Big Apple named Top US Cycling City for first time

By Bill Parry

One week after Sunnyside became the first neighborhood in Queens to be designated a Bike Friendly Business District, New York City was honored as the Top U.S. Cycling City by Bicycling Magazine.

The publisher highlighted the city Department of Transportation for its sustained and continuing efforts to engineer safer streets for cyclists and investments in infrastructure as the reason the city moved into the top spot from seventh place two years ago.

“Since Bicycling’s 2012 ranking, the cycling landscape in New York City has undergone a radical transformation,” Bicycling Editor-in-Chief Bill Strickland said. “More than 96,000 annual members subscribe to the nation’s largest bike share, Citi Bike, and over 350 miles of new bike lanes have finished installation. Mayor Bill de Blasio has publicly vowed that by 2020 bicycling trips will double citywide. The dedication by advocates, cyclists and the DOT to making NYC streets safe for riding has landed NYC deservedly at the top of our list.”

Every day there are 342,000 trips made by bike citywide, while 54,000 of those trips are to and from work. There was a 9 percent increase in cycling in one year alone from 2012-13, according to the DOT’s In-Season Cycling Indicator, which tracks ridership over time.

New York City now has over 900 miles of bike lanes with more than 600 of those on city streets. This year the DOT is on pace to add more than 58 bike lanes to the network, including new ones in Long Island City and Ridgewood.

“As Bicycling Magazine notes, New York has, against the odds, embraced and has been transformed by a mode of transportation which is inexpensive, burns no fuel, emits no carbon, helps tackle obesity, connects people to their communities and, let’s face it, brings joy,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said. “New Yorkers love to cycle and they bring an energy and passion that only this city can produce.”

The DOT released a three-year study that shows that on streets with protected bike lanes, injuries to all street users declined by 20 percent. The agency also announced that it will add 5 miles of protected paths each year, the equivalent of 100 city blocks.

“New York’s growing number of bike lanes, greenways and bike share stations all demonstrate that the city has undergone a rapid makeover,” Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White said. “Even faster than the transformation of our physical infrastructure, however, is the transformation we’ve seen in our political infrastructure. From local businesses to community boards to the new City Council, New York City’s body politic is now demanding the next generation of arterial expansions to our bike network.

“This bodes well for the mayor’s goal of a significant increase in bicycling over the next six years.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr‌y@cng‌local.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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