The Department of Transportation topped off a 3-year program that installed 40 miles of bike paths across Bronx streets, and 200 miles around the city, on the Grand Concourse on Wednesday, July 8.
Many bike-path projects were completed over the last three years around the borough, and a crowd gathered at ceremony on the southbound service road of the Grand Concourse between E. 170th Street and E. 171st Street to paint in the final street markings on the final few feet of the 200 miles.
DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, and Health Department commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley drew the final lines in the street, marking the end of the project.
“With the completion of this initiative, we can now state firmly that New York City is the bicycling capital of the United States,” said commissioner Sadik-Khan. “This two-hundred mile growth spurt has transformed our bike network into a robust transportation system, a true backbone that connects the city’s neighborhoods and helps get cyclists to their destinations safely.”
Sadik-Khan said that New York City has the largest amount of commuters who bike to and from work of any city in America. Borough President Diaz said that he hopes all Bronxites take advantage of the 40 miles of bike paths on streets and in parks around the borough.
“Bicycling is not only recreation but an environmentally sound community option and bikers need secure lanes,” Diaz said. “Many Bronxites use this green and healthy transportation option and I’m very pleased to know our borough has 40 new miles of bike lanes where our residents can ride safely.”
Diaz added in his speech: “If you ride a bike you build strength in your heart and your lungs. Using your bikes you can go up and down the majestic Grand Concourse and through all of the parks around the borough. Please don’t stay home – get a bike or borrow a bike if you don’t have one. We have 40 miles of bike paths that the city graciously provided and that all Bronxites should enjoy.”
Echoing Borough President Diaz’s advice was DOH commissioner Farley, who said that the city is building infrastructure that promotes exercise.
“Regular physical activity not only helps prevent heart disease but also reduces your risk of diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer and depression,” Farley stated. “And riding a bicycle is a great way to incorporate physical activity into your everyday routine.”
Benepe said that he was delighted to work with the DOT, which in recent years has grown receptive to collaborative efforts.
Benepe stated: “It is great to work with the DOT and all of the agencies involved with this important initiative to increase bicycling awareness and opportunities.”