Today’s Solutions: April 23, 2024

There are nearly 800,000 people who cycle the streets of New York regularly. But due to the city’s lack of adequate road infrastructure for bicycles, safety remains a serious issue for many riders and potential cyclists.

Now that’s set to change as the city council gets prepared to build more than 250 miles of new bike lanes and add 1m sq ft of pedestrian space in a landmark move designed to “break the car culture” of the city.

Local officials passed legislation last week that will see $1.7bn invested in road infrastructure over 10 years in a move that it is hoped will save lives and encourage more people to cycle.

The new law requires the city to release and carry out a “master plan” every five years that prioritizes street safety, public transport use, cutting vehicle emissions, and improving access for people with disabilities.

The first plan, due in December 2021, will include 150 miles of bus lanes protected either physically or by a camera and 250 miles of protected bike lanes – meaning they are physically separated from traffic – over five years. The second, due in 2026, will commit to a full, connected cycle lane network, protected bus lanes on all viable routes, and accessible pedestrian signals at 2,500 intersections in five years.

While New York has some way to go before it can compete with cycle-friendly leaders such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam, the new law marks a significant moment for the city, which has prioritized cars since the 1920s.

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