NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Ahead of the dreaded L train shutdown next April, the city opened a new protected bike lane on the Lower East Side Thursday.

The two-way lane runs from the Williamsburg Bridge for a quarter of a mile along Delancey Street.

“We are doing critical work now to help mitigate New Yorkers’ pain during the L train repairs,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.  “We look forward to welcoming thousands of daily cyclists to the new protected bike lane down Delancey Street, which will be a key link in our transportation network when the L train tunnel shuts down.”

More bike riders use the Williamsburg Bridge than any other East River crossing: An estimated 7,300 every day.

The city expects that when the L line shuts down next year for 15 months, the number of bike riders could triple.