Bicycles are making a big comeback. They’re great for physical health, great for the environment, and they’re even fun. But despite all that, they can’t seem to get out of a catch 22 with their urban surroundings.
In major cities, transportation has become a major problem in all of its forms. From individual cars to the carpool services springing up to alleviate them, to buses and the entire lanes reserved for them, to subway systems and the invasive construction required to build for them – no solution seems available that doesn’t cause more problems in the meantime.
And then, there are cyclists: those individual people willing to take it upon themselves to abandon automated transportation altogether in exchange for their beloved two wheels. However, getting those wheels out on the actual road is ranging anywhere from difficult to downright impossible these days. Cars, buses, trains and more threaten their safety, and the bike lanes springing up one little block at a time that are meant to encourage more cycling merely get people out on their bicycles, only to realize just how unsafe that really is.
But most places would truly benefit from more people on their bicycles, right? If that’s the case – and it most certainly is – the best solution is to get a comprehensive and complete bike lane system out on the streets all at once, and as fast as possible. It’s an investment that most cities keep putting back on the shelf, despite the calls constantly coming in about bike and car collisions.
Except for New York, that is.
New York has finally committed to making their 5 Burroughs a safer and cleaner place for its cyclists and pedestrians. The ‘Streets Master Plan’ was recently approved to add 250 new miles of bike lanes around the city that are physically separated from automobile traffic – as well as 1 million square feet of pedestrian space – to protect all of those who are helping protect the environment by ditching their vehicles.
“Our streets [have] made no sense for far too long, and New Yorkers pay the price every day stuck on slow buses or as pedestrians and cyclists on dangerous streets,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “We need faster buses, safer streets, and more pedestrian space. We need to do everything we can to encourage sustainable modes of transportation…the legislation will require the Department of Transportation to implement a transportation master plan every five years. The plan’s goals would be to prioritize the safety of all street users, the use of mass transit, the reduction of vehicle emissions, and access for individuals with disabilities. This plan will get us there, and by doing so it will make New York City a much more livable and enjoyable place to call home.”
The city hopes to set a new precedent encouraging other cities around the country and elsewhere to reimagine their local transportation.