Prospect Heights

What is a bike boulevard?

October 4, 2023

Bike boulevards aren‘t just for bicyclists. They are streets designed to prioritize the most vulnerable street users—pedestrians, cyclists, and anyone not in a motor vehicle. 

Bike Boulevards use signs, pavement markings, and speed and volume management measures to discourage through-trips by motor vehicles and create a safer environment for all users. 

Curb extensions increase visibility of (and for) pedestrians by daylighting intersections, that is, providing open sight-lines to the pedestrian crossing. They visually and physically narrow the roadway, and slow down turning traffic. Combined, this creates shorter and safer crossings for pedestrians. 

Traffic diverters and directional changes force drivers to slow down and discourage cut-through traffic. 

The four traffic diverters on Underhill Avenue are treatments intended to slow drivers. They do not impede travel for anyone who needs to access the street in a motor vehicle, including emergency vehicles (FDNY and City Planning signed off on the design). These treatments are intended to alter driver behavior over time and make the street safer for all users—drivers and motor vehicle occupants included.

Critically, the Underhill Avenue Bike Blvd currently lacks important street markings to direct bicycle traffic safely, because the work was not allowed to be completed. That’s one of many reasons we’re calling on Mayor Adams and Council Member Hudson to let DOT finish the job they started. A project that’s been through years of public community and City agency review should not be circumvented by City Hall because vocal opposition has found a sympathetic ear. 

The paint and gravel approach is designed so that it can be done quickly and economically, and it can be tweaked and improved later if implementation demonstrates that changes are needed. While it’s possible parts of the design may be fine-tuned later, the scope of desirable changes can’t be assessed until the design itself is fully implemented. 

Make your voice heard by signing our petition for safe, equitable and open streets in Prospect Heights!

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