Today’s Solutions: June 13, 2024

Since the start of the pandemic last year, an increasing number of cities worldwide have seen an uptick in the number of people embracing cycling as a means of transportation. In New York, for example, cycling has increased by 52 percent over the city’s bridges.

To recognize the important role bikes play in the city’s day to day life, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has recently revealed “radical” plans to turn vehicle lanes into cycling paths on two of the city’s historic bridges. The move is part of the city’s post-pandemic recovery plans and will also involve building five bicycle streets across the city.

“The Brooklyn Bridge and the Queensboro Bridge are iconic and deeply intertwined in the daily lives of countless New Yorkers,” said De Blasio. “Now, it’s time to bring them into the 21st century and embrace the future with a radical new plan.”

As part of the scheme, called Bridges for the People, cars will be banned from the innermost lane of the Manhattan-bound side of the 152-year-old Brooklyn Bridge, which will be turned into a two-way cycle path. This path will be protected from traffic, and the existing walkway — which is currently shared with bikers — will become pedestrian-only.

On the 112-year-old Queensboro Bridge, the outer road heading north will be turned into a two-way cycle lane and the southbound outer road will be designated for pedestrians only. Construction to create the cycle and pedestrian lanes will begin this year.

“Converting car lanes into bike lanes on two of our most important bridges is a giant leap forward for New York City,” said campaign group Transportation Alternatives. “We are thrilled that Mayor de Blasio has taken up our Bridges 4 People campaign with his Bridges for the People plan.”

But the plans for improving the city’s biking culture go beyond redesigning the lanes on the two bridges. The Mayor also pledged to build five so-called Bike Boulevards in 2021. These will be streets where bicycle traffic will have priority, and which will feature “unique design elements” to slow traffic and protect cyclists.

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