The city council is asking Mayor Eric Adams to invest $3.1 billion in increased efforts to build more bike and bus lanes amid fears the administration is underfunding its ambitious road plan.
Council spokeswoman Adrienne Adams and other leaders of the legislature tabled the motion on Saturday as part of a lengthy response to the mayor’s own proposed 2023 interim budget, which called for 3% cuts in city agencies. The investment would usher in sweeping changes to the city’s streetscape — including 500 miles of protected bike lanes, 500 miles of bus lanes and 38 million feet of open pedestrian traffic, according to the proposal.
“To ensure our city’s just recovery and improve public safety, we must focus on sound investments that strengthen our communities and provide opportunity for all New Yorkers,” the spokesman said in a statement responding to the mayor’s budget proposal .
The amounts in the City Council’s proposal represent a significant expansion of the city’s current street redevelopment goals.
As part of the Streets Master Plan, passed in 2019, the city needed to build 250 miles of protected bike lanes and 150 miles of protected bus lanes over the next five years. And on the campaign trail, the mayor said he would go further, pledging to build 300 miles of protected bike lanes in his first term.
But at a recent budget hearing, transport officials left open the possibility that they might not be able to meet those commitments and declined to say how much money had been poured into the benchmarks so far.
In a statement Sunday, a spokesman for Adams said the mayor would consider the proposal while announcing the administration’s recent efforts to improve road safety and bus speeds.
“Mayor Adams has unveiled an aggressive plan to improve road safety and provide greater access to reliable transportation throughout the city, including an unprecedented effort to add 150 additional miles of bus lanes over the next four years,” spokesman Jonah said allon
The council’s proposal also included a benchmark not included in either the mayor’s plan or the original City Council legislation: 40 miles of car-free bus routes. The redesign, which bans private cars from one street, has already helped speed buses along Manhattan’s 14th Street and has since been added to a handful of other corridors in Queens, Washington Heights and downtown Brooklyn.
But efforts to build more bus routes around the city have also drawn backlash. A plan by former Mayor Bill de Blasio to add a bus route to Fifth Avenue was stymied by luxury retailers — and remains unfinished.
In a statement, Jolyse Race, a senior organizer at transit advocacy group Riders Alliance, said the City Council’s $3.1 billion investment plan would provide “unprecedented support for better buses and roads that work for everyone.”
“Bus drivers are urging Mayor Adams to embrace the city council’s bold vision for better buses and safer roads,” Race said. “With expanded funding for faster, more reliable bus services and better access to neighborhoods without subways, New York will work better for everyone who lives, works and visits here.”
https://gothamist.com/news/council-calls-for-unprecedented-31-billion-streets-plan-commitment Council is calling for an “unprecedented” $3.1 billion pledge for the road plan