Op-Ed: NYC Making Progress on Bike Network Access, Should Do More

2019 was the first year in which New York City's Department of Transportation kept affected bike lanes open during the UN's General Assembly. That should be a sign of things to come, advocates argue.

November 25, 2019, 5:00 AM PST

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


New York Bike Signage

William Perugini / Shutterstock

"Every year — until this one — the city shuttered Manhattan's First and Second Avenue protected bike lanes 'in the 40s' during [the] United Nations General Assembly in September," write Laura Shepard and Jon Orcutt of Bike New York. "This year, however, the city maintained bike access on both avenues — by far the most important and heavily used East Side bicycle routes."

"The significance of the change goes well beyond two avenues during a week in September. It's a sign that city government is moving away from its practice of establishing bike lanes and then ignoring them," they continue.

They argue the city should double down on that policy. For example, DOT should consider bike network operation and maintenance a priority on par with street maintenance. And it should deploy a dedicated team to enforce bike access around construction sites. 

Finally, DOT needs to provide more notice to cyclists when routes close or conditions change, again on par with what it provides to drivers. "DOT issues dozens of street closure and detour notices for motorists every week; the agency must start thinking about other street users as part of this routine."

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