City officials and transportation advocates gathered on the Upper East Side to celebrate the neighborhood’s improved transportation options. The main message: what once was a desert has blossomed into a garden.
With the launch of the Second Avenue Subway at the beginning of the year and the completion of a protected bike lane on Second Avenue from East 68th to 125th streets, Upper East Siders have more transportation options than ever before, Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.
The city is also looking forward to extending the newly-launched NYC Ferry to the shores of the Upper East Side in 2018, Trottenberg said.
The transformation from a “transportation desert” to a “transportation garden” wasn’t easy, and took a long time to complete, but now the Upper East Side is reaping the rewards, City Councilman Ben Kallos said.
“After years of dealing with 2nd Avenue Subway construction the Upper East Side is finally reaping the rewards of good access to transportation,” Kallos said in a statement. “Whether it is Select Bus Service or new ferries and trains, Upper East Side residents have earned the new and improved transportation infrastructure.”
The Upper East Side isn’t only benefitting from new transportation options, but also upgrades to services such as Citi Bike — which has installed new stations in the Upper East Side as it expands north — and the M86 bus route. Since the launch of select bus service on the M86 route in 2015, ridership is up 7 percent and travel times have been cut by 11 percent.
Improved transportation in the neighborhood has made getting around more convenient, and also more safe, transportation advocates said Monday.
“The evidence is clear: new transit options lead to safer streets, less traffic congestion and a thriving local community,” John Raskin, Executive Director of the Riders Alliance, said in a statement.
Trottenberg said that the city Department of Transportation’s next priorities in the area are to improve crosstown transportation and phase two of the Second Avenue Subway, which would extend the line up to 125th Street in East Harlem.
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