New York Cover Story Prompts Mayoral Response

The latest issue of New York features a cover story on one of the city’s hottest topics: The bike lane debate. [Editor’s note: I’m a cyclist, and the best way to sum up this debate is that a few idiots from each side have turned this thing into a shit show.] The article thankfully takes time to present all sides of the argument, but there are still some fantastic quotes, like this one:

The anarchy that has been allowed to prevail is astonishing. According to butterfly theory, according to chaos theory, I am sure that the level of emotional and psychological damage wrought by the bicycle far exceeds the damage done by cars. It is homegrown terrorism. The cumulative effect is equivalent to what happened on 9/11.

And that’s an ex-bike shop owner! But hey, the guy has theories backing him – so he must not be overreacting.

Aside from crazy quotes, the article is so good that it prompted a response from our Deputy Mayor, Howard Wolfson. Check out the memo and the pro bike lane stats from Wolfson after the jump.

In light of this week’s New York magazine article about bike lanes I thought you might find the below useful.
• The majority of New Yorkers support bike lanes. According to the most recent
Quinnipiac poll, 54 percent of New York City voters say more bike lanes are
good “because it’s greener and healthier for people to ride their bicycles,” while
39 percent say bike lanes are bad “because it leaves less room for cars which
increases traffic.”
• Major bike lane installations have been approved by the local Community Board,
including the bike lanes on Prospect Park West and Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn
and on Columbus Avenue and Grand Street in Manhattan. In many cases, the
project were specifically requested by the community board, including the four
projects mentioned above.
• Over the last four years, bike lane projects were presented to Community Boards
at 94 public meetings. There have been over 40 individual committee and full
community board votes and/or resolutions supporting bike projects.
• Projects are constantly being changed post-installation, after the community
provides input and data about the conditions on the street. For example:
o The bike lane on Columbus Avenue was amended after installation to
increase parking at the community’s request.
o Bike lanes on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg and on Father Capodanno
Blvd. in Staten Island were completely removed after listening to
community input and making other network enhancements.
• 255 miles of bike lanes have been added in the last four years. The City has 6,000
miles of streets.
• Bike lanes improve safety. Though cycling in the city has more than doubled in
the last four years, the number of fatal cycling crashes and serious injuries has
declined due to the safer bike network.
• When protected bike lanes are installed, injury crashes for all road users (drivers,
pedestrians, cyclists), typically drop by 40 percent and by more than 50 percent in
some locations.
• From 2001 through 2005, four pedestrians were killed in bike-pedestrian
accidents. From 2006 through 2010, while cycling in the city doubled, three
pedestrians were killed in bike-pedestrian accidents.
• 66 percent of the bike lanes installed have had no effects on parking or on the
number of moving lanes.