Thursday, September 27, 2007

A small step in the right direction

The only way any city can really become bike friendly is to provide bike paths that get you from point A to point B. Not bike paths, but separate bike lanes. A lot more people would bike if they could where they’re going without having to fight traffic for the bulk of their trip. Traffic scares people from biking (as I suppose it should) because you can do everything right and still be killed. Personally, I worry that I’m not scared enough.

Good bike lanes that actually take you places are still a distant dream in New York. Even the East River bridges, which actually have great bike lanes, don’t really help get people on bikes because the bridge approaches are shamefully horrible. See, for instance, all the bikes going the wrong way off the Queensboro Bridge because both sides put you in places where you can’t legally bike anywhere you want to go. The Queens side in the most shameful because there are two unused lanes: one empty Jersey-Barriered lane that could be used. And another lane occupied by illegal parked (city-related) cars. Space is the not the issue. Priorities are. And until bikes are deemed more important than illegal car parking, all the bikes will continue to bike the wrong way down the street.

But this is a start. They call it a Copenhagen-style bike lane. Call it what you will. It’s great. But it’s only for 5 blocks from 16th St to 23rd St on 9th Ave. I don’t know how they will judge this a success or failure. But it is the answer.

Speaking of space, New York City has lots of space. But it’s all for cars. I don’t like cars. But I hate parked cars even more. At least driven cars are actually helping somebody get somewhere. Parked cars just take up space. Subsidized public space. In a city that has very little space for people.
(I stole both the pics from Transportation Alternatives, my source for all this)

I love when people do this. People in cities are good at using small spaces. And parking spaces aren’t actually that small. One bench is a lot better than one car. Parking for 10 bikes is also a lot better than parking for 1 car.

The bike parking problem in New York could be solved if one car parking space were fitted with a bike rack (or if they put parking meters back). So simple. So easy. So not going to happen.

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