Mayor Bloomberg built 300 miles of bike paths. File it under “enlightened leadership.” It certainly didn’t happen because of a sudden groundswell of support for biking in New York City.
The big question now is whether they will come.
One step that should help is NYC’s new bike-share program. First get the paths, then the bikes. Not a bad strategy, and there’s certainly a lot to be said for having a comprehensive approach.
NPR’s Living on Earth tells the story of the “Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program” that seems to be doing everything right by looking at things holistically. Biking became cheap in all senses of the word, and people came.
Sadly, renting bikes in NYC won’t be all that cheap. Bike rental fees will be a lot more than in either Washington or London. Let’s hope it’ll at least be convenient. Thanks to Bloomberg’s protected bike paths, it may well be faster to bike than take cabs or the subway. And there’s nothing quite like speed that gets New Yorkers going.