Send Some Holiday Cheer to NYC Bike Planners [Updated]

Here’s a chance to send some positive reinforcement to the folks who cope with the incessant griping of the SoHo gentry, Williamsburg car owners, Council member Alan Gerson, and others who want to roll back and delay the strides New York City is taking to make streets safer for biking.

A group of cyclists started this petition to thank the planners at DOT for additions to the bike network like Grand Street’s parking protected lane (right). I’ll be adding my name to the list before I head home to light the menorah tonight.

Update: In related news, TA is gathering e-signatures to show support for the Kent Avenue bike lane, countering an opposition that has enlisted local pols — including Council members Yassky and Reyna — to sign a letter calling for space to be given back to parking.

  • signed !

  • MrManhattan

    me too!

  • urban designer

    Bike lanes are for the few and not the masses.

    More public transportation for the average person.

  • Bike lanes are for the few and not the masses.

    They may be now, but in Amsterdam 40% of all traffic movements are made by bicycle, and in Copenhagen 32% of workers commute by bike. Those are the kinds of goals the bike planners are aiming for. Do you have a critique of those goals, or do you have a reason why you think they couldn’t be achieved in New York? Unless you do, statements like the one above are just empty posturing.

  • Streetsman

    Hey I’ll also point out that the bicycle is the most popular vehicle in the world, outnumbering cars by 1.4 billion to 400 million. Don’t tell me they’re not for the masses.

  • Streetsman’s bicycles vs. cars figures look skewed to me. Last time I attempted a tally, for my 2004 entry on bicycling in the Encyclopedia of Energy, I counted 1.2 billion bikes and 600 million cars. That was with year-2000 data. And I’m afraid that cars may have gained on bikes since then.

  • gecko

    #6 Charles Komanoff,

    With the global economic downturn and a growing awareness of the intractable problems caused by automobiles especially with regard to environmental devastation, cycling dominance may improve.

    Key for accelerating dominance would be intense focus on industrial design and development of bicycle and similar technologies that meet developed world needs in terms of safety, practicality, comfort, speed, and range.

    Protected bike lanes like cycle tracks are one simple advance. Easy-to-use folding full-size bikes like SwissBikes and tricycles like Trice are others along with power assists provided by small electric motors. Development and innovations that would allow this technology to serve as both standalone vehicles and modular components in mass transit would provide it with a formidable advantage since it would most likely facilitate safe, hands-free, automated travel.

  • gecko

    #7 gecko (omission),

    The successes and accelerating proliferation of public bike programs such as the Paris Vélib system is another major advance as it likely provides in excess of 200,000 rides per day. A New York system scaled appropriately would likely provide over one million rides each day easily qualifying it as serious mass transit here and now.

  • charles, not sure what your point is. “my inaccurate tally is better than than yours.” i’m sure there are plenty of counts out there on the number of cars vs. bicycles – all wrong. the fact of the matter is that bicycles outnumber cars by a wide margin, even by your incorrect results, thus proving the point streetsman was trying to make – bikes outnumber cars and demand better infrastructure.

    in addition to this, and more appropriately on-topic, i’m afraid that the increase in bicycle usage in new york city far outpaces that of the automobile.

  • ddartley

    Ha. And there was Council Member Reyna at the screening of Contested Streets at the Council’s committee room a couple years ago. It was here on streetsblog, I think, that I first saw the use of the phrase “schizophrenic” to describe simultaneous pro- and anti- bike policies. It appears to be a contagious disorder.

  • gecko

    Global Car Sales Down 21.8% for Toyota
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/25/business/worldbusiness/25toyota.html

    This may give some indication of a sea change; but not conclusive.

    Reports of accelerating use of cycling to get around in the developed world may provide more important insight into how things are changing.

    Bicycle use will be high in those undeveloped places where people cannot afford cars where increased use indicates that large numbers of people are coming out of chronic poverty; which is a good thing.

    A new developed-world sustainable transport and mass transit model (not based on cars and perhaps based on small modular transport and transit vehicles) will go a long way to stop increases in global automobile use and will in all likelihood be extremely cost-effective doing much to assist impoverished areas in pulling themselves out of difficult poverty traps.

  • gecko

    Optimally, broad deployment of a new developed world transport and mass transit model, small modular vehicles become low-cost commodities greatly facilitating human mobility and a new vision of global civilization not unlike that advanced by personal computer, internet, and cell phone technologies.

  • gecko

    Wherein personal computer, internet, and cell phone technologies provide direct contact with the human mind providing substantial amplification, hybrid human-electric and similarly scaled and adaptive vehicles provide direct contact with human self-propulsion extending mobility in the physical world in an extremely elegant and sustainable way. With energy use and emissions very close to that required for human life transport vehicles become no more of a burden than the cloths on our backs with all the advantages.

  • Streetsman

    Frankly I don’t care what the numbers for cars are. If there are a billion bicycles out there in the world, then the “bike lanes are for the few and not the masses” argument is completely debunked. I’d like to know what else that proliferates to the count of a billion should be considered to be for the few and not the masses. Cell phones? Computers? Eyeglasses? Pennies?

  • gecko

    There is a serious problem with the pedagogy and practice of transportation engineering in that there is no understanding of the importance of human-powered and and human-scale transport; doubly so since Dr. Robert Paaswell, Director of the University Transportation Research Center (UTRC) is headquartered here at The City University of New York where substantially increased emphasis on this type of transportation would be transformative in a very good way.

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