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Location: East side of San Francisco Bay

NYT: In New York, Rush Hour Comes to the Bike Lane

Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:24 pm

. . .Biking has become part of New York’s commuting infrastructure as bike routes have been expanded and a fleet of 10,000 Citi Bikes has been deployed to more than 600 locations. Today there are more than 450,000 daily bike trips in the city, up from 170,000 in 2005, an increase that has outpaced population and employment growth, according to city officials. About one in five bike trips is by a commuter. . . .

Citi Bike alone accounted for a record 70,286 trips last Wednesday, which the program called “the highest single-day ridership of any system in the Western world outside of Paris.” The bike-sharing system in New York has signed up 130,000 riders for annual memberships, up from nearly 100,000 last year.

Still, the surging bike culture has intensified a “bikelash” among some community leaders and residents, who say boorish cyclists speed and run red lights, text while riding, cross onto sidewalks and go the wrong way on streets. Bike lanes and Citi Bike docking stations, critics say, take away space for parking and deliveries and hinder traffic on already-clogged streets. . . .

Polly Trottenberg, the city’s transportation commissioner, said that while her agency was sensitive to such concerns and had tried to minimize disruptions, expanding the biking infrastructure was vital to keeping pace with the soaring population. “We can’t continue to accommodate a lot of the growth with cars,” she said. “We need to turn to the most efficient modes, that is, transit, cycling and walking. Our street capacity is fixed. . . .

Though bike commuters remain just a small fraction of all commuters, New York now has more bike commuters than any other American city, according to an analysis of census data by the League of American Bicyclists. There were 46,057 commuters who primarily biked to work in 2015, or more than double the 16,468 in 2005. . . .

As biking has boomed, the city’s bike routes have grown to 1,133 miles from 513 miles in 2006, including 425 miles of protected bike lanes. The city has focused on bike safety as part of its Vision Zero campaign to eliminate traffic fatalities, committing to build an additional 50 miles of bike lanes every year, including 10 miles of protected bike lanes — a goal that it exceeded last year.

Despite efforts to protect cyclists, biking remains perilous. In June, a 36-year-old investment banker riding a Citi Bike to work in Manhattan was killed in a collision with a charter bus, the first fatality involving the bike-share program.

Nevertheless, a new city report shows that biking has become safer over all. The average rate of cyclists killed or severely injured in crashes with motor vehicles has significantly declined as bike ridership has surged. In 2016, there were 18 cyclist fatalities. . . .

On Hoyt Street, the bicycle crowd squeezes into a one-way bike lane that is nearly as wide as the car lane beside it. On a recent evening, 442 bikes — compared with 331 cars — passed by in one hour, more than three times the 141 bikes counted in the same hour in 2011, according to city data. Two years ago, cars still dominated. . . .

Some nearby residents said they were glad to see so much more biking in the city, even though it has brought more congestion and noise to their doorsteps.

“Rush hour is bad here,” said Jim Kerby, 63, a real estate broker, who often rides a Citi Bike to work. “But it would be so much worse if the bikers were in cars.”

As has been shown by every study, the more cyclists there are the safer they are, because drivers start to expect to see them and look for them. For more on how NYC got to this point (copied from my review in EV Bibliography topic) I recommend:

"Street Fight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution"; Sadik-Khan, Janette, and Solomonow, Seth; 2015. Written by the former (2007-2013) transportation commissioner of New York City under Michael Bloomberg and her PR person in that post, the book details the steps taken over that period to redesign New York City's streets to better serve pedestrians, bike riders and transit users while also improving traffic flow and safety. A real-world 'Complete Streets' how-to manual for reclaiming asphalt from cars, adding public plazas (including closing Broadway between Times and Herald Squares to cars), bike and bus lanes, bike share, pedestrian safety improvements, etc. it also details the pushbacks and often over-the-top claims of opponents of various aspects of the moves, and how that affected the plans. She also describes similar efforts in other cities around the world, both those that she borrowed ideas from, and others where she's consulted since leaving her post. Sadik-Khan says she had a sign over her desk during her tenure that read "To plan is human, to implement, divine," and she managed to implement more change to the physical fabric of NYC in a shorter period of time than anyone since Robert Moses.

That page also recommends "Happy City" by Charles Montgomery and "Walkable City" by Jeff Speck, which I've also listed/reviewed on the EV Bibliography topic, and "How to Kill a City" by Peter Moskowitz, which is about gentrification and which I'm currently reading.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

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