Cycle lane row in New York

A row (and a legal case) has broken out in New York about a cycle lane on an affluent street in the city. Not only has the story made the front page of the New York Times, Guardianistas in old blighty have been waving their broadsheets at the flames. Bike blogger Matt Seaton concludes his article:

“New York City justly sees itself as the world's greatest city: here, in some sense, people live the way everyone would live if they had the chance. How New York – the city that still has a uniquely low level of car ownership and use – manages its transport planning in the 21st century matters for the whole world: it is the template. If cycling is pushed back into the margins of that future, rather than promoted, along with efficient mass public transit and safe, pleasant pedestrianism, as a key part of that future, the consequences will be grave and grim.”

Now, I don’t know who is wrong or right in this case. I’ll leave that to people who live within, say, 3,000 miles of New York to decide. This comment below the article in the Guardian caught my eye:

“I live in Brooklyn and feel the need to speak up. While I wholeheartedly agree with [The Guardian] article's final sentence you have to live here to experience the absolute lack of common sense that is used by the city when planning bike lanes.

Instead of introducing them into less busy streets (that still make good route one directional sense for cyclists) bike lanes are often introduced into each local areas' main traffic arteries.

This leads to more bottle necking, traffic jams, aggressive driving and engine idling pollution in communities that had not experienced these urban blights prior to the bike lanes.

I live on Dekalb Avenue in Fort Greene- a busy road, especially during school runs etc and a very popular and busy bus route. Despite this, the traffic moved smoothly a great deal of the time. Since introducing the bike lanes it has become a cluster f***. Running parallel to Dekalb is far quieter street that would have been perfect for a bike lane.

... The law suit has not come about because of peoples' mistrust of the bike and love of the automobile but because we're getting royally pissed off at idiotic decision making.”

Could it be that New York needs Parker’s ‘Compass Colour System’ too? It might reduce the tendency of planners there to attempt to achieve route directness through using main roads. In London, Parker’s system comprises long straight roads connecting all areas of the city, but it manages to do so while predominantly using the generally quieter streets of the LCN.

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