Image NY Times.
Proposal to implement Intro 1933-2020 with a series of “linear parks”
A proposal to implement City Council Intro 1933-2020 by creating series of “linear parks” across the five Boroughs. The plan creates hundreds of miles of bikeable routes for New York City’s 800,000 cyclists crowded out of existing paths by social distancing users.
These routes aggregate existing on-road bike lanes, separated bike paths, low-intensity residential streets and industrial areas that get little traffic on weekends. The proposal can be accomplished quickly and cheaply by the Departments of Transportation and Parks & Recreation via posting on GPS instructions, paper maps and on-road signage.
Proposed linear parks range from eight to fifty miles. They pass through Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx. Some begin-and-end in Manhattan.
They incorporate elements of group rides organized by bike clubs, “event” rides like Tour de Bronx; “numbered” routes based on the U.S. Bicycle Route System, the Old Croton Aqueduct Historic State Park (37 miles) and the 1997 NYC Bicycle Master Plan.
The routes largely avoid popular, already crowded shared-use paths like Hudson Greenway, Prospect Park and Central Park. Note that the Central Park Conservancy just called for “fast” group riding to conclude by 7AM.
The routes frequently skirt city parks to provide rest stop opportunities. It’s therefore critical that these bathrooms be kept in operation. While this will incur incremental expense, the overall outlay for the scale of new facilities created will be very cheap.
Because this proposal does not call for moveable barriers, nor active enforcement of social distancing guidelines, it does not require involvement by NYPD.
The routes also take advantage of depressed car travel.
The proposal can be implemented immediately, and at negligible cost, by posting links to gps data, turn-by-turn cue sheets and maps. As the routes gain acceptance, they can be enhanced with signage and on-street improvements.
Creates extended opportunities for exercise and recreational for the City’s 800,000 cyclists. By contrast, current plans to implement 1933-2020, are optimized for local, pedestrian use.
This proposal capitalizes on the current trend towards “staycations” by facilitating inexpensive travel within the City. It highlights neighborhood restaurants by encouraging takeout for consumption at nearby parks. If the City undertakes this, it might ask NYCEDC to promote it.
Given the distances traveled, these routes will likely serve to bridge the “transportation deserts.” Routes looping out of Manhattan would supplement mass transit for daily commutes.
Because these routes are likely to have durable value, it will be worthwhile for DOT to invest in Vision Zero improvements.
Offering bicyclists alternatives to existing shared use paths, will reduce user density, decreasing the potential for conflict between classes of users.
• London to transform streets to prepare for a 10-fold increase in cycling and walking – Smart Cities World, 5/7/2020
• How Paris became a cycling success story—and built a roadmap for other cities – Curbed, 1/31/2020
• Deaths Expose Chaos of Central Park Loop, NY Times, 9/28/2014
• Woman brain-dead after getting hit by cyclist in Central Park – NY Post, 9/18/2014
Image NY Post.
Below are examples of linear parks. Each comprises a GPS file (requires free RidewithGPS account), turn-by-turn printed directions and maps – “red” is outbound, “blue” is the return.
Neile Weissman is Past-President and current Public Relations Director for New York Cycle Club. He organizes 50+ rides per year, including the New Paltz and Greenport Weekends and the Fall Foliage series. Neile also heads up Complete George – 250 organizations and communities calling for wider bikeways across the George Washington Bridge.