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New York Bike Lanes Explained 2

Bicycling in New York City

Photo by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country

New York developed 320km of bicycle routes in just 3 years – and bicycling is on the rise. Ridership has increased by 26% between 2008-2009 and more than doubled since 2005.

New York City had announced its ambitious plan in 2006 – and completed its implementation in 2009. Further progress has extended beyond 2009, and in the past four years, the city has implemented more than 400km of bike infrastructure.

All it took was a vision, and the will – two things we are desperately lacking in Toronto, Canada these days.

Despite all of New York’s progress, some residents have been protesting against the bicycle infrastructure, and the city has been removing some bicycle infrastructure after a backlash from residents and businesses – as reported today in the New York Times.

Apparently bike lanes infringe on driver’s “rights” (from the same article):

“He’s taking away my rights as a driver,” Leslie Sicklick, 45, said of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Ms. Sicklick, a dog walker and substitute teacher, grew up driving with her father around the Lower East Side, where she still lives.

Somehow I don’t have any sympathy for Ms. Sicklick. There are still plenty of lanes for automobiles in New York City.

Streetfilms posted a wonderful film last month where New York’s Department of Transportation (DOT) explains the different types of bike lanes that have been implemented throughout New York City over the past few years.

The film features the Project Managers who were tasked with implementing bike infrastructure explain the thinking behind each type of bike lane that New York has implemented:

The film brought back fond memories of when I last visited New York in March. I remember one particular crisp, beautiful Sunday where my friends George, Mark and I were riding around the city for the better part of the day.

While riding under the Brooklyn Bridge, I was loudly singing Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” to the echo of the underbelly of the historic 1883 bridge.

If I can make it there

I’ll make it anywhere

It’s up to you

New York, New York

I want to wake up in that city

That never sleeps

And find I’m king of the hill

Top of the list

Head of the heap

King of the hill

Oh how I adore you New York, New York.

James D. Schwartz is the editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at

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