Saturday, September 22, 2007

NYC Gets It's First Ever Cycleways Seperated from Traffic

New York City has just announced plans (PDF) for its first cycleways, seperated from traffic by a lane of parked cars.

And who do we have to thank for this brilliant idea?

DOT planners consulted with Danish urban designer Jan Gehl on the plan, according to Transportation Alternatives Deputy Director Noah Budnick. "They are drawing from international best-practice and being smart about talking to other engineers and planners who have implemented these types of designs," Budnick said. "They really thought holistically about everything that is going on on the street."

Anyone got that human cloning thing figured out yet? We could do with a few more like Jan.

I have yet to find a good guide to cycleway design in cities but there are a few general points that are fairly obvious...and some cities take these seriously while others simply don't. Jan says that a cycle lane that isn't safe for children, the elderly and those with imperfect motor skills is virtually worthless. Cycle lanes painted onto roads may give cyclists more sense of ownership over the road but they do little to widen the demographic of those who see cycling as a viable alternative to cars or transit.

In Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and a few other true 'cycle cities' watching people on bikes you can see businessmen with brief cases, women in smart dresses, five your old children, young other words just about every age and economic grouping of people. Is that the same where you live? Without safe cycle lanes the age barriers at both ends of the spectrum are particularly evident.

As an aside: cycling sexy?

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