NEW YORK—Cyclists in NYC should be jumping for joy, or perhaps riding for joy—or just joy riding. The Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrien Benepe announced on Wednesday the completion of a three year project to add 200 miles of bike lanes to the five boroughs.
The initiative came about as a reaction to 2005 cycling death statistics and a study that found that cyclists are safest riding in bike lanes and wearing helmets.
“With the completion of this initiative, we can now state firmly that New York City is the bicycling capital of the United States,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan “This two-hundred mile growth spurt has transformed our bike network into a robust transportation system, a true backbone that connects the City’s neighborhoods and helps get cyclists to their destinations safely. By clearly marking our road space, these new lanes also pull double duty as anchors to our traffic-calming projects citywide, creating even safer streets for pedestrians and motorists.”
According to the DOT the initiative has already paid off by encouraging more New Yorkers to choose cycling as a viable commuting option. According to their figures, there has been at least a 45 percent increase in commuter cycling since the project began in 2006.
“New York City is increasingly a great place for cyclists, and with today’s completion of the 200th bike-lane mile added in the past three years, there are even more opportunities for New Yorkers to commute or ride for recreation,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Our parks and waterfronts are also endowed with miles of greenways and thousands of acres to explore. It is great to work with DOT and all of the agencies involved with this important initiative to increase bicycling awareness and opportunities.”
In addition to the 200 miles of additional bike lanes the DOT has also installed 4.9 miles of bike paths physically sheltered from traffic, 20 sheltered bike parking structures and 6,100 bike racks. It has also focused on providing safe passage on the four major bridges connecting the boroughs, and on clear and ample signage for cyclists. All of this is part of an overall plan to make cycling a viable commuting option for more New Yorkers.
The Dot also says that it is on target to reach a goal of 1,800 bike-lane miles (that’s on streets and in parks) by the year 2030, as put forth in something called the City’s Bike Master Plan.