NYCDOT Ups the Livable Streets Ante in Revised Strategic Plan

bike_share_pic.jpgNYC bike-share on the horizon? DOT says it will explore a "large-scale" public bike system for Manhattan and environs. Image: Department of City Planning.
Last April, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced the "New York City Model" -- mapping out a strategic plan to prioritize greener, more efficient modes and turn city streets into world-class public spaces. We've seen some major changes in the year-and-a-half since. Among the big accomplishments: the transformation of Broadway, an expanded bike network with more protected routes, and a new street design manual that codifies the progressive treatments DOT has started to adopt. Plans for new rapid bus corridors are approaching fruition, with a route on First and Second Avenues scheduled for completion next year and several more in the pipeline.

In an update to the strategic plan released this month, DOT lays out several new benchmarks, including some glimpses of the agency's goals for the rest of 2009 and 2010. The document isn't available online yet, but Streetsblog has a hard copy so I thought I'd share a few highlights:

  • Bike modeshare targets are more ambitious than before. The goal is now to double bike commuting by 2012 and triple it by 2017 compared to 2007 levels. The previous goal was to double cycling by 2015. If annual increases stay close to last year's 35 percent clip, the new target should be easily achievable, especially if the next item turns into something concrete...
  • DOT will "explore opportunities for a large-scale public bicycle system in Manhattan and surrounding areas." The agency had previously signaled its interest in launching a bike-share network, but I believe this is the first official hint of the scale they're contemplating.
  • 8-10 new rapid bus corridors will be selected by the end of this year. (DOT had already posted a timeline for this process on its website.)
  • DOT will increase the number of 20 mph zones around schools from 25 to 75.
  • More templates from the Street Design Manual will take shape on city streets. "Shared streets" are mentioned as a potential new design treatment.
  • Summer Streets will expand "to additional days and areas."
  • To keep cabs out of bus lanes, the city will make greater use of bus-mounted enforcement cameras. (The city launched a pilot enforcement program along these lines on 34th Street back in February.)
  • Some single-space parking meters, which are being decommissioned by the thousands as more muni-meters are installed, will be converted to bike racks.
  • PARK Smart, a performance parking program that DOT has piloted in Greenwich Village and Park Slope, will help manage the curb crunch in more neighborhoods.

Transportation advocates welcomed the new goals. "Increasing 20 mph zones around schools is really exciting," said Transportation Alternatives' Wiley Norvell. "It's a good, concrete metric for boosting Safe Routes to School. That's definitely something that's lagged and needs acceleration."

Norvell also applauded the accelerated timetable for boosting bike modeshare. "It's great to see the DOT setting more ambitious targets, given that the installation of bike lanes has ramped up cycling significantly," he said. "New York City needs to keep moving the goalposts when it comes to bicycling. The goals of 2006 were rendered obsolete by 2008. The goals of 2009 will probably seem obsolete by 2011."