Bicycle Infrastructure Enhances Transport Resilience
Widening the GWB North Path into a modern bikeway will significantly improve the region’s transportation resilience. NYC has seen this phenomena play out many times.
Following Superstorm Sandy, bike travel across East River bridges surged from 13,000 to 30,000 trips per day.1 This was not by chance––the routes had long been put in use, commuters were accustomed to cycling and the East River bridges had surplus capacity.
As part of the planned shutdown of the L-subway, the Williamsburg Bridge was expected to support 14,000 bike commuters per day for fifteen months.2
At the onset of the COVID-19, when residents were encouraged to avoid mass transit, CitiBike use jumped two-thirds.3 As we continue through the pandemic, there is a widespread bike shortage and repair shops are working overtime to meet demand.
Hudson Rail Tunnels, Extreme Weather, Congestion Pricing
Losing the Hudson rail tunnels before replacements are built would reduce train capacity 75%, gridlock the region for four years and cost $16 billion in travel delays.4 Under this scenario, a “complete” GWB could support 20,000 bike commuters per day, including capacity to rebalance bike share.5 6
This same capacity would mitigate weather events, acts of terror, labor outage and global pandemic. Under a congestion pricing program, it would provide an alternative to driving across the GWB and parking in Upper Manhattan.
If funded under the RNMBA, new capacity could be online as soon as 2025.
1 “Sandy Caused a Mini Bike Boom in NYC,” WNYC, 11/5/12, https://tinyurl.com/yalsj74u
2 “City Plans for L Train Closure”, NY Times, 12/13/17, https://tinyurl.com/yc9dtbhc
3 “A Surge in Biking to Avoid Crowded Trains in N.Y.C.,” NY Times, 3/14/20, https://tinyurl.com/y8kypkg6
4 “A Preventable Crisis, The Economic and Human Costs of a Hudson River Rail Tunnel Shutdown,” Regional Plan Association, 02/19, https://tinyurl.com/y8oqzg9r
5 “With tunnel repairs in the offing, bikes are key to keeping people on the move.”, NJ Spotlight, https://tinyurl.com/ya8ffz3e
6 “Where did the metal pole come from that punctured an NJ Transit train?,” NJ.COM, https://tinyurl.com/y9xfns6a