“New York as a biking city? It could happen. And it should. A new report proposes 425 miles of interconnected bike lanes across the five boroughs. Another sees new car-free bridges into Manhattan from Queens, Brooklyn and New Jersey” writes Michael Kimmelman for The New York Times.
Biking has grown quite popular in New York City. According to the city, 1.6 million people rode bikes in 2019. Now the lockdowns and social distancing required during the COVID19 pandemic have caused bike sales to soar, promising an exponential increase in ridership. Bike shops just can’t keep up with demand. The bicycle is an attractive solution for a number of reasons:
- While It’s hard to maintain a “social distance” on public transit, you can keep your distance on a bike. New Yorkers have become reluctant to use the subway and as a result ridership has fallen by 90 percent
- A car might provide an isolated way to commute, but most New Yorkers don’t own, or can’t afford one. Only 8 percent of Manhattanites drive to work
- And while you are biking to work, you are getting outside and exercising while keeping socially distanced
NYC will need to ensure that bicycle commuters have enough space to travel safely. Dedicated bike lanes are a necessity and a cost-effective solution.
The Regional Plan Association is proposing 425 miles of interconnected, high capacity, protected bike lanes – “a network of priority bike lanes that safely, effectively and inclusively moves cyclists across all five boroughs” – with its 5 Borough Bikeway plan. And to help make bridge crossings more bike-friendly, there’s another proposal in the works – the construction of new car-free bridges into Manhattan from various locations, starting with one from Queens. This new bridge, estimated to cost $100 million, will connect Long Island City and Roosevelt Island with midtown Manhattan and will accommodate as many as 20,000 cyclists and pedestrians a day. Add to that the city’s Green Wave plan which promises to deliver 30 new miles of protected bike lanes a year. While there are major hurdles to overcome, such as erratic enforcement of bike land usage and NIMBY opponents, nevertheless 100 miles of open streets is a good start.
“We need an evolution in how we use and manage city streets”
Read the original article here.
Williamsburg Bridge, NYC by George Hodan / CC0 Public Domain