Bike and Pedestrian Improvements Boost Vehicle Speeds in NYC

New data from New York's Transportation Department shows that although miles of Manhattan street space have been turned over to bikes and pedestrians since 2008, average traffic speeds have actually increased, despite a consistent volume of vehicles.

Something funny has happened south of 60th Street in Manhattan, where new bike lanes and pedestrian plazas have popped up in recent years. New data shows that Mayor Bloomberg's "war on cars" has actually been a boon to traffic flow, benefiting the city's many modes of transportation. 

"Citing GPS data from the city’s yellow cabs, the Bloomberg administration said that average traffic speeds in Manhattan’s primary central business district, south of 60th Street, had increased nearly 7 percent since 2008," reports Matt Flegenheimer.

“We’re not, despite our reputation, trying to take from one and give to the other,” Bruce Schaller, the department’s deputy commissioner for traffic and planning, said. “It isn’t a zero-sum game.”

Not all are convinced of the benevolent impact of expanding bike and pedestrian infrastructure, however. "Christopher McBride, a transportation specialist with AAA New York, noted that while traffic volumes had been fairly consistent in recent years, they had decreased significantly compared with 10 to 15 years ago, suggesting that some commuters had simply given up on Midtown driving in the Bloomberg years," notes Flegenheimer.

“It is more of a hassle now than ever to drive into the central business district,” he said. “Some of these changes that have occurred, they’re more intimidating for drivers. And a lot of parking has been eliminated.”

Full Story: In Bloomberg’s City of Bike Lanes, Data Show, Cabs Gain a Little Speed

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