Mayor Eric Adams has announced a historic $900 million investment over the next five years for street safety.
The announcement made Sunday in downtown Brooklyn comes off the heels of straphangers and politicians advocating for Mayor Adams to fully fund the NYC Streets Plan. Last year, the city had its deadliest year for traffic-related deaths since Vision Zero was started in 2014, according to a report from Transportation Alternatives.
The new announcement will include physical upgrades to two bike lanes in Brooklyn: 20th Street, from 7th Avenue to 10th Avenue; and Grand Street, while exact limits are still being determined.
“Far too many people are not biking because they don’t feel safe. And the more we make it safe, the more we are going to see people utilize their bikes, which is good for exercise. It’s good to interact with everyday New Yorkers, and it is just good for our environment. You’re talking about a win, win, win,” Adams said at the announcement after biking over the Brooklyn Bridge.
The legislation passed under the previous city council requires the Department of Transportation to create five-year plans for traffic improvements including 250 miles of bike lanes, 150 miles of protected bus lanes, and one million feet of pedestrian space.
While the City Council advocated for $3.1 billion in their response to the Mayor’s Budget so that the program would be fully funded, both transportation advocates and zealous politicians celebrated the investment.
“This is a big, big, big day for street safety in New York City,” Councilman Lincoln Restler, a transportation advocate who represents parts of Downtown Brooklyn, said. “This investment, $900 million-plus dollars over the next five years, will save lives. We are going to achieve, with the great work of Commissioner Rodriguez and the team at DOT, safe, protected bike lanes, not paint barriers, that are going to keep our community safe.”
10 constituents of Lincoln Restler’s 33rd council district died from traffic fatalities in 2021, making it one of the most dangerous in all of the city per a Transportation Alternatives report.
“The ‘NYC Streets Plan’ is a critical investment in our city’s future,” Sara Lind, director of policy for Open Plans, said. “Freeing New Yorkers from car dependency will save lives, improve public health, support the millions of New Yorkers who rely on public transportation, and help to mitigate the climate crisis. Reclaiming space for pedestrians is a matter of equity — while only a minority of New Yorkers drive, every New Yorker uses our sidewalks. We are all pedestrians.”