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Future streets: Making room for everybody?

Metro International: Future streets: Making room for everybody?

There’s a quiet revolution erupting on New York City’s streets … with white-painted lines, red-painted lanes and concrete.

From Allerton Avenue in the Bronx to Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, the city’s Department of Transportation has been redesigning roadways to better accommodate all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and mass transit riders. Urban planners call them “complete streets” and laws mandating them have hit the pavement from California to Connecticut.

While Albany eyes similar rules, the city has already hit the gas. On Allen Street, in the Lower East Side — where several pedestrians have been killed or injured over the last decade — bike lanes now flank a spruced up mall, kind of like a Parisian boulevard.

“This is the next frontier in New York,” said Wiley Norvell, of the pro-pedestrian and bicyclist group Transportation Alternatives.

The next challenge is to redesign First and Second avenues. One DOT design would cut car lanes from five to three, add a bus-only lane, a protected bike lane and an island for pedestrians.

“That’s pretty bold,” Joan Byron, of the Pratt Center for Community Development, said. “That’s going to piss a lot of people off.”

The avenues cut through “probably the highest concentration of BMW drivers in New York City and it’s a through street for Westchester commuters.”