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Bike on Brooklyn Bridge
Photograph: Shutterstock

NYC will "harden" half of its protected bike lanes

The plastic bollards will be replaced with cement barriers.

Anna Rahmanan
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Anna Rahmanan
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According to Cycling in the City, an official report on cycling trends in New York City, approximately 800,000 New Yorkers regularly ride a bike around town daily. That's a lot of people to keep safe, which is why the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) has just announced it will work to "harden" 20 of the 40 miles of delineator-protected bike lanes by the end of 2023.

Specifically, New Yorkers can expect those commonly seen plastic bollards to be replaced with 20-foot-long cement barriers (each one estimated to weigh around four tons!) that will obviously provide a bit more safety than the former separators.

Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez made the plan public last week and two high-trafficked cycling lanes in Manhattan have already been completed, one on 40th Street from 11th Avenue to 12th Avenue and another one running through 11th Avenue between 39th Street and 40th Street.

DOT workers are proceeding with work across other areas already, including three different bike lanes in Queens and others in downtown Manhattan.

"New York City’s cyclists deserve to be safe everywhere, but especially in protected lanes—where drivers will too often disrespect and block that critical space," Rodriguez said in an official statement. "We have an actionable, concrete plan to protect cyclists and we are going to deliver on this work to keep our lanes clear. We thank our friends in the advocacy community for helping us identify top targets and we know that these twenty miles of barriers will make a real difference."

According to an official press release, the DOT selected target areas based on ridership numbers, a history of vehicle non-compliance and "lanes adjacent to heavy vehicle corridors." 

Officials have also announced a commitment to building "miles of new protected bicycle lanes with new designs that will be less dependent on existing delineators for protection." These will likely include new rubber and concrete separators, in addition to novel curb designs that could actually function as partitions without the need for large-scale installation projects. Official documents announce the deployment of these new elements "on various streets throughout the city this summer for observation and to assess operational and construction issues."

We dare say it's never been a more exciting time to be a biker in New York. 

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