|Bike lane on Broadway|
|Traversing the Williamsburg Bridge on a dedicated bike lane. The pedestrian route is on the opposite side, also elevated above traffic.|
|Newly installed buffered lane with bike signal and signage|
|Using the lane|
|Bicycle facilities on the Brooklyn Bridge|
|A separated path next to 11th Avenue|
|Empty delivery basket, traveling wrong-way in the bicycle lane|
|A woman rides against traffic on a quiet street|
|Rented bicycles near Times Square|
|Chinese food trumps traffic controls|
|Annexed bike lane|
|Bells are required in NYC - and used frequently on the Brooklyn Bridge to shoo pedestrians out of the bike lane|
There is also an issue of supply and demand. Central Park and the waterfront path were popular. These routes had few pedestrians and ample room. Better yet, they allowed cyclists to travel at full speed, bypassing the traffic signals and congestion on parallel streets. But they didn't go where the people on bicycles were trying to go. For the delivery guys trying to transport hot food a few blocks away, as fast as possible, it seemed most expedient to ride up the nearest street even if traffic was going the opposite way. With lots of one-way streets and few curb cuts, the bike lanes rarely took cyclists to the front door of their destination. Instead they used the closest lane, often on the opposite side of the street from the bicycle facility, and rode up the sidewalk from the corner. The unprotected bike lanes served little purpose at all, filled with delivery trucks and double-parked cars, and the rest of the traffic was moving at bicycle speed anyway. At the Brooklyn Bridge, a one-way vehicular ramp forced bicycle riders coming from lower Manhattan to make a large lap around the block to reach the bike route; most rode wrong-way up the ramp instead.
|One-way access to the Brooklyn Bridge bike route|
|A riderless pedicab using a brand new lane|
Here are my recommendation to Mayor Bloomberg, who I'm sure is reading this, and to transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan:
New York City needs a bike share program! Transportation in NYC is all about flexibility - take the subway to work, then walk to a nearby restaurant to meet friends, share a taxi over to the Village, maybe catch the bus home. But if you ride a bicycle somewhere, you are stuck with it. If your friends are taking a cab, you have to ride and meet them, or leave the bicycle behind and hope you can come back for it later. With a bike share, that flexibility is restored. It can be substituted for any other mode without committing you for the rest of the day. Friends can spontaneously decide to cycle somewhere together. And theft is not a concern for the rider.
I would also recommend buffered two-way bike lanes, contraflow lanes, and, where feasible, separated bicycle paths that give riders an advantage over traffic. They could also use official recognition of the bicycle delivery operators, and ask them what type of infrastructure they need - priority bicycle parking? They could also support pedicab expansion and freight distribution management.
|The waterfront path|