Alex Goldmark is a senior producer in the newsroom for New Tech City and Transportation Nation.
Newark, New Jersey now boasts 277,000 residents and one bike lane. Six more green textured bike paths are set to open by the end of 2012.
The inaugural lane runs eight proud blocks through downtown, roughly half a mile along Washington Street. The official city statement explains: "The route runs by Rutgers-Newark, the Newark Museum, the Newark Public Library, and Washington Park."
Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey, paid for the design work and the city covered the construction costs of $100,000.
Mayor Cory Booker issued an car-metaphor as encouragement to cyclists. "I commend the Department of Engineering and Rutgers-Newark on this partnership, and urge residents to put the pedal to the metal on Washington Street." We assume he means bike pedal.
Newark has invested in other traffic and public spaces redevelopment recently, but not many bike additions. Park expansion has received over $40 million in the past several years, and Newark just launched a $27 million plan for streetscaping, road re-surfacing, traffic calming, and traffic signal installations.
As we've reported previously, pedestrian deaths are correlated with lower income neighborhoods, making Newark is particularly dangerous for pedestrians. Lack of safety-conscious shared street design is part of the reason. So are lack of non-car transport options.
Cycling will, hopefully, get a little safer with these new lanes.
If you live in Newark, here's where the new lanes are coming next: