De Blasio: Protected Bike Lanes Are A "Success"

Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - 02:18 PM

Brooklyn's Prospect Park West bike lane

New York City mayoral frontrunner Bill de Blasio has come a long way since his days of opposing the Prospect Park West bike lane.  At a speech Tuesday afternoon before a group of urban innovators, de Blasio said, "We see the success of the New York City’s bicycling program. Biking is up 60 percent since 2008. The designs innovated for the streets of Chelsea and the East Village are now seen in protected bike lanes on the National Mall in Washington DC, on Market Street in San Francisco and in cities across the country."

As Public Advocate, de Blasio frequently criticized Bloomberg and his DOT Commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, for what he called "imposing" bike lanes on communities. And one of his financial "bundlers" is Jim Walden, the lawyer for the group that sued to remove the Prospect Park West Bike Lane. 

But at a forum I moderated in Park Slope during the primary, de Blasio said he'd come to the position that his initial opposition was "wrong" and that the protected bike lane "worked."

Both de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota spoke to conferees at the City Lab conference Tuesday, sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies.  Lhota, who once ran the nation's largest transit system, gave a boilerplate stump speech, focusing on things like charter schools.  And while de Blasio gave his most impassioned remarks on creating universal pre-K, he did give a well-researched introduction on the "Role of Cities as Force for Progressive Change," as he titled his speech.

De Blasio, who towered over his host, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as he took the stage, had praise for Bloomberg at the event, which was attended by the mayor, deputy mayor Howard Wolfson, and New York's transportation commissioner Sadik-Khan.

De Blasio also gave a shout-out to the mayor for his plans on climate change adaptation.

"And in this Administration’s final year," he said, "the mayor rightly put forward a bold blueprint to bolster resiliency and protect New York City’s 520 miles of coastline from the threat of climate change – a move that I predict will influence coastal cities around the world as they grapple with this emerging threat."


Comments [7]

Chang from NYC

Bike path (protected bike lanes) do not increase commerce, traffic flow in Manhattan. Ask store owners who need space for delivery. It may protect bikers but not drivers who have to park backing up towards fast approaching cars. Also drivers have to drive next to parked cars in narrowed two lane road like PPW. It can increase number of minor accidents while decrease serious ones, because drivers have less reacting time from popping up pedestrians, bikers and doors. PPW record may prove this. This point that point, bikers versus drivers are exactly the problem. Biking should be encouraged to the group of people who own cars to reduce congestion. So only discussion by the group who are doing both is qualified. That is the merit to persuade bikers who will free space by cars and good for traffic flow. No point of arguing with bikers who don't own cars but just biking. Nonsense. I'm surprised some bikers are criticizing bike behaviors. They must have driving experience. BTW, sorry this site is not for bike critic like me. I think city DOT is occupied by bikers who are hostile to cars because they don't even have driving experience so what is the point of promoting cycling Manhattan? I better stop here.

Dec. 12 2013 06:48 AM
seth from the EV from East Village

I'm a 30 years plus NYC biker and I've welcomed the welcomed the bike lane program with open arms. But, and the City has got to begin enforcing good bike behavior. It's maddening that they dont. Just the other day I was biking in the bike lane on 1st ave. As I approached 13th street going North, a biker is a hundred yards ahead going full speed is heading towards me, I pull over and to my right and there is a police car parked with two cops in it. I'm watching the bike bare down and I look to the cop car to see if they see him. They look up and the guy at that moment zips passed. I say to them, "Did you see that?" and one of them just puts up his hands as if to say, "What am I going to do?"

Until the City starts to ticket these bad biker jerks, a large contingent of the population (bikers and non bikers) will object to the expansion of bike lanes. It's a pity cause it wouldn't take that much to begin to ticket biking enfractions. Wake up New York!


Oct. 19 2013 12:39 PM

"The designs innovated for the streets of Chelsea and the East Village are now seen in protected bike lanes on the National Mall in Washington DC, on Market Street in San Francisco and in cities across the country."

Why not mention PPW? Because the NBBLers would get upset. And as Norm Steisel is now on his transition team, and Jim Walden a key fundraiser, why should we expect any expansion of protected lanes under a de Blasio administration?

As for the earlier comments about protected bike lanes taking parking spaces, it is actually the turning lanes for cars that are taking away parking. And as a person who drives in Manhattan, I have to say that these turning lanes, and the reduced roadway widths, have made driving a calmer and more rational experience.

Oct. 09 2013 11:19 PM
Bronxite from New York City

NYC Cycler,

Protected bicycle lanes have also reduced collisions at intersections. Bicyclist are expected/predictable by drivers along those routes. Including dedicated bicycle signaling, turning bays with signage and designated lines.

As for parking spaces, few are eliminated. Worthy in a city where most residents and visitors do not drive, and safety improvements are dramatic.

Oct. 09 2013 01:05 PM
NYC Cycler from NYC

Funny how everything JSK and the Department of Transporation Alternatives does is always immediately deemed a "success".

By themselves, that is. Tea Party-esque, if you ask me.

Fact is that this "protection" has been proven to offer no additional benefit over traditional painted bike lanes. Stands to reason, almost all collisions occur at intersections, where there's no "protection" at all.

But they do eliminate parking spaces, which seems to be their primary concern. Their outright hatred of all motorists is all too apparent if you look at any of their sites or blogs.

Oct. 09 2013 12:06 PM
Bronxite from New York City


I disagree. Protected bicycle lanes have increased safety, commerce, bicycling and improved automobile traffic flows. Statistically proven and is being increasingly implemented internationally.

I do not see much sidewalk riding in this city. There are too many obsticales to reach speed (pedestrians, signs, trash, scaffolding, etc).

I am happy to read that De Blasio has changed his tune, now in favor of bicycle infrastructure and other forms of traffic calming...Hopefully not just political rhetoric.

Oct. 09 2013 12:05 PM
Juliet Milkens from Park Slope

Bill de Blasio says that " protected bike lanes are a success" . A success for whom ? It has not been a "success" for those of us who live in the immediate vicinity -it has not helped to deter cyclists from riding on the sidewalk and surely no one could argue that vast numbers of people actually use the Bike Lane. It has certainly not been a success in terms of having added to the attractiveness of what had once been called one of the " jewels of Brooklyn".

Oct. 09 2013 11:42 AM

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