CITY ON AN UP 'CYCLE': 143% jump in pedalers
The spokes are really flying around the Big Apple. Scores of new bike lanes and a sour economy have led to a surge in people pedaling to work, data released yesterday show.
The number of bicycle commuters surged by 18,000 from 2007 to 2008, according to numbers from the city and advocacy groups. An estimated 185,000 people pedaled to the office in 2008, compared to 76,000 in 2000 -- a 143 percent increase, according to the figures provided by Transportation Alternatives.
The reason, officials and cyclists say, is the hundreds of miles of new bike lanes and the recently tanking financial picture.
"I save at least $60 a month on subway fares, $100 on parking and $100 on gas," said West Village resident Michael Pavlakos. "My bike costs me $50 a year in repairs. So I ride it even more because of the economy."
Over the past three years, the city Department of Transportation laid down about 620 miles of lanes, some separated from busy roads with paint and pylons.
Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said it's those lanes -- not the streets -- that will handle the 1 million more people projected to move into the city in the near future. "We can't compensate for more people by double-decking the road network," she told The Post. "We're looking to create a [bike-lane grid] for cyclists to go from Point A to Point B without getting off."
She also praised proposed legislation in the City Council that would make more building owners accept riders storing bikes in their offices. "That would ensure the bike is going to be there when they need it," Sadik-Khan said, noting that riders are worried about bike theft.
Recently, the MTA approved 10 percent fare hikes and the state Legislature agreed to increase the price of driver's-license renewals and car registrations. "People are bring priced out of driving and priced out of transit," said Wiley Norvell, spokesman for Transportation Alternatives. "Any time that happens, you usually see a boost in people biking to work every day."
But bike theft is still a problem, cyclists said, and some want more bike racks around the city. "The city still has a lot to do with parking," said East Village resident Paul Heck, who bikes to work every day. Sadik-Khan said there are more than 6,000 racks in the city now, with more on the way.
TA's biking numbers, which go back to 1980, are based on DOT counts of cyclists who ride into Midtown and lower Manhattan every day and are projected for the entire city. in New York Post, 15 Maio 2009
Foto: Nova Iorque ja tem mais de 1000 km de bike-lanes, implementadas nas faixas de rodagem e nunca em passeios. Nota: os sublinhados sao nossos.