NYC Bike Lanes are Impressive

Posted by in Alternative & Eco-Living, Articles | 10 comments

It’s been three years since my last visit to New York and at that time I was reading that Mayor Bloomberg was proposing separated bike lanes similar to those in the Netherlands. I wasn’t sure how it would all work out given that traffic in the city is so crazy; ie. no one seems to stay within their own lanes. But, lo and behold – his vision has materialized! I was very impressed with the pedestrian and bike friendly sections of a few busy streets, especially the 7th avenue/Broadway stretch. Not only are there separated bike lanes, there are bistro tables and planters overflowing with flowers separating the traffic from the more pedestrian-related oases.(If you look closely at this photo below, you’ll see a person in a motorized scooter using the bike lane – that’s universal planning for ya’!)

Bike lane on 7th avenue around 57th street

Bike lane on 7th avenue around 57th street

I still didn’t have the guts to rent a bike and try these lanes out for myself, of course the rain helped me confirm that decision, but it’s a great start in the right direction given that Manhattan is only a few miles wide (under 3) by 13.4 miles long. If there weren’t any cars at all, a person could quickly pedal from the far end of the island to the tip within a little over an hour. A while back, I was under the impression that Bloomberg was trying to limit the amount of private vehicles entering NYC, but I’m guessing this is very political and difficult to do.

Bike Signal Light

Bike Signal Light

However, the plan is for me to visit New York again next June, given that my sister’s wedding plans all work out. I think a definite “must-do” will be trying out these fantastic bike lanes. I love New York (in the Spring and Summer, that is. 😉 )

Have you given these bike lanes a try? Are there new bike lanes appearing in your neighborhood?

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  1. krantcents

    I think I would only attempt riding my bike in NYC on a Sunday in Central Park! I still remember the way the taxi cabs drive in the city.

  2. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

    They are starting to put in a few lanes where we live and they do help but our city is still way behind others. I am hoping that changes soon.

  3. Little House

    It’s funny you mention Sunday; that was exactly what I was thinking when I was there! 😉 There’s much less traffic overall on that particular day and I think I’d stick with just the bike lane on 7th riding toward and into central park – much safer!

  4. Little House

    @Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter
    My city is behind as well. They’ve put in a few bike lanes, or signs indicating “share the road” but then no bike lane. It’s really difficult to change the road infrastructure to accommodate bikes after the fact. It’s really too bad since biking is so efficient – you actually move quite quickly without exerting much effort.

  5. MoneyCone

    I wish more cities had this! Good public transport, cabs everywhere, you can bike or walk – what’s not to love!

  6. Glen Craig

    The new bike lanes and traffic changes are awesome. I love how Bloomberg is moving the city in a more people-friendly direction. He’s taken a lot of flack but I think he’s really improved the quality of life.

    I’ve ridden many of the lanes throughout the five boroughs as part of the NYC Century Tour (though it does start early on a Sunday it lasts all day).

    It’s funny you say how you say you didn’t have the guts to try the lanes out. I find the bike messengers to be insane at times, riding with no care whatsoever. They can easily be more dangerous than the cars.

    Next time your in NYC let me know! I’m just outside the city limits (used to work in Manhattan).

  7. Little House

    I totally agree! If I could find a city on the west coast that was this walkable, I’d move there in a heartbeat. (I know someone is going to mention San Fran, but my husband won’t event think about it. ;))

  8. Little House

    @Glen Craig
    Thanks Craig for letting me know you live close by. I really do want to test out these lanes next year when I visit for my sister’s wedding. I’ll keep you posted!

  9. Everyday Tips

    I would love if bicycle lanes were in our area. If it can work in New York City, then it could work anywhere.

    • Little House

      @Everyday Tips – I totally agree! NYC streets aren’t that wide to begin with, so if they can make room for separated bike lanes, then most cities can do this. It’s just a matter of getting the right steam behind the movement and having someone, like a mayor, step up and take charge.

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