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3. Mobility

Crowd of people crossing the street in Midtown Manhattan

To sustain the City’s growth and expand mobility, New York City, the MTA, and other agencies must work together to increase the capacity and efficiency of our transportation system. For DOT, that means allocating more street space to the most efficient modes of travel on our streets: walking, biking, and buses. These affordable travel options move the greatest number of people while using the least amount of space, as well as generate the least amount of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. DOT must also take advantage of new technologies to better manage our streets and prepare for disruptive innovations, like autonomous vehicles and the shift towards shared-use mobility.

DOT will continue its efforts to expand and enhance our 1,000-mile bike network, to increase bike parking opportunities, and to bring bike share to all five boroughs. The agency will also continue to improve the pedestrian environment through Vision Zero (as detailed in Chapter 2: Safety) and by making our streets more inviting (as detailed in Chapter 6: The Public Realm). In terms of transit, DOT will continue its SBS partnership with the MTA to improve bus travel times and reliability. We will also integrate bus priority treatments for local routes into our street redesign projects and continue to rollout transit signal priority. Together these efforts will also help ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of income, have access to affordable and convenient transportation choices.

Looking to the future, DOT will explore new technologies and approaches that may help us better accomplish our mission. The agency will explore new sensor and camera technology, curb regulations, and pricing strategies to better manage our streets and curb space, so trucks can make deliveries and customers can reach their destinations.

Finally, DOT will adapt proactively to shared-use mobility services and autonomous vehicles. The world of shared-use mobility services, which includes ride-hailing, ridesharing, carsharing, and bike share are changing the ways that New Yorkers get around. Autonomous vehicles, once considered the stuff of science fiction, are closer to becoming a reality. These services and technologies present both opportunities and challenges. DOT, with the TLC and others, will explore how these services could help the City improve street safety, mobility, quality of life, and the environment. For example, DOT will explore how rideshare services might improve “last mile” connections to transit in neighborhoods underserved by the subway system.*

*In this document, the term rideshare is defined as traditional carpooling and van pooling, as well as TLC-licensed app-based car services that enable a single vehicle to carry multiple riders making separate trips.  

   

Secure Bike Parking Stations

Photo of double decker bike racks that allow for high capacity bike parking.
© Harrie van Veen

Across the world, cities are encouraging bike use by providing secure bike parking to cyclists at transit hubs and major destinations. In Chicago’s Millennium Park, the McDonalds Cycle Center offers 300 bike parking spaces with showers, lockers, and towel service. Visitors to Chicago can also purchase bike rentals and tours at the center. In California, six BART rail stations feature adjacent bike stations to facilitate bike-to-rail commutes. The stations offer 24-hour controlled access parking and free daily valet service.

European cities have taken bike stations to the next level. Malmö, Sweden, for example, has an underground facility with 1,500 secure bike parking spaces located below its rail station. Utrecht in the Netherlands recently completed a 4,200-bike facility. These bike parking stations fill a gap in bike infrastructure by providing amenities that make it convenient to bike to work or transit, or to use a bike to get from a transit station to a nearby school or activity center. Cyclists do not need to worry about finding an open secure rack near their destination or having their bikes stolen or vandalized.

The Benefits of Shared-Use Mobility

Photo of a man getting into a carshare vehicle.

In the past decade, shared-use mobility services, like bike share and carsharing, have emerged as mobility options in a number of cities. Carshare programs, in particular, have multiplied in New York City and across the country. Researchers have begun to analyze the impact of these services: a 2010 review of several studies found that 23 to 32 percent of carshare members had given up a vehicle since joining a carshare service. Similar results have been found in studies of Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Recognizing these benefits, cities are adopting policies to encourage carsharing. Seattle offers one-way carshare organizations permits that allow members to park vehicles in metered spaces and within residential parking permit areas. San Francisco has created an on-street permit program for round-trip carshare organizations. For a fee, carshare organizations can purchase an annual permit for an on-street space. In return, San Francisco requires the company to maintain the parking space and to station vehicles in all neighborhoods to ensure equal access. 

Shaheen, Susan, Caroline Rodier, Gail Murray, Adam Cohen, and Elliot Martin (2010). Carsharing and Public Parking Policies: Assessing Benefits, Costs, and Best Practices in North America. Mineta Transportation Institute Report 09-09.
Goals
1
Increase travel by walking, biking, and bus transit to support the continued growth of New York City, including doubling the number of regular cyclists in the five boroughs by 2020 (based on the 2013 level).
2
Increase bus travel speeds by the year 2020, especially on bus corridors with high ridership and on streets where bus speeds fall below 5 miles per hour.
3
Work with the MTA to reduce commute times in low- and moderate-income communities underserved by transit.
4
Make steady progress in creating a roadway and sidewalk network that is accessible to all New Yorkers regardless of disability status.
5
Working with partner agencies, expand the availability of shared-use mobility services, including bike share, carshare, and rideshare, that support safe, affordable, and sustainable travel choices.
6
Increase the efficient use of curb space in busy commercial areas with smarter curb regulations and innovative pricing strategies.
7
Working with the NYPD, use sensor technology and data analytics to better enforce traffic and parking rules to reduce double parking, congestion, and air pollution.
ExistingInitiatives

Pedestrian Network

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Make walking safer and more convenient

As laid out in Chapter 2: Safety, DOT will continue to implement at least 50 Vision Zero safety projects a year and invest in our Great Streets program. As laid out in Chapter 6: Public Realm, the agency will continue to implement streetscape improvements including benches, wayfinding signs, and leaning bars.

 

Bike Network

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Expand the City’s bike network 

DOT will create or enhance at least 50 miles of bike routes a year and expand the network of protected bike lanes by at least 10 miles, double our previous target. The agency will focus on expanding the bike network in neighborhoods with limited bike infrastructure, including Jamaica, Soundview, and East Flatbush. As part of our Great Streets projects, DOT will integrate protected bike lanes into sections of the Grand Concourse in the Bronx and Queens Boulevard in Queens. As resources permit, DOT will accelerate the rate of bike lane expansion, especially of protected lanes.

Improve bike access to and on bridges

DOT will continue to develop bike access plans to its bridges and will implement four bridge access projects in the next two years. The agency will continue implementation of its Harlem River Bridges Access Plan and develop a plan for a protected bicycle lane on Delancey Street to better connect cyclists to the Williamsburg Bridge, the busiest East River bike crossing.

 

Accessibility

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Strive to make all sidewalks, pedestrian ramps and spaces, and bus stops accessible

DOT will continue to install at least 75 accessible pedestrian signals each year. The agency will expand its in-house pedestrian ramp program, and invest about $245 million over the next four years for contractor pedestrian ramp upgrades and new installations. DOT will update its Street Design Manual and capital project standards to reflect the principle of universal access.

 

Transit System

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Expand Select Bus Service (SBS) and improve local bus service

With the MTA, DOT will expand the SBS network to 20 routes citywide, with a focus on neighborhoods underserved by the subway and corridors with high bus ridership. The agency will continue to advance the quality of SBS and local bus service through improved bus lane and design treatments, bus countdown clocks, fare collection methods, and transit signal priority.

Implement the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX)

Working with NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC), other City agencies, and the community, DOT will plan and implement the BQX, a streetcar linking Brooklyn to Queens along the waterfront.

 

Street System Management

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Complete the Connected Vehicle (CV) Pilot Project

With USDOT, DOT will continue to test a range of CV safety applications in up to 10,000 vehicles. CV technology enables vehicles to communicate with each other, pedestrians and cyclists with mobile devices, and the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) network.

 

Shared-Use Mobility

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Expand bike share

DOT, with its private-sector partner Motivate, will continue to expand Citi Bike over the next 18 months. By the end of 2017, Citi Bike will have 12,000 bikes at 750 stations. With Motivate, DOT will encourage participation in the discount membership program for NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents. In partnership with Motivate, DOT will explore the feasibility of a Phase 3 expansion of the program that would reach all five boroughs.

 

NewInitiatives

Bike Network

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Improve the pedestrian and bike promenade on the Brooklyn Bridge

Demand for the shared cyclist and pedestrian path on the Brooklyn Bridge often exceeds capacity. DOT will assess the feasibility of expanding and reconfiguring this popular path to better serve both groups.

Advance the East and Harlem River waterfront greenway in Manhattan

In the near term, DOT will advance on-street bike lane projects to fill gaps in the East River and Harlem River greenways. In the medium term, DOT will work with the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and EDC to develop a funding strategy for the full build out of the greenway.

Launch secure bike parking pilot program near transit

Building on best practices from other cities, DOT will plan and develop secure, affordable, and attractive bike parking at major transit hubs and activity centers across the five boroughs, including ferry terminals, key subway and commuter rail stations, and local commercial districts.

Improve and expand bike access in commercial and residential buildings

Expanding on the success of the City’s Bikes in Buildings law, DOT will work to pass City Council legislation to further broaden bike access in commercial buildings, extend bike access provisions to residential buildings, and allow folding bikes in all passenger elevators.

Improve maintenance and availability of public bike parking

To free up space for operable bikes, DOT has worked with the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to finalize revised DSNY rules to streamline removal of derelict bikes from DOT bike racks. DOT will being inspecting all racks twice a year and work with DSNY and community and merchant groups to proactively remove derelict bikes.

Appropriately regulate low-speed electric bikes

DOT will work with its agency partners to advocate a sensible legal framework to regulate growing e-bike use and improve safety. 

Develop new citywide measure of cycling to measure progress

DOT will adopt new measures of citywide cycling, which will be used to track the growth of bicycling over time. These indicators will capture the number of New Yorkers who bike regularly and the average volume of daily biking trips across the five boroughs. DOT will continue to conduct bike counts at strategic locations.

 

Transit System

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Complete a citywide transit study

Working with our partners at the MTA, DOT will conduct a study of unmet transit needs in communities across the five boroughs and develop a set of recommendations to meet these needs. Possible recommendations include SBS, rail system, and streetcar expansion.

Develop and Implement an L Train Mitigation Plan with the MTA

In collaboration with the MTA, DOT will develop a plan to mitigate the impact of the closure of the L train tunnels under the East River, which carry the same number of passengers into and out of Manhattan each day as the Long Island Rail Road. DOT will consider transformative traffic management and bus priority treatments on 14th Street and the East River Bridges, as well as expanded bike routes and bike parking facilities on both sides of the river.

 

Street System Management

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Pilot multi-purpose sensor and camera technology

DOT will pilot the installation of sensor and camera technology that can be used for multiple purposes, including better understanding how streets are used and better managing traffic flow. DOT will also explore enforcement strategies with the NYPD and the Department of Finance, including targeted deployment of traffic enforcement agents, use of cameras and sensors for parking and loading regulation enforcement, and the replacement of the City’s paper parking placards with an electronic system.

Develop an Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Strategic Plan

Building off goals in this plan, DOT will develop an ITS Strategic Plan that describes our ITS vision and goals within the following six areas: enhancing operational capabilities, advancing operational planning, emerging technology readiness, lifecycle management, professional capacity building, and outreach and communication.

 

Shared-Use Mobility

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Explore the potential for shared-use mobility services to expand travel options, increase mobility, and improve the efficiency of the transportation system

  • DOT will develop a shared-use mobility plan to identify the opportunities and challenges posed by new transportation services and models.

  • DOT, with the TLC, will explore the potential of ridesharing services to meet travel needs in areas underserved by the subway and to reduce traffic volumes. 

  • DOT will explore the potential for carshare to reduce car ownership and improve parking availability, and develop a set of pilot projects to expand carsharing outside of Manhattan. This will include consideration of opportunities for electric vehicles and charging stations.

  • DOT, with the TLC, will examine the potential safety, congestion, social, environmental, and economic impacts of autonomous vehicles and develop a set of policies for federal and state advocacy and to guide future pilot projects.

  • DOT, with input from the TLC, will conduct a comprehensive study of the commuter van industry to better understand the role of commuter vans in the City’s transportation system and to explore potential policy changes to improve safety and travel choices.   

 

Accessibility

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Pilot new wayfinding technology for visually impaired pedestrians

DOT will conduct a pilot test of electronic beacons, which can assist visually impaired pedestrians in navigating the City, at indoor and outdoor transportation facilities. DOT will also test tactile guide-ways for visually impaired pedestrians on sidewalks and at outdoor public spaces.

 

Curb Management

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Develop a 21st century parking management strategy for New York City

DOT will complete a comprehensive analysis of the availability, regulation, and use of metered parking spaces and develop a pricing strategy to increase curb availability for deliveries and customer parking, focusing especially on congested commercial districts.

Modernize the regulation of sight-seeing buses

DOT will work to pass City Council legislation to tighten the approval requirements for sight-seeing buses to better manage their stops.