New York City will replace half of its plastic-protected bike lanes with “sturdier” barriers during the first 100 days of the incoming Adams administration, soon-to-be Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez announced Tuesday, Dec. 21.
The move would mean reworking hundreds of miles of protected green paths across the Five Boroughs that currently separate car from bike traffic with frail one-foot sticks known as flex posts.
“We are going to commit to replacing 50% of all plastic protected bike lanes with sturdier and more permanent structures within the first 100 days,” said Rodriguez at a joint press conference with Mayor-elect Eric Adams officially announcing his appointment.
The uptown councilman wouldn’t say where he planned to put the stronger barriers or with what he wants to replace the plastic flappers, but said that federal dollars from President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package could help fund the scheme.
“Day one, we’re gonna be going to the agency and listening from the experts that we have there, people that have decades of experience, and we’ll be looking at where in the city should we get started,” Rodriguez said. “What we know is that there’s now funding at the federal level that is part of the infrastructure plan.”
Adams on Monday tapped Rodriguez — who chairs the Council’s Transportation Committee — to head DOT and replace Commissioner Hank Gutman come Jan. 1.
The city had 546 miles of protected bike lanes as of 2020 and the agency planned to add another 30 miles in 2021, but it is unclear how many of the roughly 576 miles are bordered by flex posts.
DOT’s definition of “protected” covers a wide range of ways cyclists are separated from car traffic, including completely detached paths on bridges or raised sidewalks, or lanes level with the rest of the road but shielded by concrete jersey barriers, flex posts, or a row of parked cars.
The plastic posts are easy to drive over for motorists and block the lanes, and cycling advocates have long called on the city to use more hard materials like concrete to keep pedalers safe, but DOT has continued to add them to new projects, such as Queens Boulevard.