year.

In addition, congestion pricing is supposed to start in a matter of months, and Adams's speech had no long- or short-term vision of preparing the city for it or taking advantage of streets with less car traffic. In a speech where the mayor could have committed to doing more to speed up the interminable visioning process for transit priority on on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue or opening up the south outer roadway of the Queensboro Bridge to pedestrians, the long-delayed plans that could help get the city execute the upcoming traffic toll remained completely neglected.

The transportation snub left observers noting that the mayor is knowingly ignoring a key aspect of life in the city.

"Public transit is obviously central to the state of the city," said Riders Alliance Director of Policy and Communications Danny Pearlstein. "The mayor knew that when he ran for office and spoke to it directly then. His silence now says a lot."

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