New York City announces extensive bicycle network

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The Big Apple has announced big plans for a bicycle network that encompasses the addition of 200 miles of new on-street bicycle lanes, routes and pathways in the next three years.

The idea is to improve the health and safety of New Yorkers. The announcement, made by the city's directors of transportation, health, parks and police, cites the deaths of 225 cyclists on city streets in the past decade, as well as chronic health problems of the city's denizens.

In a press release, Transportation Alternatives' Bicycle Program Director Noah Budnick said:

“Three million New Yorkers are overweight, one million have asthma and three-quarter million suffer from diabetes. It is clear more than ever that increasing cycling is a public health issue, as well as one of traffic safety, air quality and economics.”

To back up the need for the bicycle facilities, the city produced “Bicycle Fatalities and Serious Injuries in New York City”, an in-depth study of the causes of the 225 fatalities and where they occurred. Among other findings, it learned:

Of 225 fatalities, only one occurred when a bicyclist was in a marked bicycle lane;
97% of bicyclists who died were not wearing a helmet;
74% of fatal crashes involved a head injury;
89% of fatal crashes occurred near intersections;
Trucks and buses accounted for 32% of bicycle fatalities, but account for 15% of traffic.

New York City already has 420 “lane miles” (one direction of travel) of bike paths, routes, and lanes in place. A 1997 citywide master plan for bicycle facilities called for 1,800 “lane miles” of bike facilities; about 23% are in place.

The breakdown for the 200 miles of bike facilities is 5 miles of Class I separated paths, 150 miles of Class II striped lanes, and 45 miles of Class III signed routes. In addition, the parks department will add 40 miles of greenways within city parks.

There's some question over the exact mileage of the new facilities.  InCity Hall promises major increase in bike lanes on city streets”, The New York Times points out that one mile of roadway, with bike marked bike lanes in each direction,  counts as two miles of bike lanes. Therefore, the 150 miles of Class II striped lanes actually covers about 75 miles of roadway.

Also on tap are mountain bike trails in the South Park section of Fresh Kills, Staten Island, and completion of mountain biking trails in Highland and Cunningham parks in Queens.

Commenters at StreetsBlog cite frustration in trying to find out where those bike lanes will be installed.

The press release: City announces unprecedented citywide bicycle safety improvements.

Photo from Five Boro Bike Tour from cosimoilvecchio at


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