Folding bikes go to New York

8th Avenue, Manhattan – home to some of New York’s new bike lanes


New York City’s seeing some changes, quantifiable ones too, and they’re coming from bicycling.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the good sense of cycling and economics. The report found that in places where New York City had implemented bike lanes, complete streets, and traffic calming that local businesses were thriving. (The data did not include chain businesses.)

If you like economics:

“Using data from the city’s Department of Finance, the DOT found an increase of as much as 49% in retail sales at “locally based businesses” on 9th Avenue from 23rd to 31st Streets since the bike lane was initiated in the fall of 2007. In that time, retail sales increased only 3% in the rest of Manhattan.”

In other words, in the places where pedestrians and bikes could move freely businesses prospered. More evidence that cycling makes sense for the larger community too. So when you’re getting on your bike you’re helping your community as well.

Where to Put these Lanes?

How is a city like New York supposed to know where to put these lanes? The Atlantic Cities weighed in on bike lanes, cycle tracks and infrastructure. The article is based on an upcoming report in Transportation Research Part A, where the authors looked at bike commuters in Portland, Oregon – often lauded as the best cycling city in the US. They followed a group of over 100 experienced bike commuters to see what sort of routes they chose. The impetus of this study is to try to select and identify, for the big picture, in just what sort of places across different metropolitan environments installing bike lanes makes the most sense.

They learned a lot about distance and traffic. Cyclists chose the shortest and most direct route. They tend to avoid heavily trafficked routes and busy intersections with unprotected turns. They will go out of their way in order to utilize protected cycle tracks.

Placing bike infrastructure in the places where it makes the most sense helps keep cyclists safe and can strengthen local business.

Has any new bike infrastructure come to your city?





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