New York City’s Department of Transportation plans to significantly expand bike lanes and public spaces next year, according to a press release on Monday.
The agency plans to make it easier for bicycles and pedestrians to access the Washington Bridge, which connects the Bronx and Manhattan and adds protected bike lanes and two-way bike boulevards to several streets. It also aims to improve public spaces in Brooklyn, including an overhaul of the Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Park.
“The DOT is proud to have delivered life-saving initiatives -- including its most recent victory in surpassing the city’s commitment to improve the safety of 1,000 intersections across the city and to harden 20 miles of bike lanes,” NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said in a press release. “As the DOT continues to build, we are also excited to unveil some of the agency's plans to continue expanding protections for all New Yorkers in the next year.”
The upgrades build on the city’s Open Streets program — which closes some streets to vehicle traffic for use by pedestrians and cyclists — and its efforts to create the largest bike network in the U.S., which surpassed the 1,500-mile mark in October.
To improve residents’ quality of life, reduce traffic congestion, improve road safety and lower emissions, cities nationwide are considering or adopting plans to increase and enhance public spaces and expand the use of sustainable transportation options, including bike riding. Such efforts have gained momentum in recent years thanks to social changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and rising concerns over climate change.