In response to this year's uptick in bicycle fatalities, Mayor Bill de Blasio released on Thursday "Green Wave: A Plan for Cycling in New York City," a $58.4 million plan to enhance street safety with more bike lanes, street redesigning and enforcement strategies.
Eighteen cyclists have been killed in accidents this year so far; 13 of them died in Brooklyn streets. This marks the highest number of fatalities since the mayor launched his Vision Zero campaign in 2014, a program that was created with the goal to eliminate all traffic deaths and serious injuries on NYC streets by 2024.
To give greater protection to the growing community of NYC cyclists — 24 percent of adult New Yorkers ride a bike daily, according to city data, and Citi Bike recently announced plans to double its presence in NYC and triple its fleet by 2023 — the plan sees to build 30 miles of designated bicycle lane annually.
"We have assembled a long and aggressive to-do list that we think that can change this year's tragic increase in cyclist fatalities — and encourage even more New Yorkers to get on bicycles," said NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
The DOT has identified ten Brooklyn and Queens community boards as "Bike Priority Districts" where it plans to build 75 miles of bike lanes by 2022. While specific sections have yet to be revealed, among the targeted neighborhoods are Flatbush and Brownsville, areas that have seen an increase in accidents yet are particularly underserved by protected bike lanes.
"I am very pleased to learn that the Mayor's Office is taking significant action to make our streets safer for cyclists," said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke who represents the 9th District including Flatbush and Brownsville. "2019 has already been a deadlier year for cyclists in New York City than the entirety of 2018. Most of these incidents have occurred in Brooklyn, and too many have sadly occurred within my district."
The DOT will also implement traffic calming treatments at 50 of the city's most dangerous intersections, while the NYPD will ramp up enforcement at the 100 most crash-prone intersections and target enforcement on bad traffic behavior such as speeding, failing to yield, blocking bike lanes and oversized trucks/trucks off route.
Advocacy groups like Transportation Alternatives expressed hope that the proposed set of infrastructure and policy changes will make the city's streets safer for all New Yorkers.
"Needless to say, the 800,000 New Yorkers who regularly travel on two wheels are worried," said Marco Conner, deputy director of Transportation Alternatives. "But we're hopeful that this plan will help alleviate the anxiety that comes with riding a bike lately in the five boroughs. And where more needs to be done to make New York City streets safe, we will continue to push."
To view the full Green Wave Plan, go here.