The spike in biking as a result of coronavirus pandemic has thrown into sharp aid the most important gaps within the metropolis’s 1,300-mile bike-lane community, particularly within the Bronx — the place six cyclists have been killed to this point this yr and there was a surge in cycling injuries.
Teams such because the Bronx River Alliance and Transportation Alternate options have fought for years to construct out bike infrastructure within the borough, however cyclists and pedestrians nonetheless should courageous harmful intersections in far too many locations, doubtlessly risking their lives.
The town Division of Transportation understands the risks, however has relied on NYPD traffic enforcement to maintain cyclists protected. It hasn’t labored. The town DOT should construct out the bike community — particularly protected lanes — with the intention to bridge the gaps that imperil the lives of too many cyclists.
One harmful hole is the so-called East Tremont Hyperlink within the West Farms and Van Nest neighborhoods that’s between two necessary new parks alongside the Bronx River: Starlight Park (alongside Sheridan Boulevard from East 172nd to East 177th streets) and West Farms Rapids Park (from East Tremont Avenue to East 180th Avenue parallel to Devoe Avenue and Boston Street). Each parks have multi-use trails that putatively make them part of 25-mile Bronx River Greenway that stretches from Soundview Park within the South Bronx to the Kensico Dam in Westchester (10 miles of that are within the Bronx). A number of elements of the path have opened not too long ago or are nearing completion.
The East Tremont hyperlink is the scary, block-long hole from the northern entrance of Starlight Park at East 177th Avenue and East Tremont Avenue to southern entrance of West Farms Rapids Park on East Tremont Avenue between Devoe Avenue and Boston Street. To make the crossing, riders should confront an entrance to an MTA bus depot, an on/off ramp to Sheridan Boulevard and the Cross Bronx Expressway, and a number of lanes of road visitors. Sadly, the intersection has seen many crashes: greater than 200 within the final 5 years, leading to scores of accidents. It’s merely harmful for walkers and bikers.
The state Division of Transportation acknowledged the hazard when it designed the grasp plan of Starlight Park greater than a decade in the past, and got here up with a plan to revamp the intersection utilizing the state-owned, fenced-off green-space adjoining to it and the Bronx River, and creating signaled crossings at East 177th Avenue and throughout East Tremont Ave. The NYSDOT handed the challenge — and funds to repair it — to town DOT in 2008 due to the emphasis on native streets and the necessity to coordinate amongst metropolis companies to exchange the water fundamental underneath East Tremont Avenue.
Since 2008, nonetheless, there was no motion.
The town DOT should restart the challenge and incorporate close by parks and the Bronx River Greenway right into a plan to facilitate protected passage for cyclists and pedestrians within the space — in order that riders can get pleasure from a seamless, protected trip from Bruckner Boulevard, via Concrete Plant Park, alongside the brand new Sheridan Boulevard, into Starlight Park as much as East 177th Avenue. Bronx Group Board 6 has been in favor of fixing the hole for years however, sadly, it continues to be delayed — a part of the sample of the Bronx being uncared for in relation to constructing out protected pedestrian and bicyclist infrastructure.
The challenge should be a precedence, and its progress must be clear. The town DOT should present clear updates to the neighborhood, decide to an affordable completion timeline, and take steps to make sure well timed progress. Furthermore, we can’t watch for this multi-year challenge to be accomplished to supply security to this harmful intersection. The town DOT should put in non permanent interventions, similar to striping, extra indicators, and jersey obstacles to supply a transparent and protected path for cyclists and pedestrians to bridge the divide between Starlight Park and West Farms Rapids Park.
Our new regular underneath coronavirus provides to the urgency. We’re seeing much more folks utilizing different mobility modes — particularly bikes — to guard themselves from an infection. Accessing protected and clearly outlined bike and pedestrian infrastructure will change into much more important. The town DOT can play a serious function in serving to Bronxites and different New Yorkers by expediting measures to facilitate safer and extra handy methods to get round.
Twahira Khan (@twahirak) is a co-chair of the Bronx River Alliance Greenway Workforce. Richard Gans is a long-time member of the Bronx River Alliance Greenway Workforce. John Sanchez is the district supervisor of Bronx Group Board 6. For details about the alliance, go to bronxriver.org.
Native New Yorker. Travel addict. Hardcore thinker. Analyst. Pop culture fanatic. I live in Queens with my wife Linda and our dog Clemenza.