Streams

Biking on the Rise in the City, DOT Says

Friday, April 29, 2011

WNYC
Bikers riding through Central Park in the 34th annual 5 Boro Bike Tour. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

The number of those biking in the city is increasing while those taking mass transit or driving has nearly leveled off, a new report found.

The findings, part of the Sustainable Streets Index report by the city Department of Transportation, found bicycle commuting into Manhattan increased by 13 percent in 2010. During that same period, subway and bus ridership dropped by a little more than 2 percent, and car traffic rose slightly.

Commuting by bike in New York City increased by 262 percent in the past 10 years. Bicyclists now make up a third of the evening rush hour traffic along major bike routes in Brooklyn and Manhattan. On top of that, more than half a million adult New Yorkers ride bicycles at least several times a month.

"I think if you build it they will come," Department of Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said of newly constructed bike lanes. "They'll come if you build a safe, effective network that connects neighborhoods where people want to bike."

Critics say bike lanes take up too much road space and make it harder for cars to navigate the city. But the report touts the installation of traffic-calming features like pedestrian malls, street-narrowing and removing through-lanes for turning bays.

Other findings:

  • Traffic speeds in Midtown Manhattan improved by six percent between the fall of 2008 and the fall of 2009, and then leveled off in 2010.
  • Ridership on crosstown buses dropped 5 percent — except on 34th Street, which has dedicated lanes and countdown clocks.
  • January is the fastest month for overall traffic speed in New York. December is the slowest.
  • After the city began a pilot program that allowed businesses to take late-hour and early morning deliveries, delivery companies saw vehicle travel times improve 130 percent compared to evening and midday travel speeds. Sadik-Khan said the program will be made permanent and expanded.
  • New parking meters in Park Slope, Brooklyn, that raise prices during times of high demand reduced parking duration by 20 percent, enabling more drivers to find metered spaces and reducing overall traffic volumes on the neighborhood's main commercial avenues.

 

Courtesy of DOT

Courtesy of DOT

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