Just yesterday, The Observer was thinking what the city really needed was wider sidewalks, not more bike lanes. Turns out we need both, as pedestrians have risen 13 percent in the past four years, but that is nothing compared to the 102 percent jump in bicycle commuters over the same period.
The Department of Transportation just announced the increase, which is up an even more staggering 289 percent since 2001. There were 18,846 cyclists measured on the city’s streets per day this year, compared to 17,491 last year, a gain of 7.7 percent. A new report from the DOT also finds that streets with bike lanes on them are 40 percent safer than those without.
But where to park all those bikes? The department has announced that it is replacing some 6,000 parking meters with new bike racks, now that the city has done away with the old coin-operated meters. The department has already installed 175 such parking poles. “Our infrastructure needs to keep pace with new demands on city streets,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “By transforming obsolete parking meters into off-the-rack bike parking, we are recycling old facilities to meet this growing need.”
Maybe they could recycle the BQE while they’re at it.