November 20, 2020
Over two miles of bus lanes and protected bike lanes to transform E.L. Grant Highway in Highbridge; “Double-header” project along wide, high-crash corridor
NEW YORK— Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) has completed a major transformation of the E.L. Grant Highway in the Highbridge section of the Bronx. Administration officials and advocates cut the ribbon today on signature transit and bicycle safety improvements to the corridor, including a combined 2.4 lane miles of dedicated bus lanes and protected bike lanes (PBL), each running in both directions. The bus lanes will serve 56,000 riders every day, on three different bus routes.
NYC DOT has completed over 16 PBL miles so far in 2020, with more than nine more miles scheduled to be completed this year. The de Blasio administration has created more than 120 miles of on-street protected lanes; its recent pace represents about one of every five protected lane miles nationwide. NYC DOT also added four miles of bus lanes in the Bronx this year and 10.4 miles citywide, primarily as part of the Mayor’s Better Buses Restart.
“E.L Grant cuts through the heart of Highbridge, and the Bronx deserves safer and more reliable alternative transit options,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “These transformative design changes will encourage bus and bike ridership, speed up Bronxites’ commutes, and save lives.”
“Today's announcement is another example of the truly transformative work this Administration is doing to ensure our streets are designed with all New Yorkers in mind," said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. "Bus riders, cyclists, pedestrians, now all have safer and more reliable infrastructure along one of the busiest corridors in the Bronx."
“It is not often that one project can have such a dramatic impact on so many different road users, but with new red bus lanes and green bike lanes, E.L. Grant vividly shows the very best of what DOT can do,” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “With these changes, bus riders get to their destinations faster, cyclists get protected lanes and pedestrians are able to cross a wide street much more safely.”
E.L. Grant Highway had seen 44 injuries on average per year from 2013-2017, including eight severe injuries. Bus and bike lanes have consistently proven to make streets safer for transit riders, cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers.
NYC DOT has added----50.9 miles of bike lanes in the Bronx since 2016, including 5.7 miles so far this year. That includes projects such as Willis Avenue, Bronxdale Avenue, and Mosholu Avenue.
The E.L. Grant bus lane (.6 miles each way; 1.2 miles total), only the second center-running bus lane in the city, enhances a high-ridership corridor that had been plagued by double parking. The new lanes come with five new bus boarding islands offering benches and leaning bars for riders, while also calming traffic, shortening crossing distances, and improving pedestrian safety.
The E.L Grant PBL (.6 miles each way; 1.2 miles total) replaces a standard buffered bike lane with the full PBL treatment, including shortened crossing distances at five intersections including Jerome Avenue, 170th Street, Shakespeare Avenue, Nelson Avenue, and Plimpton Avenue. The project delivers a new signalized crossing at University Avenue and left turn restrictions at Plimpton Avenue, 169th Street and Nelson Avenue. Metered parking was also added to commercial areas and current meter regulations expanded.
Edward L. Grant Highway was named to honor former New York Giants baseball player and United States Army Captain Eddie Grant, who enlisted to fight in World War I in 1917 after his retirement from baseball. Grant was killed by an artillery shell during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in October 1918 after his superior officers were killed and he led his remaining troops on a search for the Lost Battalion. Grant was the first Major League Baseball player killed in that war and one of only eight to die overall.
“Edward L. Grant highway is a major thoroughfare of high volume car traffic with active bus routes that connect Bronx residents to Northern Manhattan and vice versa. The renovations completed by DOT now provide a dedicated bike lane and bus lane to allow buses to move faster while keeping cyclists safe from vehicle traffic. There is also enhanced safety for pedestrians at crosswalks and major intersections, such as on 170th Street a few blocks from my district office. This is a tremendous step forward to providing shared streets and ensuring that pedestrians, cyclists, and those using mass transit are kept safe while traveling to their destination,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.
“The key to effective bus service is well enforced bus priority, and center-running bus lanes increase speeds, resulting in shorter bus travel time,” said Craig Cipriano, President of MTA Bus Company and SVP, NYC Transit Department of Buses. “That’s an approach demonstrated to bring riders back to mass transit, and we look forward to expansion of this strategy across the city.”
"Bus riders are the backbone of New York," said Riders Alliance Organizing Manager Stephanie Burgos-Veras. "Nearly half of bus riders are frontline workers. In the Bronx, 95% of bus riders are New Yorkers of color, with an average income of $20,000 per year. Buses should be engines of opportunity but for far too long, bus riders have been left stranded in slow traffic. Bus lanes like the ones on E.L. Grant Highway finally give riders the priority we deserve on our streets. The Riders Alliance is proud to support this bold street equity and safety initiative. We thank the officials at the New York City Department of Transportation for their hard work and we urge Mayor de Blasio to build more bus lanes as he cements his progressive legacy next year."
“The E.L. Grant Highway is a critical chokepoint for bus service between the Bronx and Manhattan, although today that commute just got a major upgrade,” said Liam Blank, Policy & Communications Manager for Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “We commend Mayor de Blasio and NYC DOT for aggressively pushing forward with the Better Buses Restart plan at a time when Bronx commuters are in great need of healthier and more convenient travel options.”
"The City's expansion of bus priority along E.L. Grant Highway is a major win for bus riders, and brings New Yorkers another step closer to the fast, reliable, and connected bus network they deserve. As much as 71% percent of those traveling along the EL Grant corridor do so by bus, so this busway has the potential to change the lives of tens of thousands of riders, making it easier for them to get where they need to go, quickly, safely and more efficiently. We’re excited to see the Mayor and NYC DOT delivering on the commitment to expand bus priority for New Yorkers, and look forward to seeing more of this work unveiled throughout the boroughs,” said Ashley Pryce, Senior Associate, Advocacy, TransitCenter.
"We applaud the Department of Transportation for improving bus and bicycle infrastructure on Edward Grant Highway. With the implementation of center running bus lanes, bus boarding islands, protected bike lanes, and shorter crossing distances, this known dangerous corridor is now safer for both pedestrians and cyclists, while allowing for faster bus service," said Transportation Alternatives Director of Organizing Erwin Figueroa. "We look forward to more complete street projects in the Bronx, and throughout the city, similar to this one.”
For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, please see www.nyc.gov/visionzero. For more on the City’s Better Buses Action Plan please see www.nyc.gov/betterbuses and for more on the New York City Green Wave plan for cycling, please see www.nyc.gov/greenwave.