As the Bronx is lacking bike lanes, and cyclist injuries have increased in the borough by 30%, the DOT is hoping to eradicate this problem by adding more in Community Board 6.
However, members of CB 6 are not in favor of the plan.
On Dec. 17, DOT officials announced it will install a protected bike lane on Southern Blvd. from 182nd to Fordham Rd. connecting cyclists to existing bike facilities south of E. 182 St. The plans also call for improvements to BX9 and BX19 routes where bus boarding islands would be installed to reduce lag time at each stop and keep buses in the moving lane.
The bike lanes would eliminate parking spots from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., which angered many people as board members claimed cyclists don’t use that road and they do not want to lose their spots.
“We all want to promote safety, but with buses not having to pull over to the curb, it creates a traffic backup with only one lane,” said board member Jacquetta Whaley. “Southern Blvd. is a main passage to our nearest highways. During rush hour, Southern Blvd. is at a standstill, bottleneck. We do not see many bike riders in the areas mentioned.”
Fellow member Laura James echoed her sentiments.
“We don’t want bike lanes, we don’t like this plan,” James said. “You say bikes have the same rules so let them ride in the street with the cars.”
From 2014 to 2018 260 people have been injured, including 17 severely, with one pedestrian killed in the 0.6 mile stretch on Southern Blvd. from 182nd to Fordham Rd.
This section of Southern Blvd ranks in the top 10% for fatal or severely injured road accidents in all of the Bronx. Since January, 22 cyclists have been killed citywide, with eight in the Bronx.
In 2016 students from Fordham Preparatory High School and NY Botanical Garden requested DOT to address safety concerns after a student was injured while walking to school, and a cyclists riding to her job at the NYBG was killed.
Last year safety improvements were implemented on Southern Blvd between E. Fordham Rd to Mosholu Pkwy Greenway/Allerton Ballfields.
In terms of improving bus efficiency, DOT wants to add two way bike lanes, painted curb extensions and a Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI) at East Fordham Road and Southern Blvd. and two way bike lanes and painted curb extensions at East 182 and Southern Blvd.
Many people stressed how they told DOT in 2019 they did not want more bike lanes and don’t understand why it is happening. Board member Frank Franz questioned why the DOT doesn’t actually ask what the community wants.
“We’re supposed to be working with the government, not against it,” he said.