CM Cabrera and advocates want more bike lanes in the Bronx

Councilman Fernando Cabrera wants more bike lanes in the Bronx.
Courtesy of Facebook

As cyclist injuries have increased in the Bronx by 30%, many advocates and elected officials are clamoring for more protected bike lanes.

According to Streetsblog, “in areas of the city with good bike infrastructure, injuries are down by far greater percentages. In Manhattan below 59th Street, for example, cyclist injuries are down 35% so far this year. In Brooklyn North, they’re down 15%.”

Marian Jones, of Bronx organizer or the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, noted these injuries might be preventable if there were more bike lanes. Jones told the Bronx Times there is a is a huge disparity between Manhattan and the Bronx as the Bronx has only 3 percent of protected bike lanes, while about 50% are in the city.

“We actively advocate increasing cyclist safety in the Bronx, which means fighting for more and better, protected bike lanes,” Jones said. “It is the city’s job to make sure everyone can get around safely, and when it comes to the Bronx, they are failing on that.”

Former Bronx Chairperson of Transportation Alternatives Kevin Daloia also spoke about the need for safe bike lanes.

This is the NYC Bike Map showing the lower half of the Bronx.  The green lines represent protected bike paths, which are usually within parks and not on the roadways.
However, east of the Bronx River, there are very few blue-conventional bike lanes, purple-sharrows (not a bike lane), orange-posted sign route (not a bike lane) lines that are not protected from traffic.
There have been three bike riders killed in traffic in Mott Haven in 2020. All  along Bruckner Blvd., within a half mile of Manhattan.
“There an untold number of car and tractor crashes and injuries,” Daloia said. “That should say something to our elected officials and DOT representatives about pedestrian and bicycle safety.”
He feels the Bronxdale Ave. road improvement needs to be completed from Tremont Ave. all the way to White Plains Rd. This includes a bike lane and would connect Clason Point/Castle Hill to the Greenway network along the Bronx River.
Daloia  also wants to extend the newly opened “Greenway” park that connects 180th to Tremont across Tremont into Starlight Park.
“I really feel strong about Tremont Ave,” he said. “It stretches from west to east.   Some of the more Western portions of Tremont have unprotected and broken up bike lanes and sharrows.”
Cyclist and Bronx resident Daniel Ranells echoes his sentiments.
He pointed out several areas in the borough that need protected bike lanes. They include University Ave. and Grand Concourse going north and south and Tremont and Fordham / Pelham Pkway going  east to west.

“Again, a bike lane offers no physical protection or barrier between a person on a bike and the one to 12 ton vehicles on the road,” Ranells said. “So it’s not just a matter of a bike lane, it’s a matter of a protected bike lane.”

Councilman Fernando Cabrera is not only on the transportation committee, but is also a bike rider. The lawmaker stressed that as much as he enjoys cycling, it can be dangerous in the Bronx.

Bike lanes, like most things in the city, the Bronx is given the short end of the stick, he said.

“The city always gives priority to Manhattan,” he said. “The Bronx gets left for last. You don’t have enough bike lanes in the Bronx.”

According to the lawmaker, there is not only a need for bike lanes, but drivers and cyclists need to respect each other and there must be more NYPD enforcement.

With COVID-19 and people being shut in for so long, he feels more people will now want to ride a bike than take overcrowded public transportation. But, if there aren’t safe places to go, then it is not a viable option.

Often the creation of bike lanes causes the removal of parking spots, so he understands why drivers can get upset. He hopes there is a way that this can be avoided.

“The city is not in the business of building more public parking,” he commented.

As the only borough where cyclists deaths have increased, the lawmaker stressed that there must be change.

He plans to meet with Department of Transportation Borough Commissioner Nivardo Lopez in the near future to discuss how to improve biking in the Bronx.

Cabrera added that instead of the DOT deciding where to put bike lanes, he would prefer it consult with residents.

“Government is here to serve the community, not the other way around,” he said. “I believe the DOT is trying their best. I think they have good intentions.”

A DOT spokesperson said the DOT understands the need for more bike safety in the Bronx and is actively working to add to the 214 miles of existing bike infrastructure.

As of December, there are 23 cyclist fatalities, with eight in the Bronx.

Here is a list of its Bronx based bike projects:

  • Protected bike lane and bus lane at Edward L. Grant Highway is completed
  • A protected bike lane and bus lane University northbound to Tremont is almost completed and southbound will begin in spring 2021.
  • Bike lane markings have been installed on Macombs and some concrete work is wrapping up shortly.
  • Conventional bike lanes were also added to Harding Ave, East Tremont, Bergen Ave, 147th St, and 148th Street
  • A protected greenway connection was added at Bronx Park East and White Plain Road.

More from Around NYC