Brooklyn Council Member Rita Joseph unveiled legislation on Thursday that would require the city to build 100 miles of protected bike lanes a year, reports Streetsblog NYC. The change will double the number of bike lanes that the city is already required to build under the Streets Plan.
Despite the need for more protected bike lanes in order to make streets safer, the bill presents a huge challenge for the Department of Transportation, which has already failed to hit its 30-mile requirement in 2022 — a requirement that is already expected to rise to 50 miles this year. In addition to this, Joseph’s bill, co-sponsored by Council Member Lincoln Restler, plans to raise the city requirements to 100 miles starting this year through the end of 2028.
However, in suffering from long-term staff shortages under Mayor Eric Adams' administration, DOT spokespeople have made it clear that a project of this magnitude will need a lot more money, people, and resources. The department is also required to notify community boards 90 days before installing or removing a bike lane and then must wait an additional 45 days after board hearings to actually do the work, leaving narrow construction windows.
“We appreciate the Council member's appetite for a comprehensive bike network, but maybe we should table this one until the Council and mayor work out a budget that gets us 50 [miles] per year, and we see some Adams administration commitment to addressing the chronic blockage of protected bike lanes by cars and trucks,” stated Jon Orcutt of Bike New York.
DOT spokesman Vin Barone has not stated whether the agency will be capable of meeting such a drastic increase in lane mileage a year, but representatives continue to review the legislation.
“Obviously, I’d love to see the city build 100 miles of bike lanes a year,” stated John Tomac of Bike South Brooklyn. “I’d be surprised if they could pull it off right now. That’s not necessarily a knock on DOT, but there are some real obstacles.”